Caring for your African American Child’s Hair

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to know how to care for our children’s hair – especially our daughters (or be willing and able to pay somebody else). As a white mommy to three black daughters (and three sons), I’ve learned to braid, bead, twist, corn-row, straw set, and add extensions. I’ve attempted (when approached) to help other parents or grandparents to learn to care for their black or bi-racial children’s hair and have been appalled at how many say they’ll just cut it short because it’s easier.

We’re on a tight budget and can’t afford weekly salon visits but you can bet, my girls’ hair will always be natural, styled and looking fine because it’s important they always put their best foot forward. In addition to the pride we all take in their appearance (and I must admit, I love the reaction when people ask who does their hair), my girls and I get lots of quality time looking at hair magazines, books or other people at the malls, finding new styles and trying them out.

And, from an attachment parenting stand-point, all that hands-on, combing, washing, oiling, etc. really helps us bond, especially as they grow (in their opinion) too old for snuggles and hugs.

Having worked with the foster-care/DSS community for some time, I’ve found that more people are willing to adopt girls rather than boys, and they need to be aware that there is a major time and money commitment in caring for our girls’ hair properly so they’re accepted and not teased. In many African American communities, unkempt hair is a sign that your parents don’t care, and we surely don’t want our children thinking that, right?

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