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Biracial Hair Care - Tips for Your Curly Girl
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Biracial Hair is Unique
Biracial hair can be wavy, curly, soft, or coarse. But it is never predictable! If you are the parent of a biracial daughter, you may find yourself struggling at times with how to handle her hair. This might especially be true if you have Caucasian hair and are not used to curly hair. But don't worry, you can learn to style her hair and make it beautiful every day! Here are few things to keep in mind:
Biracial Hair is Not "Get up and Go" Hair
One thing that can be hard for mothers with biracial daughters to get used to is that biracial hair is not as straightforward to take care of as their own hair might be. With Caucasian hair, you can usually just get up and go. Biracial hair takes a little more work. But with practice and patience, it is actually very fun to work with. As you learn to care for your biracial child's hair, be sure to teach her along the way.
Biracial Hair Tends to Be Drier
Biracial hair tends to be dry. You will need to regularly add moisture back into the hair as part of your daughter's daily styling. This also means that you will probably not need to wash it as much. Once or twice a week may be enough, depending on how dry it is. Of course, this can be challenging if you are adding so much greasy product to the hair that you want to wash it more often! Therefore, you should take time to select good products that work for her hair (see below).
Washing the Hair
When you wash her hair, use good products (Pantene has an excellent line of shampoos and conditioners for women of color, for example). Be sure to use lots of conditioner and comb the hair out thoroughly when the conditioner is still in it. Use a pick or wide-tooth comb and be gentle. Some hair loss is normal, but if gobs of hair are coming out you are using too much force and will damage the hair. As soon as you get out of the shower, apply a moisturizing product right away while it is still damp.
Products are Important
There are many good products on the market, but some of them might be too heavy and greasy, especially for softer hair types. Experiment with products until you find just the right ones for your daughter's hair type. If there are no specialty shops with black hair care products near you, there is often a decent selection at places like Target or Walgreens. Or, you can order online. There are even some companies, like Mixed Chicks, that specialize in biracial hair care products.
A good leave-in conditioner is usually a good place to start, because it is not too heavy and it provides long-lasting moisture (Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioner is a good example). For best results, work it into the hair either after washing, or after wetting the hair. As the hair dries, it will "set" into its natural texture. For example, if the hair usually falls into ringlets when wet, the conditioner will help it stay that way.
If after styling there are still "fly-away" hairs sticking up on top of the head, smooth on a small amount of gel, such as Let's Jam by SoftSheen. This works especially well when pulling the hair back into a ponytail.
A good hair oil is also helpful for when the hair is very dry. And if you want to flat-iron the hair you will need to apply hair oil to protect the hair from the heat.
How Should I Style Her Hair?
If you are a white parent, you may not be as experienced with braids, cornrows, or other beautiful hair styles that are common in the black community. Your biracial daughter's hair is probably thick enough to hold up to these unique styles. While you may never be a pro, you can probably learn to do some simple braids. You can also take her to a salon and get them done once in a while as a treat.
For day to day styling, pony tails, pig tails, and buns are an easy way to go. With proper care and use of products, you can also have your daughter wear her hair down. Sometimes the hair will "puff" as it dries, but the use of products like a good leave-in conditioner can help alleviate this. You may also consider relaxing the hair (see below).
To avoid having the hair become tangled while she sleeps, you should put the hair into two simple braids or twists before sleep. Don't make them tight and don't worry if they are pretty--you just want to keep the hair in place. You can also have her sleep with a silk cap to keep the hair in place. If it does become tangled overnight, wet it in the morning, apply leave-in conditioner, and comb out gently.
Should You Relax Your Daughter's Hair?
If your daughter's hair is very thick and curly, a relaxer might help make it easier to work with. Relaxing the hair might also make it easier to wear "down," which can sometimes be hard with very thick, curly hair that tends to "puff" when it dries.
There are a number of milder relaxers made especially for children. Sometimes mothers are very afraid that they are going to ruin their daughters' beautiful curls if they use a relaxer. But depending on your child's natural hair texture, a relaxer can still leave the hair with plenty of waves or with looser curls. Be sure to follow the directions exactly and test out a strand first, to be sure that you will be happy with the results. If you decide to maintain the effect, you will have to keep applying relaxer to the new growth every few months.
Remember, as hard as it might be for you to learn to care for your biracial child's hair, never make her feel that her hair is difficult or bad. Make her feel special and beautiful each time you work with her hair. It's your job to teach her the skills that she needs to maintain her precious and beautiful hair!
Sage Carter shares ideas, information, and advice for better living. Visit her at http://sagecarter.hubpages.com/.