Friday, August 22, 2014

Toddler Naturally Curly Hair - Our Routine

Hair. Its been a lifetime journey for me. This lovely head of hair belongs to me at about 2 years old. My parents are as Scandinavian as you can get, Swedish and Norwegian to the core - so when my sister and I came out with these crazy curls, it was a shock and no one knew quite what to do with our hair.
So they did everything good white parents do - they washed our hair with whatever shampoo was cheapest, brushed it out when wet, brushed it when it was dry and lots of times in between (because it looked like THIS). The white girl afro I rocked was legendary.

And the tears over my messy, messy hair and the painful brushing sessions have stuck with me until this day.

In high school, my sister discovered a secret to living with curly hair, she'd wash her hair, comb through it with her fingers when wet and then leave it alone. The result was these amazing ringlets. For her. For me, my hair was still dry and still more fuzz than curl. It took me a little longer to figure out what worked for MY head of curly hair.

That came in college when I discovered Curly Girl and the secret to success with my brand of curly hair. And ironically, my hair straightened, to wavy only, when I entered my thirties.   But once I learned the secrets, I hoped I would have a little girl with curly hair someday - and now I do.

Sweetie is bi-racial - Native American, African American, and Caucasian. And she has the most lovely little baby ringlets, that are just getting more curly the older she gets. But, they can also get pretty unruly when not taken care of properly. Her hair was damaged when she came to me at 6 months, but it is getting so healthy and beautiful now that I think we're doing something right.

Bi-racial or mixed kids' hair texture can vary quite a bit - from fine and wavy to thick and super curly.  Sweetie's is fine and ringlet curly. People ask me all the time if Sweetie's hair is going to get thicker or "turn black". I know what they mean, but I love it. I love it now, I will love it if it gets thicker or courser, I love it, because it is my daughter's hair! And heaven help me, I am going to do my best to help her love it as well. K? K.

Okay, down to what works for me and my girl -

Important overall concepts
  • Learn to love YOUR child's hair - whatever the texture. Tell her its beautiful. Learn how to care for it. Show her how to care for it properly. If it's messy, fix it and ask for help whenever needed. 
  • Moisture, moisture, moisture.
  • Don't comb it! Seriously, step away from the brush.
  • Shampoo isn't necessary with curly hair - wash with plain water or conditioner.
  • If it's frizzy, get it wet and get it moisturized.
  • Trust your gut - if the hair feels dry, add moisture - if it feels oily, skip the extra oil for a day or two.  You'll soon know what is right for YOUR child's hair.

Morning Styling - Daily
  1. Using a spray bottle, thoroughly wet hair using plain tap water.
  2. Smooth a dime-size amount of Shea Moisture Hair Milk from root to tip all over, using fingers to comb out any tangles along the way. 
  3. While adding the hair milk, make sure every shaft of hair is covered and wrap individual curls around fingers to give them added definition. 
  4. At this point, if the hair feels coarse or the curls are not defined, add more hair milk, more water or a small amount of hair oil of your choice. Remember moisture, moisture, moisture.  (If you add too much product, just wash it out the next day when you bathe your baby and try again to get the right amount.)
  5. Once the whole head is wet and covered with large defined curls, style as you see fit. Most of the time, I put a small section of her hair into a loose ponytail and go. But I also love headbands, little clips and all things girly.
  6. Then walk away. Don't touch the hair anymore, it'll just make it frizz out instead of staying defined. How it looks "wet" is how it will look dry if left alone.
  • Shampoo, with a shampoo made for curly hair only once a week or so.  Shea moisture has a few options.
  • The rest of the time, just rinse with water or use conditioner (called co-washing) as you would use shampoo.
Once Every Couple Weeks - Or when hair feels dry
  • THICK covering of Shea Moisture Deep Conditioning.
  • Leave on for at least 30 minutes.
  • Wash out thoroughly.
  • If needed, comb through hair with a wide-toothed comb in the bath (hair SOAKING WET), otherwise, use your fingers only.

Before Bed
  • Take out all hair accessories - they hurt the hair when worn for a long time and are choking hazards for curious, young children.
  • Spritz with oil or cream if its feeling dry.
  • For older kids and adults, you can do a twist out at night, or cover with a silk/satin head wrap.

    Keep learning and experimenting
    • Like all curly girls and curly mammas, I have a passion to find the BEST hair care routine/products and its constantly evolving. New products come on the market. Hair changes over time (and as it gets healthier you need different products).  In fact, I actually just ordered some new products that I am excited to try.
    • Google "natural hair" or "naturally curly hair" on a regular basis, to find new styles and ideas on doing it better, especially if your hair isn't naturally curly.
    What hair routines work for you and your curly kids?


    1. Yes, my little girls hair is like your baby's hair. I do not wash her hair daily. We are in Colorado and its super dry here. I wash 2x a week. I haven't tried the hair milk though. I use a baby moisturizer. I might change it and try that.

    2. Are the shampoos "no tears"? My one and a half year old needs more hydration than just plain baby shampoo, but I'm afraid to get something that's not formulated for kids in her eyes...

    3. I have straight blonde white girl hair. When I had my biracial daughter, it was a whole new ball game. I am now a product hoarder! I just wrote a post on my blog about the daily routine of what I do with my daughters hair. Shea moisture is my favorite line. It smells incredible and they have so many different products for all different types of hair. It has been and will continue to be a journey!


    It'll be a pleasure hearing your thoughts. Alisa