For Parents of Children With Mixed Race Hair
Whether you are of Mixed-Race descent or are a parent of a Mixed-Race child or children, haircare can be a nightmare resulting in tears, frustrations and, for many, coming to the conclusion that the only way out is to reach for the chemical relaxer.
Mixed Race hair comes in all guises and can include so many textures, curl types and conditions: loose bouncy curls, ringlets, tight afro curls, fine, coarse, dry, frizzy etc. Once you have worked out what you’re dealing with then you need to research and develop the best regime and haircare routine for you and your child.
As a parent with curly, kinky, afro or mixed-race hair you may find that you are struggling with your little one’s hair. Well the first thing to remember is that not all products or techniques will suit everyone. It’s a case of trial and error.
1. Encourage Your Child to Love Their Hair in it’s Natural Curly State: Children are bombarded with pressures from all angles, be it from images they see on TV, magazines, or their peers at school. Point out that everyone looks beautiful as they are and there is nothing unique or beautiful about looking like an identikit of their friends. Make them aware of how people who are wearing their hair curly look wonderful and are just as successful as the next person. If you look closely you’ll see a plethora of Mixed-Race faces represented in the media today; TV adverts, magazines, fashion shoots etc.
2. Teach & Encourage Your Child From An Early Age to Care For Their Own Hair: One of the problems with very curly hair is that it can tangle and matt very easily. Most parents, to save time, will reach for the brush or comb themselves to get the job done as quickly as possible. Inevitably there are tears and tantrums involved. Every household is under time constraits in the morning so the best approach would be to use the weekend to show your child how best to handle, brush and comb their hair. You can then move onto some easy styling options once the detangling process is cracked. Watch this video by Felicia Leatherwood teaching a Mum of a Mixed Race child to detangle her hair. Note how her daughter also watches what her Mum is doing in the mirror:
3. Use Other Peoples’s Experiences: There is a wealth of information available in the social media world. YOUTUBE has many videos with people sharing their experiences. Spend some time finding your favourites which include parents and children, then sit down and watch them together. Make sure they include lots of words of encouragement on the part of the parent to the child and a hair type similar to your child’s.
4. Ask Other People: Feel free to approach parents of a child or adults with a hair type similar to yours and ask them how they manage. It’s good to share experiences until you find a regime that works for you.
5. Get a Good Hairdresser: Start to investigate and hunt out a hairdresser that understands and is experienced with your child’s hair type. This can take time. Again ask for referrals. Ask plenty of questions to help save on tears, disappointments and your hard earned money.
6. HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO START YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY
a. Do you have the right tools? A wide-toothed comb and a good quality paddle brush for detangling wet/damp hair that has conditioner in it. Watch this video on how best to detangle a child’s mixed race curly hair:
b. Make sure your child sleeps on a satin pillow case like this one. Satin is a low friction fabric which doesn’t draw essential moisture away from the hair and cuts down on tangling of the hair strands. So less frizz to wake up to in the morning.
c. Start reading and understand the ingredients listing on products. Here’s a simple guide to some of the common ingredients
d. Use moisturising products; shampoos, conditioners and styling creams/leave-ins. A child’s hair changes throughout their childhood, so using adult products may not be suitable. Products formulated for children are often milder and this is especially the case for babies and toddlers. Children in the early years are also susceptible to childhood eczema, so carry out a test in a small area before applying to the full head of hair to avoid a flare-up and distress. One of the best ranges you can use is Original Sprout which are perfect from newborn upwards.
e. Teach yourself and your child some simple styling techniques such as Twisting and Plaits that help cut down on tangles and keep the hair neat. Watch this video on how to twist hair for protective styling: