For most of us, our hair is an expression of ourselves, our personalities, and our culture. For many of us, however, our choice of hairstyle is shaped by societal “norms,” which are usually influenced by mainstream culture. These “norms” leave little room for acceptance and appreciation of a beautiful, culturally diverse world. Because of this, your child of color is in great need of increased affirmation and intentional reminders of her hair’s beauty. Below are five tips on to help you bond with your child through understanding, appreciating and helping her to appreciate her unique hair texture, as well as ways you can boost her self-esteem through hair care. For newborn and softer curls, we recommend our own Coconut Cream Oil (at 4KidsLikeMe.com). Download a free African American and Biracial Children’s Hairand Skin Care Guide, courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Child Welfare.
1. Focus on Cleansing the Scalp When Shampooing Your Child’s Hair
Because curly or tightly coiled hair is easily tangled and very fragile, special care should be taken when shampooing. When shampooing, seek to cleanse your child’s scalp and clean hair will follow. This way, you avoid knotting the hair. You should also massage your child’s scalp while shampooing to assist in sebum (oil) production.
2. Comb Hair in Sections (Preferably While Wet)
After shampooing your child’s hair, part the hair in four sections. Braid each section into one big braid resulting in four braids (braiding the sections while wet will help retain the moisture in your child’s hair making it easier to comb). Next, take one braid out at a time and, using a widely spaced brush with plastic bristles or a wig brush, detangle your child’s hair from end to root (refrain from using a brush, as detangling can be painful and can cause breakage if not done with care). You may also spray the hair with a mixture of lavender (a natural hair softener) and water to make the detangling process easier.
3. Moisturize Your Child’s Hair
Tightly coiled hair is prone to dryness because the oil (sebum) produced by the scalp does not easily travel down the hair shaft to (due to the hair’s textured pattern). Therefore, it is very important that the care be taken to moisturize your child’s strands. Products like Shea Terra Organics Coconut Cream Oil, or other oils which use a variety of natural moisturizers like castor oil, almond oil and shea butter, can be used to help penetrate the hair shaft and moisturize your child’s scalp.
4. Keep It Simple
When styling your child’s hair, a general rule of thumb should be followed – keep it simple. Elaborate hair styles that include many very small braids and possible tension causing styles should be avoided. Most children do not have the patience to sit for such elaborate hairstyles. Too much tension is not good for any head of hair. Suggested styles for children with curly hair are large two-strand twists or pigtails, large cornrows (at least the size of your middle finger) or large single braids. Lastly, after styling your child’s hair remember …
5. Cover Your Child’s Curly Hair at Night
Use a satin or silk scarf to cover your child’s hair at night to help prevent breakage caused by cotton pillowcases.
Remember when following the above tips that your child's hair is special and unique to her. Taking an active role in her hair care will not only boost her self esteem, but create an everlasting bond between you and your curly-haired child.
Meet Our ExpertNyema "Nye" Taylor is our expert on hair care for African American and biracial “curly-haired” children. Nye founded HairLift HairCare in a cozy Philadelphia apartment in September 2002. A native New Yorker, Nye has been a hair professional in and around the Philadelphia, Atlanta and New York metro areas for 20 years. She has also styled heads in London. Nye has received extensive training from some of the nation’s top salons, is a graduate of Philadelphia's Berean Institute, and is a past winner of a cosmetology scholarship from the Aveda Institute in Soho. She has parlayed her training and her love of hair styling into a career creating cutting edge styles for progressive women and entertainers. Nye is also president of HairLift HairCare Products – all natural haircare products for adults and children. Additional information and HairLift products are available at www.hairliftonline.com. The HairLift HairCare Salon is located in Newark, NJ. For appointments or consultation, call Nye at 862-224-2647.