Hair Care For African American or Biracial Child’s Hair

The following article provides some very helpful tips for hair care of African American girls as well as bi-racial hair care. Also, check out our Natural Hair Care category for African American/Black Girls.

Caring for Your African American or Biracial Child’s Hair

Part I

beautiful hairCaring for your angel’s tresses can be a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Armed with the proper education, the right technique, and, most importantly, the right products – you can master the art of caring for ethnic hair.

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with hair. Because my hair was easy to manage, I began styling my own hair at an early age. Using my long locks, I taught myself how to french braid and soon became a styling expert (or so I thought). As I matured, my interest in healthy Black hair peaked. I learned which hair care ingredients were good for my hair type and which ingredients were not. I learned how to shampoo, condition, and properly handle my hair. Most importantly, I learned to love my hair. With the proper care, your child will love his/her hair too!

Over the years I’ve read, seen, and experienced unbelievable acts of ignorance regarding ethnic hair care. It is my attempt to provide a few basic tips and tricks so you will avoid common pitfalls

A Few Things You Should Know…

Black hair is extremely fragile. A gentle touch is required to avoid unnecessary breakage and hair loss. Therefore, always use a wide tooth comb or pick when combing the hair. Avoid fine tooth combs as they snag and pull out curly/kinky hair. Invest in a quality brush; natural boar brushes are the best.

Curly/kinky hair needs moisture, moisture, and more moisture! Consider this when purchasing hair care products. Avoid drying products such as hair spray, mousse, holding gels, etc. Opt for moisturizers, leave in conditioners, and styling lotions.

All products are not created equal. Just because a product claims to be created for “curly hair” doesn’t guarantee that it will be suitable for ethnic curly hair. Products created for Nicole Kidman’s curly hair may not work for Angela Bassett’s. Caucasian hair tends to produce more sebum (oily secretion created by the sebaceous gland) than Black textured hair; therefore, Black hair requires more oil. Read, no, scrutinize the ingredient list. Look for natural oils and quality ingredients. Remember, the ingredients are listed in order of volume.

Common Mistakes Made When Caring for Ethnic Hair

Error #1 – Over shampooing – Black hair should not be shampooed every day, or every other day for that matter. Instead, shampoo your child’s hair every 7 days max! We recommend shampooing 2x a month. I know this may confuse those who shampoo daily; however, you must remember that Black hair needs oil, and because it distributes less sebum, frequent shampooing can dry out the hair and scalp.

Tip for getting through “shampoo-less” days: Rinse hair with warm water, apply conditioner, and rinse well. This will give you a clean start and provide added conditioning and moisture without stripping away protective oils.

Error #2 – Under conditioning – Proper conditioning is one of the most important steps for healthy hair. Unfortunately, most do not take the time to adequately do so. I recommend giving your daughter a deep conditioning (with heat) once a month, especially during the winter season.

Error #3 – Using the wrong products – We’ve discussed the need for natural oils for Black hair. However, you must know that not all oil is good oil. One misconception that plagues African Americans concerning hair care is the use of grease. Grease (thick pomade-like product that usually contains mineral oil and/or petrolatum) is commonly used to moisturize dry hair and scalp. Do not use products that contain mineral oil or petrolatum. Both of these cheap oils clog pores, rob the hair’s moisture and can retard hair growth. Natural oils are the best bet. Jojoba and coconut oil are great conditioning oils. Shea butter is an excellent moisturizer. Avocado oil is rich in vitamins A, D, and E; potassium, and scalp soothing sulfur.

Error #4 – Combing, detangling, and styling faux pas – To avoid pain, tears, and massive hair loss when combing out kinky hair, part the hair into four sections. Get a tight grip on the hair (not to hurt your child) and start combing at the bottom and work your way up to the top, section by section. If her hair is extremely thick and coarse, secure the combed out section with a pony tail holder to avoid further tangling. You should always use a moisturizer when combing her out hair, doing so will help to soften the hair and ease comb-ability. NEVER USE WATER TO “WET” THE HAIR!

Pretty GirlGirls and ponytails seem to go hand and hand. Here are a few tips to avoid pig tail disaster. Do not use rubber bands to secure her pony tails, instead use elastics and covered bands. Rubber bands can cause undue breakage and damage. Remember to ALWAYS remove the pony tail holders before bed time. Make sure you braid (or twist) the hair completely…all the way to the ends. Exposing the ends to environmental elements will guarantee split ends. I recommend adding a coat of leave in conditioner to the ends before braiding for extra protection. Remember, the ends are the oldest and most fragile part of the hair. They require extra attention.

I hope these brief tips will encourage you to invest in the health of your child’s hair.

What You Need:

• Wide tooth comb or pick…the wider the better.

• Natural bristle brush.

• Hydrating shampoo.

• Moisturizing Conditioner.

• A daily moisturizer – this will add needed moisture, and ease comb-ability.

• Natural oils to apply to the hair.

• Cream hair dressing for light control of frizzes.

• Elastics for securing ponytails

About the Author:

Mahisha Dellinger

“Superb hair care for multi ethnic women”


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  1. Jamie hatch, 7 years ago

    My 6year olds hair is super kinky cocoavanilla (from dad) and really thin (from me) so when I try to do protective twists it 1 looks funny to me 2i can’t get it to stay. Also it’s been so damaged so it’s really fragile and uneven. Given that little bit….help!:)

  2. mommi, 13 years ago

    hey you all
    try warm coconut oil with a little fresh coconut milk , and don’t wash out , it’s the best .
    or for added tangle free aloe the natural aloe just don’t rinse it out

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