Mixing It Up: Caring for Bi-racial hair
As the mother of a daughter of mixed heritage, Shari Ann Lord struggled to find the right combination of hair products and techniques to tame her daughter Sara’s thick curly hair. She describes the years that she and her husband bought and experimented with various styling products as being both costly and frustrating.
Does this sound like your story? Then take heart! Shari Ann has some valuable advice to share with you.
Shari Ann’s Tips :
- Babies and toddlers:
Baby hair is easy, even when it gets long, it’s still soft & fluffy, needing only a small amount of coconut or olive oil & a soft brush each night after a bath. Little braids are easy to do at this point.
When the hair becomes stronger and thicker, the frustration begins. For little girls with long hair, a few braids or “twisties” at night before bed time will help, however during the day, depending on product in the hair, you can seldom leave the hair in regular ponytails with the hair just hanging from the hair tie. Usually if hair is left to “free”, you can end up with a knotted mess and a wild- looking child. This takes a lot of time to detangle because the curls fight with the knots, creating more knots. It happened to me. I rinsed the hair with a fair amount of conditioner to loosen the knots & free up the hair. I comb from the ends first, this takes out knots from below the hair, otherwise you can end up gathering knots as you pull the comb from the top of the head.
- Young girls and boys:
For girls, I would always make sure that the hair is brushed and braided / twisted and wrapped each night to help keep moisture in.
- I wash hair once or twice each week
- I find that there needs to be some kind of product in the hair at all times, otherwise it will break if brushed or combed while dry and hair can fall out in clumps
Boys are easy if the hair is short. I would keep the hair short but still comb or brush in moisturizers each day and night (this would take only 5 mins). The hair can still become dry and brittle even though it is short. and can still fall out from being too dry.
As my daughter’s hair became stronger, before bed each night I would use various hair moisturizers and curl activators. I would section her hair into 4 equal parts and then rub either olive oil or coconut oil on the scalp and then apply the moisturizer or curl activator to the section of hair, combing from the ends first, then braid. Do same for each section. I wrapped hair in silk scarf first then covered with an old pair of pantyhose. I tied the pantyhose around the hair line and tied off & cut excess or tucked excess between nylon and scarf underneath at back.
The products I liked & disliked!
- Olive Oil line is great for thirsty hair and very good over a few days’ use. There is an olive oil sheen spray that I sometimes like to use as a finisher but make sure that the room is very well ventilated. it’s an aerosol and comes out very fine in the air.
- Mixed Chicks – Their leave- in conditioner is excellent!
- Right On Curl Activator – If there’s moisturizer product still in hair, just a small amount of this activator helps to give an overall boost to moisture in the hair.
- Motions Sculpt & Twist Molding Creme – Great for keeping twists in place without other hair ties at the ends, as well as for creating lift and keeping curls in place.
- Tresemme vitamin E, moisture rich for dry or damaged hair – my daughter’s friend put this in her hair one day and she has used it since. It’s a very affordable product and my daughter puts it in her hair after washing it. When I do her hair, I find that I don’t need to use very much of it. It spreads around nicely and absorbs well into the hair. As this is very affordable, I use other products as a boost once in awhile. For example, I will put Olive Oil creme in my daughter’s hair once or twice a month, wrap the hair in a plastic bag and put her under a warm hair dryer for 20 mins. I will leave the creme in her hair for the week and when she washes her hair again, she can use the Tresemme as usual.
It’s been a long process, but now that my daughter is 15 years old, we have pretty much stabilized her hair with a minimal amount of products. There are lots of good products on the markets, with perseverance you too will find the right combination for your family.