Caring for African-American Hair

This article was sent to us by a reader who was concerned about the lack of education regarding haircare for families adopting African-American children.

For Caucasian families adopting African-American or African-American bi-racial children hair care can be a challenge. African-American hair is often much thicker and curlier than Caucasian hair and needs a lot of conditioning and patience.  On the average, African-American hair only needs to be washed every 5-7 days depending on the hair, and just like Caucasian hair not all products will work for every child’s hair.  You will need to experiment to find what works best for your child and conditioning is essential to avoid breakage.

Combing a child’s hair requires patience and knowledge.  Using a wide tooth comb, divide the hair into sections, comb the hair out from the ends of the hair first and then work your way down to the hair at the scalp. Comb while holding on to each section of the hair tightly in order to avoid pulling the hair out of the scalp. Spraying the hair with water as you go can also help the process go much smoother.  Put on your child’s favorite movie or tv show to help distract them while you slowly get to work. If you work too quickly and impatiently the process will be a nightmare for both you and your child.

Remember not to use derogatory words like nappy or bad when referring to your child’s hair, their hair is just different and requires different care.  Its amazing how harmful and destructive words can be to a child’s self esteem.  They should be proud of their hair, their skin color and their culture, so no matter how frustrated you get try to avoid negative terms when referring to your child’s hair.  African-American hair is thick, full, curly and beautiful.

Below are two links that you may find helpful.  They are filled with great tips for working with African-American hair.

Pain Free Hair Styling For African American Girls

Caring for Your African American or Biracial Child’s Hair –

You can also contact Patrice at patraven1@aol.com with specific questions pertaining to your child’s hair.

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