When I’m out with Ro and/or Kai I’m often stopped by moms of biracial kids and asked about their hair. Almost every time I post a pic on Instagram of Kaya I get messages with questions about hair care strategies.
This post is long overdue.
Here are my curly biracial hair care tips, tools, products and tricks for growing a healthy head of hair on your curly headed child.
I’m not a professional stylist, but I am a woman who knows about natural healthy hair care, so I’m using what works for me.
My number one tip: Less is more. Keep it simple. Shampoo/Conditioner/Moisturize/Style. No need for curl enhancing smoothies, and gels…. they’re BABIES! Keep it simple and their hair will grow healthy and long if that’s your goal.
So that said. Here’s my approach. I hope some of it helps you out:
John’s hair is thick but bone straight, with barely a wave to it. My hair is dense, super curly/wavy, very dry and super course. Biracial hair runs the gammut from very dense/curly/course, to very straight/silky/smooth. We had no idea what head of hair our children would end up having.
Rohan’s hair is curly, and when it’s long it forms ringlets. I let it grow for about two years before I started trimming it a bit. Now I cut it every month and keep it low, but it still curls up. His curls are loose and he also has a bit of a wavey thing going on. He has a patch of hair in the back that is kinky and very course and doesn’t curl much. It’s drier than the rest of his hair as well.
Kaya’s hair is curlier than Rohan’s. Her hair curls into corkscrews in some places and is tightly waved in other places. She also has a thicker, tighter coiled section in the back of her head.
John would shampoo Rohan’s hair (with standard baby shampoo) and wonder why it was so dry, his lil back hair patch turning straw-like. My aunts would wash, condition and then grease up the children’s hair so much it would drip like jerry curl!
Both sides of his family were treating the hair the same way they do their own. I had to explain to both John and my aunts that we can’t treat our mixed kids hair the way we treat ours. No two heads of hair are exactly the same, and while one mixed kid’s hair could be silky and smooth, another’s can be super course. You have to treat them accordingly.
I do not shampoo the children’s hair very often. I will shampoo Rohan about once every two weeks. He gets conditioned almost daily in the bath. Some days I will just use water and my finger tips to gently wash his scalp and then use a conditioner as a co-wash.
When I do shampoo, I use a gentle shampoo that is organic, paraben free, sulfate free and is as “clean” as possible. (I will list some faves in the products section of this post)
Kaya I will shampoo weekly. I use more oil/moisturizing products on her hair due to it’s texture and dryness level, so I shampoo her more frequently to avoid any build up from those products.
To shampoo the babies’ hair I thoroughly wet the hair and scalp, and use a small amount of shampoo, and my fingertips (not nails) to rub in quick circles around the scalp. I focus my energy on cleaning the scalp and the roots of the hair. I never take the length of their hair and scrub it. The shampoo will rinse down the length of the hair sufficiently cleaning it. I use warm water to rinse away all of the shampoo from the scalp. You can take a white washcloth or towel and wipe the scalp a bit to ensure you got all of the residue up if you’re not sure.
Even if I am not washing their hair, the kids do get their hair wet in the bath every day with a little bit of a scalp massaging at the very least. I just call it a water-wash. 🙂
I use conditioner in two ways. As a co-wash, as mentioned above, and in the traditional way after a shampooing.
A co-wash is simply using the conditioner the same way you’d use shampoo. When I co-wash, I don’t focus so intently on the scalp. I smooth the conditioner along the entire length of the hair, and then I use my finger tips to wash the scalp and then let the water rinse the hair clean.
When conditioning the traditional way, I quickly towel dry the hair a bit, (by squeezing w/ the towel, not rubbing) and then apply conditioner being careful to ensure all the strands are saturated. I’ll let the conditioner stay on while I bathe the kids or let them play in the tub a while before rinsing thoroughly. Again, a white washcloth or towel rubbed on the scalp can be used as a test to ensure all the product has been rinsed off. We don’t want build up on their little scalps.
After the hair is cleansed and conditioned, I put on some type of oil or moisturizing product. For Rohan, his hair is so fine that anything weighs it down and makes it look like he’s letting his Soul Glo.
So I just put a small amount of coconut oil on my hands, rub my hands together and then run my hands through his hair. I pay special attention to the course patch in the back.
For Kaya, I may use a moisturizing product either a leave in spray or cream, but most often use coconut oil for her as well. Her hair is thicker, drier and can handle more than Rohan’s so I apply coconut oil a bit more liberally with her.
The daily care for their hair consists of:
- Gently detangling (with a comb like this)
- Rewetting to “neaten up” curls if needed (For Ro)
- Twisting or Ponytailing (For Kai)
- Reapplying moisturizer or coconut oil if needed
As of right now I don’t have a nightly routine for their hair, but Kaya’s hair is growing quickly and she’ll soon wear a scarf or bonnet to sleep in just like her mama.
If your child is a wild sleeper and a bonnet or scarf will easily slide off in the night, I suggest a satin pillowcase to sleep on. (I sleep on a satin pillow case, and have my scarf/bonnet on as well each night)
I finger style Rohan’s hair and it immediately does whatever it wants to do anyway. Once the south Florida humidy hits it, it all curls up tight against his head.
I cut his hair on my own. Using clippers at 1.25” on the back and sides, and then using scissors for trimming the top.
Kaya hasn’t had a trim yet, and she likely wont for a few more years. On Kaya I will attempt a ponytail or twists, but she immediately rips them out. I try a bow, she pulls it out and throws it at me. So, for now, she wears her hair out about 90% of the time. If I can slip on a headband and distract her immediately, I can sometimes get her to wear that for a bit.
Once in a while she’ll let a ponytail or pigtails stay in. And if I twist her hair up after a bath at night time she will be so relaxed she wont yank at them… but she’ll go to bed and wake up with a mess anyway.
Because her hair is soft and her curls a bit looser, I would have to put a barrette at the end of her braids/twists in order to get them to stay put. Otherwise, they unravel about 25% up the twist almost immediately. Since taking care of the ends of your hair is so important for length retention, I just avoid that. If they unravel, I let them be.
- If hair is tangled use a detangling spray and fingers (or a wide tooth comb if needed) to gently detangle from the ends of hair up to the top.
- Don’t pull the hair back tightly in any style
- If your child’s hairline is course/curly/curls up, you can use water and oil and gently brush the hair down and let it “set” with that. Avoid gels and brushing harshly at the hairline
- Avoid elastics and barrettes that have sharp/scratchy parts on them or anything that will pull at the hair
- Avoid any accessory that is heavy, we don’t want to weigh the baby’s head down or pull at their gentle strands.
These are the products I have personally used on Rohan and Kaya and will continue to use.
- California Baby Hair Conditioner – Calming
- JASON – Kids Only Detangling Conditioner
- On Rohan I also use Aubrey Organics conditioners
- Cara B Naturally Moisturizing Hair Mist
- Cara B Leave In Conditioning Moisturizer
- TotLogic Leave In Conditioning Spray
There are some product lines I have found that I have not yet tried on my children, but you may want to look into them:
I’m going to try the Mixed Chicks Kids line eventually because I use them on my hair and I love it.
I hope that was helpful for you.
This is just how I do things. Every mama is different, as is their child. Here are some mamas I know that are doing a great job with their biracial children’s hair. Check em out when you have a sec: Alisha at CoilyLocks, Jenn at BabyMakingMachine and Stacy Ann at WeatherAnchorMama.
If you know any other bloggers or sites posting about hair care for mixed kids, biracial – primarily those mixed with Black, leave links below, I’d love to check em out.
WHAT ARE YOUR CURLY BABY HAIR CARE TIPS??!