Tag Archives: mixed kids

My Biracial Hair Care Routine

There’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
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Best curly baby hair products

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Best Mixed Race Curly Baby Hair Products

If there is one thing I get asked about constantly from parents with curly kids, it’s where to buy curly baby hair products and which ones are gentle for babies and toddlers.

Increasingly, parents like us are looking for products which are all- natural, no parabens, no sulphates and no-poo. (Find out why ‘no parabens’ and ‘no sulphates’ is even important in hair products).

As we become more educated about the dangers of these poisons, we want to know exactly what is going into our curly baby hair products and what is going on their skin.

And yet, the difference between curly hair that’s moisturised, healthy and protected is big. We need to know the products that we spend money on, work. Products that moisturise, control frizz, keep our kids’ curls healthy and prevent product build up. An impossible request list? Not anymore.

biracial baby curly hair products
Before styling
biracial baby curly hair products
After styling and moisturising

More and more curly baby hair products are boasting all natural ingredients, giving parents an important choice. They’re also specialising in toddler and baby hair, containing gentle cleansers that are easy on the eyes and skin.

Here we’re bringing you an up-to-date list of the curly world’s most popular and effective curly baby hair products for babies and toddlers.  So you too can make an informed choice*.

Curly Baby Hair Products: Curly Q‘s

biracial baby curly hair products
Curly Q’s

My favourite product from Curly Q’s is their Curl moisturiser /detangler. Every morning, a few sprays of this into wet hair and it was like the comb slid right through. Their products also smell great as well as being super moisturising. Boasting a long list of certified all natural ingredients (no sulphates, paragons, petroleum or silicones), this line is perfect for your curly kids.

Curly Baby Hair Products: Mixed Chicks

biracial baby curly hair products
Mixed Chicks

Mixed Chicks has nearly cornered the mixed race hair market just by virtue of their name. I use their shampoo and conditioner and both are great. They aren’t paraben free but they’re free from sulphates and don’t contain any dyes or perfumes or silicone. I’ve found their products reasonably priced and easily available as a selection of their products are sold in most Boots and Superdrug pharmacies nowadays.

Curly Baby Hair Products: Shea Moisture Kids

biracial baby curly hair products
Shea Moisture

I love their detangler. “This hair care product is nothing short of a magic potion that will bring bounce and life back in your child’s hair!
An absolute must have hair moisturizer from SheaMoisture, this nourishing detangler contains certified organic Shea Butter, which is essential in keeping hair frizz-free and soft as silk. Slippery Elm Extract makes hair smooth to touch while Coconut Oil hydrates, and helps in defining curls. It also contains Hibiscus Flower Extracts to add lustre and volume to hair, giving those kiddie curls extra bounce!

SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Kids Extra Moisturizing Detangler protects and moisturizes hair from roots to ends. Its natural ingredients make it completely safe for use by children of all age groups. Apply sparingly on wet or dry hair and watch as this product weaves its magic to transform your child’s wavy, curly hair to beautiful, frizz-free, glossy curls!We leave out these harmful ingredients: No Parabens, No Phthalates, No Mineral Oil, No DEA, No Petroleum, No Formaldehyde, No Propylene.” Good ethics. Good product. Nice prices. You can’t go wrong with Shea Moisture.

Curly Baby Hair Products: Curly Ellie

biracial baby curly hair products
Curly Ellie

Why Curly Ellie came to be. “We need to look after our bodies, inside and outside and if it means using shampoos that sound like you are ordering a meal from the local health food restaurant… who can say no!Remember the phrase ”you are what you eat”?  I am a believer.

Ellie struggled with allergies for the first 3 years of her life. Seeing my little girl unable to eat the birthday cake at friends’ parties, having a specially prepared packed lunch when everyone else was gorging on sandwiches was testing, but we survived. This makes me even more conscious of what went in her mouth and went on her body.”

We use NO parabens, sulfates, SLS, synthetic fragrances or mineral oils in any of our products. We are vegan, gluten free and great on sensitive scalp so we can be used from early years when the scalp and skin is most delicate. The shampoo, two conditioners and detangling spray contain natural ingredients such as hair shaft-toughening quinoa and broccoli for added shine. This is in addition to the cleansing and moisturising qualities of aloe vera, abyssinian oil, shea butter and sweet almond oil.” It doesn’t get more all-natural than this. ”

**** We are currently running a promotion with Curly Ellie. Sign up to receive our newsletter on the right hand menu and you will receive your exclusive discount code for Curly Ellie products. 

Curly Baby Hair Products: It’s a Curl!

biracial baby curly hair products
It’s a Curl!

“When you start to see little curls begin to form at a very young age, you know you are in for a treat.  There is no need to wait on these curls to fully take shape before caring for them because curly hair has different needs.  No matter what age, curly hair tends to be dry and unruly, and sometimes hard to manage.  With time, when you take care of your curly hair, none of these common traits will take over you.

Start your baby off on the right foot by using a product line of curly baby hair products specifically formulated to their unique hair type. Created by the curly hair product company CURLS, It’s a Curl, is the premier baby care line of products for curly hair. Your infants and toddlers are in great hands!  

You can feel super comfortable using this product line for each step of the hair care process, starting with the shampoo.  “Peek-A-Boo Tearless Shampoo” is gentle enough, even for sensitive skin and scalp. Its powerful ingredients include Calendula Extract, a cooling yet gentle antiseptic and Allantion, a botanical extract from the Comfrey plant that treats irritants of the scalp.”

Curly Baby Hair Products: CurlyKids

biracial baby curly hair products
Curly Kids Hair Care

“CurlyKids Hair Care products have been specially developed for children with curly hair and all of the wonderful textures that make up this incredibly diverse hair type. From hair that is curly-kinky, curly-coily, curly-wavy, curly-frizzy, or a combination of textures, our products satisfy the specific conditioning, moisturizing, and detangling needs that all of these textures share, without being sticky, tacky, or greasy. CurlyKids products are always sulfate and paraben free and contain the most effective ingredients to address the specific hair care needs of all our CurlyKids Cuties!”

Curly Baby Hair Products: Ouidad

biracial baby curly hair products
Ouidad

“Tough on tangles but gentle on delicate curls, with fun fragrances that will make you wish you were 10 again. Gently loosens even the most difficult tangles. Leaves curls soft, frizz-free, and manageable. Leave-in/rinse-out formula makes caring for kids’ curls fuss-free”. Their products have great reviews for being gentle and effective (even boast multiple awards from Naturally Curly) but I couldn’t find anything about whether they are sulphate free so just how ‘natural’ they are.

Curly Baby Hair Products: Cantu for kids

biracial baby curly hair products
Cantu for Kids

Perhaps the most accessible, reasonably priced curly hair product out there, you will find Cantu at most drug stores or pharmacies. And at £2-5 a bottle, it’s super reasonable. And with no sulphates, parabens or minerals, they’re my go-to product line when I need something that can do the job without the frills. That’s what Cantu does. It is a great product line and their curling cream and leave-in conditioner have both easily become my favourites in the contest for best curly baby hair products.

Curly Baby Hair Products: Aunt Jackie’s Girls Heads Up

biracial baby curly hair products
Aunt Jackie’s Curls and Coils

More popular with our neighbours across the pond, I’ve not had much experience with Aunt Jackie’s but I know lots of people who use their products and swear by them. Sulphate free, no parabens, no silicones and no petroleum, their Curling & Twisting Custard is a moisture rich anti-frizz formula that helps curls, twists and waves stay springy and smooth while elongating and providing lasting definition. “Natural curls, coils & twists spring to life with Aunt Jackie’s special “anti-frizz” formula. The Anti-frizz formula helps curls, waves & twists stay well-defined & springy, elongates and fives curls long-lasting definition, helps leave hair feeling super soft to the touch with no sticky, crunchy feel!”

So there you have it. A complete list of the best toddler-friendly and baby curly hair products. Do get in touch if you can use another product and think it deserves to be on this list!

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Help! How to do Mixed Race Curly HairMy Mixed Race Curly Hair Routine

If you want to know where to buy your curly hair products, click on over to Best Online Shops to Buy Your Curly Mixed Race Hair Products

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*Reviews are based on my own experience with my three curly girls, research into Amazon’s most popular products as well as curly specialist’s advice and recommendations.

**Disclaimer: Some of these curly baby hair products contain affiliate links. This means that if you click and buy from that retailer, Mixed.Up.Mama gets a cut. It helps us run the site and keep it going.

Mixed Race Book Review: I Don’t Want Curly Hair!

Mixed Race Book Review I Don’t Want Curly Hair

With such lovely illustrations, it doesn’t get more easily relatable than Laura Ellen Anderson’s book, “I Don’t Want Curly Hair”.

For my middle daughter who is going through her own love-hate relationship with her coily locks, this has been an especially poignant book.

Written in delightful rhyme, a girl with curly red locks describes how she is exhausted with her curly hair, how she can never tame it, and spends hours and hours brushing, pulling and stretching it.

She happens upon another little girl with straight black hair in her journey and whose woe is the fact that her hair is “boring and straight and why won’t it curl?!”

“OH?!”, says the curly girl. How could she, with straight, smooth hair want curly hair??

The two girls laugh at how silly they’ve been realising that both their hair is special and that both can do amazing things with their hair.

After multiple readings, my daughter now knows enough of the words to read it her own way, getting into character, “I DON’T LIKE MY CURLY HAIR!! It’s MESSY AND SILLY AND JUST PLAIN UNFAIR!”

She loves the ways the girl tries desperately to straighten her hair, even managing to wet it completely so that it turns straight (a secret most curly girls are delighted about).

With delightful humour throughout, it’s a great book for getting the conversation going about loving the skin we’re in and showing our curly girls that they should love their hair no matter what.

For more mixed race book reviews, click here

book review i don't want curly hair

Tips for parents thinking about Child Modelling

Thinking about child modelling?

Did you know the most googled parenting topic is child modelling? That means every other mother and father next to you also secretly thinks their kid is the cutest kid out there and needs to be seen.

With mixed kids, the look is unique and online retailers are increasingly realising their advertising should reflect the world their customers live in. Children and babies litter online and retail advertising.  So inevitably, child models of colour have been included in their search.

I have been meaning to write this post for a while to shed some light on these elusive but highly sought-after opportunities that many parents might hope (secretly or otherwise) their kids could land.

I say secretly, because there are many dilemmas that parents will go through thinking about child modeling and its impact on their kids, what it means in our society and what we are teaching them by suggesting that looks matter. On the other hand, it can offer opportunities for children to save towards their futures and it can be (not always though) a glamorous, enjoyable scene for children. As long as it’s genuinely the child who wants to do it.

Many children, my oldest included, enjoy being in the spotlight. They love being filmed, photographed and performing and even love trying on different clothing. I never engendered that into my dd1, it’s just the way she is. And so, it may not seem far-fetched to try your luck and see if child modeling is for them.

Of course, it’s not always so glamorous for parents. It takes time getting to and from castings and making sure there is childcare for siblings- often at the last minute. Although agencies and clients will try to schedule these out of school hours, it can still be a big commitment to travel across the city with only a day’s notice straight from school.

It’s not just cherubic looks that can score your darlings a paid gig, companies will have set criteria for what they are looking for- ranging in age range, different races, ginger hair, blonde hair, black hair or curly hair, the list goes on. If your little one is not what they are looking for, no matter how cute they are, they are not going to be called back.

So auditions or castings, as they call it, can be disappointing. Agencies will call you and say a particular company is interested. You need to show up, take a few photos and it may turn out that your child is not what they are looking for. You don’t get compensation for those hours of travelling to and from different auditions.

So what about the money? Earnings for babies and tots begins at about £50 an hour (or £300 per day) and rises with age to about £70 an hour for a 16-year-old. Money must be put into an account in the child’s name or in a trust fund for the child so forget about that dream home. Laws ensure the money is for the child. It can be a perfect opportunity to teach your child about the value of money and that earning can be fun.

Knowing that child modeling is not as easy as it may appear, you should also know it’s not always as glamorous either. Child models also need the right temperament to cope with the camera. A friend of mine recently told me about her experience on the client side working for a PR agency that had requested child models for their advertising. The shoot was going well but, inevitably, a 4-year-old girl began to fuss about wearing glasses. Although photographers, agency reps and the girl in question were all familiar with and understanding of the challenges that go along with working with children, at the end of the day, the job needs to get done. Luckily, the child’s parent stepped in and declared she’d had enough. This parent knew that the priority for her was that her daughter continued to enjoy it. As soon as it became a chore, she called it quits.

And that’s the most important thing to remember. If your child loves performing and has a cute face to go with it, being in front of the camera for a couple of hours may be something you’d like to try out. Just make sure it’s for them, not you.

For more parenting tips and shares, read on about Teaching Our Children to Manage Their Emotions. 

 

 

Curly Hair Biracial Boys Haircuts & Styles

Mixed.Up.Mama recently featured easy hairstyles for curly mixed race girls but didn’t dare leave out the boys! There’s not as much readily available featuring ideas for curly hair biracial boys haircuts to inspire new and creative hairstyles . So we thought we’d do a bit of research hoping to inspire you.

We found fades, cornrows, afros, top knots, shaves and more. Curly hair doesn’t have to (and can’t be just be) just left to air dry and go. (Read more about styling curly hair). It needs moisturising, finger combing and definition. It is a new era for curly biracial boys haircuts  so don’t let those boys & toddlers go out without a cool hairstyle! Get some inspiration from the below and send us your favourite curly biracial boy hairstyles for your mixed kids. Get styling!

For more where this came from, visit the Mixed.Up.Mama pinterest page featuring more curly biracial boy haircuts & styles.


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Help! How to do Mixed Race Curly HairMy Mixed Race Curly Hair RoutineBest curly baby hair products

Seven Reasons Why I Love My Mixed Race Family

Why I Love My Mixed Race Family

When I started this blog, I was surprised at how much there is to learn and write about the mixed race experience. I’m excited but also encouraged that more and more people are waking up to the idea that mixed does not mean half-caste, or confused or some or all of nothing. Although there are the struggles that mixed race people feel when out in the world battling to ‘fit in’ and identify themselves in the carefully chosen boxes that exist, there’s so much more that our mixed race kids will experience and can explore because of their multiple heritages. Here are a few of my favourites:

1st Benefit of Being in a Mixed Race Family: Exotic and Amazing Holidays (with the excuse of going to visit family)

Like any family, after we had kids it became that much more important for us that we have our families (parents, brothers, sisters, cousins) close by. We want our children to not only know their extended families but also to know where they are from, where their parents grew up, their family histories. The fact that our families live on different continents makes for some amazing holidays and a cultural experience that we may not have anywhere else- the food, the celebrations, dare I say it- the fuss made over us- all make it better than any other holiday abroad.

2nd Advantage of Being in a Mixed Race Family: The Ability to Blend In

With exposure to so many different cultural norms, our kids can easily blend in anywhere. I think they get, on a gut level, that different families, countries and cultures have different sets of greetings, languages, food and celebrations. They get it because they’ve been exposed-as part of their mixed race family- to it from such a young age. They know that when they see their Nigerian grandparents they should kneel to greet, when they see their Bababozorg (on their Iranian side), the adults greet with three kisses on the cheek and their English Grandma will give them a hug. They’ll know about respect for elders, removing shoes, different types of food and ways of behaving.

For them, it’s normal to look for the signs and follow their parent’s lead. This should get them far in life when they’re visiting new countries. They’ll expect that different cultures will do things differently and, who knows, with their myriad of cultures, they may even be familiar with some cultural practices that span different countries.

3rd amazing reason why being in a mixed race family is THE BEST: The best of both worlds

This is perhaps one of the best things I love about our mixed race family. As we’ve travelled more and lived and experienced the benefits of so many different cultures, countries, climates, and histories, I’ve realised that when people ask the question, where do you prefer to live the most? I’m stuck. I love the mountains and outdoors of Canada, the beauty and history of England, the richness and intensity of Nigeria, and the proud culture of Iran. My girls can proudly lay claim to all of these and call each one of them home.

Raising Kids in a Mixed Race Family brings with it: Open minds= Tolerance

With so much exposure to difference and sometimes conflicting ways of getting to the same end, it’s no wonder that people say that being mixed lends itself to careers in diplomacy, politics and foreign relations. Being mixed brings with it an inherent sense of tolerance and an open mind to ‘others’ because of who they are. Even where cultures and countries are at war, children born of an interracial relationship can be the healing and tolerance families and countries need.

Perhaps the best part of being in a mixed race family? Multiple festivals/ holidays and celebrations

With multiple excuses to celebrate and feast, this is by far the greatest advantage of a mixed race family. From an entirely greedy and fun-loving perspective, we get twice the number of festivals and celebrations as anyone else! For my family, we go from Nowruz (Persian New Year) to Easter in one week! If you’re Chinese, you get to celebrate Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year so close together you might as well permanently eat chocolate! With so many festivals and celebrations bringing together family, friends, food and often music, your kids will get to experience the richness and diversity of multiple cultures. And that’s never a bad thing.

Sixth Benefit of being in a Mixed Race Family: An Inherent Globalised World View

My family’s everyday is splattered with jokes and comments that are indicative of a family coming from multiple cultures. When there’s a power outage in Canada, my daughter is asking, “Did Nepa take light?” (Nigerian’s way of describing the frequent electricity failures that plague the country). When winter comes in England, my daughters want to know if they can go shovel the snow like we do in Canada. And when we have rice, the girls want to know if they can have the biggest piece of tahdig (Iranian crunchy bit at the bottom). People we meet and their behaviour they see are always accompanied by questions about where they’re from- near Nigeria? Close to Canada? Or “look Mum, they’re speaking farsi!”

And finally, last but not least: A mixed race family is unique (we stand out but that’s a good thing!)

Whether you believe in all the hype about mixed race kids being especially cute is irrelevant because one thing that you can’t argue is the look is interesting. Pictures of brown skinned kids with blonde curls are interesting because they break the mold of what we’re used to seeing. Blue eyed black girls or Asian boys with a mixture of black and Asian features stand out. Apart from the look, I met some Asian mixed kids speaking fluent farsi with their Persian father coming home from school. It made me do a double take but it made me proud as well that mixed families come in all shapes and cultures and from everywhere. That it’s not just races that blend but cultures, languages, heritages and histories. What a world we will live in in 20 years time if this continues!

As featured in the Huffington Post….

Why I Love My Mixed Race Family
10 Things Every Parent Should Do When Raising Mixed Heritage Kids

10 Things to Consider Before Having Mixed Kids

Is Interracial Marriage Unfair for our Children?

Is interracial marriage unfair for the children?

Appearing on the radio last week to talk about mixed race issues, I realised the most topical question people wanted to discuss is actually the intersection of culture in an interracial marriage. (And just to clarify, being mixed race and multicultural do not necessarily go hand in hand).

In my case, they do. My husband is from Nigeria. I am half-English, half Iranian and I grew up in Canada. So cultural differences play a big part. As does race.

Jenny, the host of BBC’s Women’s Hour host last week asked a number of questions about how my husband and I work out cultural clashes in our interracial marriage and how our multiple backgrounds may cause confusion in our children.

A minority of internet trolls caught onto this and criticised our choice to ‘interbreed’ as they put it and put our children unhelpfully into a perpetual state of confusion.

It made me think. Is this true? While I didn’t want to give any troll the value of my consideration, I did wonder:

Are we doing a disservice to our children by marrying outside of our culture or race? 

Indeed, there were definitely times growing up where I was confused being half Persian and half English. The question, “where are you from?” often caught me off guard. And other times where, appearing at an Iranian gathering, I longed to speak the language better, to ‘look’ more Persian and to legitimately say, yes I am Iranian. But I always felt unsure or not ‘legit’ enough- whatever that meant.

On the other hand, laying claim to solely my Canadian identity also felt an uneasy relationship, as if I was ignoring the parts of me that were Iranian and mixed and which I knew made me ‘different’ somehow.

How is it Different Today than When We Were Growing Up?

Today being mixed represents a plethora of experiences. When Tiger Woods spoke out in the late 90’s calling himself “Cablinasian”, the world took notice. Referring to his “mix of half Asian (Chinese and Thai), one-quarter African American, one-eighth Native American and one-eighth Dutch, he’d adopted the term as a way of honouring his mother Kultida (of Thai, Chinese and Dutch ancestry) as well as respecting all aspects of his cultural and racial heritage.”

Since then, dozens of celebrities have spoken out about their experiences being mixed including actress Meghan Markle, recently featured in ElleUk talking about her identity as a biracial woman and currently dating Prince Harry. Although her mixed race background has, even in this day and age, caused ripples in the aristocratic ‘white’ circles that define the British class system, it’s not made enough headlines to deter Prince Harry from his new romance.

Today, being mixed race or multicultural represents so much more than it did back in my day. Back in the 80’s, people didn’t talk about being mixed. You were either black or white, Canadian or ‘other’. Today, while being mixed can also still be confusing, it also means one person’s own experience can embody the essence of globalisation- diversity, diplomacy, multiculturalism, immigration, tolerance and equity.

My husband and I teach our children about all of their experiences, backgrounds and histories. We celebrate a multitude of festivals- including ones that are not our own- and practice traditions that draw from the best of our childhoods. It means our children are confident about who they are and where they come from. When they perform a traditional greeting for their grandparents just before tucking into Iranian rice and stew, I know we’ve done ok. They are not ‘confused’ but instead proud that they can call many different countries ‘home’.

We’ve Come a Long Way from the Old School Way of Thinking

So, ‘interbreeding’- as my friends the internet trolls accused my husband and I- yes, admittedly may not be as easy as marrying the next Dick who grew up next door. But today it represents so much more. We’ve come a long way from the old school thinking on interracial marriage that one must marry within their race. Experience and exposure has done a lot to help that along. Sure, there are challenges but I’m happy in the knowledge that my children are not confused, but ‘enriched’.

Have we done them a disservice? No, rather I would think they will grow up confident and openminded.  And perhaps by the time they do, this question will not even be worth considering.

10 Things to Consider Before Having Children in an Interracial Relationship10 Things Every Parent Should Do When Raising Mixed Race KidsHow to Talk to Mixed Heritage Kids about Racism7 Reasons Why I love My Mixed Race Family

Curl Politics: How to Teach Your Mixed Kids to Love Their Biracial Curly Hair

“My Biracial Curly Hair is Different”

I have three girls. Three types of biracial curly hair. My oldest has long flowing curls that is admired and replicated in some of the most beautiful of mixed girl celebs such as Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones) or Thandie Newton.

My youngest has wild, looser curls that have already passed her shoulders. Her hair will pass as ethnically ambiguous allowing her to pass as Indian, Latino, Middle Eastern or even Mediterranean.

My middle daughter has amazingly thick, short curly auburn hair. Her curls are tight and when it grows, it grows up and out. And although hers is unique because it is light in colour, her 4-year-old self is already becoming aware that somehow her curls are ‘different’.

I was always aware of the straight hair girl envy but within the confines of the curly hair spectrum I thought it was all the same.

I was wrong. Each morning now my middle daughter insists that I brush her hair straight and braid it, so it touches her shoulders, like DD1 (darling daughter 1). When I oblige, she is frustrated at the outcome which is still afro-like- pulling at her hair in all directions, unable to articulate her feelings of frustration.

Biracial Curly Hair is different…

It’s only recently that she’s become more ‘aware’ of her biracial curly hair, comparing frantically with her sister to have the same hair dos and frustrated that hers don’t turn out the same.

I have to admit, the ‘politics’ that has engulfed my home over hair has surprised me. Perhaps I was naive, raising three girls, looks are bound to be important. But it’s taken hold of my 6-year-old and now 4-year-old with a vengeance.

I’m done emphasising how beautiful my DD1’s biracial curly hair is. She understands it now as it’s constantly reiterated by her cousins, her aunties and even women in the street who stop and comment on how beautiful her hair is. She’s grown to love her curls- perhaps because her biracial curly hair is longer, perhaps because of all the outside admiration or maybe just because she’s grown up.

But my middle daughter sees and hears all the comments intended for DD1 with long, loose curls. Just the other day, I met two mums in the playground whom I knew from school. All of my daughters had their hair out that day and both ladies commented. “Oh I never knew DD2’s hair was so … different. Hers is definitely more Afro-like.” That, in itself is not bad but always, I feel these comments are loaded with meaning.

What can you do?

My struggle has been to acknowledge that her hair is thicker, it is more Afro-like and, it’s beautiful.  Each day, when we have battles over her biracial curly hair as she pulls at it and screams in despair, I try to surprise my little one with new hairstyles, showing her the uniqueness and variety her 4a curls can offer. Puffballs, braids, cornrows are among some of these and helpfully, she’s usually happy with the outcome.

My partner and I both agree that straightening their hair is always on the table. So if they ask, we say they can- but why? And because it’s never a ‘no’, the realisation that actually, they could have straight hair anytime, is liberating.

 Representation Matters… Seeing Reflections of themselves can be Magical

Just the other day, I was amazed after showing my girls a Youtube video of a natural curly hair vlogger sharing some hair tips. I could see the positive impact it had in showing my girls that their hair is beautiful.

It dawned on me the potential impact seeing women and girls like them can have in reinforcing a positive healthy self image. I don’t look like my daughters in many ways. I’ve got straight hair and light olive skin tone. So I realise it can seem empty when someone who has the very hair they’re tempted by is saying they should love their curly biracial hair.

Truthfully, though what has had the most impact is a book called, Penny and the Magic Puffballs by Alonda Williams whose experience wearing her hair up in puffballs gave her magical powers. For DD2, because her sisters can’t wear their hair up in these puffballs, it offers her something unique and special that’s just hers— putting a positive spin on the fact that her biracial curly hair is different.

Books can be magical in so many ways but particularly in reflecting the image or experience of a child when it comes to hair or appearance. The list below is not exhaustive but it’s a start to getting your biracial curly kids on the right track to embracing their curls. From children who just plain don’t want biracial curly hair to others who are embarrassed to leave it natural and still others who wondered why it was so… different. 

I now go out of my way to point out women and girls in the street who may be sporting curls like theirs. London is a great city to find such diversity. They look, take it in and can see that those women are comfortable in the skin they’re in.

These books have been liberating for my biracial curly hair girls. I would encourage you to grab yourself a few to have handy when your kids need reassurance that different is good.

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Biracial curly Hair

“ARE THEY ALL YOURS?”: THE QUESTIONS ASKED OF PARENTS OF MULTIRACIAL CHILDREN

“Are they all yours?”: Raising Multiracial Children

After realising her staring was bordering on uncomfortable, the stranger sitting at the bus stop beside us smiled and asked, “Are they all yours?”

Out of insecurity I answered quickly, without hesitation. “Yes!, they’re all mine.” I often feel the stares and see the eyes that (sometimes openly) question whether me and my multiracial children are related.

I can’t say it doesn’t bother me. It makes me insecure. Particularly because I’ve been asked it 4 times in one week. I wonder, do parents of non- multiracial children get asked this? What makes this woman doubt our relationship?

Do you not notice the fact that two of them are climbing all over me; the fact that we all have similar features if you take away the skin colour; or simply the fact that they call me Mama?!!

My patience and understanding of this question has started to wear thin as I’ve tried not to react to it and give those asking the benefit of the doubt. I get the curiosity, I get that perhaps it’s just because they’re a cute bunch of kids and people like to make conversation.

But while my children are oblivious to it now, there will come a time when they will start asking me, ‘why does everyone ask whether we are yours? Aren’t we??’

Whether they are my biological multiracial children or not, (and they are, nobody can take that away from me- the nine months of carrying each one and the 1 year of feeding, changing and growing a newborn baby, plus the next 2, 4 and 6 years of cuddling, soothing, protecting and playing with my child).

That one question, loaded with ignorance is tremendously powerful in its power to reduce our relationship to carer/ nanny or whatever else is implied.

Other not-so-funny things said to us about our multiracial children have been presented in the form of curiosity but can come over as so so rude.

“Oh wow, but she’s so light, maybe she’ll get darker with age”

“She’s quite dark. Your husband must be very dark-skinned”

“Your kids are so cute. I want to have mixed babies one day”

“Your kids don’t look anything like you.”

“Your girls have such lovely curly hair. Not thick and coarse like their Dad’s”

“Are they all yours?” Yes. “Oh, are they adopted?” Yes, seriously that happened.

I wonder, why, in this day and age, people feel that it’s ok to ask this question or, even worse, that they assume based solely on the fact that a family has different skin colour? There are so many diverse mixed race families out there. Likewise many new shows, books and programmes depicting diverse families, I wonder how people can be presumptuous about what is ‘normal’.

It bothers me because it’s about me and my mixed family. The relationships I hold dearest to my soul. I know I’ll need to have some conversations with my daughters about why and how people might ask this. And I’ll need to rehearse my own response because my patience is wearing thin. When the world stops asking the questions,  I’ll stop writing about it.

For more from Mixed.Up.Mama, read Is Interracial Marriage Unfair for Our Children?

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