Gentle and damage-free scalp and hair care is important for your child's natural hair health. Here is our list of 10 Natural Hair Do's & Don'ts For Children, starting with the Do's.
1. Moisturize your child's natural hair daily
Your child's hair just like the rest of their body, needs water. When the body doesn't get enough water it gets dehydrated and this affects it's ability to function properly. Similarly, the hair gets thirsty if it doesn't get water, and this leads to hair breakage. Unlike the scalp, hair doesn't get water internally through drinking it, it has to be sprayed onto the hair. It's important to moisturize it daily. A moisturizer must have water as the main ingredient.
2. Sleep with satin bonnet/ pillowcase
Cotton dehydrates your child’s natural hair leaving it dry and brittle and prone to breakage. While satin helps maintain your hair’s moisture because it prevents friction and frizz. During colder months choose satin-lined hair accessories (hats, beanies, etc).
3. Wash your child’s hair every 2 weeks
You should wash their natural hair once every two weeks to remove impurities, dirt and hair lint. During active seasons (like swimming season at school), you might want to wash their hair once a week or more often. Include a detox treatment at the salon once in two months to remove product buildup from your child’s hair.
4. Alternate between plaits and light styles
Children’s natural hair must be handled differently from adults, with less handling and manipulation to protect their tender scalps and hair. Alternating between plaits (that take longer, with more cornrows) and quick, light styles is recommended to give the scalp some breathing time.
Keeping your child’s hairstyle for long periods of time will result in their natural hair getting more tangled - as natural hair grows it knots and tangles more. This makes detangling harder and more painful. You must detangle their hair every two weeks. Hair left unwashed and not detangled for long periods of time gets more hair lint, which takes long and is stubbornly difficult to remove.
It’s as important to stop doing damaging natural hair habits as it is to do the correct ones. Here’s our list of 5 Don’ts of Child Natural Hair Care.
1. Don’t undo and plait on the same day
Your child’s scalp needs gentle care, this means giving it some room to breath in between handling it. Removing plaits and immediately plaiting again puts strain on the hair follicles making the scalp very tender which may result in inflammation and traction folliculitis (bumps on the scalp from pulling the hair). To protect your child’s scalp, undo plaits a day before plaiting.
2. Don’t do thin plaits
As a busy mum, you may want to do hairstyles that will last long, but it should not be at the cost of your child’s scalp health. Thin plaits put excessive tension on your child’s tender scalp and may result in damaged hair follicles, thinning hair, and poor hair growth. Choose child appropriate hairstyles and avoid thin plaits.
3. Don’t comb your child’s hair
Combing is a mechanical action that causes friction and puts your child’s fragile hair under tension to break and fall off ... it’s also painful. Use only your fingers to comb their hair when it is moisturized. Read more on why you should not comb your child’s hair 4. Don’t use products with harsh ingredients Products used on your child’s hair should be sulphate-free, paraben-free, and mineral oil-free. Sulphates, used in soaps and shampoos, strip the hair of its natural oils making it dry and brittle. While parabens are preservatives known to disrupt hormone function. Applying mineral oil to your child’s hair may reduce the amount of water their hair absorbs, resulting in dryness and breakage. 5. Don’t add extensions and use wool There is an alarming increase of traction alopecia (hair loss from long term hair pulling) in children from the use of extensions. Extensions put weight and strain on your child’s tender scalp. Plaiting should be done free hand (using their own hair). Wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water and still feel dry to the touch. As wool absorbs water molecules it pulls moisture away from the hair, leaving it dry
and prone to breakage.