We have done it so many times. We have a little girl and when she is a baby, her hair is laying down and smooth as silk. You don’t have to put anything on it, you just brush it and it lays however you want it to.
Then on her first birthday, her hair is getting curlier and fluffier. And the second birthday, her hair is a puff of cotton. By her 4th birthday, her hair is a full Afro, soft and ‘scary’.
Yes, scary. Why? Because now, we are at the “she used to have good hair” stage. Her hair used to lie down, now it just sits on top and you don’t know what to do with it.So we do what we’ve seen our mother and aunts do.
It’s been yanked it into tight pony tails so the hair on the sides and in each section is laying down, looking silky. (We all are guilty of this) The ends are twisted or braided and barrettes and beads are put in…and that isn’t so bad. What is bad is the repeated pulling and tugging that begins to break the hair off and the hair is left at various lengths with varying textures.
Although it is normal for anyone to have more than one texture, it is very challenging with our little girls, so many of us have done the unthinkable. We put a relaxer in her hair. Whether it is a kiddie perm or texturizer, we add a chemical to the baby’s hair, then we are home free. (Or so it seems)
Well, in case you haven’t noticed, a lot of times the relaxer doesn’t “take”. The hair is still fuzzy or frizzy or the curls and waves come back quickly. Why is this? Because our little one’s hormones are frequently changing until adolescence.
The hair of a very young child as well as an elder, is fragile. Yet, it is getting stronger each year. The hair will change textures a few different times during a young child’s life and as we age, our hair reverts back to its child like fragility.
Therefore it is not recommended [if we must] to apply any type of chemical to a young child’s hair until they have begun puberty and have had a menstrual cycle. It is also recommended that a female does NOT receive any type of chemical treatments during her cycle or pregnancy. The changing hormones makes the hair resilient to straightening and coloring agents.
So what can we do to remedy some of the main issues we face when it comes to our babies:
- How can we shampoo and detangle their hair without hurting them? One of the easiest ways to shampoo baby’s hair is to do so in the bathtub or by using a countertop near the sink. In the tub, you may choose to give your child a washcloth for their eyes, and have them hold their head back. You would then quickly rinse their hair with warm water, then apply the shampoo. Gently massage their scalp and cleanse it, and rinse out quickly. Sometimes, with repeated rinses, they get fidgety or upset about the water. This can all be done for little ones in under 5 minutes. To detangle, be sure their hair is damp, and then use small sections to detangle the hair from the ends of the hair toward the top. If your child is “tenderheaded” then ou may wish to use a larger tooth comb, a pick, or you may need to spray their hair a little more with water.
- How can we find quick and easy styles that won’t cause damage? A simple style for small children may consist of 4-6 sections. These 6 sections may become chunky 2 strand twists or cornrows that start on the scalp and end hanging from the hair. You can also take those sections an place them in pony tail holders, then create smaller subsections that are braids or twists. These will last a bit longer than a puff, but should not be left in for too many days as tangling around the band may occur. This style can be created once a week or according to your preference.
- What products should we use to keep their hair soft, manageable and smooth? For babies and toddlers, products can be kept to a minimum. Babies have natural oils that are easily produced, leaving the need to oil their scalps to a bare minimum. Unless your child is born with a type of scalp condition that requires certain treatments, then you may need to use products that the pediatrician recommends. But for shampoo, Dr. Bronners, baby mild shampoo is gentle and chemical free, for moisture, you may opt to use a light moisturizing lotion like that from the Shea Moisture baby line. But using moisturizer and oils may be too heavy for your child’s fine hair. So if you prefer the look of oils or butters to that of the moisturizer, then you may opt to use that instead.