Raising Children with Natural Hair
Delaya and I started our natural hair journeys around the same time (can you say bestest to the max!) and were dead set on learning what it took to wear the crown God gave us. And I know you all are following us on the gram and see that we are loving our natural hair to the fullest! We rock twistouts, braidouts, afros, and protective styles, just to name a few, and though this curly girl hair journey is a lot of work, we are determined to stay this way.
Now that we both have daughters with different hair textures, we not only have to do our own heads, we have to make their natural hair the best it can be too. And like us educating ourselves on how to take care of our hair, we do the same with our girls. Filling them with self love is what we are all about so we are here to let you know how we maintain our daughters natural hair and why we chose to raise them this way.
Why We Chose to Raise Our Girls Natural
Growing up my mom always put perms in my hair. I hated them! They burned my scalp, smelled funny, and if it wasn't done just right, I'd have silky straight hair with fuzzy edges. I always wanted to wear my hair curly and have always preferred my hair over a weave. Since I grew up with perms and straightening I just thought that's what black girls did, but if you were mixed, you can wear your natural hair. Besides, that's all I would see on TV. Black women had straight hair and everyone was wearing a perm. Talking to my mom as I got older she said the only reason why she used perm on my hair was because she didn't know how to do my natural hair.
I choose to raise Jayla natural because I believe it will help her with her self-esteem. I want her to know that she is beautiful the way she comes, curly and all. And with her reflection being shown more and more through mainstream media, I think it is important to instill in her who she is right from the very start. I don't want to tell Jayla, I damaged her natural hair and she needs to repair it because I had no clue what to do. I needed to get educated on what to do and with all the popularity with YouTube, smh there are no excuses!
I also do not want to put a harmful chemical in her hair. I did research on perms and those things are not good for health reasons. Besides, why torture her with a burning scalp and scabs that itch, when she can just style the hair she was given.
I, too, was raised on perms but because I was tender headed. Am tender headed. My scalp is very sensitive, my hair is very thick and my mother is very heavy handed; it was a very bad combination to deal with at a young age. So, perms were actually my savior and hold nothing against them.
With that being said, I've never felt more confidence and pride within myself than when I'm rocking a dope and fluffy twist out. And don't let me get a compliment! #killem
I want my baby to feel that feeling. I want her to be proud of who she is, as she is. There's absolutely nothing wrong with how she's made.
I want her to be prideful but I also want to give her every opportunity to build a thick skin against the haters, envious and those who choose not to understand. My baby has mixed hair, arguably "good" hair, so she'll receive unwarranted commentary from the fair skinned to the dark skinned and all in between. I can hope that by the time she's able to comprehend the negativity, there won't be any but I know that's wishful thinking right now.
How We Maintain It
I had to start Jayla on a hair regimen very early. I needed her to get use to having her hair done and that came with me pouring water over her face and combing it. In the beginning, she didn't have much hair (I was disappointed), but now it has sprouted and I can do all types of styles.
Jayla gets her hair washed once a week because she is pretty rough on her hair and refuses to wear a bonnet (my mistake for waiting too long). Here's what I do to maintain the curls and keep it moisturized:
1. Rinse hair thoroughly
2. Shampoo with SheaMoisture Mango & Carrot Kids Extra Nourishing Shampoo
3. Apply SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Intensive Strengthening Masque , comb through; add a shower cap for 30min
4. Rinse out deep conditioner
5. Apply SheaMoisture Mango & Carrot Kids Extra Nourishing Conditioner; rinse thoroughly
6. Section hair and add Mixed Chicks Kids Leave-in Conditioner, SheaMoisture Coconut Hibiscus Kids Curling Buttercream, and SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil (LCO method)
7. Twist hair up (Normal twists or flat twists)
**I do not towel dry Jayla's hair after rinsing out her hair thoroughly. I need that water for moisture and no-tear combing**
Since I am not the best braider and I am still learning, I usually put her hair in poinytails, top knot, or in an afro (my preferred style) when we go out somewhere. I also oil her scalp a couple times throughout the week.
Ava's still pretty young so our routine is pretty low key.
Sundays are our wash days. While she's getting a bath, I use SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Kids 2in1 Curl & Shine Shampoo & Conditioner to clean her hair. I lather her hair at the start of the bath, let it sit, then rinse it out before it's time to get out.
I do towel dry her hair but I still use the infant towels; they're less rough. I pat the excess water and drips away, being sure not to rub the towel against her hair.
Once the extra water is gone, I rub SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Kids Curling Butter Cream into her hair and follow it up with Simple Truth Organic Coconut Oil to seal in the moisture and help with detangling. I use a large seamless shower comb to detangle her hair, starting from the tips and working up towards the roots.
My mother watches Ava during the week and she's from the old school where your hair has to be laid down to be considered "done" so she puts the kids hair in ponytails. I tend to let the ponytails stay in her hair two days at a time. On the second day, I take the ponytails out, rinse her hair with water and massage her scalp with my fingertips. When she gets out the bath, I repeat the steps above with drying, moisturizing and detangling. On the weekends, I let her scalp and hair breathe and she wears her natural fro.
What We Do To Teach Them To Love Their Natural Hair
I always tell Jayla how beautiful her hair is (I do this for her skin too). I started doing this when she was a baby. I would sit in our rocking chair and rub her hair and say "Your hair is so pretty" "It's so nice" "It's so beautiful". Now you can't tell Jayla anything about her hair that's negative. She tells people on her own that her hair is beautiful and she loves to get it done. I've probably created a conceited child, but I don't care. There is a huge stigma about black hair and I will not allow my child to fall victim to ignorance.
I also do not allow the word nappy to be said in reference to her hair. Despite what people may think, an afro is a style. And though curls may not be super defined in that style, I always comb Jayla's hair out. Her hair is not nappy, it is curly and/or kinky. I just find "nappy" to be a negative connotation when it comes to black hair. Positivity is key.
I'm actually teaching Ava to love her hair by having her near when I do my hair (when she's not flipping out) and showing her how fun it can be. I mentioned a while back what I think her gazes mean when she watches me do my hair and how she wants to be just like me. I also act silly and the way my big fluffy hair moves becomes this comical prop that she can't help but laugh at.
When ever I touch her hair, I keep it light hearted and fun. I give her distractions but if she's not in the mood to get her hair worked on then I don't force it. Yes, part of it is because I really don't know how to do ponytails and such but it's mainly because I don't want any negative relations between myself, her and her hair. Keeping it positive all the way.
Julia and I know that we've barely cracked the surface with helping our daughters embrace their natural hair and teaching them how to care for it themselves but we're up for the task. It's a commitment we've made and one of the parenting decisions that neither of us will waiver from, no matter how crazy or tiring wash days get as they grow up.
I get excited thinking about them. Awkward smile.
Either way, we're in it for the long hall. What about you? Have you considered bringing your child natural but not too sure where to start? Well let us help a bit. Each journey begins with a foundation of hair products and you can build from there. Download this free checklist of necessary products to get for your little one.