30 April 2012

Guest Post: Teaching Young Girls to Care for Their Own Hair


(Guest Post by Dominique-Alexis of Natural-Hair-Care-Info)

(Today happens be a very special day for Domnique-Alexis; we'd like to wish her a very happy 17th birthday! Dominique Alexis wrote her first guest post for us back when she was only 15-years-old. Since then, she's started her own blog and just spent this last weekend covering the World Natural Hair Health & Beauty Show in Atlanta, GA. May she continue to be an example and inspiration to young naturals everywhere!)

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I love caring for my little sister’s natural hair! I love thinking up new styles, I enjoy watching her hair flourish and grow, and I like sharing pictures of the results with new naturals! However, as we get older, the day that she will have to care for her own hair gets nearer and nearer. The fact that her hair is pretty long and super thick made that seem impossible just a short time ago.


She has the heart to learn about her hair so I’ve been teaching her what I’ve learned over the last several months. She’s been helping out with her hair for about six months now and she’s learned a lot! She told me her goal is to work in my hair salon (which I will buy one of these days!) and help teach people to love their curls!

Although she can’t cornrow her hair yet, she loves doing braids so I’ll cornrow/braid the first foot or so of her hair, then pull it over her shoulder and let her braid it until the end. Once he gets to the end of the braid, she’ll add a little extra moisturizer (we are currently using the Mixed Chicks line on her hair) and twist it with her finger.

The process does take a little longer, but she loves feeling included!

Detangling

Detangling is hard for her because her hair is super thick so I always make sure that we have plenty of time to devote to that and that I’m able to be present the whole time. The last thing any little one needs when caring for their hair is that they get frustrated or stressed out!

I will part out a thin section of hair, add a generous amount of Suave Naturals Conditioner and let her finger detangle. I highly recommend that you use your fingers to get the tangles out first! After that we finish up the detangling with a denman or wide tooth.

The process generally takes about an hour, with her working in the front and me working in the back. I encourage her to always start with wet, conditioner filled hair and sectioning her hair into small sections so she won’t get over-whelmed!

Thanks to her awesome dedication, here is the very first hairstyle that he did all by herself (except for the cornrows):


When she did the back half of her hair in twists, it took about an hour. When I twist all of her hair, it takes me about an hour, so a little further down the road we will work on speed!

Washing

Back when Bunny was younger, I would lay her down across the kitchen counter with her hair hanging in the sink and I’d wash it that way. And it worked well for quite some time, but it was getting to the point where she wanted to wash her hair.

Sadly, I set her up for failure by handing her a bottle of shampoo and sending her into the shower to wash her hair. She’d heard me explain the process many times, so I just assumed she knew.

That detangling secession took a good hour or more and she had some serious breakage. I now braid her hair into six sections – three on each side of the hair head – and she washes her hair without having to worry about it tangling. As long as I braid her hair loosely, she can slide her fingers under her braids and gently massage her scalp and get her strains all cleansed!

Product Reading

Just by looking at the ingredients of a product will help me determine if it’ll work for my sister’s hair or not, because I’ve learned what her hair likes and dislikes. Mineral oil, sulfates, and most of those “yucky” ingredients leave Bunny’s hair feeling dry, weighted down, and dirty, so I’ve been teaching her to check the ingredients first!

Products that are water based or Shea Butter based, typically work best on her hair, so those are the types of products you wanna use!

Growth

One of the first things I taught Bunny – I wish someone had taught me this when I was a kid! – is that retaining length and hair growth are two entirely different things! If your hair grows six inches a year, that’s great. If you retain six inches of hair growth a year, that’s awesome!


I think it’s important to teach little ones that their hair is growing, so if you want it to be long, then you’ll have to learn how to retain your hair growth!

Patience

This is something that the teacher has to learn just like the little one does! Remember it took you more than a day to learn all that you have, so it’s not fair to your child to expect them to learn right away.

Some people acquire quickly and that’s wonderful. However, I know quite a few naturals who’ve been natural for many years and are still learning the ropes! And that’s okay, because everyone learns differently!

Sometimes I ask her if she’d like to twist her hair and she tells me she’d like me to do it this time. And that’s fine. Be patient with your curls, be patient with your little natural. It can take YEARS to learn all this natural hair stuff!

Just keep with it and it will pay off in the end!

Be Very, Very Gentle

We’ve missed wash days, we’ve forgotten to moisturize, we’ve slipped up and used some of those products with ‘no-no’ ingredients in them, but we never, ever use force on natural hair. The biggest thing I stress to Bunny is that you must always be very gentle to your curls.

You can’t pull and tug, yank, and jerk on flowers and expect them to flourish – and curls are no different. You must always be gentle.

Well, there you have it! Bunny still has a while to go before she can take care of her hair all by herself, but she’s off to a great start.

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Dominique-Alexis started Natural-hair-care-info.com in 2011. At 17-years-old, she's been extremely blessed to work with some of the biggest natural hair company's on the scene today, and meet some of the most incredible people in the world!