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Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Tired of Tears? Hair Care for Multi-Ethnic Children

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Knots, and tangles, and tears, oh my! While Dorothy and her friends from The Wizard of Oz were scared with the thought of coming face to face with lions, and tigers, and bears, many parents of multi-ethnic children are just as apprehensive when faced with the task of washing, conditioning, and combing their child’s hair.

Dealing with frizzy, knotted, and tangled hair, are common concerns of parents with multi-ethnic children. Regardless of the ethnic background of the parents, a multi-ethnic child’s hair texture will probably be unlike either parent. Hair products that work for one parent, may not work as well, or at all in the child’s hair because the texture is a mixture of both parents hair. Many parents are then faced with a hair care dilemma and a lot of tears from the child. Here are some hair care tips from three parents who have figured out how to tame the tangles and ease the tears.

Tip: Curly hair needs lots of moisture. Leave-in conditioners work well.

Alisha and David have a 1 1/2 year old girl. “We wash our daughter’s hair every 2 to 3 days with a moisturizing shampoo,” says Alisha. “Afterward, we put in lots of oil, Johnson and Johnson oil gel has good consistency. Then we put her hair in pigtails or ponytails.”

Tip: A wide tooth comb is key for combing through tangles and grabbing the hair. Some parents just use their fingers and avoid the comb altogether. A hand is much softer and gentler in child’s hair.

“We don’t wash Lelolai’s hair every day. That would make us all miserable,” says Zaire and Eddie, of their 2 1/2 year old girl. “I try to wash it once a week. I use a no-suds shampoo for curly hair. My favorite is DevaCurl No-Poo. I try to detangle her hair with a wide tooth comb while she has the conditioner on.”

Tip: Do not wash hair every day.

Ben and Denise have a 2 1/2 year old son with a lot of hair. While Ben thinks that Isaiah should just get a buzz cut, Denise has weathered many screaming fits to maintain Isaiah’s beautiful curly hair.

“It sounds crazy, but I wash Isaiah’s hair once every 2 to 3 weeks,” says Denise. “I use Johnson and Johnson shampoo for curly hair. Then I use Pantene Relaxed and Natural Breakage Defense Deep Conditioning Mask. I lather it in his hair, mostly in the back, and comb it out with my fingers.” The Pantene deep conditioning mask is the same mask that Denise uses to condition her natural hair. So, sometimes, parent and child can use the same product.

Caution: Since Pantene is not a tear free formula for children; do not place any of the conditioner near the child’s eyes. Limit the application to the back of the hair so there is little chance the conditioner will get in child’s eyes.

“Finally, once the conditioning mask is washed out after a few minutes, I take a quarter size scoop of Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue curl cream, and run it through his hair using my fingers,” says Denise. “There are few knots and tangles to get through, and it only takes a few minutes. Just enough time for his father to sing a few songs or read a book or two to distract him.”

Tip: Braiding or twisting hair each night with a leave-in conditioner will prevent knots and tangles between washes and help the curls last longer.

“When I wash Lelolai’s hair and put in the hair products, I also spray her hair with Curly Q’s Moist Curl Moisturizer,” Zaire says. “Then, starting from the nape, I take small strands of hair, detangle them a bit with a comb, and just twist the hair around my index finger. It takes me 7 minutes. I also braid her hair as we read books at bedtime. Braids really help keep her hair untangled!”

These parents all have different techniques and products that they use in their child’s hair. But their common goal is to keep their child’s fragile hair healthy, manageable, and clean.

© 2010 – 2013, Denise Henry. All rights reserved.

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Denise is a freelance writer and editor. She has a 3 1/2 year old son, boy/girl twins born in March 2010, and a wonderful husband. For 7 1/2 years, Denise worked in the Classroom Magazine division of Scholastic Inc. as an Assistant Editor, Senior Editor, and then as Editor of Scholastic Action. Denise also worked for the following publications: The Harvard Business Review, Glamour Magazine, and One World Magazine. Denise enjoys working on writing children's books, exploring her amazing Brooklyn neighborhood, and spending time with her family and friends.

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  1. CommentsTired of Tears? Hair Care for Multi-Ethnic Children | InCultureParent   |  Tuesday, 30 November 2010 at 10:58 pm

    […] Excerpt from: Tired of Tears? Hair Care for Multi-Ethnic Children | InCultureParent […]

  2. CommentsTweets that mention Tired of Tears? Hair Care for Multi-Ethnic Children | InCultureParent --   |  Wednesday, 01 December 2010 at 12:29 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by crystal Tran, BeautynHealth. BeautynHealth said: Knots, and tangles, and tears, oh my! While Dorothy and her friends from The Wizard of Oz were scared with… #hair […]

  3. CommentsTired of Tears? Hair Care for Multi-Ethnic Children | InCultureParent |   |  Wednesday, 01 December 2010 at 1:13 am

    […] this article: Tired of Tears? Hair Care for Multi-Ethnic Children | InCultureParent Share and […]

  4. CommentsJing Z   |  Monday, 20 December 2010 at 1:09 am

    I never thought that childrens’ hair will be a trouble for parents. I just remembered whem I was a child, my mother always did different hair styles for me. Sometimes made me pained, however, on my just getting up from the bed.

  5. CommentsCurly Hairdo Ideas   |  Wednesday, 12 January 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Good article! there are lots of ways to care for curls and these tips will help alot! I have to add that there is no excuse to hurt your child’s head when combing, tho! If they say it hurts – STOP! Be more gentle! Build a foundation of trust and that will go a long way in your styling sessions…. and in life.

    Hair is our crowning glory – teach your child to love their hair and love themselves! No alteration needed.

    Thanks for the affirmation in this article that curly hair is worth it!

    ~ Karli from

  6. CommentsDT   |  Sunday, 08 July 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I have curly hair and have not used shampoo on it in over 2 years. I would encourage anyone dealing with curly hair to google how to care for it. I use conditioner as shampoo, and a brown sugar and oil scrub on my scalp. I also highly reccommend the Beautiful Curls product line. I hated my hair for 30 years but now that I know how to take care of it and use the right products I love it!

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