There’s a lot written about curly hair care and how to take care of it. But I find there’s nothing more real than seeing what 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.
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 curly hair care routine.
My oldest daughter has the longest, perhaps loosest curls and her hair grows down as opposed to up.
Because her hair is 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.
This is my middle daughter.She has the shortest, most afro type 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.
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.
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 hair 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.
So there you have it. Here is the result after combing it through and moisturising it.
I will soon post about my wash day 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.
Like all Mums to biracial girls, I want my girls to love their curly hair. 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.
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. So I spoke with Shannon Fitzsimmons best known as Instagrammer and Natural Hair Enthusiast UKCurlyGirl, recently about her experience.
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.
So with all this experience showing women how they could embrace their curly hair, 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, 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 teaching herself self-love.
Quite early on, Shannon started posting about her progress. And whilst it started off as a hobby, it soon turned into a career. 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:
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.
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’. And 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.
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.
Your first job in styling your little curlies is finding the right 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 hair care products.
Offering a selection of natural and organic products quality hair care products, this shop stocks all the big brands that cater for little curlies. Each product 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.
Boasting multiple awards and a pure natural ingredient list, Curly Ellie is perhaps my favourite curly hair product 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 hair. And the best part is you’re supporting a fellow mixed race parent.
Perhaps the most comprehensive online shop for buying curly hair 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!
Although this shop also sells its own line of hair care products, the site is probably best for buying your entire list of hair care 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!
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 hair 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.
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 hair care- and you can even pick out a book or two.
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.
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.
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 products are. With video tutorials, style ideas and a blog, they’re definitely my go-to for Afro hair.
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:
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.
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.
Or, better yet, air dry.
Oils do NOT moisturise. If hair is especially dry, apply more conditioner and work it in to make sure it absorbs.
Hair clips are much better for curly hair. Try to use these over hair bands to reduce breakage.
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.
So we recently featured easy hairstyles for curly mixed race girls but didn’t dare leave out the boys! There’s not as much readily available for boys to inspire new and creative hairstyles while keeping it simple. So I thought I’d do a bit of research hoping to inspire you.
So I can admit I’m not one of those Mums who spends a tonne of time on my daughters’ hair. (I don’t spend a tonne of time on my hair either but that’s beside the point).
But with three mixed girls, all approaching the age where they want nice ‘do’s’ and not just the simple pony tail to which I’ve been known to resort, I needed to boost my repertoire. (For ideas for boys, click here!)
Short of watching Youtube videos for days on how to cornrow intricate designs into my daughters’ hair, I have scoured the internet to find easy up dos for mixed race or biracial curly haired girls. The below should hopefully be inspiring and easy-ish to get done either the night before or early morning as part of your routine.
A key theme you might notice is that some of these do require the ability to cornrow. I can braid. I’ve even upgraded to french braids. So slowly, slowly… I will soon be able to cornrow.
If you can cornrow already, AMAZING! Keep it up! And if you are learning like me, take these easy do’s as inspiration to keep on trying.
Disclaimer: I haven’t actually tried all of these hair styles but I have tried variations of most and in the interest of sharing ideas, I’d love it if you could feedback on your experience trying any of these.
I swore I’d never be that Mum. The white mum whose kids’ curly mixed race hair looks like the Mum has no clue and her only attempt at ‘doing’ her daughter’s hair is to brush it– down.
Three daughters later and with all three sporting completely uniquely textured hair, I quickly learned that wash, brush-and-go would not work with my girls’ curly hair. Three daughters later and with all three sporting completely uniquely textured hair, I quickly learned that wash, brush-and-go would not work with my girls’ curly hair. A mountain of research, plenty of questions to friends and family and a motto to ‘learn as we go’ is the only way we’ve gotten this far. Now, with a 3 step routine every morning with each daughter, it’s gotten slightly easier but no less complicated.
So, I feel your pain. Not the pain at having curly hair. Truly, I love their curls. I love how it looks, how it feels and I love that each one is unique in how her hair falls- a lesson I am constantly reinforcing. Curls are amazing.
But what I don’t love is how little I know about how to do it. I have straight hair and before having kids, I’d never heard of co-washing, could never imagine sleeping on satin pillowcases and putting ‘oil’ in my already oily hair was the last thing from my mind. So I’ve done my homework and then some. But if you love your kids, you’ll only want the best and time is nothing when it comes to doing it right. We’ve now gotten it down to a 20-30 minute routine, depending on how cooperative my girls are and the hairstyle they choose. (I definitely hate braids).
So here I am offering some helpful tips– not as an expert but as a person who has scourged the internet for the best websites that can help all of us parents that start out with no clue.
Figure out their hair texture.I figured out early on there is a whole school of thought about curly girl hair type which, once identified, can open up all sorts of doors in terms of products recommendations and what would likely work on your child’s hair. So, to identify your child’s hair type, check out these sites:
2. Follow naturally curly hair blogs.There are so many out there! With so many helpful articles, blogs, styles and tips for toddlers, girls’, boys’, long, short and all kinds of curly hair. Here are the best I’ve come across:
For morning routine tips and knowledge from other parents who can sympathise, visit: Curly Nikki
This Mama of biracial kids features curly girl hairstyles of the week and regular hair tips. Visit: Weather Anchor Mama
3. Get tips! I’ve gotten so many helpful tips from blogs and articles I’ve read online about hair care. From co-washing to leave-in conditioner, to wetting my daughter’s hair every morning to activate the curls, start with these and you’ll feel like an expert in no time. The best part is that they’re not written for hair experts but cover the basics and give real, non-judgemental advice.
From detangling, hair regimens, and top styling tips for doing toddler hair, the UK based (hurrah!) British Curlies has it all. Not one to miss!
One of our mixed race mother bloggers from over the pond, De Su Mama often features curly hair tips from a mum’s point of view.
5. Try different products. Although we all wish it was just about the amount of research you do that equals success, it is actually about trying, trying and trying more… And, then, just because it works on one child’s hair, it may be different for your other child. Because it will depend on the season, the weather, the thickness, length and curl size of each hair type- not just their hair texture. For reviews and recommendations for different curly girl hair products, go to:
6. Ask around. Nothing beats a recommendation from a friend or someone you know. Every time you see another child with curly hair and you like what you see, ask the Mum what their hair regime is. Mums love talking about curly hair as do curly haired girls themselves I’m learning! Particularly if the child has hair similar to your ds or dd, make sure you ask them what products they use, what kinds of hair styles they do and what hair dresser they go to (it’s not every black hair dresser that can do mixed curly hair and the same goes for upmarket European hair salons- they may be expensive but curly hair has its own rhythm and texture).
7. Finally, and most importantly: Embrace the curls!
“I embrace my kids’ curls through praise and curly hair education. It is important to me that they love their hair, so I constantly tell them how beautiful and amazing it is. I never speak negatively about their curls or allow myself to show any frustration when I’m doing their hair. I make it a point to teach them about the products I’m using and why I am using them, as well letting them help me add their conditioner and styling products in anticipation of them one day managing their curls by themselves.” – See more at: Curly Genes: Meet Two Moms Who Embrace Their Kids’ Curls
You asked for it and here it is mixed race parents. London’s best curly hair salons. Let’s face it, if you’re mixed or your children have hair that’s a completely different texture, trying to do it on your own can seem overwhelming. A mixed friend of mine commented once that her Mum (perhaps because she had no clue) used to do her hair as if she was a cotton bud!
Jokes aside though, it’s important to get the right advice from professionals who can advise you on products, textures, hair styles and more. I will feature hair many time on this blog I imagine, but the best advice you’ll get is from a professional looking at your child’s hair and showing you what works.
Disclaimer: this list is compiled through some dedicated research and existing reviews so I cannot vouch for all of these salons but they were often mentioned by people asking for the curly hair salons.
Unruly Curls– 2 Peoples Hall, 2 Olaf Street, W11 4BE, London
Likely London’s only curly hair salon that isn’t specifically for afro hair, it doesn’t get much more specialised than Unruly Curls. They are all about loose, tight, textured, you name it…curls. Beware though, I didn’t find many reviews about the rest of the staff but the owner, Michael Price seems to know what he’s doing and has received much ado. He also imparts his knowledge on how to maintain upkeep which is always a blessing. I’ve also heard the prices are reasonable.
Curly Hair London, 18 Denmark Str, WC2H 8NESo I had the pleasure of doing a full review of Curly Hair London and shared her tips and expertise here…“I follow the Curly Girl Method, and will dry cut curly types of hair and after will wash it and style. I always suggest non- sulphate and non silicone products to my customers as curly hair dries out very quickly. I have had countless people come in with flat, listless curly hair or thick, frizzy, unmanageable curls and I take huge pleasure in restoring the natural shape of their curls and helping them understand how to make their curls work best for them.Curly hair is beautiful,and with the right cut and the right sort of care, anyone with a natural wave can have glorious, stess-free hair.”
“Whether your curls are fine, medium or thick we are here to help. We understand that your hair has different needs to straighter hair. We understand that the shape is very important to you, the texture is doing what you want, and we will listen and guide you through style, maintenance and home care. We can offer excellent curly hair advice using specialist hair products that will work for you. We love to give you great tips on how to get the best out of your curl using good techniques that aren’t difficult!Some clients have children with very different hair to their own texture so we can show you easy and creative quick ways to do your kids hair at home. Advice on curly hair is really helpful to keep all of you looking fab all the time. It shouldn’t be a chore and with some simple hints and tips, curls will be celebrated and shown off!”
With a specialism in mixed race curly hair, “Darren Scott is a qualified hair stylist and make-up artist who has worked his magic on some of the biggest celebrities in the world. Following on from this success Darren opened his first salon in Maidavale. Darren Scott believes that a visit to the salon should not just be to get your hair cut, coloured or styled. It should be about the experience. Darren has personally trained all stylists to ensure great standards are always met, and new techniques are shared and delivered. You will be welcomed with a smile by our friendly and helpful staff. Our teas, coffee and hot chocolate are all fair trade, we buy coffee beans and use our burr grinder on the day to make you the freshest coffee available. Our aim is simple, to make you look and feel truly great.”
“Caring for natural curls requires the right product for your type of curl, your hair’s condition and your scalp health. At Afrotherapy, in addition to our professional London afro salon, we also stock and extensive range of afro, multi textured and curly hair products in salon and on our online store at www.afrotherapy.com. During your hairdressing appointment at Afrotherapy Salon, your expert afro and multi textured hair stylist will advise you on different styling methods and prescribe the perfect products for you to take home and maintain the condition of your hair in between salon visits. We stock an extensive range of products from leading professional afro haircare brands including Mizani, KeraCare, Moroccanoil, CURLS, Design Essentials, Ferm,FRO, Mixed Chicks and many more.”
6. The Curly Way,mobile hairdressers in London, call to book an appointment: 07517 441 080 or 07450 247 365
“We offer a free consultation in order to assess your curls needs followed by an individually tailored drycut for your curl type. We respect the natural pattern of your curls and will give you hair that you can go home with, wake up and style yourself time after time with great results and ease.”
“Anastasia Chikezie is the founder of PURELY NATURAL one of the first natural hair salons to open in the UK. The first branch was opened 24 years ago, June 1990 to be exact! Purely Natural Contemporary natural Hair Salon is a multiple award winning salon, who specialists in Afro and Mixed Textured natural Hair. Ever dreamt of having healthy, beautiful looking hair, well you’ve come to the right place. From the moment you arrive at our salon, you’ll feel the stress of your busy lifestyle evaporate. Spoil yourself, relax and liven up in our contemporary natural hair salon. Purely natural have been providing first class services to the people of London and beyond since 1990, Styling some of the world’s celebrities and recreating fashionable styles for our customers, fashion shows and events.”
“Made the decision to stay natural or transitioning? We at 3thirty have made it our mission to reveal that no matter what trend hairstyle is set out there today or tomorrow whether its weaves or relaxed it can be interpreted naturally!The 3thirty hairdressing team have been carefully trained to an expert standard of styling and can confidently work with any hair type, from European, to Afro to Asian. Salon owner Tiff J’s passion is for transforming the way the way people look and feel about themselves and her talent and enthusiasm continue to inspire her team as the salon welcomes new friends into the 3thirty family.”
“In April 2014, we launched our first Natural Hair & Loc Bar on Acre Lane, Brixton. It’s boutique, it’s fresh and we’d love to have you with us soon. The current Adornment365 Salon team is highly qualified. We hold formal haircare qualifications and have nutritionists and trichcologists on team. We consider this level of expertise critical to partnering with you for your long term hair health. As a brand we prioritise hair and scalp health over styling solutions. But you will always leave looking great.”
“Having been trained at the world renowned DevaCurl Hair Academy in New York and LA – and now, officially, an Advanced DevaCurl Specialist myself – I am passionate about celebrating your unique curls and giving all my clients curl-confidence.”
Although being skilled in working with all hair types, curly hair specialist Raquel Fernandes – founder of Beyond Curls, developed a passion for curly hair. Being a curly girl herself and having suffered bad haircuts, she felt that there were not enough hair stylists in the UK who understood curly hair. Raquel knew she wanted to make a difference and be able to help curly hair girls and guys feel confident about going to a hair salon.
Raquel decided to attend hair school and trained to become a fully qualified hair stylist. She took this further by enrolling at the world renowed DevaCurl Academy in New York, USA and gaining the ‘Deva Inspired Curl Stylist’ qualification. It was at the DevaCurl Academy where Raquel enriched her skill of working with curly hair by adopting the dry curl by curl cutting & pintura highlighting methods. Raquel also underwent the DevaCurl ‘Art of Texture’ speciality course for highly textured & super curly hair. This enabled Raquel with the skills to work with all textures – from the loosest waves to the tightest curl.
For more resources about teaching your children to love their curly hair, read on…
I have three girls. Three types of curls. Oldest has long flowing curls that are 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, pulling at her hair in all directions, unable to articulate her feelings of frustration.
It is different….
It’s only recently that she’s become more ‘aware’ of her 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 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 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 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.
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. (Check out my FB post here…)
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.
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 hair isdifferent.
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 kids on the right track to embracing their curls. From children who just plain don’t want curly hair to others who are embarrassed to leave it natural and still others who wondered why it was so… different.
Penny and the Magic Puffballs by Alonda Williams
I don’t want Curly Hair by Laura Ellen Anderson
Love thy Fro by Casey Elisha
Maggie Sinclair Will You Please Fix Your Hair by Gabrielle Howell and Hilary DIxon
I Love My Hair by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
Big Hair Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates
Daddy Do My Hair by
Emi’s Curly, Coily Cotton Candy Hair by Tina Olajide
Happy Hair by Mechal Renee Roe
My Hair Curls by Cheryl Richards
These books have been liberating for my girls. I would encourage you to grab yourself a few to have handy when your kids need reassurance that different is good.