Supporting Bi-Racial Children's Curly Hair Journey
If you're a parent of biracial children with curly/natural hair, especially if you have a different texture to them, you may have experienced challenges in understanding the best way to maintain their hair. The world of curly and textured hair is comprised of both societal and physical elements that can affect the way your child views, embraces and loves their hair. It's important to keep these elements in mind to ensure that you are providing a safe environment for your child's hair to thrive. Here's some things to keep in mind when taking care of your little ones hair.
1. Be gentle.
Curly and textured hair is extremely delicate, so it's important to practice gentleness whenever you are manipulating or styling the hair. Use gentle detangling tools, high quality detangling products and lots of water to ensure the child isn't in discomfort when their hair is being done.
Some ways to reduce pain when styling hair:
- use detangling brushes such as the Denman Brush, EZ Detangler Brush or Curl Keeper Flexy Brush to untangle the hair
- untangle in sections beginning from the ends and working your way up to the root; use your hand to hold onto the strand between the root and the area your detangling in order to stop the strands from pulling on the scalp during the detangling process
- use a detangling spray, cream or conditioner to help make the detangling process smoother and cause less breakage
2. Keep the hair hydrated.
Curly and textured hair is prone to dryness, so it's important to make sure that the hair is properly hydrated. This is especially true in children, as their hair, bones and body are all growing rapidly and absorbing the nutrients they receive quickly. This means implementing a consistent and hydrating curl routine with their hair to ensure their hair learns to hold on to water on its own. Here are some steps you can follow for a beginners curl routine:
- cleanse with a good quality shampoo one to two times per week and allow a large amount of water to run over the hair
- deep conditioning each wash and leave on for 15 minutes
- rinse and on hair that is still damp, apply a leave-in conditioner to the hair in sections
- on the same section, apply a moisturizing curl definer to help define the curls and lock moisture into the strand
- overnight, put the hair up in a pineapple or in twists covered with a satin bonnet that repels water and will allow the moisture to stay in the hair
- between wash-days, use an atomizer spray bottle or the steam from their bath to re-hydrate the hair keeping it moisturized throughout the week
3. Be patient.
Caring for curly and textured hair takes time, so it's important to be patient when doing your child's hair. This means setting aside enough time in your day to properly cleanse, condition, detangle and style their hair without rushing through the process. It can be helpful to set up a consistent day that both of you can expect that their hair will be done. Some children also may have physical and psychological trauma associated with their hair, due to things like bullying at school or parental/familial neglect. Ensure to take your time in working with the child and ensure that you are not going to cause them pain. Don't rush the detangling process and ensure to go slow to ensure that each strand is left in tact and they do not feel too much pressure at their scalp.
4. Be positive.
Your child is going to look to you for guidance on how they should feel about their hair. It's important that you are providing them with positive reinforcement about their natural hair texture and curl pattern. This means avoiding comments that could be construed as negative, such as "your hair is so hard to deal", or "why couldn't your hair be more straight/less curly". Your child is going to have to grow up in a world where at every turn, they will be taught that their hair is undesirable. They will be told at school that their hair is abnormal, unkempt and ugly. They will be told at jobs that their hair is unprofessional, unworthy and undesired. As a parent of a biracial child, you have been tasked with the unfair and difficult job of constantly battling against those societal messages and the best way to do that is by infusing self-love and confidence into them by uplifting, taking care of and celebrating their hair and the beauty that it contains.
5. Seek out curly-friendly hair stylists and curly hair representation
This may be difficult, depending on where you live, but it's important to find a stylist that knows how to work with and style curly and textured hair. This means avoiding stylists that are quick to reach for the straightening iron or chemicals when they see hair that is textured, or stylists who use the same application or cutting technique that they do on straight hair on curly hair. Your child's hair needs to be taken care of my someone who holds it in high regard, and a stylist who is not sure or educated in that haircare can make the child feel even more abnormal. Here's some great stylists we recommend in the KW region:
As we mentioned, this journey is one that is life-long, but the support of parents makes such a huge difference in a child's curly hair journey. When you love and care for your bi-racial child's hair, they will learn to love and care for it as well, and this will become critical when the world begins to tell them that they shouldn't.