We see boys and girls running around with curls, coils, and locs, so the grooming lessons are needed for anyone with more than an inch of hair. Basic hair care needs will one day become their own responsibility, so unless you want them blindly thrashing, you have to teach them routines, techniques, and basic hair hygiene.
Washing hair routines
Washday is the longest day for most naturals. There is pre-pooing, detangling, cleansing, deep conditioning, and styling. Depending on your schedule, goals, and your hair’s needs, the day can be a chore. As you drag your child through this ritual are they paying attention to what you are doing? No, they are not. There needs to be conversation and even participation (when they are old enough) so they first understand why we do what we do and then learn how to do it.
Start young and stay consistent with cleansing routines. If you want them to have a good understanding of the importance of clean hair, then they need to see it occurring. There are product lines for children that are great for their beautiful hair. Try them out and see if you like them and if they like them. Get them involved in the process as soon as they show an interest. And when they are old enough, teach them how to read labels and which ingredients to look for.
The wonders and dangers of heat
You may already be applying heat to their hair, whether it is a flat iron or blow-dryer. No matter what you are using, make sure you teach them about the benefits and drawbacks of heat styling. When you educate your child about the proper tools, techniques, products (e.g. heat protectants), and temperatures then heat styling can be used effectively to lessen the potential of heat damage.
Teaching your child about using heat means educating them on the effect of too much heat, too high heat, and not using correct tools to ensure heat damage does not occur. Do not wait until they leave the nest. Make sure they understand how to properly care for their tresses when using heat and if you do not feel comfortable using heat then consult a professional. It is better to allow someone else to do it than to possibly damage your child’s tresses.
Color, chemicals, and care
Most of us hope chemicals are not introduced too early in our child’s life, despite the fact that many naturals had relaxed hair as children. This norm of the past is giving way to embracing natural hair and that comes with the acceptance of coily, curly, and wavy tresses that were once considered bad. All hair is good, and as we nurture our children’s hair we must educate them on some chemicals that are more popular and appropriate for adults. Adding color to your child’s hair can be done with hair chalk or even cream eye shadows, so using chemicals are not necessary. It is fun, inexpensive, and much safer than using chemicals.
There may be a time when your teenager may want to experiment with permanent color and texture altering products, so make sure they are aware of the dangers of not using them properly and overall risks. There is no guaranteed way to prevent damage. Chemistry expert Anne Marie Helmenstine says that using bleach will lighten the hair by reacting to the melanin in the hair and removing the color through an irreversible chemical reaction. Teaching your child everything about hair bleaching is not necessary, especially when small, but they do need to know how this process will change the hair, as the need for protein treatments and deep conditioning may have to be incorporated in his or her regimen more frequently. Deep conditioning and retaining moisture will always be necessary when working with chemicals of any kind.
Are they necessary? To some yes, but not so much for others, as many naturals have embarked on the DIY hair care trek with huge success. From trims and hair color, there are more naturals taking the plunge and allowing bloggers, vloggers, and hair sites to guide them on at-home hair care. Introducing your child to a salon is a great way for them to know there are resources for them. No one says you have to do everything for their hair, so if you feel more comfortable seeking out a professional for certain styles or treatments just take out the time to find them. Check out our salons around the country that cater to curls, waves, and coils so you know they will be able to care for your child’s tresses.
When will you start teaching your child to self groom?