little-girl-natural-hair-journey v2If you ask any popular search engine, caring, maintaining, and growing an African-American baby’s hair is a mystery. You’ll get a menagerie of articles outlining general maintenance, but not very many online outlets directly address the delicate strands that make up a normal African-American child’s head of hair, or what it is you’re supposed to do exactly to keep those delicate strands healthy and prime for growth.

I went for months without really knowing what exactly I was dealing with on top of my little girl’s head. I knew her texture was different from mine. Her hair was softer, and curled into these perfect little spirals when wet – Nothing like my full head of tight, exquisite, “ziggly” coils.

Related Content: Brown Baby Hair Diaries – An African American Baby’s Hair Journey

I trucked along, throwing braids in her hair here and ponytails in her hair there – sometimes even snapping a comb through her delicate tresses.  It wasn’t until she began to show signs of breakage did I begin to do some hard core research on African-American hair and what exactly made it tick. What I learned led me on an amazing journey of hair discovery and personal growth.

Before you can begin to take care of your little brown baby’s hair properly and prime it for growth, there are two things you must understand. One: moisture is the key to EVERYTHING. African American’s hair, in general, WILL NOT grow without it; but we’ll get to that later. The second thing (and this is only my opinion based on experience) is that you must have a basic understanding of your child’s particular hair type. Without this knowledge, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a hair care regimen that will make your baby’s hair grow.

Related Content: 8 Tips, Tricks, and Cheats to Help You Care for Your African American Baby’s Hair

What works on your cotton soft, wavy tresses may not work on your baby’s head of constantly dry, zig-zag-like “curls”. Knowing, or at least having a general idea of, how each hair type reacts to certain products is a must.

Below you’ll find a texture “typing” system that the majority of “curlys” live by. It was designed by the super-fabulous celebrity hair stylist Andre Walker (This is the guy who does OPRAH’s hair.) and adapted by, one of my all time favorite natural hair websites,[I’m excluding the Type 2 curlys in this list; so if you’d like more information on looser hair types, head here.]



There’s more! >>

Click here for detailed descriptions of the above hair types (with recommended hair products for each type)
along with other African American child hair care resources!

Click here for part 2 in the “How to Grow” series! 

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  1. Daneisha
    November 24, 2014 at 1:48 am — Reply

    Hi I have a 3 moth old son who has very curly hair but the back is very thin. What can i do/use to get it to thicken?

    • November 24, 2014 at 3:17 pm — Reply

      That thin spot in the back is COMPLETELY normal. The reality is that he may actually go completely bald back there before it has the chance to begin growing in. Since babies sleep so much, there’s a lot of friction going on on the back of the head. Some babies are just more prone to loosing that hair from the friction than others. If you don’t have one already, purchase a satin baby blanket, tuck it into his crib and have him sleep on that from now on. Cotton bedding sucks all of the moisture out of natural hair and creates a lot of that friction. Outside of keeping his hair moisturized with water and sealing the moisture in with an oil like coconut oil, that’s about all you can do for now.

      Hope that helps! :)

      • Daneisha
        November 24, 2014 at 4:33 pm — Reply

        Thanks so much for the reply! I actually just went out and brought coconut oil. Guess i’ll see how it plays out :)

  2. Senora
    November 23, 2014 at 1:16 pm — Reply

    My daughter is 8, at the age of 2 a family member of mines put a perm on her hair…since I’m hair challenged myself I didn’t know how to take care of her hair. At age 6 another family member thought it would be great to put a texturizer on her hair

    • November 23, 2014 at 1:31 pm — Reply

      Hey Senora! What’s your question? Does your daughter have breakage? Damage? Are you trying to transition? Let me know! :)

      • Senora
        November 23, 2014 at 1:44 pm — Reply

        She hasn’t had any chemicals on her hair in about 2 years. What can I do to nurse her hair back to being soft and healthy, and to help her hair to start gorwing. Yes she has breakage, her hair doesn’t hold moisture either.

  3. tabby
    November 22, 2014 at 10:56 pm — Reply

    Hi I have a four month old daughter and I’m just wondering at what age do I start to put protective styles in her hair

    • November 22, 2014 at 11:47 pm — Reply

      Hi Tabby!
      I wouldn’t do too much pulling, braiding, or banding for another few months. 4-month-olds still have soft sensitive scalps and pulling too tightly for extended periods can snap a baby’s hair off right at the root causing permanent hair loss. If her hair is long to a point where you feel like it needs to be protected, use small rubberbands wound loosely. By 6 months, her hair and scalp should be “tough” enough to withstand twists and braids. During the next couple of cold months, hats with silk or satin linings will be your friend. :)

  4. November 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm — Reply

    My baby girl is 2 years old in I been trying to grow her hair she have very thick short dry hair I uses olive oil shampoo in conditions I also users virgin coconut oil on her hair but the next day it look like I didn’t put nothing on it it she sleep with a silky scarf. When she was little she uses to lay on her back her back is very short I don’t know what to do or uses I need help please!

    • November 21, 2014 at 2:03 pm — Reply

      Are you moisturizing with water BEFORE you use the olive oils and coconut oils? Oils and butters, in general, are known as “sealers”; which means that they’re best used to seal in moisture that’s been applied. Moisturize her hair first with a a leave-in conditioner that has water as a first ingredient, or just use water from a spray bottle. THEN seal in that moisture with your coconut or olive oil. You’ll only be sealing in dryness if you use oils alone. Having your baby girl sleep on a satin pillowcase or satin blanket will help with that short dry spot in the back.

      Hope that helps! :)

      • November 23, 2014 at 12:32 pm — Reply

        Thank you so much I’m try that do virgin coconut oil work does it help you’re hair to grow?

        • November 23, 2014 at 1:32 pm — Reply

          No problem! Most hair oils aid in hair growth if used properly. Use a water-based conditioner, or water first on the hair and then use your oil to seal.

  5. Clara
    November 17, 2014 at 8:22 am — Reply

    HI, I have a 5 year old daughter, her hair is really dry (high porosity) and fine. Just looking at it causes breakage. I dread wash days because by the time i’m done, I’m covered from head to toe with broken strands of hair about 5mm short. I do weekly washes and bi-weekly protein deep conditioning, but nothing seems to help. I comb out her hair once a month and finger detangle the rest of the time. I trim her hair 3 times a year. I am at my wits end, do you have any advice for me? Oh she only sleeps in her satin cap sometimes, may I should just buy a satin pillow case.

    • November 17, 2014 at 11:01 am — Reply

      Hi Clara! It sounds like you know you’re stuff, and that you’re pretty much doing everything right. Hmmm. Yes, I’d go ahead and grab that satin pillowcase. That would be easier than the cap with a 5-year-old. Are you finger detangling only when her hair is wet and slick from conditioner/moisturizer? Are you putting her hair in a protective style and having her wear it for a week or longer regularly? There’s a possibility that she could be protein sensitive. Every other week protein treatments sound like a lot when I’ve heard most curlies do it once a month or as needed; so that could be something to explore.

      Weekly washes also sound like a lot (especially with it getting cold out.) I’d extend that to every other week, or even every three weeks if you can stretch it. And it could be the products you’re using. If what you’re using isn’t working and you’re not seeing results, then it’s time to change it up. I’ve learned over the years that being natural is primarily about trial and error.

      Hope some of my suggestions help! :)

    • Tori
      November 21, 2014 at 2:00 pm — Reply

      Just to piggy back on the Kesha’s VERY good advice. I would consider the LOC method. It does wonders for my natural hair for holding moisture and I have high porosity, dense hair. Please do your homework on the best oils for your child’s hair. Every oil does not work with every level of porosity. My 9 yo daughter’s hair has a texturizer that I do approx. every 8-10 weeks. We both use Pompeian 100% Grapeseed oil with vitamin E. It is with the cooking oils!!! LOL but has made a Major difference. Her hair is mid-back length and thickening quickly.
      Also, as a Pharmacist I want to ask you to bring attention to your child’s diet b/c that can play a major role in Hair, skin, and nails. I noticed both me and my daughter’s hair when I decided to take vitamins DAILY and not just when I remembered. She takes 2 chewable vitamins daily AFTER a meal or cup of milk for total absorption. Also increase her water intake if you find she isn’t drinking enough. Hope this helps also!

      • November 21, 2014 at 2:07 pm — Reply

        Great, great, GREAT advice!

        • Clara
          November 21, 2014 at 6:02 pm — Reply

          Thank you ladies for the awesome replies. I will take a look at our diets although she is quite the water drinker. I will scale back on the protein treatments and leave her protective style for longer than a week. I’ll keep you updated on our progress.

  6. princess
    November 13, 2014 at 1:57 pm — Reply

    Help! I have a 6 month old who had a head full of hair and was curly all over. I started using vaseline on one part of her head because she developed a bald spot. I have noticed her hair has started falling out really bad. Her hair is dry and no longer curly. What should i do to stop the hair loss and help the hair she still has left. I am so worried and going crazy. Help Please!

    • November 13, 2014 at 11:29 pm — Reply

      Oh dear! So sorry to read that you’re having issues with your baby girl’s hair. First, I would get rid of that vaseline and not use that again on her hair for a while if ever. Vaseline is heavy on petroleum, and all you’re doing is clogging her hair follicles, stunting the growth, and weighing her hair down. I’m not going to say that it’s the cause of her breakage, but I’m certain that it’s not helping.

      You need to grab a spray bottle and mix it with 1/3 aloe vera juice and 2/3 water. Aloe vera juice can be found at your local Farmer’s Market or Whole Foods. It will promote hair growth and help with the dryness. The route of her hair loss could be for many reasons. Her hair may simply be reverting to it’s “true” state (which normally happens around the age of 6 months). [If the hair loss is REALLY excessive though, you may want to consult her pediatrician just to make sure it’s not something in her diet that’s causing it.]

      Another suggestion would be for you to buy a satin blanket for her to sleep on in her crib. Cotton bedding can really dry out natural hair; and with babies sleeping so much it’s normal for the friction to thin out the back of the hair. THAT’S TOTALLY NORMAL. It happened to my son and, to a lesser extent, my daughter. My son was totally bald in the back by 6 months, and now, both of my kids have full heads of hair.

      So just relax, start with the few things I’ve suggested, and see if (in a month or so) you get any results. :)

  7. coleman
    October 31, 2014 at 12:29 pm — Reply

    my son one and his hair not growing and dry I’m. Trying. To grow it before. His second birthday I’m not sure of the texture but I can use water and grease to soften it up

    • November 1, 2014 at 3:57 pm — Reply

      Hi Coleman! Thanks for reading!

      I don’t know when your son’s birthday is but HEALTHY hair only grows about a half and inch a month; so you’ll have to base your progress on that. If you’re using that type of thick hair grease that our moms used to use on our hair, then I’d recommend something a little lighter. That has a tendency to clog pores and may be why you’re not seeing the growth you want. You’re on the right track with the water. Start with that and then use your favorite leave in conditioner. After that, seal in the moisture with an oil like extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Try to keep his hair in a protective style like twists or cornrows. That will lock in his moisture, cut down on any breakage, and help his hair grow. Be sure to moisturize while his hair is in the protective style.

      Start with those tips, be consistent, and I’m sure you’ll see some results. :)

      • Kim
        November 5, 2014 at 3:25 pm — Reply

        I just want to thank you for all the information you gave me. My 2 years daughters hair is finally growing. I use the daily water/conditioner and seal it with the evoo. I purchased a satin pillow case and a bonnet. Now she ask for her bonnet at night before she goes to bed!!! It’s so funny.
        It’s so much easier for me to have her hair on the protective styles then I don’t have to do it everyday. Keep up the good work!!

        • November 5, 2014 at 8:53 pm — Reply

          Ah! Kim, you made my night with this comment. I am SO glad you’re seeing results and were able to get some use out of my tips. That is hilarious that she asks for her bonnet. See, little momma knows what the deal is! lol! I appreciate you letting me know about your progress. Again, you made my night. :)

          • Kim
            November 5, 2014 at 9:52 pm — Reply

            Well, u tought me somethings. Her hair is so thick and the back has grown completely in and it’s hanging on her neck. It’s not major dry anymore. All in abt 2 to 3 months. Kudos!!!

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