7 Haircare Tips For My Moms With Black/Mixed Kids
I was planning on writing about intersectional feminism today, but I figured y'all don't need one more thing to argue about at Thanksgiving dinner. Between the election, this year's police brutality, and the general rioting taking place all over the country, I might as well help out some moms.
You guys already know how often I've gone through it with my hair. Nights spent crying while getting my hair detangled, wishing to be bald— I've done it all. So why not pass on some of this information during the holidays? Your children will thank you after reading this.
1. Never Comb Hair Dry
This is something I wish I'd known since the day I was born. Oh, the countless, sleepless nights that could have been avoided if I just stuck my head under a faucet.
Curly hair simply cannot be combed while dry. It's significantly more painful for the person getting their hair done. Instead, just have them hop in the shower or use a spray bottle filled with water before detangling.
Protip: For optimal detangling, use a spray bottle and a moisturizer like olive oil or a minimal amount of melted coconut oil.
2. Only Detangle With Wide-Tooth Combs
There's a saying that goes, "If you can't see through the teeth, don't use the comb." And it's so true. Curly hair is chunky. It coils in little patterns, which does not mean it's tangled. Each strand does not have to stand alone for natural hair to be considered detangled. So use a wide tooth comb and save your child from so much unneeded pain. Along those lines, though...
3. Know When To Use Combs and Brushes
When I was younger, I didn't know the functional difference between a comb and a brush. But honestly, if you try brushing out natural hair, you'll see the difference. Combs help for your every day detangling. They get the knots out of hair. In contrast, much like combing dry hair, brushing natural hair lands you with yet another poofy mess.
Brushes are best for slicking hair into certain styles. For example, if you're going for a low bun, pictured below, you'll need to keep those edges in place with some gel and a brush.
So only use a brush for buns and ponytails.
4. If You Flat Iron, Apply Heat Protectant First
I can't stress this enough. I had so much heat damage from years and years of flat ironing without heat protectant. Every week I'd sit down in front of the TV, and my mom would flat iron my hair. We didn't know there was something I could put on my head to keep my hair from getting damaged! I realize now that without heat protectant, my hair became dry, susceptible to breakage, and it didn't grow at all. Therefore, if you take a quick trip to your local beauty supply store, (not Sally's though) and ask where the heat protectant is, they'll hook you up. And your child's straight hair will be in much better shape than before.
But I should also add....
5. Try to Avoid Flat Ironing
I understand that straight hair is desirable in our culture. It's an anglo-saxon feature that is considered professional, trendy, and attractive. But this is cultural conditioning, and it encourages young black kids to feel ashamed of their natural hair textures. And those textures are so beautiful. So I beg you, don't deprive your child of the self-love that is embracing natural hair.
You may think, however, if I straighten their hair, that means I don't have to deal with it for a week. It's easier to maintain than those curls!
Which leads me to my next point.
6. Utilize Protective Styles If You're Feeling Tired
As I said before, I went through everything. I used to have two pig tails all the time. Then I had braids for a long time. I'd just sit in a salon and let them go to work for a few hours. Afterwards, I'd be left with braids that last me a month or two. That's TWO months where all you have to do is plop a scarf on your kid's hair at night and oil their scalp from time to time.
I have a piece with a list of protective styles for you to choose from, but an abridged list is a sew in weave, wigs, braids, and twists. So you don't need to straighten your kid's hair for easy maintenance.
7. Uplift Your Kid's Hair Texture
This is a general tip for raising a child that is racially different from you. While you might not always understand their hair, and maybe sometimes you find yourself in a match to the death with it, hair makes your children uniquely themselves. But especailly for black children and mixed children, it's easy for constant comments on their hair texture to become life long insecurities. It teaches them to hate a part of themselves. That's why I straightened my hair for so long and got a perm— I wanted straight hair like my mom's. I wanted to look like all the pretty ladies on TV. But along the way I realized I'm not my mom, and I'm not those ladies. So please don't give your child any reason to think less of a part of their identity.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!