My babies when they were babies: Talya, Taylor and Tristan
It was just a few years ago that I was still using chemical relaxers (aka Creamy Crack) on my hair, but my two daughters were natural. Back then I didn’t know a lot about the different natural oils and butters that are good for the hair. I just knew what my mom used on me and my sisters and the routine she had: Washing our hair once every two weeks, using Olive oil, eggs or mayo as deep conditioners, VO5 hot oil treatments, and Blue Magic hair grease. I, in turn, washed and conditioned my two girls’ hair on a regular basis and used Blue Magic on their scalps. That’s what I knew.
Even though I wasn’t natural, I wanted my girls to love their natural hair because I felt their natural hair was beautiful. However, I wasn’t as informed as I could have been to take better care of their hair. It wasn’t until I decided to become natural did I learn how to take better care of their hair as well as my own. No doubt, there are many others out there who are raising natural haired daughters but may need a little help. Below is some advice I would like to share.
The best thing you can do for you and your daughter(s) is to educate yourself on natural hair. Don’t rely on what you remember your mom and grandma doing because not everything they did was good for our hair. Get on the internet and research how to care for natural African American hair. Educate yourself on the different oils that are great for our hair and how to use them and mix them. Educate yourself about the different homemade hair masks and deep conditioners you can make yourself. If you feel you don’t have the time or patience to make your own concoctions and prefer to buy products from the store, learn about the good ingredients that you should look for in those products as well as the bad ingredients you should stay away from. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask other naturals questions. Whether if it’s friends, family, a natural hair beautician, or a complete stranger. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Commit to the time it takes to care for natural hair
Caring for natural hair takes time and patience. You cannot rush through caring for natural hair. If you do, the result is going to be major damage and hair loss. You must prepare yourself for the time it will require to wash, deep condition, detangle, and style natural hair. Ask others with natural hair what their haircare routine is like, visit blogs and vloggers on YouTube to get an idea of what their routines are like. One thing I found to be very helpful (and a time saver) was to look for vloggers who have a similar hair type as your daughters on YouTube (types 4a, 4b, 4c, etc). See what products they use or make themselves, the steps they go through, and incorporate what you want to use from them into developing a routine of your own based on your daughter’s hair care needs. As time goes on, you may find the need to change or tweak your routine. The most important thing in all of this is finding a routine and sticking to it.
Help your daughter(s) to love their natural hair
To me, this is the most important step. Teach your daughters that their natural hair is beautiful. It is unique, and their hair can do many things that others cannot. Nappy IS NOT a bad word. Neither is kinky. When I would be out and about with my daughters, I made it a point to show them other natural haired women and girls so they’d see that there were others out there with hair like them. I also explained to them that there are different natural hair types, shapes, and lengths, and they are all beautiful. I also taught them that not everyone is meant to have straight or curly hair that blows in the wind. However, Afros and puffs are beautiful, and it’s fun to create and discover new accessories and styles to wear their natural hair in.
Don’t straighten their hair on a regular basis
I’ve run into mothers of natural haired daughters who send their daughters to the beautician to have their hair straightened bone straight on a regular basis, but when they try to style their hair in a twist out or some other natural hair style, their ends are still straight and look scraggly. Or some of their hair won’t go back to its naturally curly state because it’s been straightened so much. Heat damage is a real issue that often results in hair breakage and split/weakened ends. Heat should be used sparingly on natural hair.
Don’t overuse protective styles
Yes, we can overuse protective styles. How? By taking down a protective style and then right away putting in another one. Over-manipulation of the hair or tight braids isn’t good for anyone – young or old. Give your daughter’s hair and scalp time to rest and breathe. Let them wear their afro out with a cute headband, or afro puffs, or a twist out for a few weeks. And when you do use a protective style on your daughter’s hair, make sure that you are still moisturizing her hair on a regular basis.
These are just suggestions based on my personal experience. If you have other suggestions, please feel free to share them in the comments!