How to Grow A Black Child’s Natural Hair: Part 2 – MOISTURE

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After I wrote my third article on how to take care of an African American baby’s hair, I began to get inundated with questions regarding everything from whether or not my child sleeps on a satin pillowcase (she does) to what types of shampoos to use. But the main question that I see over and over involves how to keep an African American child’s hair moisturized.

Keeping textured hair moisturized, in general, is an ongoing challenge; and it becomes all the more difficult the “coilier” the hair strands are. Why? Well, the “curlier” your child’s hair is, the more time it will take for her scalp’s natural oils to travel down her hair shaft. This leaves her tight curls or coils more prone to dryness and breakage.

The circumference (size around) of coily hair strands is smaller than your average straight or wavy hair strands. This means that coily hair simply can’t absorb or hold moisture as readily as those straighter hair textures do. As a result, you may find that that heavy cream that your girlfriend said works wonders on her daughter’s hair may just “sit on top” of your child’s “kinkier” hair not drawing in any of its benefits.

If you have a little brown baby with hair that seems to always be dry; or if you’re just in need of some moisturizing tips for your Afro Baby, read on!

1. Use a water-based liquid product…


Water-based products like Fantasia’s Argan Oil Leave-In Curl Detangler Conditioner will penetrate the hair shaft and moisturize your child’s hair without leaving it greasy or weighed down.
How do you know if a product is water-based? If the first or second ingredient in the product is good ol’ H2O, then you’re good to go!

2. Don’t over-wash but DO keep your child’s hair clean…


Those water-based products won’t be able to do their job if you’re applying them to dirty hair and scalp. Dirty hair has build up and won’t accept product as readily as clean hair will.
Of course, washing your child’s hair TOO often strips the hair of its natural oils and can leave it dry and brittle. Wash and moisturize your child’s hair, on average, every other week.
*Some parents live and die by the “co-wash” method. This essentially means that no shampoo is used at all and that the hair is cleansed with conditioner only. (This is due to how harsh shampoos can be.) If you’re child’s hair is consistently dry, this may be a method that will work for you.

3. Spritz and seal…


As referenced in number one, water is hands down the best “moisturizer”. My little girl’s hair dries out very quickly. I’ve made it a habit of lightly spritzing her hair daily with plain water then sealing in that moisture with a shea butter mixture. This has worked wonders at keeping her hair moisturized.
The reality is that if you forget to seal after moisturizing your little brown baby’s hair, you’ll have done all of that spritzing and spraying for nothing. Be it a butter or an oil, find a sealant that works on your child’s hair and use it regularly after moisturizing.

4. Don’t just use products to moisturize your child’s hair…

There are a lot of products out there that claim to be moisturizers but don’t actually fit the bill. They may make your child’s hair feel moisturized when in actuality, it’s not. Again, nothing beats plain water when it comes to moisturizing. Start with water and THEN add your favorite product.



About Author

Creative director, graphic artist, wife, and most importantly, mother to two Afro Babies - Kesha Phillips has appeared on shows like CBS Better Mornings Atlanta and AMHQ with Sam Champion featured as a parenting and lifestyle expert. Find Kesha all over the web sharing her knowledge and opinions on parenting, family life and social issues.


    • If you feel like her ends need to be clipped, then definitely trim them. I believe my little one was around two when I gave her her first trim. Curl definition is maintained with the proper amount of moisture and product. Try Aunt Jackie’s Flaxseed gel after washing the next time you want to maintain curl definition. –>

  1. Hello there!
    My baby will be 1 next month. Is there anything I can do to start her hair growth in the back? Is there something I should be doing to her hair everyday?

    • Having her sleep on a satin pillowcase or with a satin bonnet each night will lesson the friction. Also, massaging in a dime-size amount of a jamaican black castor oil and extra virgin olive oil mix every couple of days will help thicken the hair as well. 🙂

      • Thank you so much for the response! I bought her a bonnet and I use olive oil mixed with pink oil moisturizer. I am going to look for the Jamaican black Castor oil too.

  2. My 18 month is currently rocking her fro. I’m loving this for a number of reasons. The main reason being that I’m not having to do an actual style and then having to touch up the style every day or every other day.

    I do moisturize and pick out her fro every morning. She sleeps with a satin bonnet; however, I discover by morning it’s usually fallen off. I feel like there are benefits to not tampering with her hair extensively, but I know that there are also drawbacks. My question is this: is it okay for her to continue to rock her fro as long as I keep it clean and moisturized?…will it continue to grow while out in the fro?…am I doing more harm than good by allowing her to wear it out in the fro?

    Thank you for the time you invest in this blog. It is greatly appreciated by us all.

    • I appreciate the kind words on the blog! 🙂
      I don’t want to damper your spirit, but as far as leaving your little one’s hair out, if you’re picking it out daily, that regular manipulation will end up taking it’s toll. Any style that you can put in her hair that requires little to no manipulation for a few days to a few weeks is always going to trump leaving the hair out. (Think 2-strand twists, braids, or even bantu knots.) Even with a bonnet, hair is more prone to tangles when left out, and that will ultimately lead to unnecessary breakage.

  3. Hello my 2 year olds hair will not grow. It is not long enough to cornrow and is very dry. I feel like I have tried every product to moisturize and soften her hair but I am at a loss. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks

  4. Hello..I do not know what to do to get my 10 year old daughter’s hair to grow. It will grow and then break off in certain spots…get a little thick and then thin out. I keep in protective styles so that I don’t manipulate her hair too much. I have used olive oil as well as jbco in additional to now starting her to take fish oil.
    Do you have any suggestions please??? I am at a loss right now and need some direction. I appreciate your feedback.
    Thank you

    • Head to the “start here” page, scroll to the bottom and then ask yourself those bulleted questions. If you answer “no” to any of those, that would be where to start. If she has no underlying medical conditions then her hair is capable of retaining length. It will take a bit of investigation on your part to figure out what’s not working in your regimen. Those questions should give you a starting point. 🙂

    • Pamela washington on

      Yes in addition to keeping it moisturized and the things you’re doing give a massage to stimulate the blood flow 2-3×”s a week and a little tug at the root when braiding or pressing, That also stimulate the blood flow try this for 3 mos. To see if you see a noticeable difference.

  5. Hey, my daughter is 3 and she has 4c hair …it’s extremely dry and I have not found any good products to keep her hair moisturize…what do you suggest?

    • If you’re not already deep conditioning every couple of weeks then that is what I would suggest. Deep condition utilizing heat which is what will open the hair cuticle and allow the conitioners to penetrate. Deep conditioning regularly will reduce chronic dryness. 🙂

  6. Wow Ihadnever seen your blog before , Thank you , youhave great suggestions.
    My granddaughter is turning 3 andhas thin dry sort of curly hair ,and it’s not really growing.
    I am going to try the olive oil ,black Castro and bunnet.
    Thank you

  7. Good morning, my little one is almost 6 months old she has curly hair but at the back it had thinned and will not stay moisturized what so ever. I use shea baby shampoo once a week and apply shea detangler and coconut oil on her daily. Is there something that I can do differently to help it stay moisturized as well as grow, for her age ?

  8. My 11 year old doesn’t really love doing natural looks often most of the times she uses weave for her braids,but she starts a new school on Tuesday,and she wants to wear it natural but also wants it to sit on her shoulders and be curly at the same time.I was planning to use Jamaican Castor Oil and Cantu to do this but would it hold overnight because her hair dries and loses moisture quickly what can I do about that?

    Another Question I have is will Jamaican Castor Oil add about a few inches or so overnight because she’s shedding a lot of hair now but will the Castor Oil grow most of it back overnight?Thanks if you can help me out.

  9. All the tips are awesome, but i still have a question. What do a i need or use to style my babygirl hair everyday ? What type of product ? Thank you

  10. I’m a dad, my 2 year old hair won’t grow on the back neither, and is very thick and curly other words nappy like mine, what product should I use. I think I tried to much

  11. I understand that scalp health is very important to hair growth and health. My daughter has dry scalp, that can be pretty bad at times. What do you recommend incorporating in my hair regimen for treatment?

  12. Hello! Im an expectant mom. I want to know the appropriate age to start caring for my baby girl’ hair especially since her hair will be shaved as a new born according to Islamic rites. Thanks

  13. I am new to caring for textured hair and spent way too much time and money standing in the aisle at target and still not sure where to start. I put my child’s hair up in a puff ball type ponytail (she is 8) and used an argaan oil style gel to hold down the edges. Can I refresh that everyday for a few days or will that cause too much build up? I read that I shouldn’t wash her hair but maybe once a week, but I am supposed to continue to add oil or butter daily correct? I appreciate your reply, like I said she may be 8 but she is a new addition to our family and this is a new experience for us and I want to give her the very best care I can including her hair! Thanks again!

  14. Hey, what product can I use to lay my 2 year old hair down, like when I put her hair in ponytails they don’t lay down as flat as I would like. I tried everything but nothing seems to work.

  15. I have three little girls and two of them have beautiful hair my last one is 2 and her is very short pretty in the front kinky in the middle and pretty in back but super short . she will be 2 in march with a really small afro I am not use to this. PLEASE HELP!!!

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