How To Care For African Baby Hair: Beginner’s Guide

While several mommas have joined the natural gang, they are still confused as to how to take care of and grow their baby’s kinky hair.

They have so many questions!

What shampoos and conditioners would work for my baby’s hair and not cause irritations?

Am I combing too hard?

Should I start weaving to encourage new growth?

Here are some basic guides to help reduce the confusion.

First of all, DO NOT put extensions on any child below the age of 5 years; you will simply make them bald. Extensions are often too heavy and too tight for their delicate hair strands and scalp, it only leads to breakage.

Secondly, don’t just rake a comb through your little one’s tresses, especially when its dry. This will tear off their hair strands, and causes splits and breakage. It also hurts them, and this will lead to them to associate hair care with pain, which will make them resistant to any form of hair care. Essentially your life just gets difficult and it’s a downhill spiral, as your little one will begin to cry and become agitated the minute he/she notices its hair day. You must always comb their hair while its damp, with a conditioning agent and a wide tooth comb – do it gently from tip to root. An excellent conditioning and detangling agent is the brazen curls detangling co-wash.

Below are the principles you must hold on to while growing your little ones’ hair.

Simplicity: Our little angels are impatient and they get bored super quick. So if you don’t want to fight and struggle and create negative feelings towards their hair care, then keep their regimen simple!!! So if you can, avoid a 10 step wash day process – keep in mind we are speaking of kids under 5 here. Washing my son’s hair takes all of 10mins, I use the brazen curls detangling co-wash; I use it because it cleanses, conditions and detangles all in one!!! I literally put the product in his hair for 2 minutes while he is the shower, and use a wide tooth comb while the product is in his hair. No tears and we are done cleansing, detangling and conditioning! He is 2 in case you wondered and one tub lasts him about 4 months. So keep it simple and go for multiple purpose products all the time!!!

Moisture: It’s important to realize that without moisture black hair cannot grow; this is because naturally African hair is very dry AND DRY HAIR BREAKS! In simple terms, sebum from the scalp does not flow easily from the root to the tip in Afro hair, unlike Caucasian hair – this is because of our curly hair structure. It is therefore, more difficult to keep our hair moisturized. Use a water based liquid product as a hair moisturizer, look for distilled water/Aqua as the first or ingredient in their leave in conditioners or hair creams. This is literally the best way to keep your tiny tots hair soft, supple and easy to manage.

Do not grease their hair and scalp: A lot of products claim to be moisturizers but actually do no such thing. Make sure you check the ingredients for distilled water/aqua/ H20 listed as the first ingredients. Thick butters like sheabutter, cocoa butter, and thick oils like castor oil etc. are not moisturizers they are sealants and they will only make your babies hair greasy and clog the pores of your babies scalp which causes buildup. These sealants or hair butter will make your babies hair/scalp oily and make it seem moisturized but it’s not. Please see this article to detect when your hair is truly moisturized.

Don’t over-wash: Excessive washing will strip your baby’s hair of its natural oils, this will lead to dry, difficult to manage, breaking hair. If your child’s hair is consistent coarse and dry, then you should probably stick to the co-wash method; this means no shampoo is used on your baby’s hair ever. Otherwise, use a sulphate free, MEA, DEA, Paraben, and Phthalate free gentle cleansing shampoo, once a week to cleanse your child’s hair.

Use chemical free products: Lots of common hair care products, including baby products contain harmful chemicals that your child’s skin and your baby’s eyes can react to. These chemicals include but are not limited to petroleum, mineral oil, petroleum jelly (Vaseline), sodium lauryl sulphates, sodium laureth sulphates, lsopropanol alcohol, benzyl alcohol, alcohol denat, etc. not to mention some of these products are especially drying to your child’s hair. Since you are probably not going to be able to remember every dangerous chemical it’s better to go for 100% natural hair care products or better yet organic products. Always read the ingredients and do your own to know that the products are what they say they are.

Written by Esione Rachel Asakome

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