Do’s and Don’t’s of Taking Care of Afro Baby’s Hair

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In my time within the natural hair kids space I’ve received tons and tons of questions. Surprisingly enough, a lot of those questions involve how to properly take care of an African American baby’s hair. The reason why getting these questions is so surprising is because from when your child is a newborn to around four or five months of age, taking care of an African American child’s hair should be a breeze!

I think parents of African American children put so much pressure on themselves to start their child’s natural hair journey off right. Nowadays you’re inundated with so much information regarding natural hair; it’s hard to know when and where to begin. The reality is, whether your child is born with a full head of hair or a few random strands – in the beginning – you really don’t have to do too much to it at all.

Babies have very sensitive scalps and their skulls are soft and still developing. Pulling or tugging on the hair and using heavy products just isn’t a good idea. You’ll have plenty of time for that; and you’ll be wishing for the days when a little baby shampoo and a drop of oil were all you needed to set your child up for maximum hair growth. (Because that is really all you need.)

Here are a few more do’s and don’ts regarding African American baby hair care.

Don’t use the same products that you use on your hair on your baby’s. Most products that are formulated for adults have chemicals in them that are way too harsh for a baby’s head of hair. Using adult products (even certain mild ones) on your baby’s hair can cause your baby’s scalp to become irritated and could even cause rashes and excessive dryness.

Do use a mild sulfate free baby shampoo on your baby’s hair. Cara B. is a great line that’s formulated with African American babies in mind.

Do keep your baby’s hair and scalp clean, but don’t over wash. Given that newborns and infants have sensitive skin, you’ll only need to bathe them a couple (no more than a few) times per week. As far as their hair is concerned, you’ll probably only need to wash it once per week. Over washing can cause dryness which isn’t good if you want your baby’s hair to grow.

Do be gentle. As I mentioned before, your baby’s hair and scalp are still super soft and sensitive. Use shampoos sparingly and lather it in gently. Rinse with lukewarm water; and if your baby’s hair is long enough to need detangling, use a wide toothed comb and detangle gently starting from the ends.

Do use a little oil after washing, but don’t overdo it. Extra virgin olive oil is great for babies as it’s relatively light and works wonders at sealing in moisture. A dime size amount should be more than enough for a newborn or infant with a TWA (teeny weeny afro). Use a soft baby brush to distribute the oil evenly.

Do be on the lookout for your baby’s hair to make “the change”. During the first few months, your baby’s hair still has the residuals of all of those good “juices and berries” that were in your belly. It will be soft, shiny, and seem easy to manage; but after a few washings, your baby’s true hair texture may begin to reveal itself. It may be drier and retain moisture less easily. Don’t panic; but you do need to take action. You may simply want to consider going ahead and adding a moisturizer to your baby’s hair care routine. Soon the real fun with your child’s hair will begin. 🙂

Do resist the urge to “style” your baby’s hair daily. I know how stinkin’ cute they are, but barrettes, and hair clips should be saved for special occasions only. At this time in your baby’s life (from newborn to around six months) it’s your best bet to just leave your child’s hair alone and just let it “do what it’s going to do”. Over manipulation and the use of heavy barrettes can snap your baby’s hair off right at the hairline.

If you feel like you need to add a girly touch to your baby’s tiny fro, use a satin lined headband making sure that it’s not too tight, and that’s it’s removed once your event or picture taking is over.

Don’t panic if your child has a spot in the back that just “won’t grow”. It’s actually more common for newborns and infants to have a bald spot in the back then you think. Babies sleep on their backs a lot, and that friction can do a number on the back of a baby’s hair. Once your baby starts spending more time on their belly, chances are that that spot will fill in beautifully – without you having to do too much to it at all.

If the bald spot is something that really concerns you, consider having your baby sleep on a satin baby blanket.

Do you have any “do’s” or “don’ts” when it comes to your African American baby’s hair care? Let me see them in the comments!

Keep lovin' that Afro Baby!

Kesha is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Full disclosure


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  • Natalie
    January 6, 2018

    Hello I was wondering what you do so your child’s hair doesn’t get knots while sleeping I find that’s a huge issue with my sons hair is once he sleeps his hair becomes a mess , also do you know some good products to use in between washes so his hair stays nice I love his hair long but I’m having so many issues I feel like I may have to cut it if I can’t figure out what to use on his hair I feel like I’ve tried everything but it keeps drying out and getting matted

    • My Afro Baby Editor
      January 6, 2018

      First, if his hair is long enough, you should secure it each night in loose twists or braids and have him sleep on a satin pillowcase or satin sheets. That will cut down all of your nightly tangles. Sleeping with hair “loose” will always lead to excessive dryness and tangles. As far as products, it really all depends on his hair type, texture and porosity, but you can check out this page for some leave-in recommendations: https://myafrobaby.com/type-4-afro-babies/ Hope that helps. 🙂

    • Mina
      February 7, 2020

      My son is 13 months old &, while he was with his aunt for a few weeks she kept his hair in mini ponytails &, now he has bald spots, & his hair is really thin. I put jbco in it every other day ,& wash once a week w/ johnson & Johnson. What else can I do to encourage hair growth in those bald areas? My gramma wants to cut it all the same length but then he’d be bald😫

      • Alice brown
        September 26, 2020

        Johnson Johnson causes hair loss, use a different product x

  • Latifah
    January 17, 2018

    Hi, this post was very helpful, however i do have a couple questions?

    Have you done any research on grapeseed oil in relation to infant hair?

    Do you have any more product suggestions i.e. shampoo,conditioner,moisturizer?


    • My Afro Baby Editor
      January 18, 2018

      Glad you could get some use from the post! Grapeseed oil is a great alternative if you have a baby with sensitive skin. It’s less acidic than extra virgin olive oil which can stop any redness or irritation. Product selection is all about trial and error, but this post highlights a few great brands that you can start with: https://myafrobaby.com/top-10-natural-hair-kids-product-lines/

  • Victoria
    January 23, 2018

    hi nice post but I was wondering a couple things. I been using Shea moisture kids shampoo, conditioner, and leave in only once a month, wash only once a month since she been born she is 9 months now, and I use warm water and jbco daily with the she moisture butter cream is that ok for her? and yes she sleeps with a satin pillowcase and satin bonnet every night.

    • My Afro Baby Editor
      January 24, 2018

      JBCO is a pretty heavy oil so if you’re using it daily, you may want to consider adding a clarifying treatment to her regimen soon. You can check out this post for details on that: https://myafrobaby.com/clarifying-hair-treatment-afro-babys-hair/. As far as whether or not the specific brands are okay, you’ll have to make that determination over a period of time. Product selection is always about trial and error as your little one’s unique hair type, texture, and porosity will dictate what works and what doesn’t. 😉

      • Anonymous
        February 1, 2018

        ok thanks ? but I also want to know what about deep conditioners? SBB is it ok I introduce and how often? right now she is 9 1/2 months n I do use everything natural like the Camille good naturals

      • Lexy
        January 7, 2021

        I feel so bad this is my first baby & I over washed her hair & it’s finally starting to show!! I washed it maybe twice a week give it take & put coconut oil in her hair often & honestly it didn’t work out for her, now her hair is very dry & coarse now that she’s 7 months. It took a turn for the worse literally two weeks ago. What can I do to bring back curls? 🙁

  • Amy
    February 3, 2018

    Hello, I was wondering if you could give me some advice. My baby is nearly 6 months old and her hair is growing on top but not around the sides and back. My partners family have suggested we cut the top hair so that it all grows evenly. But not with scissors, they suggested using a hair razor. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Would you recommend doing this?
    Thanks in advance,
    P.s, I find your Website very helpful!

    • Sandra
      February 4, 2018


      My girls have hair all around the top but the back and the side is not growing as much, in fact one the twins hair at the back and the side is bald. And yes they do sleep on the back at the moment, and they are also 3 months. I really don’t know what to do as I feel they are too young and I might not be able to use any products for their hair. The hair also gets really incredibly dry after even moisturising it frequently. HELP PLSSSS

      • My Afro Baby Editor
        February 5, 2018

        Everything you’ve described is NORMAL for that age group. Just breath and relax. The “fun” part will start soon. Wash weekly and then seal the moisture in with a natural oil like extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. (Test the coconut oil on a small patch first to gauge any allergies.) That’s truly all you need to do at this point. If you like, having them sleep on satin crib sheets should help with the friction and tucking a satin blanket around the head of their car seats helps as well.

    • My Afro Baby Editor
      February 5, 2018

      Glad you like the site!
      Cutting the hair even is a personal choice that really is up to you. It’s something that happens to be a tradition in a lot of communities. Do your research and see if you can find someone in your area that may have experience trimming or cutting baby’s hair; or if nothing else, do a quick YouTube search to discover the best/easiest ways to go about it. Good luck! 🙂

    • Diane
      April 3, 2018

      My son has the same thing I throught about but eventually it will grow out

      • Helenwalker 162@gmail.com
        July 28, 2020

        My grandson is 2 years old. His hair is long front back sides, soft & very thick. Hard to manage. Is it too early to trim his hair?

      • Gloria Deke
        October 5, 2020

        My baby is 6months now I’ve been styling her hair since she was 3months old and now it starts to fall off. What can i do or apply.?

    • Mamakailen
      September 21, 2018

      Plz don’t do this it changes the texture of babies hair. It will grow when it needs to. I promise I use Jojoba oil I’m my babies hair and helps with growth. Idk why they would suggest that. I’m sorry if I seem angry but I am bc unless people know factually what to do they should comment on your babies hair go with your gut mama. No one knows best like you do

  • Victoria Washington
    February 5, 2018

    I want to know what about deep conditioners? when is it ok that I introduce and how often? right now she is 9 1/2 months n I do use everything natural I wanted to use the Camille good naturals deep conditioner

    • My Afro Baby Editor
      February 5, 2018

      Introduce when YOU feel it’s necessary. If her hair is chronically dry, and you feel that she can manage a plastic processing cap on her head for 15 minutes or so, feel free to try! You’re creating this unique regimen based off of your child’s own unique needs. Try all natural at first and see how it works for you. There are some organic conditioners on the market as well if you don’t have the time to make your own. I’ve heard good things about the conditioner you mentioned. Try it and see how it works for her. 🙂

      • My Afro Baby Editor
        February 5, 2018

        To answer your question regarding how often, again, that’s up to you. Noticing a trend? lol. There is no definitive answer to your questions because the answers are all dependent on your child’s own hair needs. Start with once a week. If her hairs starts feeling limp and gummy, decrease deep conditioning to once every two weeks or once a month. This is all a journey of trial error and research. Good luck! 🙂

  • J
    February 7, 2018

    Hi, I am a foster parent of a 1 and 2 year old boy. I have no idea how to take care of their hair. I’ve been washing their hair daily, but after reading this article, I’m not sure that’s what I should be doing. Both have very soft hair. One has very tight curls, the other loose curls with a lot of straight strands. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Also, why satin sheets? Thanks

    • My Afro Baby Editor
      February 11, 2018

      Right, washing daily isn’t good because it removes the sebum from the hair which is something textured hair needs. Wash no more than once weekly and the hair should be sealed with a natural oil like extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil after washing. Satin sheets are used to reduce friction and dryness. 🙂 Keep reading and researching momma. You’ll get it.

  • SB
    February 10, 2018

    Hi. My 10 month old daughter has a head full of thick hair. The problem is that it’s super dry. I can only manage to comb it when it’s wet. What can I do about her dry hair?

  • Satori
    February 12, 2018

    I have a question my babies hair has fallen out in the front along her hair line I believe from doing ponytails too tight in the front. I’ve been told to just leave her hair alone now. But her hair is soooo dry do you think it’s best to just let her wear a fro and leave it alone or is it best to do a protective style to retain the moisture she’s 10 months.

    • Nosiphe
      April 13, 2020

      my baby was born with no hair and she’s turning 1 next month and still her hasn’t grown. What can i use to grow her hair?

  • Kat
    February 13, 2018

    My baby is 11 months ..she is my first kid, I dont really know how to take care of hair, my mom isnt able to help… Due to personal reasons. How am I supposed to take care of her hair what is the routine? I have used cantu products but i heard it had too many chemicals, I tried baby oil but it just makes her hair dryer, I bought organic virgin coconut oil but it doesnt make her hair soft, its still feels frizzy and dry. Did I not put enough? Or did I put too much? Please help, it seems loke when I take a step forward i get knocked 3 steps back ,I would like to try olive oil but I dont know which brand to get or what kind.

    • Satori
      February 13, 2018

      My baby was born with really course hair I first always spritz hair with a water/oil spray the. I use natural oil mixture and then i follow with whipped she’s butter it softens her hair and allows me to comb it out and style.

    • StephI
      September 20, 2018

      Try reading the article first and trying the routine she has outlined. I don’t think your child would need a totally separate routine than most black children.

  • Tonika Smith
    February 14, 2018

    Hi, my son is about too be 1 1/2yrs old and I wanted too know how often should I do the liquid and oil regimen I wash his hair only once a week and add a soft oil too it but the next few days his hair seems dry should I do this liquid and oil everyday and get him some silk crib sheets too lay on or a satin pillow case also too prevent dryness

  • Oesha Brown
    February 24, 2018

    Hi! Im a FTM and my baby is 7 weeks old. I made the mistake of over washing and her hair it is now dry. What are some good moisturizers. Considering her age..? Thank you in advance.

    February 26, 2018


    This was very eye opening. I too am a FTM and i have a 1 year old son whose little curly fro is growing. I noticed that a “dont” is not to use the same hair products i use. Lately his head has been itching and i think it is due to a few of the donts i did.. 1- washing his hair too much so it may be dry scalp 2 – using moms hair products..too harsh on his scalp 3 – no satin sheets/pillow case ..will be buying one!

    So now i am slightly freaking out because my son’s head is itchy and i want to correct that mistake ASAP 🙁

    Please help with any advice!


  • Alize
    March 1, 2018

    When do you recommend I start using coconut oil , I’m due in may ?

  • Tomeco
    March 13, 2018

    Hello, enjoyed the article. I have a 3 year old daughter and sometimes I feel like her hair is not growing as it should. I wash her hair every 2 weeks and I use the LOC method after washing it and put her hair in twists. I usually try to do styles that last a full week and throughout the week I may need to redo two or three ponytails, but for the most part little to no manipulation. The oils I use are castor oil and sometimes jojoba oil. Do you think the oils are too heavy for her hair? Also I may grease her scalp every other day because her scalp seems really dry at times. I use Shea Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner for her hair. Is she too young for a deep conditioner? Any advice or comments are appreciated.

  • Charymoore
    March 14, 2018

    I have a 3 year old baby, the front and the back hair lines are scanty, but the center hair is full. Please how can i help all her hair to grow evenly. i really admire kids with full hair lines

  • Sascha
    March 20, 2018

    Hello. What is your take on using aloe Vera on babies hair instead of extra virgin olive oil?

  • Jessica
    March 21, 2018

    Hi I love your blogs. Question, my daughter is is 19 months and she has two different types of texture hair. I’m trying to find the right products. It Is fine and curly and also kinky straight in some places. Her edges are also very fine and curly and won’t stay in place. I am only using coconut oil and cantu detangler. Can you give me any suggestions

  • Afia
    April 20, 2018

    Hi. My daughter had full hair but at seven months I was washing her hair daily and styling it daily too until I realised all the hair at the back and sides have thinned out. my sister told me to wash her hair once and use castor oil, natural Shea Butter and coconut oil mixed together on the hair. Do you think these will help?

  • Krystal Drayton
    May 17, 2018

    Hello, My 1 year old daughter has hair in the front but barely any hair in the back… I would braid her hair but I don’t know if I can catch the back… I want to do hairstyles on her so that I would not have to touch her hair for a minute.. but I literally do not know what to do… can you give me any suggestions to promote healthy hair growth for her… also my son 3 yrs old has a head full of hair but in the back its thinner than the rest of his hair… what can I do about that as well… thank you

  • Stacey
    June 19, 2018

    My son is 2 months old, I wash his hair once I week with baby shampoo and oil it immediately after washing but he has dry, flaky scalp and sweats bad…. it’s pretty for a day or two then the flakes start again and his scalp is visibly dry. What do I do?

  • Stacey
    June 19, 2018

    My son is 2 months old, I wash his hair once I week with baby shampoo and oil it immediately after washing but he has dry, flaky scalp and sweats bad…. it’s pretty for a day or two then the flakes start again and his scalp is visibly dry. What do I do?

  • Awofeso olawunmi
    July 1, 2018

    My daughter is six months old and her hair is not growing at all. Have been using coconut oil and Shea butter, but there has been no improvement. What do you think I should do.

  • Anonymous
    July 13, 2018

    Hi..my baby is 7 months old..Has this beautiful hair since birth. Problem is recently she has thinning hair at the back of the head. This area also has very tough hair. I wash her hair once a week and use olive oil then comb it out. How else can I maintain her beautiful hair and make it grow back?

  • Amber
    July 21, 2018

    My daughter is one and is mixed. She has really tight curls and it soaks up moisture and dries out quick. I don’t like having her hair up and leaving it down gets matted and tangled after nap time. What do you recommend I can use on her hair that isn’t harsh and won’t dry her hair out fast?

  • Ms.Russell
    July 23, 2018

    Hello I have a one year daughter who recently had braids put in her hair that lasted for about a week until I recently took it down. Now that her hair is down I’ve noticed she is completely bald all around her edges on her whole entirely head because, it was a struggle to get it out. Please help me what do I do for my babygirl hair to grow back soon ?

  • Asia
    August 8, 2018

    Hi my twins are 7 months when they were born they came out with a head full of hair their hair was doing good for a few months then they started getting a bald spot in the back hasn’t grew their hair back one of my twins had cradle crap but got that tooking care of them his hair grow back then start losing it again the back he has a spot in the back the other twin hair never had problem but he had a spot in the back still has hair sone sides are going away . I been using Shea moisturizer shampoo and olive oil and jooba oil coconut oil conditioning but they’ve been having olive oil in their hair since they were 2-3 months old never had a problem now it’s dry brittle I believe some of the natural oil left they still have some when I wash it I spray water and the oils that I use they pull each other hair that’s why they losing it I just need help to see how can I make it healthy or curly again please

  • Pam
    September 3, 2018

    Hello, Thank you for the post. It’s really an eye opener. My son is 4 months plus and has got lovely afro. The challenge I have is that it’s hard to come even after washing. I feel for my little boy bcos he cries when I come his hair. Please advise.

  • Anonymous
    September 26, 2018

    My child hair is 4C and very dry! I have tried several products, protected styles , Loc and bonnets. Her hair is also thin. Is there something else I should be doing? Her hair start losing moisture right away!

  • Anonymous
    October 1, 2018

    Hi. My little boy is 8 months old and has very thick curls (lucky for him- hard work for me!!). Just to paint the picture, it sits at around 1.5 inch high as relaxed fro but 4.5 inches when coils stretched out.

    Any tips on how to comb it out? It’s so thick and like torture trying to tease out knots. Currently using born curly (as I am) leave in conditioner and

  • Aisha
    October 1, 2018

    Hi. My lil boy is 8 months old with very thick and healthy hair ( lucky for him- HARD WORK for me). Just to paint the picture, it sits at around 1 inche as relaxed fro but 3.5/4 inch’s stretches out.

    Any tips for combing out knots as it’s like torturing him to try and get through it. I currently use born curly( as I am) leave in conditioner and hair/body oil. It’s looking healthy and growing well but sooooooooo hard to manage as he’s so young!

  • Ewura
    January 21, 2020

    Very informative and enlightening… It confirms a lot of things I heard.

  • Lakeisha
    February 14, 2020

    My 3 month old baby was born with a head full of hair.. when he was 2 months it started falling out.. people were pressuring me to get the cradle cap out.. so I used the sponge comb thing from hospital when I washed his hair.. then I used baby oil and his baby brush .. now he is shedding like crazy and has no edges.. he is pretty much bald now. I’m so terrified I did it. I have stopped now I washed his hair w a washcloth and that’s it. He still hs cradle cap or maybe excema idk. What can I use to help his hair grow back. I feel terrible.

  • Nosiphe
    April 13, 2020

    my baby was born with no hair and she’s turning 1 next month and still her hasn’t grown. What can i use to grow her hair?

  • Mimie
    June 27, 2020

    Love it. Tks

  • Nia
    August 17, 2020

    I am currently expecting my first born and building our baby registry with as many natural products as possible. I am wondering if I will need shampoo and conditioner for baby’s first months or if conditioner is something to introduce later on (around 6 months). From my understanding, your post says to just shampoo and lightly oil so I’m guessing conditioning baby’s hair doesn’t come till later?

    Also, I plan to use plain unscented Castile soap for baby’s body and I know it has many uses. I don’t like it for shampooing my own hair but do you think it could be a simple shampooing solution for baby’s first few months? Thank you!

  • Leana Carzim
    August 29, 2020

    Lovely page! Just to say that recently olive oil has been proven to affect the permeability of the skin so is no longer advised as ends up affecting the skin more. X

  • Debs
    October 5, 2020

    Hi Kesha
    Thanks for this informative article.
    I’ve got Cantu shampoo for kids. I was wondering if that’s okay to use on the hair of a 1 month old baby.


  • Gloria Deke
    October 5, 2020

    My baby is 6months now I’ve been styling her hair since she was 3months old and now it starts to fall off. What can i do or apply.?

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