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What are Protective Styles for Mixed Kids? PLUS TOP TIPS for Getting it Right

What are Protective Styles for Mixed Kids?

If you’re here, you may have heard a lot about protective hairstyles for mixed kids and the importance of protecting your daughter/son’s hair from sun damage or breaking.

And while you may have a vague idea, like me you probably didn’t know exactly why it’s so important. Why is it necessary and what exactly does it do?. Well here it is…

protective style is simply a hairstyle that protects the ends of your hair, helping to decrease tangling, shedding and breakage.

Putting your biracial child’s curly hair into protective styles is necessary for growth, to maintain length, and often necessary to for time management. Trying to wash and style our children’s hair every day is not only practically impossible but perhaps not so great for their hair. 

So you’ve read through the basics on taking care of your mixed or biracial children’s hair. Now you need some more detail about putting it into styles that will help it to grow, prevent breakage and reduce daily damage caused by the elements. Protecting hair is beneficial to all types of curly hair textures, afro, natural and even relaxed hair.

I read somewhere that protective styles are to curly hair as washing daily and combing are to straight hair. It’s a must. The benefits of such styles help the hair to grow healthier and reduce split ends and tangling. 

What are Protective Styles for Mixed Race Kids?

I have three daughters and the time saved by putting their hair into protective styles cannot be overestimated. Washing, detangling and moisturising daily not only takes time but it also takes its toll on the hair. Protective styles can be left in for days, sometimes (depending on the hair) more than a week. 

Nowadays there are lots of ideas for putting your child’s curly locks into protective styles. 

What are some examples of protective styles for mixed race hair?

  • Buns
  • Braids
  • cornrows
  • box braids
  • Extensions
  • Sew-in Weaves

A true protective hairstyle hides the ends of the hair from exposure but should leave them in a detangled state. For example, once you have properly detangled your hair and pulled it into a ponytail, you can then twist down your ponytail and pin it into a bun. This helps to promote hair growth as the idea is to actually retain your length rather than the very ineffective idea of speeding up hair growth.

Sometimes braids or ponytails and buns that are pulled too tight can actually do more damage than leaving the hair out . Parents should be careful about the amount of tension placed on the hairline as it can actually be counterintuitive to what you are actually trying to achieve.

So that said, there are loads of hairstyles that protect the hair, some more exciting and elaborate than others. Here are a few examples that I’ve tried over the years but remember, the style must protect all aspects of the hair- the ends, sure but ensuring strong follicles at the root to promote hair retention and growth.

How often should I be putting my biracial children’s hair into protective styles?

Protective styles can be interchanged with styles that showcase their curls. Obviously, they’ll want to have their hair out at different times and that’s great that they want to let their hair breathe. Click here for some curly hairstyle ideas for both boys and girls.

A good idea is to incorporate styling your mixed kids’ hair into your routine. Try setting some time aside every Sunday evening to wash, comb, moisturise and style your child’s hair.

I know a lot of biracial kids who have grown up and look fondly on that time with their Mum (or Dad) as– okay, yes painful I won’t lie, the detangling can be an effort– but also a time that they looked forward to, when they had their Mum’s full attention and just knew it was part of their routine. (Giving them full access to screen time doesn’t hurt either).

If that doesn’t work for you, try finding a salon nearby that can braid your child’s hair. They’ll often be more skilled at it so the braids can be smaller and stay in longer. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just one that you feel comfortable in and that doesn’t charge an arm or a leg.

When is it Ideal to use Protective Styles?

A lot of naturally curly hair enthusiasts would advise to use protective styles a lot in the winter especially because of how dry the air can get. Saying that, if you live in an especially sunny climate and you expose your hair a lot, the damage from the sun can take its toll.

Take advantage of protective styles when going on holiday or when school is out and you don’t have the time, tools or routine to manage their hair properly. This is when I get creative. They appreciate not having to sit down every morning when they’re eager to get to the beach and so do I.

Top 10 Tips for Protective Styles:

  1. Always make sure your child’s hair is clean, deep-conditioned, and moisturised before styling. This will ensure the hair can actually go the distance last longer without breakage. How you prep your protective style is just as important as which style you choose.
  2. My favorite protective style is two strand twists! They’re gentle, easy, and quick to install.
  3. Leaving protective styles in too long can also perpetrate these crimes, ultimately, because of the lack of moisture.
  4. Never add too much product because it can actually cause product buildup. Keep it simple and use water and oil to maintain.
  5. Don’t overdo it and think you need to have an elaborate hairdo to keep it protected. All you really need is for the hair to be moisturised and oiled with the ends tucked away. A simple bun is a great style to choose.
  6. Keeping your child’s hair moisturised and their scalp clean during the protective style phase. Not just before and after.
  7. Make sure that the style you choose protects all of their hair—the ends included.
  8. Avoid going for hairstyles that put tension on the scalp and can cause more damage than it needs.
  9. Make protective styles part of your weekly routine. Make it intimate, put music or the tele on and allow your child to sit in between your knees and fall asleep if they want to.
  10. Allow your child to have their hair out once in a while. Spend the time when it’s something special and they want to showcase their curls. Loving their curls is just as important, if not more important, than protecting them.

The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Curly Biracial HairA Guide to Teach Your Girls to Love their Curly Hair

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My Biracial Hair Care Routine

My Biracial Daughters' Hair Care RoutineThere’s a lot written about biracial hair care and how to take care of it. But I find there’s nothing more real than seeing what curly biracial hair care routine the average Jo Mum does with her kid’s curly hair.

I have 3 mixed race daughters (mixed Iranian, Nigerian and English) and they all have different types of curls, length, texture and thickness.

biracial hair care routine

So we use a myriad of different products- some that change with the season, some that I use on one girls’ hair and not on the other, and some that are absolute staples in our house.

Here is a look at what we do as part of our daily mixed race biracial hair care routine.

My oldest daughter has the longest, perhaps loosest curls and her hair grows down as opposed to up. biracial hair care routine

biracial hair care routine

biracial hair care routine

Because her hair is made up of looser curls, I find I don’t need to apply thick gel or creme. I can get away with this Argan oil styling mousse which makes her hair both shiny and slippery to comb my fingers through. I do need to get her hair quite wet to be able to comb through though. And the thicker the hair, the more oil you’ll need to really penetrate all of the hair. My daughter’s curly hair care routine (for reference) takes me about 7-10 minutes to brush through and put into a protective style.

 


Biracial hair care routine
3b curls

Biracial hair care routine

This is my middle daughter. She has the shortest, most afro type biracial hair. Her hair grows in tight curls and gets dry the easiest. I usually wet it (a lot) before applying a generous amount of leave in conditioning cream.

I use a one or the other of these products to allow my fingers to comb through her hair easily. The wetness combined with the moisture from the products allows me to finger comb it easily but her hair is also quite fine so you may need to separate thicker hair into sections to get the same effect.

biracial hair care routine After this, I apply half a bottle cap amount of argan oil to give it shine and to keep it moisturised all day. **Note: always apply oil to wet hair or it won’t be absorbed into the hair. Her biracial hair care routine seems shorter somehow but still takes about 5-7 minutes.

 


My youngest daughter has a combination of both types of hair. It grows fast and down but it still has an afro-type texture in the front and in parts of the back.

Her biracial hair care requires a lot more moisturising as it’s also the thickest of all my daughters’ hair and gets the most tangled. I can’t usually finger comb through it after wetting it so I use a hair brush

(pictured above) with lots of Cantu conditioning creme.

Because she’s the youngest and has the thickest hair, I usually spend about 10-15 minutes on her curly hair care routine , combing through (without too much pain) and putting it into a protective style.

Here is the result after combing it through and moisturising it.

biracial hair care routine
The result

I will soon post about my weekly wash day biracial hair care routine as I know this can be a bit trickier. For insight, I generally use the Curly Ellie products as these are very gentle on the hair.

If you want to know where you can buy the best mixed kids hair products, hop on over to Best Online Shops to buy Curly Hair Products.

And don’t forget to download your curly hair do’s and don’ts for styling biracial hair and learning about mixed race hair products that will give you a few more tips and tricks you will swear by!

Raising Mixed Kids in a Colourism World

Best Online Shops to Buy Curly Biracial Hair Products
Antidote Street

Best curly baby hair products

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How To Teach Curly Girls to Love Curls

How to Teach Curly Girls to Love Curls

Like all Mums to biracial girls, I want my girls to love curls. Not just to accept it but to love it, own it, be confident about it. That starts with me, their Mum the first person who will touch and style their hair and show them how to care for it.

But how do I, their Mum, actually teach girls to love their curls when I have straight hair??

I started with language. Words such as ‘difficult’ and ‘time-consuming’, ‘thick’ and ‘course‘ no matter how innocent, all have an impact on how our daughters perceive their hair- and their own self. Because hair is representative of who they are as biracial or black women.

I wanted to know, from someone who’s been there, what it really means to teach girls to love curls.

So I spoke with Shannon Fitzsimmons best known as Instagrammer and Natural Hair Enthusiast UKCurlyGirl, recently about her experience.teach your girls to love curly hair

Shannon works with women from all walks of life who are making life-changing, sometimes complete philosophical changes from relaxed hair to embracing the wild curls that they were born with.

In many cases, these women have grown up ashamed of their curls, taught that straight hair is better- easier even. Wearing their hair natural was never a possibility.

Shannon’s work has attracted a huge following with almost 20k Instagram followers and a further 4k+ on Facebook.

Already with a book ‘Get My Curls Back!’ under her belt and a line of curly hair products, Osocurly, she’s a well-established name in the industry.

She makes a healthy living out of teaching girls to love curls. So with all this experience, I wanted to know what drew Shannon to this work and what we can do as Mums to biracial girls from a young age.

Shannon’s story began as a child growing up mixed to a Nigerian Dad and a Scottish Mum in London. Her school was mostly white and her Dad was largely absent from her upbringing.

She remembers the questions, ‘what are you?’ from her friends highlighting her difference, and she struggled to like her thick coarse hair. She wanted straight hair, like the other girls in her class. And athough her Mum was always positive about her curls, she knew her hair brought with it extra ‘complications’.

In High School, she experimented with colour and wanted desperately to relax her hair, wanting her curls to reflect the Beyonces and Christina Milians with more wavy curl patterns.

Whilst her Mum discouraged her, eventually Shannon did relax her hair, using the excuse that she was going off to Uni and it would be ‘difficult’ to find the right hair products outside of London.

Again, the word ‘difficult’ featured in her journey.

In 2014, her hair had become so damaged it hardly had any curl pattern at all. Upkeep was expensive and her hair was thinning.

She started the transition back to her curly all-natural hair. Though she’d never really bothered to learn how to take care of curly hair, she decided to cut off all the damaged bits and start again.

The change was significant. She felt more confidant, therefore and she noticed how her journey seemed to inspire many of her friends who saw not only the change in her hair but also in her. She was finally teaching herself self-love.

teach girls to love curly hairQuite early on, Shannon started posting about her progress. And whilst it started off as a hobby, it soon turned into a career. Shannon realised that her own experience was leading her to teach other women to love their curls. So her book, “Get My Curls Back” was a chance to show the world how we could do it too.

Her experience has propelled her to build a community of women who love their curly hair. Working with women who are often at the end of their hair journey in terms of already being grown up and through the most difficult stage of teenagedom, I wanted to know what advice Shannon could give us Mums of mixed kids to teach our daughters to love their curly hair from a young age.

For Mums raising mixed girls, she had this to say about how to teach girls to love curls:

  • Use all natural products in your children’s hair (no chemicals, no sulphites, no parabens).
  • Look at the back of each product for an ingredient list and if the first 3-5 ingredients don’t contain water, it’s probably not moisturising enough.
  • Show your daughters bloggers or you tube videos with similar hair types. Girls like them who are confidant and happy with their hair. Girls who have a hair routine and they have healthy curly moisturised hair because of it.
  • Make the experience of braiding and twisting a positive experience- a special occasion that they can look forward to every week.
  • Get dolls that feature their hair type. Curly, afro dolls are widely available now. Even curly styling heads so they can practice doing their own hair.
  • Mums, you should practice was well. Get onto youtube and watch videos on how to plait and cornrow. There’s really no excuse anymore.
  • By about 11 years old- sometimes later depending on the child- your child may be ready to start doing their own hair. Let them experiment and watch video tutorials  then let them go for it! It’s empowering and important in their own hair and identity journey.
  • Never let your daughters think their hair is ‘difficult’, thick or ‘complicated’. That means showing them women who are happy and confidant and who go through the same styling process as them.

What Next?

I don’t want my daughters to get to adulthood and decide it’s easier to straighten it. I don’t want them to think their hair is ‘difficult’ or ‘wild’ or ’embarassing’. Because it’s so easy to get caught up in that talk when it comes to embarking on what can often feel like a huge learning curve.

teach girls to love curly hair
Women showcasing their curly hair journey at one of UKcurlygirl’s curly events.

Coming from a woman who’s lived it and who teaches fully grown women to repair the damage a lifetime of shame and fear has ingrown, this is stuff we can listen to.

Shannon offers curly haired women 1 to 1’s- a consultation with Shannon offering personalised hair advice and product recommendations. She also offers regular brunches throughout the UK for her followers to discuss hair, transitioning tips, hair struggles and routines.

If you’d like to get in touch with Shannon or want to know more about how to teach girls to love curls, follow her on Instagram @ukcurlygirl or visit her website at Ukcurlygirl.com


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Best Online Shops To Buy Your Curly Biracial Hair Care Products

Your first job in styling your little curlies is finding the right biracial hair care products. Once you’ve done that, you need to know where you can buy them!

And although mainstream outlets such as Boots and Amazon are starting to stock more products, it’s always nice to know there are independent retailers dedicated exclusively to your curly hair needs. That’s why we’ve brought you a complete list of UK curly hair retailers committed to finding you the perfect biracial hair care products.

Best Online Retailers to Buy Curly Mixed Race Hair Products

Mixed Kids Hair Care

Biracial hair products
Mixed Kids Hair Care

Offering a selection of natural and organic products quality biracial hair care products, this shop stocks all the big brands that cater for little curlies. Each of their biracial hair care products comes with a complete list of all ingredients so you can be sure that each one is vetted before it’s added to the Mixed Kids inventory.

CurlyEllie

Biracial hair products
Curly Ellie

Boasting multiple awards and a pure natural ingredient list, Curly Ellie is perhaps my favourite curly biracial hair care products line for kids. An independent shop that was started by a UK parent herself, her products sell in most Whole Food shops as well as online. With just five products including leave in, shampoo, conditioner, intensive mask and detangler, it’s all you’ll need to style your childs’ curly biracial hair care products needs. And the best part is you’re supporting a fellow mixed race parent. Find a review of Curly Ellie products here or get your discount by for Curly Ellie by clicking here.

British Curlies 

Curly Biracial Hair products
British Curlies

Perhaps the most comprehensive online shop for buying curly biracial hair care products, this site is both easy to navigate and reasonably priced. They usually have sales on (including the above in the photo at time of writing). You can shop by price point, kids products, brand, travel size, vegan hair products, skin care and accessories. They carry most well known brands and even show a list of ingredients in each product. As a bonus, they even sell kids curly books and dolls!

Only Curls London

curly biracial hair products
Only Curls London

Although this shop also sells its own line of biracial hair care products, the site is probably best for buying your entire list of biracial hair care products accessories. From silk pillow cases to combs, silk scrunchies and towels, you’re bound to find what you need here. Don’t forget to purchase your “Curly Girl” badge which your curly kids will love!

My Hair and Beauty

Best Online Shops to Buy Curly Biracial Hair Products
My Hair and Beauty

They’ve got products for hair care, skin care, men’s grooming products, makeup, fragrances and more. They’re the online version of Europe’s largest black hair shop Pak (in Finsbury Park). Selling most well known brands of black or curly biracial hair care products, you’re likely to find what you need here. Sometimes I find it hard to navigate the site but it does allow you to search by brand or by popular product.

Mixed Streets

Best Online Shops to Buy Curly Biracial Hair Products
Mixed Streets

These guys are a small shop with an inventory that includes skin care, hair care, toys and books chosen exclusively for mixed kids. I love that there is a specialised shop devoted to serving multiracial families. Their hair care lines include Mixed Chicks, Curly Q, It’s a Curl and Shea Moisture- all the big names in curly biracial hair care products- and you can even pick out a book or two.

Antidote Street

Best Online Shops to Buy Curly Biracial Hair Products
Antidote Street

Perhaps for the more grown up curlies, (there isn’t a function to search by kids’ care products), this shop sells a lot of the all-natural brands plus many more high end salon products. With video tutorials and blog posts to help your styling needs, this shop is great to buy your go-to product that you can’t afford to be without. Free shipping over £30 and kits put together to meet all your styling needs are added bonuses to shopping online here.

My Curls UK

Best Online Shops to Buy Curly Biracial Hair Products
My Curls UK

I’d never heard of this brand before I started researching but in the interest of representing all things local, I thought what better brand than hair care products exclusively for UK curls. Although they sell their own brand, the prices are all in pounds and you can even bag yourself a whole detangling set for under £100.

Afrocenchix

Best Online Shops to Buy Curly Biracial Hair products
Afrocenchix

If you care about what goes in your hair and want to support a Black British business this is the one. Afrocenchix was started by two British women who were on the natural hair journey and who were concerned about the chemicals they were putting in their hair. Watch their video to find out just how sustainable, fair trade and all natural their biracial hair care products are. With video tutorials, style ideas and a blog, they’re definitely my go-to for Afro hair.

To find your curly hair salon, click here for a complete list…

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London’s Curly Hair Salon Reviews: Curly Hair London

Curly Hair London Review

With over 20 years experience and a booked schedule that extends two months into the future, Stephanie Nik is truly sought after.

“There’s definitely been more awareness from curly haired women that their hair has different needs and demand has been going up from there”.

We arrived at our appointment (all three of my girls hadn’t had a trim in years) just off Tottenham Court Road on Denmark St right on time. Stephanie rents a space in an existing salon and beckoned us over to the chair at the back.

A quick assessment of their hair types and Stephanie was eager to get the first one into the chair. Immediately she gave me some useful tips showing me just how- even within one head of hair- there can be three different curl types.

A dry cut later, she then proceeded to separate the hair into sections , soaking each section and generously applying leave-in conditioner to each. Her key tips:

  1. ALWAYS do your styling process with soaking wet hair. The moment your curls emerge from the shower, they begin the drying process. This means the hydrogen curl bonds (she took her time to explain this in full) will start to form and unless you apply the conditioner and detangle when it’s soaking wet, the hair won’t be able to absorb any product. I realised I had been doing this completely wrong- applying conditioner when it was already half dry.
  2. NEVER use a towel to dry curly hair. Use your shower room to apply conditioner and detangle, THEN you can use a cotton towel or microfibre towel to gently squeeze and hold the hair.
  3. Or, better yet, air dry.
  4.  Oils do NOT moisturise. If hair is especially dry, apply more conditioner and work it in to make sure it absorbs.
  5. Hair clips are much better for curly hair. Try to use these over hair bands to reduce breakage.

    Curly Hair London Review
    Recommended hair clips

Curly hair routine:

On wash day, wash, then apply leave in conditioner to detangled soaking wet hair. Leave to air dry and clip into a pineapple (if long enough) or a silk scarf overnight.

Day 2, 3 & 4, the hair shouldn’t need too much styling as the curl bonds should remain intact. Wet and apply gel or styling product as necessary.

Wash once a week and repeat.

Our experience at Curly Hair London was fantastic. Stephanie took her time to explain how to care for their hair and how each of their hair is different. Her style is ‘all natural’. She’s not into gregarious straightening or colours and rarely does anything with chemicals. She studied under Lorraine Massey, famous for starting the conversation on curly hair care and who is known as the Queen of curly hair dressing.

If you’d like an appointment to see Stephanie, her schedule is booking up fast. But stay tuned as she will be offering curly hair workshops for Mums with curly kids very soon.

Curly Hair London Review
Finished product

For more tips and advice for caring for biracial or curly hair, visit Help! How to do curly mixed race hair…

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