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Hair Battles DP vs Me

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Mommas of biracial AA-Other kids, come on out!

My stepkids are biracial. The two oldest stepdaughters are AA-white. My youngest DSD is AA-Mexican. My DD is AA-White. What this amounts to in rather thick, verrry spirally curly locks. DD is still only 6 months, but I anticipate the same sort of hair as in my stepdaughters'. When we were all living together, my two oldest DSD's loved to do the youngest DSD's hair, since their hairs are so similar, they did well with her.

I've popped in and out of the curly girls tribe and have picked up some pointers. I enjoy how her hair looks with a brown sugar/conditioner wash. We wash it once a week.

Nowadays, we're not all in the same house, and when DSD is with us, I struggle with how to do her hair. When I am patient and have LOADS of time (once a week), I can wash her hair (brown sugar/conditioner scrub like curly girls have suggested), comb it out and braid it (I usually finger come the tangles out and braid it while she's in the bath, this works the best). Braids last about 3-4 days, sometimes longer. Now she doesn't always want braids, so sometimes we go wild and free (which I LOVE the look, but do NOT love working out the tangles afterwords), and sometimes do pigtails.

Mr Toona insists that her hair needs to be relaxed before doing any real braids or anything else to it. He actually does a fair job with her hair sometimes (other times, I think he thinks it's still 1985 and does a sort of side comb). Other times he tried to blow it dry to smooth it out. It starts out looking straightish, but then become a big cottony mess, and no gorgeous curls to boot.

The battle is, Mr Toona insists on controlling/modifying the curls. I insist on trying to work with her curls, as they are gorgeous. (All the girls' hairs are gorgeous). DSD already has a complex about her hair as DSS tells her it looks like her head exploded. She chopped a whole mess of it really short on the top of her head. Now she has tons of bangs.

The questions are, are there any easy ways to work with very very curly hair? Does a biracial girl's hair HAVE to be straightened? I don't think it needs as much product as Mr Toona always says it needs. How does anyone manage it when it takes so long to do your hair. I reckon it's not an everyday thing - or else it would take far longer than anyone's got time for. I'm already dreading the time when I will have to really do something about DD's hair, because I just feel so inept.
post #2 of 28
My DC are AA/White. I started using curly q's on my girls hair this year. I soooo wish I had started using it when I first heard about it, but it's a little pricey(Buy Worth It).

IMO, you don't have to be straighten a biracial child's hair. Just like you don't have to straighten an AA girls hair.

I think you should purchase a sample of curly q's for like $20. I recently gave a friend of mine to sample for her three girls and she loved it.
post #3 of 28
As a completely AA woman, let me shout, "You do not have to relax that child's hair!" It took me a while to get there myself as my mother relaxed mine at 10 and it pretty much stayed that way with one 5 year break for the next 22 years. I now wear a "puff" most of the time. Perhaps he can wrap his brain around the notion that relaxing it communicates that there is something "wrong" or "unmanagable" about what God placed on her head. And that straight, or just different from what she was born with is somehow better. Not a healthy message for a young girl, IMO.

My daughter is AA/PR and she did not get 'nary a nap from my head. But it still requires time and we only wash once a week (as recommended for most curly girls). Yes, relaxing her hair would make "hair time" go more quickly, but I want her most to know that having hair - any kind - is good hair and a blessing.

I think you're on the right track. The main thing to keep in mind is that the tighter the curl, the less frequently the hair needs to manipulated, and certainly not manipulated greatly while dry. So, you're right, you don't spend that kind of time on such curly hair every day. Seriously, I never comb mine dry. I just brush back the sides and reposition the head band around the puff. Really. And I still get compliments. Manipulating the hair every day, especially when dry, can lead to breakage as very curly hair is very fragile. And actually (sorry I'm bouncing around), I think that putting the stress of braiding on hair that has essentially been weakened by having the cuticle broken down to straighten it, would only serve to set it up for damage. Hair with kink and curl to it will hold braids much more effectively.

If their hair doesn't poof up too much with water, I would spritz a detangler or combo of water and conditioner on the hair for in-between style changes. That will make the hair more managable and less prone to breakage. That's what I do with dd's every single day I comb and style it.

If I rambled too much and didn't answer your questions directly, please feel free to ask me anything.
post #4 of 28
Ditto Honeybunmom: You DO NOT have to relax that child's hair!!!


I'm AA, but my hair is what most people think of when they think of "mixed" hair--really curly. My parents had my hair relaxed because, I think, they just had no idea how to actually do it. I had to figure that all out on my own as an adult. I NEVER comb or brush my hair dry. I actually only comb it wet, with the shampoo in, with a detangling comb, and that's it. Combing it dry only makes it a bigger puff and you lose integrity of the curls that way, and relaxing it will only make it a bigger battle to try and fight it against weather, water, combs, etc.

I only wash mine once a week, but wet it a couple times a week and leave the conditioner in--the method I learned from the stylist who cut my hair and the salon that wrote the Curly Girls book. Leaving the conditioner in and letting it dry that way keeps the moisture in--which may be what Mr. Toona thinks all the product should be doing? It can be done easily once you find a system that works. it comes with practice and practice makes permanent

Keep up the good fight!
post #5 of 28
How old are the girls involved here? Do they have any opinions on how they want their hair to be styled?

I personally can't comprehend how the PARENTS are arguing over the child's hair as if she were a doll- all of my kids had opinions about their own hair and clothing by age 2 or 3.
post #6 of 28
Does anyone else besides me feel like it's time to readHappy to be Nappy again?

My DD is black+white (after Daddy lived in Africa for a while, we no longer say African-American because while there he was simply a black American of Haitian descent) . . . she got most of my straight locks, but she still has plenty enough curl to require some sort of braiding.

She was born with a FULL head of hair 2" long. By her 2nd birthday it was always in mini french braids (because it's easier & faster for me). She got her 1st haircut at 3, chin length. Her hair grew out curlier & thicker, but her imagination also blossomed. She always had very detailed ideas about how she wanted her hair styled. She was also willing to sit through 2 or 3 movies to let the job get done (so long as she had a doll with hair to play with, too). At 5 years old she decided she wanted dreadlocks. We did a twisty, rag-doll style. She loved it! Then, it became summer & they were too hot so we chopped it all off. Now she's 6 years old & her li'l "boy cut" is starting to grow out. She loves it, too, mostly because she can wash it all on her own now & put a clip in it.

Happy to be Nappy has always been her favorite book : It's her hair. She's free to decide how she wants it styled or not.
post #7 of 28
No experience myself, but second hand:
Since I know a lady (AA) who's desperately wanting her hair to grow back out after she cut off a ton of stuff damaged by straightening over the years I'd say that straightening is a bad idea. If your daughters want to dry out and over process their own hair when they get older, that's on them, but you certainly don't have to.

Plus, the few times I saw my friend's (different person than the woman above, also AA) hair straightened as a kid it looked really scary and she said she'd been burned a few times during the process.

Hope you were given some good anti-tangle suggestions.
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Oh Ruthla, I guess I should make it clear - it's not a real argument/battle, but a thing that goes back and forth - it's more like a sort of banter-which one's better. He does her hair sometimes and I do it other times. DSD is 6 years old, she can do some with her hair, but still needs assistance with it. When the older two DSD were with us, they were in their teens and the youngest DSD was 2-4 years old, they were masters with her hair. My DD is only 6 months so it's not relevant to her yet, but will be.

I guess my angle is that I really don't want her to grow up thinking that something's wrong with her hair and she always needs to tame it somehow. I think she gets that alot from her mom and her brother (it looks like your head exploded). I really love her beautiful curls, so I want to convey that to her. She does have input in how her hair gets done (unless it's one of those rushing out the door situations), but she seems really self-conscious about it of late. I suppose I need to have a more in depth discussion with Mr Toona on it. I guess at first glance it seems superficial, but to me it's a bit more important than just how her hair looks. I think Honeybummom, Papooses and Bloomingstar were able to convey more what I was trying to say than I could! Thanks Mommas! That's why I'm here, to learn.

I've got to get her Happy to be Nappy! how awesome!!
post #9 of 28
Happy to be Nappy was like a literal (sorry for the pun ) sigh of relief in our house My daughter's older half-sister (same dad, different moms) has a TON of long, coarse, kinky hair.... Her poor mom can barely get it parted let alone braided. We would "team up" together & share tips/techniques whenever we were able, but now kiddo is starting middle school & still has no idea how to wash her own hair, comb it, nada. Last I saw her she was getting it done at a salon & I was appalled at the job: her pores were bleeding/scabbing they were pulled so tight! Needless to say, my daughter has been exposed to her older sister's hair (self) hatred (including her mother's constant degrading comments). It's very sad & I wish there was more I could do. As sad as I am to say it, all I can do is help my own kid. Experimenting with various styles & adoring each of them was part of our journey. Her board book copy of Happy to be Nappy lives in her bed next to her. All of her drawings look like those from that book While I'd love slightly more imagination, LOL, it doesn't bother me a bit that kiddo is hanging on to this book as her means of loving her hair. I only care that she loves her self. That's enough.
post #10 of 28
My 2 DD's are AA-W and have different hair from each other. Both curly. One has softer, bouncy curls that don't need a whole lot of "help" and the other has dryer, courser hair that tangles on the ends more easily. For right now neither of them want anything to do with bands/braids/ponytails... so we only use headbands/wraps and clips. They want it down. I would NEVER relax their hair - unless they decide to do it later. (I hope not!!!) DH and I are in agreement about this. My hairstylist is biracial AA-Thai and she says she has people bringing in biracial children quite often and she refuses to do it. My dd's are used to the daily routine. I wash their hair 1 time a week, but every morning we get it all wet and then put leave in conditioner in it and let it air dry in spirals. My favorite products are from the Mixed Chicks line. The leave in conditioner is the best stuff I've tried and I've tried ALOT of stuff...

What is the Borwn Sugar thing? Where in the curly forum?
post #11 of 28
Please do not relax your daughter's hair.
As a biracial woman with curly hair (I'm 1/2 Korean/1/2 African American), I can attest to the damage that was caused by relaxing.
Relaxing the hair is a hell of a lot more work than letting her go curly. All of the blwdrying, straightening etc. I know so many black women who have alopecia from years of harsh relaxers.
Anyway, I strongly, strongly suggest you go here: www.naturallycurly.com . Go to their forums (under "Curltalk" and look for the section marked "Parents of Curlies" or something like that. That website has been a wealth of information for me and my hair has never looked better.
It sounds like you're doing a good job so far, Mama!
These ideas may help:
Find a good, non-silicone based conditioner (don't use anything on her hair that has anything that ends in "cone") and use that in her hair. Do not shampoo her hair at all. You can massage it into her scalp to clean it. When you rinse her hair, leave a little bit in for extra moisture. Curly hair sucks in moisture.
Don't rub a towel on her head to dry her hair as this disturbs the curl. If you can use a microfiber towel or even an old cotton t-shirt, use those to scrunch her hair. Try not to disturb her hair too much as it's drying as this destroys the curl.
Anyway, explore that site.
Please do not relax her hair.
post #12 of 28
Hi- I kind of skimmed over some of the replies as it's late and I'm getting little fuzzy eyed, but I wanted to chime in- please don't straighten her hair! And as a biracial AA-white girl, please please please ask your DP to kindly back off of her.

When I was little, my dad constantly made an issue of my hair- and made my mom straighten my hair at 5 years old! And I have dealt with ongoing hair and self-esteem issues most of my life. It might sound like I'm over dramatizing things, and maybe I was overly sensitive, but I honestly never felt like I could be beautiful because of my hair and my father's comments were a huge part of it. I always imagined (and sometimes still do- we have a very estranged relationship, despite currently living in the same house) that he would have preferred if I had come out a beautiful little white daughter with straight "pretty" hair instead of me and my kinky locks.

I tried going natural in high-school, and I kind you not, every single day when my relaxer started to grow out he would ask me when I was going to get my hair "done". He even begged me to let him give me money to go get it done. Also, let me point out that I have an extremely sensitive scalp, so even the "kiddie relaxers" were agony for me- my scalp would bleed and I would have scabs all over my entire head (even when I remembered not to scratch). This did not matter to him though, just that I would have straight hair.

Now I don't hate my hair anymore, though often can't say the same of my father (to be fair, there's more than hair at issue here), and am now thinking of letting my hair go natural again. It's terribly dry and damaged from all the relaxers, blow dryers, and hot irons and I just don't have the energy to fight with it anymore to live up to a beauty standard I will never fit even with a relaxer. ...But there's that little girl inside who keeps asking me when I'm going to get my hair done. It's hard sometimes trying to get her to see me as beautiful... Okay, I just re-read that and I sound like I have multi-personality disorder.

Sorry to be a drama-queen, but I just hope that your DP will spare his daughter's a little bit of that "good hair/bad hair" legacy my dad dumped on me.
post #13 of 28
It is the parents' job to support learning about how to care for child's natural texture and the encourage, and even demand that she leave it natural until she can make the decision for herself about what style she will maintain, sometime after she becomes a teenager. Do not push any style or change of texture on the child, especially not a chemical. I am an AA woman, a chemist by education, and it took me until the age of 30 to learn to apply chemicals correctly. I've NEVER been able to convince a stylist to apply them properly, by the directions inserted in the package, and I seriously doubt that you will be able to help her maintain a healthy relaxed head of hair any better than you can help her maintain a healthy relaxed head of hair. Relaxed hair is NOT easier, it is harder, and anyone who tells you it is easy to maintain chemically damaged hair is dilusional. It takes weekly deep treatments, regular protein treatments, paying close attention to the pH of your hair, and basically throwing out most of your styling instruments (such as heat) and just maintaining a low stress styling routine. Unless your daughter wants to be stuck with a pinned up bun every day to maintain her relaxed hair, I suggest just maintaining the routine you've come up with and making an effort to learn more about curly hair. There are other websites, such as longhaircareforum.com and if you post a message there you will get lots of helpful suggestions for maintaining your daughter's curly hair. Also, put your foot down with your DP, sorry to say, he needs to stay out of wimmins bizness like hair care
post #14 of 28
OK I'm not AA or biracial, but let me chime in with the do-not-relax!-ers. One of my good friends from HS was AA-PR; back then she used to talk about how difficult it was to be mixed (in terms of hair) because neither black nor white hairdressers really "understood" her hair. I've known her for ten years now I've seen many different hair "looks"; she started tenth grade with relaxed, straightened, shoulder-length hair... then one day she had it all cut off. (She mentioned on the phone that evening she'd had it cut: I asked how much and she said, "an inch". I thought it was weird that she'd even mention having an inch trimmed off... turned out she meant that was how much was left!) She let it grow out so that by the time we were college freshmen, it was almost down to her waist, in all these crazy beautiful curls, which is essentially how she's worn it since, at various lengths. It's lovely, and it just looks and feels better than the straightened, relaxed 'do did. Not to mention that it gives her a look of, of confidence, or naturalness, or something. Can't put my finger on it.

Also as mama2landon says, please don't let anybody make your daughter feel that her hair is something that needs to be changed, controlled, masked. It's a small thing but it's an extention of herself in a way.
post #15 of 28
As a lady of American Indian/White breeding, Let me tell you... I'd give my left foot to have hair that did all the cool things Black hair does. I can buy a left foot, the sell them at a place in the next town. "Standard Prosthetics" or something like that. My hair won't take a curling iron or a perm (well, it does perm, but it's not pretty.. more like something out of a horror film) and they have yet to invent the hairspray that'll keep it in place for more than 45 minutes. It just wants to be straight, and that's that.

Don't let DP get away with this one! Your DC have lovely, lovely hair that many of us would greatfully sacrifice to own. Thick braids with clips, thin braids with beads, skinny dreadlocks with gourd-stich beaded decorations and shells, letting it all poof out, smoothing it down for an evening out. They're SO lucky. My hair may be straight and shiny, but that's all it will ever be.
post #16 of 28
Originally Posted by MommaFox View Post
As a lady of American Indian/White breeding, Let me tell you... I'd give my left foot to have hair that did all the cool things Black hair does. I can buy a left foot, the sell them at a place in the next town. "Standard Prosthetics" or something like that. My hair won't take a curling iron or a perm (well, it does perm, but it's not pretty.. more like something out of a horror film) and they have yet to invent the hairspray that'll keep it in place for more than 45 minutes. It just wants to be straight, and that's that.
Me too MommaFox (Native American-white)! I yearn to just be able to wear a headband, instead it just slips off!

DD is Arab-White, and DH's hair is thick, kinky-curly. She got a loose curl blend, but it's still impossible to comb and I'm still looking for a solution for all the frizz but something that won't weigh it down. I would never straighten hers. It's uniquely her.
post #17 of 28
Tell him to back off. You don't want to destroy her hair with chemicals. I've had too many black acquaintances telling me horror stories about how their hair won't grow more than a couple of inches before it starts breaking off, all because someone started relaxing their hair when they were small.

I don't know what it is with men and hair issues. I have the opposite problem -- can't convince my husband than running a comb through the toddler's dry hair is going to do it for hair care. My hair texture is the same as hers, and if not combed properly (wet and sectioned out), we have starter dreadlocks within 48 hours. So, he does what he does with his hair, and the next day I'm trying to head off the mats in her hair before they completely lock up.
post #18 of 28
Originally Posted by Jannah5 View Post
IMO, you don't have to be straighten a biracial child's hair. Just like you don't have to straighten an AA girls hair.
: You just have to remind him that patience is a virtue. Chemicals are not good for anyone's hair and there is a reason that their hair texture is what it is. Damage to hair lasts a lot longer than the time it takes to tend to it as you all are doing. DON'T GIVE UP!!! You are on the right road!!!
post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks all!! I'm definately getting Happy to be Nappy here, how cute!! I will keep at the anti-relaxation mentioning, and do my best when DSD is here to show/tell her how awesome her curls are!

Curly Girls Tribe is a discussion about all sorts of hair doing for curls. Lots of no-poo info in there too! Good info!
post #20 of 28
My DD is AA/white and has beautiful spiral curls down to her butt. It wasn't always that way! I worked with a bi-racial woman who had gorgeous curls and I finally asked her what to do. Her advice:

Wash hair with conditioner- not shampoo 1-2/wk


comb out (spritz with water if starts to dry out during combing)

Apply regular or deep conditioner and LEAVE IT IN (not leave in cond.). Use as much as needed to make hair not feel dry. We use 3-4 half dollar size .


Do not use oil sheen, or oil products. They will sit on top of the hair and just make it look dry and greasy at the same time.

Here is a pic of my daughter so you can see her hair.

I don't usually let her wear her hair down to school (endless work when she gets home) but she insisted for picture day.

Hope this helps
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