Dealing with My Mixed Race Childrens Hair as an English Mum

Dealing with My Mixed Race Childrens Hair as an English Mum

White mum – Afro hair!

Michele Okuromade

My background

I have got four children, all mixed heritage from 22 to 7 years of age all with mixed race hair, different lengths with each one of them having different textures. Before I had my children, even during my pregnancy I never thought too hard about what it may be like to manage mixed race hair, I knew when I was pregnant with my first child, she would have lovely soft hair but didn’t think further than that at this stage.

 

 

Challenges I faced

When my eldest was a baby at first, her hair was soft and didn’t need much attention. It wasn’t until she was about 18 months old and her hair was growing that I needed to start styling and caring for her hair.  Back then, there was no internet or books available in the area I lived in and therefore managing afro hair was a complete challenge for me. As I lived outside of London there wasn’t any hair shops that was specifically for black hair in my area so wasn’t able to take my daughter to a salon or shop to get necessary advice. The lack of provision and products meant I was using hair products for European hair which wasn’t having the desired effect and made her hair dry and under nourished. I was too shy to approach any black hair professionals in case they thought I was inexperienced in managing my child’s hair. I didn’t have any relatives close by that I could go to for advice either so really felt inexperienced in managing my daughters hair. I would often scrape her hair back in a neat bun so that it looked smart rather than style it in pretty plaits, etc.

 

How times have changed

By the time I had my youngest who is now 7, I felt more confident in taking a proactive step in managing her type of hair the way it needed to be. Her hair is a mix of African and European and a thicker type of hair compared with my eldest two and is a type 4a. In the area I live in, there are now more hair shops specifically for black hair, more hair salons that are for black hair and all of this on my doorstep.

I have found advice is far more readily available and with much of it being online so I was able to do my own research about the type of hair my daughter has and what products work best for her. Unfortunately, it can still be trial and error and often I buy products that often sit in my bathroom cupboard barely used as they have not been the right product for her hair. Buying much of these products when you are out of London can be more costly too so this has been quite a challenge too.

 

Chemicals vs natural

The next challenge I have faced is that even though now I have full access to shops that sell black hair care for children, the majority of products have chemicals which then often strip, dry out and damage the hair. I like to do my research on the chemicals listed in the ingredients and some of them seem extremely harsh to use on children. Therefore I am very cautious about using different things in an attempt to find the right product for her hair. I tend to use products recommended to me by friends of mine who too have children with black hair and are natural rather than blind buying in a shop.

 

Lessons learnt and shared

If I were to give advice to anyone who faces similar challenges to what I faced, I would strongly recommend the following:

 

  • Find out your child’s hair type whether it is a 4a, 3b etc. You can google this information and then find out what type of hair product is best for your child’s hair.

 

  • Always go for natural over chemicals, it’s worth paying the extra price if it means it is healthier for your child’s hair. Look out for chemicals in products and try to avoid sulphates, silicones, parabens, mineral or petroleum oils, etc. and think about using things like virgin coconut oil and natural ingredients.

 

  • If you often get your child’s hair styled, find a stylist who you trust and try to stick with them rather than going to lots of different places.

 

  • If you get time, find out about black hair care from reading about other peoples experiences, looking online on tutorials and forums.

 

  • Encourage your child to adopt the hair care as part of their daily routine so as they get older it becomes something that is a part of their routine to apply natural hair products to keep hair moisturised and nourished.

 

As a parent of children with mixed race hair, my experiences have been challenging to find hair products to suit their individual hair types. I continue to seek natural hair products and look forward to checking out what’s available on my3beauties.

 

by admin

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