Scared, lack confidence, and feel unprepared to skillfully groom your child’s hair? Most parents, regardless of ethnicity, share those feelings when initially faced with grooming natural, coily hair. Most parents, like you, want nothing more than to ensure their child receives their best parenting. In your case, the best parenting involves the unique experience of skillfully grooming natural, coily hair. Do not let this challenge paralyze you! Grooming your children’s hair will proved one of the best ways of deeply bonding with them.  

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Avoid six mistakes some White parents make when acquainting themselves with natural, coily hair. First, do not try to identify with or understand the cultural, political, and social issues surrounding Black women’s grooming habits. Her physical beauty, especially her hair, still endures the most heinous treatment known to humanity. Daily, her physical beauty suffers from 1) cosmetology and barber professionals getting their license without demonstrating and testing for proficiency in grooming natural, coily hair, 2) on a large scale, top clothing manufacturers and designers refusing to design, manufacture, advertise, and market clothing to fit her unique range of body shapes, 3) the aesthetics community continuing to slowly develop and market makeup colors and application techniques better harmonizing with her darker skin tones, 4) the Military yet not allowing Black women to wear locks or hats better fitting their Afros, and 5) the media still broadcasting the most neglected, obese, and poorly-groomed expression or version of her physical beauty. On top of that, will her family members ever stop saying the most abusive and abrasive words when describing her rear, lips, nose, thighs, coil pattern, and coloring? Some employers still will fire or not hire Black women for wearing certain natural hairstyles and for demanding employers sanction Sisterlocks,TM Afros, and bald heads as acceptable corporate hairstyles. You cannot experience life, especially American Black life, quick and full enough to identify with or understand these cultural, political, and social issues of Black women haircare. Fighting to exercise your right and freedom to do so will only engender rude parental criticism, more frequent unsolicited haircare advice, strained relationships, less parenting confidence, personal anger, and fatigue. None of these consequences will improve your technical skills in cleansing and styling your child’s natural, coily hair.

Second, if you adopt a Black child, do not explain to anyone your reasons for doing so. Just live your best life knowing the adoption blesses you, the parent, as much as it blesses the child. If someone forces a conversation with you, then just tactfully say “thank you for sharing” or “thank you for your concern” and walk away.

Third, do not succumb to the societal pressure to relax or curly perm your children’s hair. Relaxers and curly perms foster fibroids, blood and lung cancer, early puberty, dermatitis, and obesity.  Most children forced to wear either relaxed or curly-perm hairstyles 1) never maximize their beauty potential, and 2) reach adulthood suffering from one or more of those aforementioned medical conditions.

Fourth, noooooooooooo, your children do not need to wear special headgear(e.g., scarves, caps, bonnets, or so-called “do” rags) while sleeping or swimming(e.g.,swimming with brand new or not fully mature SisterlocksTM). Using sleep-time headgear to preserve the freshness of your child’s hairstyle will prove futile since children too frequently and wildly change body positions during sleep to keep headgear in place. While your children sleep, the headgear will come off their heads and find a way to restrict their movement in bed. Children will feel the restriction, wake up, and try to re-attach the headgear. This situation will interrupt their sleep and make them feel less rejuvenated by morning. Wearing headgear while swimming also will prove futile since water will find its way inside even the tightest headgear. Natural, coily hair will absorb chloride when your children swim but a thorough shampooing and moisturizing treatment shortly after swimming will rid the chloride effects from their hair. Keep your children’s heads free from headgear so they can swim and sleep without restrictions.

Fifth, never think you have less ability than Black parents to groom natural, coily hair. Most Black parents demonstrate just as little skill in grooming their first-born child’s natural, coily hair as White, foster, and adoptive parents. No one enters this world skilled in grooming hair.

Last, do not let someone convince you natural, coily hair is inherently fragile and has limited growth potential. Natural, coily hair, when comparing different hair types of the same diameter size, can hold and endure as much weight and abuse as other hair types. Most natural, coily hair endures several decades of abusive relaxer and curly perm applications. Only the strongest hair can endure that kind of dissolving power. Natural, coily hair also grows to great lengths. Need proof? Research 1960’s and 1970’s-style Afros. Those Afros display great lengths. Even today, SisterlocksTM hairstyles extend well below their wearers’ shoulders.

Avoid making these six mistakes and you will evade some unsolicited advice and menacing stares, better brace yourself for undeserved criticism and disapproval, and greatly protect your mental health.

You will need a clear and open mind when trying to understand your child’s hair character. Your child’s hair does not have a “kinky” and/or “nappy” character.  Adjectives like “kinky” and “nappy” offensively and inaccurately describe their hair character. Do not use pejorative terms to describe your child’s hair. Pejoratively speaking about your children’s natural, coily hair will build the kind of embarrassment, shame, and inferiority lasting well into their adulthood. Their hair is not a hair-design mistake or a birth defect so use adjectives truthfully descriptive of it. The following adjectives fit that criterion: short or long, stiff or pliable, shallow or deep, shiny or matte, rough or smooth, coily or wavy, corkscrew or springy, and tight or loose. Using adjectives like these will force a very reluctant society to assign a new and accurate vocabulary to natural, coily hair while building your child’s pride, confidence, and honor in wearing it. Consult a licensed haircare professional to discover the adjectives best describing your child’s hair character. The consultation not only will help you reach that understanding, but also will help you discover natural hairstyles best harmonizing with your children’s facial features, and the best methods and tools for grooming their natural, coily hair.

Your consultation with a licensed haircare professional will reveal the best hairstyle for your child. If you want to maximize your child’s beauty and health potential, then consider an Afro, a bald head, or SisterlocksTM. Choosing to wear any other hairstyle will compromise you and your child’s health, finances, and emotions.

Consider this rule of thumb: The tighter the coil pattern, the shorter the hairstyle, the looser the coil pattern, the longer the hairstyle.

If your child’s hair reveals very tight coils(tangles quickly, mats easily), then make them wear a short Afro. Wearing a short Afro(one-half to one inch or shorter) ensures the most pain-free and least time-consuming grooming efforts. If your child’s hair reveals loose coils(wavy, easily detangles), then choose longer Afro hairstyles. Again, the coil pattern determines the length of hairstyle: tighter coils, shorter hairstyle; looser coils, longer hairstyles.

Let time and money factor into your hairstyle decision. The average parent cannot devote a lot of time and money to groom longer hairstyles. If this is your situation, then choose a shorter hairstyle. Most children look absolutely adorable in short Afros. If your child protests your decision, do not give into their demands! Most very young children do not truly value or appreciate the beauty of longer hair. Let them wear longer hairstyles when they mature enough to stand still while someone cares for their hair, and your time and budget can afford their higher maintenance costs. At that time, consider SisterlocksTM, the most exquisite hairstyle for Black women yearning long, natural hair. But, until your child matures and your budget can absorb higher maintenance costs, make your child wear a short Afro. Most parents find short-Afro maintenance very affordable.

Do not see many young Black children wearing a short Afro or a near-bald hairstyle? You see clearly! Most American Black children neither sport a short Afro nor a near-bald hairstyle. This situation, however, will not continue forever. In the very near future, parents will insist their children wear short Afros and near-bald hairstyles. Why? Black school-age children wearing short Afro and close-cropped natural hairstyles improve lifestyles. It saves the parents money and time since they will pay for fewer grooming products and make fewer trips to salons and barber shops. It saves the children certain heartaches and headaches since they will shed fewer tears about bad haircuts, peer teasing, bad hair days, and peer rejection.

Many African parents already require their school-age children wear short Afro or close-cropped natural hairstyles. In some Ghanaian, Nigerian, and Togo cultures, parents and governments require their school-age children wear short natural hairstyles until they graduate high school. The logic behind their requirement is the same as with uniforms: it guarantees homogeneity-every student dons the same hairstyle. Their children go to school without competing with fellow students for best hairstyle honors and without shedding tears over bad haircuts or hair days. The requirement ensures their children go to school without hair distractions since hair does not cover their faces, always appears neat and presentable, and does not develop a bed for lice.

In your social circle, you may find yourself the pioneering parents making your school-age children wear short Afro and near-bald hairstyles. Do not let your pioneering ways make you fret about loneliness. Other parents will notice your haircare and quickly follow your lead. In just a short while, more parents will recognize the financial, health, time, social, and academic logic and benefits of your children wearing short natural hairstyles and will insist their school-age children also wear them.

Your consultation with a licensed haircare professional will help you successfully continue your haircare pioneering and also reveal the best methods and tools for styling your child’s natural, coily hair. Your goal as your child’s first hair groomer is pain-free, quick picking and patting. Notice I say “picking” and “patting”, not combing and brushing. Never brush or comb, especially hotcomb, natural, coily hair: only pick and pat it into style! Brushing and combing either stretch, burn and/or tear natural, coily hair and abrade its cuticles. Always use a wide-tooth pick or your fingers to style natural, coil hair. Insert the pick into the hair and lift it straight up from its point of insertion. If the insertion repeatedly causes pain, then consider a shorter version of your chosen hairstyle. Continue choosing shorter hairstyles until you find one you can pick without causing pain. Never force your child to endure painful grooming. Painful grooming will cause your children to develop a deep-rooted hate for their hair and their unwillingness to care for it in the future. Special Caution: children with very tight and pliable coils should not wear long Afro hairstyles. If they do, they will experience unnecessary pain while styling their hair.

Make exception for near-bald hairstyles. Use a very soft brush(as soft as a toothbrush) or comb(fine-tooth) to groom them. Five or six strokes of the brush or comb over the entire head will sufficiently groom near-bald hairstyles. Grooming beyond five or six strokes risks irritating the scalp.

Never use a pick, brush, or comb to style Sisterlocks.TM Only use your fingers to style them.

Follow this advice to avoid children tantrums, power struggles, and torture claims during their grooming sessions.

Refer to the summary below for additional guidance when choosing a hairstyle:

Birth to 3 years: short, one length Afro, very loose plaiting or finger styling, very seldom picking and patting.

4 to 9 years: short to medium-length Afro, large plaits, wide parallel hair rows(derogatorily referred to as cornrows), careful picking and patting, softest brushing and combing.

10 to 18 years:   SisterlocksTM, very short and medium-length Afro, careful picking and patting, soft brushing and combing, smaller plaits, narrower parallel rows.

19 years and older:     SisterlocksTM, any length of Afro, fade, bald head, careful picking and patting, soft brushing and combing.

No mention, so far, of twisted hairstyles, especially ones with two-strand twists. What about them, you ask? Twisted hairstyles, especially ones comprising two-strand twisted sections, make quick work of adorably styling natural, coily hair. But, keep two things in mind when creating these hairstyles. One, never “white-knuckle” twist hair, meaning, never twist you child’s natural, coily hair with tension extreme enough to turn knuckles white. White-knuckle twisting will quickly and sharply break hair at its most taut points. Two, never leave your child’s hair in twisted formations more than one week. After a week, the twisted sections can mat and begin to permanently form into unstructured or less-refined locks, a detangling challenge tedious to conquer and painful for your child to endure. Black children too frequently endure the pain of wearing headache-inducing hairstyles and the torture from getting matted hair detangled. These conditions have resulted in many Black children sporting severely-eroded hairlines, weakened hair follicles, and several broken hair strands before they reach puberty. If you or someone else cannot protect your child against white-knuckle twisting and premature locking, then do not let your child wear twisted hairstyles. Instead, make them wear a short Afro. Only consider other hairstyles when you can spend more time and money maintaining hairstyles requiring more time and money.

Parents, what parts of your bodies go a week without cleansing? None of them! Then why should your child’s hair and scalp go a week without cleansing? They should not! Regardless of condition, cleanse your child’s natural, coily hair and scalp whenever they smell sweaty, collect noticeable debris, or reveal chlorine or styling-product buildup. Most haircare professionals do not recommend everyday cleansing. Aim to cleanse their hair  and scalp every third day. This approach will help preserve their hair and scalp’s natural oil and moisture levels. Never go more than a week without cleansing their hair.

Wet your child’s hair, generously apply to it a salon-quality, moisturizing shampoo, and softly massage the shampoo into their hair and scalp. Move your fingers in back and forth motions, not circular ones. Circular movements create tangles. Unless heavily soiled with debris or chlorine, one application of shampoo will perfectly cleanse the hair and scalp. Completely rinse out the shampoo, apply  a salon-quality detangler, leaving it in the hair for three minutes(shorter time for shorter hair, no more than five minutes for longer hair). Detangler replenishes moisture lost while shampooing the hair and adds slip so hair strands cannot easily matt or grab each other. Rinse out the detangler, towel or blow dry the hair, then pick and pat it into your desired Afro shape(usually round).

Follow a slightly different routine if you desire plaits or parallel rows(again, derogatorily referred to as cornrows) as a final hairstyle: after rinsing detangler from the hair, completely blow dry it and use a rattail comb to section the hair into desired geometric shapes for plaiting or into desired parts for parallel rowing.

Several sources stress the importance of using oil to moisturize natural, coily hair. Ignore them! Please understand one cannot moisturize hair with oil. Oil, grease, and their derivatives can soften, soothe, and add shine to hair and scalps but they cannot  moisturize them. Only water can moisturize hair and oil is not water. If your child’s hair and scalp feel and appear dry, then apply a moisturizer, not oil, to the hair and scalp. The destructive cultural practice of oiling natural, coily hair has caused poorer hygiene, soiled clothing, reduced intimacy, unnecessary odors, excessive debris accumulation, and exacerbated dandruff. Avoid these conditions by using a moisturizer, not oil, to add water to your child’s hair.

Several sources also stress preventing moisture loss in hair by only sleeping on silk or satin pillow cases. They claim silk or satin pillow cases protect hair from moisture loss. Again, ignore them! Sleeping on satin or silk pillow cases represents haircare overkill. Save money by purchasing and making your child sleep on cotton pillow cases. Cotton pillow cases will absorb only negligible amounts of moisture from your child’s hair and will cost far less to buy, launder, and replace than satin or silk ones.

Cleansing brand new SisterlocksTM starts by bundling them in manageable sections. For locks shorter than four inches, cover the entire head with a fish-net-style hair net. For locks four inches or longer, divide the locks into eight sections(more for denser heads of hair) and put rubber bands on the end of each section. For better control, loosely plait each section. Thoroughly saturate the locks with water and a salon-quality purifying or volumizing shampoo. Massage the shampoo into the scalp and locks, moving fingers from the base of the locks to their ends. Never scrub Sisterlocks.TM. Doing so fosters unraveling and shaggy surfaces. Thoroughly rinse the shampoo from the locks and towel-dry them. Remove the netting on shorter locks or unbraid the longer ones. Grab a handful of locks into your left hand and, with your right hand, starting at their bases, slowly pull away locks one at a time from the locks held in your left hand. Never rip or snatch locks apart. Take your time and, with your right hand, slowly pull away locks one at a time from your left hand until you have separated every lock held in your left hand. This separates all the locks so each lock stands individual and does not share a stray hair with or clings to a neighboring lock. Repeat this separation process over the entire head until you have separated every lock. Finish drying the locks using your desired method and style them as you desire. Continue these procedures until the locks mature. You will know locks have matured when they consistently stop unraveling while shampooing or towel-drying them.

No need to cover, section, or plait mature SisterlocksTM when shampooing. Thoroughly wet them with a salon-quality moisturizing shampoo. Massage scalp and locks, moving fingers from the base of the locks to their ends. Again, never scrub Sisterlocks.TM.  Stroke them in a caring, zigzag motion along the length of the locks starting from their bases to their ends. Thoroughly rinse the shampoo from the locks and towel-dry them. Separate each locks so none of them shares a stray hair with or clings to a neighboring one. Finish drying the locks using your desired method and style them as you desire.

Consult a licensed/certified SisterlocksTM professional for additional advice on grooming Sisterlocks.TM

Clip-in, color, and feather extensions cause little-to-no damage when temporarily worn for special occasions or events. When applied and maintained by very skilled haircare professionals, hair extensions, regardless of attachment method and materials used, pose negligible harm to mature hair and scalps. The average person however, rarely employs highly skilled haircare professionals to properly apply and maintain hair extensions. The average person employs a self-taught, unlicensed, self-proclaimed extensionist using lower quality products and equipment to create a new hairstyle. Their use of industrial-strength glues, cigarette lighters, blunt-end hooks, over-heated curling irons and liquids, and skin-chafing faux hair strands and wefts has resulted in Black women recording some of the worse cases of headaches, inflamed, burned, and raw hair follicles and scalps, allergies, permanent hair loss, low self esteem, poor self image, overspending, and poor time management. Children should not experience these conditions. Putting extensions on your children’s still-developing hair and scalps guarantees they will.

Why damage your children’s physical and emotional wellbeing by exposing them to such harmful products and procedures? The exposure will destroy their still-developing bodies and emotions, causing them to severely doubt their physical beauty and you, their parent, to spend on unplanned medical and psychological help addressing the poor attitude your children display about their physical beauty.

The world has never seen Black women and their natural, coily hair at their physical best. Why? Most Black women reach adulthood with scared scalps and very little healthy natural hair. America’s richest Black women, most accomplished Black female models, actors, and entertainers, highly-anointed Black female pastors, preachers, and evangelists, most successful Black female business professionals, most decorated Black female educators, most politically and socially-influential Black women, even the most knowledgeable, talented, and respected Black female haircare professionals, must permanently wear wigs, weaves and extensions to hide their irreversibly- damaged natural, coily hair and scalps. Without healthy scalps and hair, Black women cannot maximize their beauty potential. Keep relaxers, curly perms, and extensions off your children’s heads so they can have the greatest chance to achieve their physical best.