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Seven tips for doing African American girl's natural hair

Updated on January 20, 2014
Side part.
Side part. | Source

Introduction to black hair!

The earlier you start combing your child's hair the better! When they are first born and wee things we tend to brush it and stroke it but it must be combed and brush on a daily basis. The sooner you get into the habit of combing through your daughter's hair the better for you and the child. It becomes a routine!

Black hair varies in all natural textures and even shades, naturally. It must also be well moisturized, washed and maintained. With little black girls, biracial girls and even some other ethnic groups present a challenge for mothers and fathers wishing to grow, keep and maintain their precious little princess' locks, curls, plaits or braids.

I know a lot of people want to relax their daughters hair as quickly as they can because it takes a lot of the work out of doing hair. But i always suggest that you wait as long as you can, at least until the child starts school about five or six years old, if you plan to do it on your own. Or find someone who is good with kids and good at doing little girl's relaxers and someone you trust to do the chemical treatment.

And when you do decide to go with a relaxer don't relax the child's hair completely straight, you just want to be able to style it yourself, making it manageable! Relaxing it completely straight could start the cycle of damage and dryness you want to avoid at an early age.

A straighting comb is another option but since this is a really delicate task i don't even recommend this until a child is at least ten to twelve. But it is a lot gentler if you want to keep the girls hair as close to natural as possible.

1. Cleaning natural black hair is a weekly task for caregivers.

Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner is always a trial and error expedition for first time momma's, unless they already have a product they have tested and tried and wish to use on their daughters.

Tip is you should use the most natural product that will add moisture to scalp, and hair.

2. Using a hair oil and moisturizer is necessary for growth and everyday hair care.

Once again choosing the right oil is a trial and error expedition unless you already have a natural product that will be gentle and beneficial to growing and maintaining healthy hair.

The child's hair must be oiled every day or every other day depending on the product and how much your daughter's hair absorbs.

Tip use natural oils like olive oil, coconut oil and tea tree oil are some of the best.

Massaging the oil into the child's scalp and throughout all the hair all the way to the ends. The best way to get it all through the child's hair is to part the hair into section that are workable with a rat tail comb.

3. Drying natural hair can happen two ways :

A. Letting hair dry naturally to a damp feel - leave hair about 30 minutes to air dry. Then combing the hair as you would like but not for cornrow braids. But damp hair is great if you plait it, depending on hair texture it leaves hair wavy when it is completely dry, preventing tangles and making hair manageable.

B. Using a blow dryer - dry hair in sections completely, brushing continuously unless you have a dryer with a brush or comb attachment.

Adding gel or a leave in conditioner is also vital for hair if you are looking to smooth it down but you need to make sure these products don't contain alcohol because it leads to drying and breakage. Add them when the hair is damp.

Tip you can use them but not for long periods of time and make sure you wash them out within a few days or hours.

C. Cornrow braids should be done when the hair is completely dry, well oiled and detangled. Braiding is easy but it takes persistence and practice to get it right and while you are doing this you must dedicate yourself to figuring out how you and your child can work together.

You must be willing to spend the hours and make the child enjoy the experience so you need to involve them in the process that can take up lots of hours. You do not want this experience to be horrific and the more fun you can have makes it easier on the child and your nerves will survive.

4. Plaits - can be done in multiple sections, you start one but you can do an infinite number depending on the style. Women typically add barrettes, baubles and elastic bands to the ends to hold the plait together.

Plaits are a great way to start caring for short hair, so as soon as a child has enough to pull together, even twist use rubber bands.

Plaits are parted in threes when you are creating pig tails then twisted or intertwined around each other. Make sure you have bands for the ends.

5. Braids - last from two weeks to a month or more depending on how small they are and how tightly they are pulled. You really need to measure how tightly you pull the hair because it can cause damage to the scalp and cause extensive irritation in some cases it pulls hair out at the follicles.

Braids are parted into threes when you are braiding hair close to the scalp in cornrows. You need to keep rubber bands on hand black and clear ones are great but whatever you have that will hold the ends of your rows is great.

6. Brushing black natural hair is important. Actually vital to hair growth and cleanliness but you need to be attentive to how hard you brush, what type of bristles are used and being careful about stimulating the scalp, stimulating blood circulation.

The best way is to always section off the hair as many times as necessary to start at the end of hair shaft detangling as you get closer to the scalp.

7. Combing is also very important, it helps with removing shed hair and detangling the hair shafts, this is always best done with a pick or a wide tooth comb. But parting hair is always done best with a rat tail comb - using the rat tail end, usually giving straighter lines when parting hair.

When using the comb to detangle or loosen hair strands it is always better to start at the root coming from the scalp , bit by bit after sectioning off hair but you must be careful, holding the sections as you comb through.

Tip letting kids wear afros are a chic thing to do these days, but you must have an afro pick, good moisturizers and attentive care

Hair bands are great for little girls!

Cornrow lesson

Plaits vs Braids

Although theres terms are used interchangeably they are not the same thing although they use similar techniques and can be used in several different ways!

Plaits are normally done loosely from the scalp. 

Braids are normally done close to the scalp.

These are both used in original African methods of hair styling and straw crafts. A skill that is easy to learn but needs lots of practice and patience.


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    • Celiegirl profile image

      Celiegirl 4 years ago

      Thanks Levertis Steele, been doing hair for a longtime myself. Started when i was a mere girl, doing my cousins hair, boy and girls. Still learning.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 4 years ago from Southern Clime

      You wrote, "Black hair varies in all natural textures and even shades, naturally. It must also be well moisturized, washed and maintained."

      So true. This is a reason why all blacks cannot use the same products for grooming their hair. Yes, the products must be tried and tested.

      Referring to #5

      Young children's hair should not be braided tightly because it may cause suffering. Young children may not be able to express discomfort well. Rubber bands are also used in some braid styles. They should not be tight either, or they will cause scalp damage, breakage, and pain Hairstyles should not hurt. It is also not good to have little children sit for hours to get their hair done. I have seen them sit for nine hours and come back the next day to complete a BIG job. I say "job" because I do not know a better description.

      My daughter is a braider who specializes in exotic styles. Some are beautiful, but I have witnessed some jobs that I could not endure. She is patient and does her best to keep the children comfortable, but still . . .! Sometimes they fall asleep and need a pillow for comfort. I just don't like the lengths that many parents go through to get their children's hair done. That is fine for teens and grown-ups, but please spare the children, unless the jobs can be done in a reasonable time frame. People who witness this should understand my point.

      Good job!

    • Celiegirl profile image

      Celiegirl 6 years ago

      Thanks lilly, anything to make what can be an ordeal a joyful experience for a child.

    • profile image

      lilly 6 years ago

      that was very helpfu thanx for the video