Detangling afro-curly hair

imageA lot of us have memories of our hair being combed and the process was headache inducing.  When we have to comb or detangle our little naturalistas are we making the process a bearable one? I find sectioning the hair into four parts  ensures all the hair is detangled but in manageable amounts. Most importantly it is less harrowing for the little miss or mister involved. The hair should not be combed from the scalp but rather work from the tips towards the scalp. Natural hair is best detangled when saturated with conditioner. Loads of conditioner. We will discuss washing methods another time but I find that prior to washing  I go easy on the detangling. It’s best to use a wide-tooth comb during the process and explain what you are doing to the child so they understand the need to get the knots out of their hair and get rid of shed hairs. If you currently detangle in a different way would you try this method and let me know how it goes. The combing and detangling process should not leave a child wincing and must not be dreaded. Do share your experiences  of your own detangling methods. What works best for you?

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The language of Afro loving

This post is mainly about how words have an impact of our perception of a matter.  Have you ever been told ‘your head too tough”, or “your hair is too course” ” you have too much hair” or my least favourite ‘your hair’s too kinky”! Whilst these terms may be standard accepted terms, I refuse to use the term kinky to describe anyone’s hair.  The problem with the above comments is that somehow the individual in question has something wrong with them. Their hair is simply not good enough and is somehow inferior to hair that is not as course,thick etc. Therefore when consulting with clients I prefer to use terms like, abundant instead of you have too much hair! Many people pay to volumise their hair so why hold it against someone if their hair is naturally abundant? It’s a good thing. Our hair is thirsty not dry. To my little clients mind it helps them understand they need to moisturise their hair rather than go down the route of …..”I hate my hair,it’s so dry!” Our Natural hair is curly. Yes  CURLY. According to a trichologist…”curly hair can be medium textured,course or Afro-Caribbean”. There are varying degrees of curliness and so I choose to use this more positive term as it conveys something socially acceptable. This is important in embracing our hair because our hair in its natural state is Not a political statement! It is HAIR!

My advice to anyone responsible for a little girls hair whether mixed- race or not is this:  Think carefully of the words you use to describe hair. Are you reinforcing a negative stereotype or attitude towards curly hair which tends to be thirstier than straight hair or are you teaching that little person to view their hair as a beautiful part of them that requires care and attention? We teach kids to brush their teeth, is it not time we taught them to love and care for their delicate curls?

Please do share your positive hair terms and let’s compile a list of terms to remove from the care of natural hair in all its varied degrees of curliness!

Styling children’s hair

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Took twenty minutes. She wanted 5 cornrows….

My 4 yr old naturalista! It took an hour and a half

My 4 yr old naturalista! It took an hour and a half

Cross cross cornrows

Cross cross cornrows

With extensions added....took an hour and a half

With extensions added….took two hours…..we had breaks!!

I enjoy styling my lil naturalistas. Why? Children are so eager for knowledge and ask a lot of questions. Afro hair care is a broad field dealing with a wide range of hair textures. Sometimes that wide range of textures are on one head which is why I do not discuss the hair typing system with my young clients. Most of the kids I’ve dealt with want to have gorgeous hair without the long hours that accompany certain styles. During the consultation I ask ‘ how long do you want it to take?’ I usually get 5 minutes as an answer.  Most choose cornrows because they can be stylish, interesting ,funky but most importantly quick!  They can last up to 2 or more weeks depending on the child’s age aftercare and thickness. I also love how you can add extensions to them giving length, colour ( if age appropriate) and longevity to the style.  Do you have childhood memories of sitting for what seemed like ages to get your hair done? What message did it send to your young mind about your hair? I remember thinking my hair was ‘difficult’ because it took long to have it styled! Does the duration of a style affect how we view our hair? Please let me know your thoughts. What are your favourite quick styles for your clients, kids or yourself?