Yetta Harris offers classes to free classes to parents of black or biracial children.

Yetta Harris

Yetta Harris

Yetta Harris always was tempted to offer advice to the parents of biracial children she saw around town.

'I wanted to ask if they needed help,' Harris said. 'But I didn't want to embarrass them.'

When she became a stylist at Blues Hair Studio in Madison, Wis., she suggested offering free classes to parents of black or biracial children. The first class was held this summer and since then, she has held eight classes, helping dozens of parents learn what to do -- and what not to do -- with their children's hair. On slow weeks, she also offers private lessons. The next class will be held at 7 p.m., Jan. 6 at the salon at 1222 WIlliamson St. 'It's been incredible,' Harris said.

'For some of these parents, I'm like the second coming.'

Among the techniques she teaches are how to comb through the hair, how to detangle it and how to use the right products. She believes using products like hair relaxers is a big commitment and tries to teach parents how to work with their children's natural hair.

'I think a lot of children grow up associating their hair with pain,' she said. 'It hurts so much to comb through. I want to help them appreciate their hair.'

Tips from Yetta

  • Use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.
  • Don't use petroleum-based products on the scalp
  • Shampoo and condition, combing through the hair with a wide-toothed comb while the conditioner is still in the hair.
  • When blow drying, use a hair net on the head rather than a diffuser. It's quicker and gives better curl formation.
  • Only wash the hair once a week.
  • The next class will be held at 7 p.m., Jan. 6 at the salon at 1222 Williamson St. For more information, call (608) 250-5232.