Growing up, I was always told I have “good hair”. People loved to tell me how easy I had it because I could just wet it and go. However, I HATED my hair. It was weird to me. It wasn’t straight enough like white hair. On the flip side, it wasn’t kinky enough to look like my classmates. If it got braided, they were frizzy by the next day; same with any updos. I struggled because I didn’t know anyone whose hair was like mine nor did I know anyone who was natural. There was no natural hair care section in the hair aisle or YouTube tutorials. People loved my hair, but no one was able to show me how to care for it so that I could love it too. That led me to cutting it all off and slapping that good old creamy crack in it so that I could maintain my new sleek Rihanna-esque do.
Luckily for me, my relaxed days were short and few. I only relaxed my hair for about four years between ages 22-26. By the time I decided to let it go, it seemed as if the world had begun to embrace what I lived with most of my life. Now there were people I could reach out to for tips and methods. I finally learned how to care for, maintain, and LOVE my natural healthy hair.
Finding out that I was going to have a daughter, a black daughter, I knew one of things that I wanted to instill in her early on was how to love her hair. I, for one, am very glad that I am raising my child in a time where we are fully in love with and unapologetically celebrate our hair in all its kinky, curly, and coily magnificence. Here are just a few of the things that I do with my daughter to care for her hair as well as teach her appreciation of her hair:
I inundate her with images of people that look like her – We read books, she has dolls, and we listen to songs like “I Love My Hair” from Sesame Street. It’s imperative to me that she sees a reflection of herself and her people everywhere.
I keep a steady hair routine – Each head is different and what works for us may not work for you. But, what I’ve found that has helped my daughter’s hair remain healthy with very little to no breakage is co-washing it once a week. Throughout the week for styling, I use a conditioning detangler and moisturizing curl cream. I do protective styles once a week for a day. Her hair is quite soft and very vulnerable to breaking so I don’t want to pull too much. My baby gonna have edges when she’s older!
I make sure she watches me in my hair routine – I want her to see how important it is to keep her hair healthy. Although my routine is much more involved than hers, I make sure that I talk to her and explain as I’m doing things.
I don’t use the term GOOD HAIR! – Seriously, what the hell is that? Who really determines what makes a type of hair better than the next? I don’t want her growing up with a complex either thinking that her hair doesn’t live up to someone else’s or think that she’s above anyone else based on her hair. So I am nipping that conversation in the bud any time she comes home and uses it. Nobody has good hair. You have the hair you have and that’s just fine.
So go on and rock those baby hairs and afros. I hope you love yours, cause I love mine!