Does your child scream at the sight of a comb?
Is every morning filled with tears?
If your child is running amuck while you try to tame that mixed race curly hair goodness on their head, I have five tips for you.
Today, we are going to address a common concern regarding mixed race curly hair care. I am going to finally shed some light on answering the number one question on my mixed race curly hair playlist on my YouTube channel: How does my daughter sit still [for so long] while hairstyling? Let’s break it down.
But first— if you are new, welcome to my little corner of the internet! Introductions: I am a full-time YouTuber, wife, and mom of two beautiful girls. I have a YouTube playlist on my channel sharing my advice in caring for my daughters’ mixed curly hair.
My daughter, Mya currently has hip-length brown, curly hair with natural blonde highlights. My husband is half German; and yep, my father-in-law has blue eyes and blonde hair. Now that we’ve got the FAQs out of the way — let’s dive into my tips on how to get your child to sit still for hairstyling.
This post is all about how to style mixed race curly hair.
Mixed Race Curly Hair Tip #1: hairstyling when bringing home baby
To be honest, “starting young” was a tip I picked up from mommy dearest. Funny pregnancy story: before we knew the gender, my mom said, “I hope you have a boy because you don’t know how to do hair.”
My YouTube subscribers know I loathed Barbies growing up; and I was extremely lazy with my own hair. (Hair down, left part, let’s keep it moving.) So yes, mother had a point. But, I remember my mom doing my hair since I was very young. Fast forward to Christmas 2014, and after three pushes, Mya was born with a full head of hair.
This is what I keep in mind, if I’m being completely honest, I should NEVER leave the house with hair and makeup, yet my daughter looks like she rolled out of the crib. I mean seriously if I’m taking time to get “pretty,” what is stopping me from doing the same for my daughter?
Before Mya could scoot or rollover, I used the generic baby brush to brush her hair in place. Now, I didn’t brush Mya’s hair every day; but starting when she was a newborn associated hair brushing as a soothing and calming experience which became a “norm” in our everyday routine.
Now, yes there were times when she tried to fuss, but I would say, “Mommy is almost finished with your hair. You can sit still like a big girl, right?” Or I would follow her around the house styling her hair. In doing so, Mya knew we were not leaving until she had, a least, a basic hairstyle.
Mixed Race Curly Hair Tip #2: just go for the goldfish
When I am styling Mya’s hair for my YouTube curly hair tutorials, I know it will be a lengthy-time period [since I’m featuring multiple curly hairstyles]. So, what’s my secret? Food and entertainment.
Entertainment can include a book, television, an app on your phone (the ABC Mouse and Kids Bible apps are great), or good old pencil and paper. Basically, you want to associate fun with hairstyling. Make sure to pair hair care with your child’s favorite activity, and with some time, it should be an enjoyable and smooth experience for both of you.
Now forewarning: you do not want your child to expect entertainment when you grab the comb and brush. Sound confusing? Let’s say it’s taking a tad longer than expected to nail down those infinity braids. This would be a perfect example to utilize goldfish. But — you probably don’t want your curly hair kiddo to eat an entire bag of goldfish, right? (Been there done that. Oops.)
Utilizing food and snacks are great to keep everyone sane for hairstyling while you get the hang of it. But, exercise with caution because children thrive on routines. Just imagine your weekly exercise routine. When you miss a week at the gym, your body is quick to tell you, Hey, what happened to us getting gains?!
If you miss a step in your morning routine, you might be irritable for the rest of the day. The same happens with your little darling. And there should be no surprise how your child reacts when you’re in a rush and running late for school and/or work.
If you’re going to use food and entertainment while learning to style curly hair, try to switch it up so your child doesn’t expect “goldfish” or your phone every time. Again (speaking from personal experience), I had to distinguish “sitting still for hairstyling” is the norm, not “sit still and you get food.”
Mixed Race Curly Hair Tip #3: prep hairstyle the night before
When you begin styling your child’s curly hair at night, this develops another routine. What this does is actually benefit you more than your child, because it gives you a chance to make your life a million times easier. When you start hairstyling at night, you’re able to take your time.
You have the opportunity to get your hairstyle prepped for the next morning, instead of frantically scrolling Pinterest for an idea when you’re already half past late.
Prepping your child’s hair at night also allows you to be in a much calmer mood because it eliminates rush which kids sense very easily. My daughter, Mya has a ton of energy during the day. Her wash days are longer because her hair is hiplength.
I started washing her hair at night because it gives her a chance to wind down before bed without the television. Mya usually had a snack already for the night, so my two bribe options aren’t necessary at this point.
For me, this also gives us the opportunity to bond with her because, as most of you know, we have a one-year-old baby girl named Mariah. My husband will put Mariah to bed, which gives Mya another sense of calm.
Having a wash day before bed allows her to have a chance to get personal attention without distraction from the television, our youngest, or the desire to go play outside because she already knows it’s time for bed soon.
Practicing on a weekend also gives you more time to practice your skills.
By the time we are back upstairs and I’m putting conditioner on her hair, Mya usually falls asleep immediately when I’m finished. Because she’s [finally] worn out and ready for bed at this point, she is less like to be antsy even if she didn’t want to sit still.
Now, what will help complement the calm bedtime behavior is practicing on the weekends. If you don’t have anywhere to go, get your child involved with their curly hair. Let your child pick a curly hairstyle from Pinterest or even their favorite Disney character.
This will, again, allow them to associate “fun” with hairstyling. Your child will usually have more patience and enthusiasm to sit still because they’re excited to see the end result in how well you did.
If you’re learning how to French braid, regular braid, twist/cornrow, perfect your parts, or just trying to master getting all of that curly hair in a ponytail holder… Whatever it is, you have the time to try when you are already spending family time at home.
Mixed Race Curly Hair Tip #4: Teach how to love curly hair
This is the main reason why I decided to transition from my relaxed hair last year. In the same way, you want to associate “fun” with hairstyling, you want to teach your child to love their natural curls.
In America, there is a stigma that “natural hair is nappy.” I’ve read it online, witnessed, and experienced it in person hearing the comments of personal preference — to me, it is personal prejudice. It is one thing to have a “preference,” but for those who shun a particular hair type, any other than straight is prejudiced to me.
Honestly ask yourself: do you get frustrated because their curls aren’t behaving?
Are you getting upset because the hairstyle doesn’t look right and you have to keep starting over?
Are you constantly straightening their curly to make it easier for you?
How often do you start and give up on hairstyling because you are running late?
Now, I’m not pointing the finger. After I gave birth last year, my emotions were all over the place. My attention was on Mariah more because she was obviously a newborn. With Mya now being an older sister, I expected more of her which wasn’t fair because she obviously didn’t know how to do that.
Be careful how you emotionally respond when styling curly hair.
In my inner emotional distress, I didn’t notice Mya was being teased at school [for having curly hair]. When I heard Mya start referring to her hair as “crazy” that’s when I realized something was off.
That weekend, I caught Mya looking for our kitchen scissors.
At the time, I had relaxed straight hair, and showing Mya old pictures of myself with curly hair didn’t help because she thought I was a different person. So, I told her I would make my hair curly again because I wanted my hair to be just as beautiful as hers.
Of course, Mya doesn’t understand “going natural” so, in the meantime, I pointed out other curly hair kids in the grocery store and at church. When I pointed out friends in Mya’s class, she saw that the girl who teased her “probably feels sad because everyone else in your class has curly hair.”
I share that story because kids aren’t born knowing they are “different” until it’s pointed out to them. They aren’t born knowing their shapes or that a straight line is different from a wavy line.
As parents of curly hair children, we need to always remind our kids that they have beautiful curls whether that’s said verbally or not.
Mixed Race Curly Hair Tip #5: buy the right curly hair tools
Now, this can honestly be frustrating because you have to learn what works best for their hair just as you would with your own hair. For example, when I had relaxed hair or even when I straightened my natural hair, the same product didn’t work each time.
In my mixed race curly mixed hair playlist, I list the products I am using on Mya’s curly hair in that video and discuss Mya’s product regimen. I also have an Amazon store that has a complete list of products I use for both my girls. To keep it sweet and simple, the number one staple in maintaining healthy curly hair is water and a lot of patience.
Get a spray, actually, get two in case you lose one (this one is my favorite), and make it part of your everyday routine in styling your child’s hair. Water alone will do wonders for your child’s curly hair, as well as the right brush and/or wide-tooth comb.
All in all, curly hair styling isn’t nearly as strenuous as you may think or have heard. Mixed race curly hair just gives your child even more personality and allows you to change their perspective on how they view themselves, especially when society will teach them otherwise.