Hair care for black toddlers can be complex. To figure out how to properly care for your toddler’s hair, following a few steps will create a routine resulting in long, strong, and healthy hair.
First step in hair care for black toddlers is to identify your child's hair texture
Hair textures range from 1-4 and determine which topical products are best fitted for your child’s hair. The numbers indicate the tightness of the curl; the lower the number, the looser the coil pattern. For example, hair in category one does not have a coil pattern. It is completely limp and also do not benefit from thicker products. They weigh the hair down and the strands will be too greasy. African-Americans and what’s considered mixed race children typically fall into the 2-4 category. Typically, African-Americans have a really tight coil pattern, ranging from 4a-4c. This texture is typically more dry and prone to breakage.
Proper moisture is key
A technique that works for this texture is to part your child’s hair into sections and massage oil into the hair, starting from the roots and work your way down to the ends. Dry ends lead to split ends, which will make hair brittle and impossible to retain length. Detangling and styling is a lot easier to do when the hair is properly moisturized.
Another moisture-retention method is co-washing. Because African-American hair is naturally more dry, washing hair every week is not necessary. Rather than washing with shampoo and conditioner weekly, washing hair with only conditioner, or co-washing, is a great alternative. Another moisture method is leave-in conditioner. Leave-in conditioners are great for detangling, heat protection, and helping maintaining styles.
A common misconception in the African-American hair care community is that water further dries out hair. Applying water prior to styling the hair is paramount to keeping it healthy. It also allows the oils to better penetrate and seal moisture into both the scalp and strands. It is also great to moisturize hair from the inside out. It is recommended to give your toddler adequate amounts of water to drink; dehydration contributes to brittle, damaged hair.
Use less manipulation
A great way to keep your toddler’s hair healthy is using less manipulation. This can be achieved by using protective styles. The proper protective style is determined by your child’s hair texture. Braids and twists are great for African-American hair textures because they last a while and are great for sealing moisture into the strands. They also protect the ends, which if left out are more prone to split ends and breakage. Protecting your toddler’s hair goes beyond styling. When your child sleeps, wrap their hair in a satin bonnet or scarf. Satin pillow cases are also recommended. Cotton pillow cases will cause hair to dry out even further, which eventually can result in bald spots.
After determining your toddler’s hair type, creating a personal regimen will immensely increase the probability of getting healthy hair. In addition to following a hair care regimen, proper diet, exercise, and rest are key. As complicated as African-American hair care seems to be, these steps will make maintaining your child’s hair a breeze. If your child suffers from a genetic predisposition to hair loss, consult a professional for tips on maintaining hair health.