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…
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.