A few days ago the world shone a little brighter thanks to the beautiful smiles of the little ones we celebrated on ‘Children’s Day’
The internet was blazing with pictures and videos of cute babies and our hearts were melting. In one of the videos, I saw a mother give her 20 months old baby different everyday items that she uses, to observe her baby’s reaction. To her surprise, the baby correctly imitated her gestures with most of the items.
This story just proves the point that children pay close attention to the behaviours of the people around them, even when you think they are not. This provides a short window of opportunity to encourage good behaviour or correct unwanted patterns.
Starting a healthy hair journey in childhood is important so as to help nurture a healthy relationship between your baby and her fro. Their early experience can go a long way to impact their attitude toward their ‘fro in older years and also present a timely opportunity to create beautiful memories with your little one that you would cherish forever.
Everything about children is delicate’ This statement albeit cliche is true and can not be overemphasized. The curly infant hair structure does not allow scalp oils to go down the hair strands adequately, which causes dryness. Furthermore, coily newborn hair is often weaker than non-coil hair. This is due to weak areas in each hair strand (these weak spots are located wherever the strand bends to form each coil), contributing to the delicateness of the hair. The delicateness of each strand makes it even more crucial to develop a hair care routine for your baby that is different and gentler than yours. The points below refer to guidelines and areas of caution that we believe caregivers should be mindful of when handling a baby fro.
- Detangle always and gently
Taking out a previous hairstyle is a step, detangling the hair is another process that follows after. To avoid knots that turn into hair damage and breakage, it is important to detangle your child’s hair always and gently. While doing so, you want to avoid putting the child in pain or excessive roughness which is why you should start from the tip with a wide-mouth comb.
- No frequent wash days
Washing a child’s afro-textured hair should be done once in 9-13 days except on special days like swimming days. Using shampoo and conditioner is limited when it comes to children except during harsh weather conditions and need for quick impurities removal.
- Consider Child-friendly products
Taking shampoos as an example, because the child’s scalp is sensitive and also known to produce less oil unlike that of adults, the adult shampoo should not be used for the child. The adult shampoos are known to strip off hair oil from the hair while the ones for children do not have that effect. This is why it is important to focus on products with child hair-friendly materials, and not use products with harsh and harmful chemicals such as sulphates on the child’s afro-textured hair. Stick to organic ingredients-hair products as much as possible.
- Do not overuse it
As much as the adult’s hair suffers from product residue, this is intensified in children. Therefore it is important that you are using far less product than you use for your baby to minimize or even avoid product build-up. A good rule of thumb is pea-size portions for each cycle of the application. Products build up on a child’s hair can have the same effects it has in adults except with worse repercussions because a child’s hair is already more delicate so damage done could impact the scalp long-term.
- Moisturize as much as possible
The dryness and frizziness of afro-textured hair make it very important to moisturize, and often too depending on hair porosity. Always keep a spray bottle of water and a leave-in-conditioner mix close. This solution would allow you easily reapply hydration when you need to. This solution would come in most handy in the dryer seasons when it is difficult to keep moisture in the hair.
- Avoid heat tools and check for split ends frequently
Dryers, straighteners and other heated tools should only be used when absolutely necessary (and rarely), to avoid hair damage. Also, frequently check for split ends and trim appropriately when needed.
- Always wear protective hairstyles
Protective hairstyles again? Yes, I know it sounds like the usual but it can not be overemphasized especially when it comes to a child’s afro-textured hair. Long-wear protective styles will not only help soften the hair but also improve the healthy growth of the hair by reducing hair manipulation. Try as much as possible to avoid hairstyles that cause hair tension to the scalp of the child.
- Avoid hair damaging accessories
One thing about afro-textured hairstyles for kids is that they look great with colourful accessories, but the problem is some accessories can cause damage to the hair. Elastic bands should not be tightly used to minimize tension on the scalp and hair strands. Also if rubber bands can not be avoided, soaking in coconut oil before usage is advised to prevent hair breakage when removed.
- Invest in satin bonnets, scrunches and pillowcases in the early years
For afro-textured hair, using satin pillowcases and wearing hair bonnets are important night-time hair care procedures. Kids can find scrunches and bonnets bothersome, so it can help to find them in cute colours or in their favourite cartoon characters. The early introduction will help inculcate the habit and make it easier to maintain as the child continues to develop.
Taking care of a child’s damaged hair can take some time and lots of patience, this is why it is encouraged to take a great consideration into child’s hair care so as to prevent any damage or breakage to the hair.
“Coily girl: it’s more than just hair, it’s an attitude” – Lorraine Massey