I can definitely say that caring for our little girl’s hair is a ritual. It is a special bonding moment that we can all identify with. But it’s a bonding moment that we can all look back at and laugh.
As black women, we have very similar experiences. You know what I’m talking about….it usually started Saturday night, either your mother, grandmother, or aunt shampooed your hair – braided it in wet in four plaits, and it air dried overnight.
Come Sunday morning, here came the grueling process of pressing your hair…oh…my…goodness! I can still feel the heat on the back of my neck, being burnt on the tip of my ear (as I felt it bubble up), and crying as I’m told to “be still, it’s only the heat”! But we knew the end result would be ultra straight, slicked with grease (Blue Magic, or Bergamot) Shirley temple or mushroomed out curls that we loved as our scalps sizzled down the street to Sunday service. Those were the days!!
As I talk to friends and clients of mine we laugh and think of how different things are now. Have you walked through an elementary school lately these little girls are weaved out, tie -zillions, no edges, gelled up, relaxed and damaged, or have a trillion beads on one braid. Where are the pretty ponytails? I repeat… Where are the pretty Ponytails?
Often times clients ask me about there daughters hair. Well it starts with basic maintenance. I have a daughter of my own and everyday since birth I would brush her hair just so that she would get used to stimulation. It became expected, just like breakfast, she knew it was coming. The next ritual is one day a week is shampoo day.
Since I have a spray hose on my kitchen sink, I lay her down on the counter with her head hanging over the sink. I put a washcloth over her eyes, just in case, and talk and sing songs as I shampoo her hair. The hose comes in handy because I can control the water, and can prevent it from getting into her eyes. I follow up with a moisturizing conditioner. Towel dries her hair and spray on a leave in/detangling conditioner.
I then follow up with pure olive oil (from the grocery aisle only) and moisturizer, detangle her hair with a wide tooth comb, plait it and allow it to air dry. The next morning it combs out easily. I then part it and put it in pretty ponytails. It really is that simple, because it is being trained and moisturized now, when she gets older it will be in great shape if we decides to straighten her hair (not chemically).
Now, this may not be helpful to the parents where the daughters have been relaxed since they were three just because the parent did not want to take the time to nurture their child’s hair. Well shame on you and shame on the ones that teach there child that there hair is “nappy”. The ritual that you create for your child’s hair is a mental and emotional lasting impression. I know several adult women that are still hurt because there “ritual” was ruined by hurt remarks and being compared to those with straighter hair. Well let’s stop the madness now!!!! You and your child must embrace different textures and work with what you have!
My daughter has soft curly hair, it is cute in the morning but by the end of the day, dry, dry, dry (who is that child?). The key to that is moisture, moisture, moisture e-v-e-r-y-day. Sometimes I cornrow it, and fuzzed up the next morning. Well this site offered a lot of solutions to my daughter’s hair after all I’m working with completely virgin hair (and it better stay that way…just kidding!)
So definitely check out the recommended regimes and products and remember that healthy scalp is a clean one, create a system that works for her hair type, moisture is the key, use a detangling comb, please stop trying to smooth your child’s edges (a fragile part of the hair) it’s too much tension and creates breakage. Stay positive during the process, expressing to her how beautiful she is. Most importantly, let go of the chemicals. Children definitely do not need it. There bodies are going through constant change, and a lot of times it comes out in the hair and skin (acne).
Let’s make a decision to allow our little girls to be just that. Let’s get out the ribbons and bows, hair balls, and barrettes. Lets do ponytails with pretty twists and snake braids (remember those?). Let’s get back to cornrolls. (Because the boys are winning at having the best looking braids). Embrace and appreciate your child’s texture and don’t be so quick to alter it.