Amy's hard-won guidelines are well worth noting

Brown Babies Pink Parents

My new book, "Brown Babies Pink Parents", is officially six weeks old and I am thoroughly enjoying the feedback pouring into my inbox, especially about the chapter on hair. Every adoptive mother has a story to tell about learning to comb their daughter’s hair. Some are tremendously funny and others aren’t so much. The most frequently asked question I receive as the white mother of African American daughters has to be about the hair and I am so proud to say, “I did it!” It wasn’t easy to learn how to care for my children’s hair and my mission is now to pass along those hair lessons to other mothers. If nothing else, I want to say, “Don’t be afraid! Give it a try and then practice. You can do it!” For this purpose, I have created the Ten Commandments of Black Hair Care for White Parents, as found in Chapter 8 of "Brown Babies Pink Parents."

  1. Thou shalt not wash your child’s hair every day.
  2. Thou shalt not treat your child’s hair as your do your own.
  3. Thou shalt apply oil to your child’s scalp daily.
  4. Thou shalt comb hair on a regular basis despite tears, screams, and tantrums.
  5. Thou shalt commit yourself to learning the art of hair maintenance.
  6. Thou shalt seek professional help from a licensed stylist when in doubt.
  7. Thou shalt practice, practice, practice.
  8. Thou shalt avoid sandboxes.
  9. Though shalt not take every piece of advice offered to you regarding hair and skin.
  10. Though shalt not let younger children style their own hair.

I can’t imagine how you could go wrong if you follow these simple guidelines. The rest is gravy! Specific styles can be learned. The important thing is to open yourself to the experience of learning a new skill. I have a creative freedom with my children’s hair that I will never know with my own. When I was a little girl, there were 3 hair styles available to me —one pony tail, two pony tails, or French braids, which I now know originated in Africa, not France. Not so for my girls! My children’s hair can be shaped and sculpted into a multitude of styles, making me feel like a hair artist. Yes, learning a new skill can be intimidating, but only as long as you allow yourself to be intimidated. Isn’t your baby love worth it?

Amy Ford

I truly hope this lady knows some black women with healthy beautiful "natural" hair because some of these 10 commandments should be bumped for. 1. Water is the best moisturizer for your black child's hair. 2. A good natural moisturizer like something by Curls, Jane Carter, etc should be applied to the child's hair daily (after misting lightly with water). 3. A good natural oil (coconut oil, jojoba, extra virgin olive oil) should be lightly applied to the hair AFTER applying the moisturizer. 4. Hair should be shampoo'd at least once a week with a no sulfate shampoo. 5. Use a large tooth comb when detangling ( and never comb completely dry hair...mist with water). 6. If a brush is used, it should be a very soft boar bristle brush and should only be used to gently smooth down edges...never brush through the entire length of the hair. 7. Never tear through the hair from root to ends. Don't force it. Gently start from the ends of the hair to detangle and work your way up until full length of hair is detangled. 8. If you seek the advice of a sure its a stylist who works with natural african american hair so that you don't get talked into a kiddy perm, a texturizer or some other chemical process. 9. Sandboxes don't have to be a scary place...just be prepared to shampoo the after you've shaken as much sand out as possible. 10. Do handle with a silk pair of stockings. Tightly curled/coiled hair can tend to break easily. Good luck!

While I agree with MOST of the commandments, you cannot COMB most mixed or african American hair everyday. Especially if it has some length to it. You cannot or should not comb dry hair. I really can't wait to read the sequel to this book once the girls hit their TEENS. … These methods she has "mastered" will go out the window … you can leg wrestle a toddler, but a 13, 14, 15 etc year old????? What's her expert advice for a girl that age who refuses to put any effort into her hair? Because I surely need some. Leg wrestling and popcorn just don't cut it.

Combing: Don't use a comb. Use fingers on sectioned & lightly misted hair (water or water-conditioner mix) and use KCKT. Finger detangle in sections then comb using a wide toothed comb. Twist or braid large sections to keep them detangled for washing or drying depending which stage you are at. Sand - dry hair: fluff hair while child hangs head upside down. wet hair: use shower head to rinse, fluffing, while child holds head down. IF there is sand left later fluff again as above when dry. If you skip your "Commandment 3" which is unnecessary the sand will be easier to get out.

Wow Malva6! It sounds like you have mastered hair combing or have been blessed with a very patient child! My 2 older daughters are a breeze, but it took time to get them to the point where I can have them sit still on a regular basis for up to an hour at a time to comb hair. My youngest has the tightest curls of them all and we use everything from books, videos, and popcorn to bribe her to sit still! I would love to hear your secrets for combing the hair of black children. And if you have the magic formula for getting sand out of black curls, share that too! I've sat in the bath tub with more than 1 child for hours getting sand out!

Combing despite tears, screams and tantrums??? Avoid the sandbox???? And this from supposed curl experts? Your site has plummeted in my eyes. Hope other parents aren't taking your advice!