Finding it really hard to manage Afro hair - Help pls(32 Posts)
Hi my DD is 12yrs old & refuses to have anything but a mid high pony tail for the last 2 years. At the same time it has become so thick and even dryer than it was before. (Don't know if it's a result of this.)
For the first 10 yrs I learnt how to cornrow, braid and always styled her hair as she liked it like that. Well not the styling part but once it was done lol.
Anyway this last year I am at the point of wanting to shave it off ( I wouldn't) because it is so thick and she hates it being brushed, which takes a good hr or more and it hurts her head so much.
I have changed products a few times but nothing works, one made it thicker!
I've been looking on line and I don't know what number letter type high low etc etc etc her hair is, I'm really confused.
Please help I have no one to ask, I'm too shy to ask a hairdresser. I did once any she wasn't very helpful.
Oh btw I am white asian and her dad is Jamaican.
Sorry about the essay & Thank you in advance x
When I brush her hair it doesn't look any different. Doesn't go thinner for more than that moment of brushing it with a tangle teaser. As soon as I move to the next section it's thick and drying again. I put it into twists over night and it looks even more wild, bushy, thick than the evening before.
It's thick, dry, corse, drys in minutes with water, take longer to dry with cream.
Your problem is not the thickness, it's the dryness. So I would look at first trying again with the moisturising products you already have, but using more of them, and if that's no use then swapping to something more intensive. What have you been using?
I'd agree that it's likely that her hair is drier, coarser and more tangled as a direct result of daily ponytails rather than longer lasting protective styles - it's free to tangle every day, and then you are having to detangle it twice each day (potentially without enough conditioner to protect it). I'm afraid I can't advise on this as my child is much younger and currently still v amenable to braids! But I also wonder (without seeing her hair), how much it might be a case of embracing her hair as it is? 'Wild, bushy, thick' hair in the morning after being twisted overnight could describe the (healthy, beautiful) hair of a number of my adult friends - it might not be as easy to care for as the finer, more loosely-curling hair some people have, but it's not automatically a problem to be fixed.
Maybe find a hair dresser who knows afro hair and take your daughter to them? They'd know best.
When you say asking a hairdresser, you do mean a hairdresser for afro hair don't you? Most others won't have a clue. Don't be embarrassed, I think they are your best bet and wouldn't think you silly at all.
Hopefully someone will be along with good ideas but I think you will probably have to try again at another hairdresser, because you'll only get reliable advice from someone who's familiar with all types of afro hair and the respective products, and who can see and handle your daughter's. Then they'll be able to demonstrate the correct techniques and watch you practice or teach your daughter how to manage it herself.
Book a proper consultation - it's a shame the last time you tried they weren't helpful but I'm sure most people in the business won't turn away a potential loyal customer. If you're nervous then ring and ask to speak to the person who you'll deal with and explain your problem so they understand the help you need.
At 12 she should be managing her own hair. That being said, you could steer her towards appropriate products. Sounds like she needs to oil her hair. How often does it get washed. Should not be more than once a week. Just google mixed race hair products. My dd has quite a few friends with mixed race hair and they all went through a rebellion around age 12 where they left behind braids/corn rows, but weren't sure what to do next. The state of confusion and disarray of their hair did not seem to be related to whether their mothers were white, asian or black and much more about their own age and insecurities, so don't feel guilty.
‘At 12 she should manage her own hair’ as a mixed race person this is something I agree for Caucasian/Asian/loose textures of hair however not many Afro haired girls manage their own hair and it’s unrealistic to expect them to be able to without protective styles.
what products do you use?
i have boys and they have theirs short but it does get very dry. we have always used shea butter.
however i recently read that some people claim it does more harm than good and they recommend aloe vera instead
I would avoid using the hairdryer all the time. Most of the time, the problem is keeping the moisture in the hair. Can you try towel drying her hair, then adding a moisturising cream & then plaiting her hair so it can retain the moisture? You may find that when you undo the plaits she will have nice curls that could be left out or styled as you like.
I forgot to add, take a look on YouTube, there are a lot of hair tutorials that will show you how to care for hair that is the same texture as your daughter.
Steer clear of hairdryers. How often does she wash it? I try to do my boys once a week maximum, longer if they can.
A correct brush/comb is important too. I suggest getting some CurlyKids hair care products, I think they are fab.
Just wet it, use a generous amount of the Leave in conditioner and use a wide tooth comb, this stuff is magic the comb will glide through.
Then she needs to be greasing her hair every day. Especially when it is so cold, it will be damaging her hair. For everyday oiling I suggest coconut oil. She should really be using a 'Durag' at bed time to avoid her hair drying out/breaking.
If you go to your local black Afro hair shop, you will be able to pick up all of the things I have just said for a total of under £20.
Does she want her hair to be out? I'd suggest finger curling it whilst it is wet.
I agree she should be using oil and stuff herself now, but mixed race hair is a whole another ball game so completely understand that it is still your responsibility, I still do Dp's.
Wow Thank you everyone, so lovely to wake up to so many messages 😘 Feeling so emotional atm with life xx
Detangle twice a day? She puts a second hair tie 1/2 way down ponytail at night. Lost the sleep cloths/wraps. It's a fight to fully brush weekly let alone daily.
Mornings for me - Take hair out, open out, spray with water, put cream on the bottom 1/2 of hair inside and out & lightly brush it. Little more over the outside. Brushing all the outside back into a ponytail, Then when tied back I brush the tail so it goes all wild. She likes it wild, just would like it more defined and less dry.
She is in a mainly, to be blunt, white Sch. She's told me girls and boys make remarks behind other girls backs saying braids/corn rows are horrible, smell, look silly and more.
She loves her natural hair and wants to wear it down but it's just huge and dry and matts in minutes. Plus not really suitable for Sch.
Fatso1978 Astridwhite Gaudeamus
There are now 2 Afro hairdressers in town. 1 I went to twice when I treated her to extensions. Just before the rebellion. That one made me feel small and like a silly kid, the looks and comments.
The other, the lady is nice but I only get 'brush it and use this' with her.
The one I went to many years ago was sorry to say very racist towards me, treated me like rubbish. Totally ignored me at the beginning then spoke to me like scum. Was horrible.
I can just about manage her hair, there is no way she could or any other child the condition it's in atm.
For DD it's seniors that has caused the hair rebellion. Just glad/lucky/happy she loves her Afro.
I can't help feeling guilty - I'm her mum, I should be able to manage her hair. I used to for 10 years, new/repeated styles every 1-2months, Mainly cornrows she chose.
Totally agree Hun
I've used so many as noticed as she's grown up her hair has changed slightly. Until she was 10yrs old, now it's like a different child's hair.
This year I've tried
'Soft and Free' recommended from hairdresser. Didn't help, change her hair. Gave it a good few months too.
Next L'Oreal have an Afro range. Used the Curl Nourishment Cleansing Conditioner for a few months. Had a matting issue as I had been in hospital and unwell and my mum didn't know how to manage her hair but didn't say. Anyway YouTube suggested to put tonnes of conditioner on her hair over night and try to pull, tease & brush then next day with more conditioner and water and rinsing. Did this and continued using it. Stared to define her curls a little bit.
Then I was bought 'Pink' by my cousin as her hairdressser recommended it. Ran out of the other so tried this one. This made DD's hair even thicker dryer and wild.
So now back to L'Oreal but it's not working like it did before.
Can't remember what else I've used as was last year now and I have binned them. There was an oil on but that made her hair stink.
Olive oil spray just felt wrong using it as I know it as cooking oil. So only used it for a week but didn't seem to help
I don't used a hairdryer on her hair. I wrap it in a towel while drying and dressing. But have to be quick as it's nearly dry. Then have to sit with a water spray bottle.
Although been told I shouldn't brush when wet ! Cant brush dry as it's really dry and hurts her and just doesn't work.
Yep look online but so many videos.
Back to trying the leave in conditioner suggestion, did seem to start to work but now doesn't
My (white) mother managed my hair until I was about 13 and I begged for a relaxer to be put on it which changed the curl pattern and made it a tad easier but I still didn't know what to do with it, only in my 20s did I learn. Afro and tightly curled, thick hair needs oil (coconut, black castor oil which is good to be left in at night, natural jojoba oil, etc) sulfate free shampoo or even go for just cleansing shampoo (if you can afford it, deva curl no poo is amazing and you don't need much or even the shea moisture range you can get on a budget from boots, it's sulfate and silicone free which are both things that dry afro hair). Invest in a wide tooth comb and comb tip to root (so start a cm from the tip and comb down, once that's not tangled, comb from 2 cm from the tip down until you're at the root combing down and it should be tangle free. For detangling I use cantu detangling spray (also purchased in my local boots). Don't overwork the hair detangling twice a day, it's not necessary but ALWAYS detangle first before washing. It sounds like you're missing something I missed for a long time - tights or scarf on the head at night! Put a bit of oil in it and it protects the hair from frizzing by movement overnight.
My mother would wash, shampoo and condition, t-shirt drying works best, towels can sometimes tangle more if really bad or if you blow dry, do it with a denman brush after sectioning off with a comb and having worked root to tip with a heat protectant like tresemme thermal creations heat tamer (you can straighten this way as well). After blow drying leave in conditioner can go in when dry or after other methods of drying and put in a protective style - she would plait it small and it would stay in for a couple of weeks. Pink, soft n free etc will dry it out, your experiences sound like my teenage years! Water spray bottle is good, sounds like you're doing well. Forget about the hairdressers unfortunately they can be racist, I don't know why as I even find it too. I find sometimes black hairdressers go for extensions or relaxers because other stuff is hassle, I've never seen someone leave a salon with their natural hair which makes me sad.
I now put my hair in a bun or twist the sides inwards into a bun at the back and wash it every 3rd day.
Try naturally curly or British curlies for tips, it was a great education for me. Always welcome to pm me with any questions too.
Hope that helps.
Oh and 'Dark and Lovely' too but we didn't like that either.
My cousin has suggested i have her hair thinned ?
I use a tangle teaser. Anyone that has suggested a product that will let the comb slide through never works on her hair.
I have written down your suggestions and will buy Curlykids and coconut oil and find the widetooth comb and give it a go. Be lovely to have it nicer for Christmas. Cutting it fine I know lol So oil every day, but when should I use the conditioner? Is there a hair coconut oil or just buy a pot from the health shop?
Didn't know if it was worth buying an intensive conditioning kit? Website via YouTube suggestion. But don't know if I should.
I wish I could do a little video for you all too see her hair.
Try the www.naturalhairrules.com/the-loc-method-2/ Loc method.
'pink' is so awful in my hair - stiff and claggy.
I don't rate L'Oréal products for hair types like ours tbh.
I use Mixed Chicks. I've tried many products over the years but I've settled on MC as the mixture is just right - heavily moisturising but not stiff or hard to work with. Look at YouTube videos for mixed chicks results on afro type hair.
Look at protective hairstyles for dry kinky hair on YouTube as well, let her pick one to try.
I took my girls for keratin treatment on their 4C hair. It was a revelation. Unlike relaxer the hair after keratin treatment is still curly but so much more manageable that they can comb and braid their own hair now. its made my life alot easier because Sundays were a always a full day of combing, oiling and braiding hair until now. Its pricey but so worth it. its meant to make blow drying and hair straightening so much easier also but except that first day in the salon they've not had their hair blowdryed since. at 12 years old she is old enough to get that done if you wanted to go down that route.
Have you got Facebook? Come over to the curly girls conditioner only group. Loads and loads of advice there and if you post a pic of her hair people will help
Have you tried cantu products or shea moisture? Really good stuff, I have thick, curly hair and I swear by cantu! Beauty by Zara online carries a load of different brands
DS hasn't go afro hair but incredibly thick (you can't see his scalp its that thick) kinky and dry hair. Its like sheeps fur (wool, pelt??)
He now uses L'Oreal Mythic Oil conditioner and the oil itself to tame it. It has helped by making it softer, better conditioned ad a bit easier to tame and its not quite a birds nest. But being a teenage boy, its a struggle to get him to even brush it.
(just to reiterate hair is still curly after a keratin treatment its about infusing protein into the hair you cant tell someone has had it at first look. but its when combing and styling the hair that it really becomes a big advantage. I say this as my sister called me a sell out for getting it done on my girls but i love their big afros I just wanted them to be able to maintain it themselves!)
7 yo dd2 has 4c. She mainly keeps it braided. When it is out, i rarely brush it between washes but use SofnFree n Pretty Olive Oil Detangler, when i do with a Tangle Teezer
For washing; i start by working in coconut oil and brushing as much of tangles as i can. Then remove that using cheap Alberto Balsam Coconut oil conditioner and get out remaining knots. Dd puts ot in a plait at night when it is fresh, to stop it matting up
If its really hard to brush when conditioning, i use Nit Shampoo! Dont know what is in it, but its brilliant for detangling!
My DD is only 5 months so I'm only at the beginning here but I only comb her hair - never brush it. I thought any curly hair should only be combed?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.