as told by Niah (mother)
Prepared by Shelli of Hairscapades.com
What’s your child’s name and age? Tell us a little about her/him.
My daughter’s name is Ashanti and she is 9 years old. She is my beautiful, brilliant and bright baby girl. She is into a little bit of everything: Girl Scouts, gymnastics, different styles of dance, acting and currently in the engineering club at her school, as well as the Vice President of SGA. Ashanti is a lover of anything music and/or fashion related and has been a little princess since day one. No, seriously. She has been crossing her legs (which I later corrected her to cross her ankles) since before she was a year old. She is a very loving and humble little girl who loves her mom. We have a super tight bond. I have been truly blessed with an amazing little girl and I only pray she stays this way forever. *lol*
How do you care for her hair? What products do you use, how often do you wash/condition, what techniques do you use (i.e., how do you detangle), etc.?
It took me a really long time to figure out the best way to care for her hair, since my texture is very different. When she was younger, her texture was more like her father’s, which is type 2 and 3. Most people thought her texture type was the easiest, but not nearly. Because, as she got older, her hair changed and is now a mixture of my 4a/4b hair and her father’s type 2 and 3 hair. So, the crown of her hair, it’s more of my texture, which makes it a little more difficult to detangle. Well, thank GOD for the natural community! When I big chopped the first time about 5 years ago, when she was at the age of 4, I started my research.
I co-wash her hair weekly and wash with shampoo and deep condition every 2 weeks. I finger detangle her hair while washing/co-washing. I always use a leave-in conditioner, Giovanni, after washing. I section her hair into 6 sections and use plenty of leave-in with coconut oil. Comb each section with a wide tooth comb from the ends and work my way to the roots. After detangling, I use my own whipped shea butter mixture (organic shea butter, extra virgin olive oil and extra virgin coconut oil) to seal her ends and then braid the sections. I use medium size braids. This is an extremely long process, because she has so much hair, but its worth it because she rarely has split ends. Her hair is wrapped in a satin scarf every night.
The products I use on her hair include:
- Aussie Shampoo and Conditioner
- Giovanni Leave-in Conditioner
- Shea butter, Extra virgin olive oil, Extra virgin coconut oil
- Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk
- Mizani H2O Conditioning Hair Dress
I’ve tried Kinky Curly Curling Custard, but because her hair is so thick, it took almost a week for it to completely dry. It only defined her curls around the perimeter of her head. But the crown, no such luck. In the winter season, I take that time to get her hair blown straight with low heat. This is when we catch up on trimming her ends, if necessary. Also, when we wash her hair, it takes a few days to dry, since we rarely allow her to wear it out. If we do, she will for sure be able to score a part in the next Diana Ross or Chaka Khan feature. Speaking of which, because she happens to have pretty big hair and loves music, she was asked to play the lead “lady” in a music video acting as Sy Smith.
Do the same products that work for you work for your child’s hair?
For the most part, we are able to use the same products. The only products I do not use on my hair that seem to work well for her are Mizani Rose H2O Conditioning Hair Dress and Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk.
What is a typical style? Do you employ protective styles? If so, how often?
Her hairstyles are seasonal. Lol! Because she is extremely busy during summer break with gymnastics, swimming, dance class, acting class and just play dates and sleepovers, I do a protective style of double strand twists that are refreshed every 2 weeks. It takes about 3 to 4 hours each time, but it’s worth it and she loves it, because it’s the closest she ever gets to wearing her hair down. During the winter time, we have it blown straight and allow her to wear it all out and be free. Anytime around this season, it’s usually her famous ballerina bun or a few ponytails. Either style, whether protected or not, she always wears a satin scarf to bed.
What challenges do you face with your child’s hair?
The only challenge I have with my daughter’s hair is being able to keep it curly after a wash and knowing when it dries, it won’t blow up and create its own time zone. I love it when it gets big, but it loses its curl definition causing it to look like someone threw her away.
Have you ever relaxed/texlaxed your daughter’s hair? Why or why not and, if you relaxed her hair, what prompted the decision to return to natural?
Sadly, I was convinced by a member of her father’s family that I should put a soft texlaxer in hair when she was younger to calm the curls. I thought it was a bad idea as soon as I put it on, so I took it out almost immediately. Even still, I felt horrible about it and since then, no one can ever tell me what to do to her hair or touch it without my permission. I decided to make sure it remained natural, because her hair was fine the way it was. I just had to learn it and have patience.
How does your child feel about her natural hair?
Ashanti loves her natural hair. She loves how versatile it is; how she can wear it big and curly or bone straight, knowing it will be curly again once it’s wet. She definitely appreciates the hours of work I put in her hair and I love to see her face light up when she looks in the mirror after we’re all done.
Anything else that you’d like to add?
Continue to educate yourself and your child on natural hair. Teach them how to love and take care of their hair early, so that they can have that much more appreciation for it. Other than that, if anyone has any great tips on how to maintain curls with hair textures 3/4a, please feel free to share them with me, pleeaaasseee!!! As she gets older, she is over wearing pony tails to school and I don’t want to always straighten her hair. Lastly, along with other great natural hair communities, thank you Shelli for giving us a great tool to get great tips, motivation and inspiration in growing out healthy natural hair.