When it comes to child hair care, it is important to know that it all boils down to the methods we employ to care for their hair and not necessarily the products we use.
In this post, we are going to explore 5 Dos and 5 Don’ts of Child Natural Hair Care.
Let’s dive in!
1. Don’t Wash Your Child’s Hair Everyday
The reason is that constantly washing a baby’s hair strips it of its natural oils and moisture, leaving it dry, brittle and susceptible to breakage which eventually leads to hair loss.
When a baby is born, most of the moisture and oils his/her hair gets, comes from the baby’s scalp through the hair follicles.
So excessive exposure to the soap ingredient (sodium laureth sulfate) in baby bath liquids, washes off these natural oils every time you bring it in contact with your baby’s hair.
2. Don’t Comb Your Child’s Hair Everyday
I have come to realise that hair loss in babies and children is usually a gradual process that often goes unnoticed as it occurs.
One day your child has a full head of hair, another day, it’s all gone in a flash. What went wrong in between?
Excessive combing might be another reason why your baby’s hair is damaged, because combing is a mechanical action that causes friction and puts the baby’s fragile curly strands under tension to break and fall off prematurely.
You do not need to comb your baby’s soft and tender curls.
Till date, I only use my fingers to comb my baby’s hair and her hair is about 10 inches long now, by the way, as the time of writing this book, she was 20 months old.
I use a comb when I absolutely have to and it has to be a very big wide toothed comb.
3. Don’t Choose Uncomfortable Hair Styles For Your Child
This is a major culprit to why babies lose the beautiful curls they once had at birth and I see a lot of mothers make the mistake of choosing the wrong styles for their babies.
Styles such as small puffs with those colourful hair ruffles should be avoided for two reasons. The first is that, your baby’s scalp is far too tender to bear the tension that comes from putting it into those tiny little puffs.
Excessive tension on your baby’s scalp results in the damage of the child’s hair follicles (where hair strands grow from) and this leads to poor hair growth.
Another reason is that, the ruffles are made with cotton/woolly material that gets some hair strands trapped in them, and this leads to gradual hair loss.
Over time you begin to notice that your baby’s hair has become very thin and scanty.
The second thing that causes hair damage for children is the use of hair extensions and the fixing of weaves. I understand that as mothers we want what is best for our children and that sometimes means that we tend to overdo it.
However we must know that things like extensions and weaves, put so much weight and pressure on our poor babies’ scalp and this usually leads to hair loss.
The braiders who put those things on your child may not even have the slightest clue of how painful it is for your baby and I have seen some really tight braids with extensions on some babies and it just looks so wrong.
Early use of extensions or weaves is one of the causes of extreme case of hair loss in babies known as alopecia.
I also know that as a busy mum, you may want to do a style that will last like forever, but remember that those intricate, tiny and beautiful looking braids could be the reason why your daughter’s hairline is receding.
Early use of extensions or weaves is one of the causes of extreme case of hair loss in babies known as alopecia.
I also know that as a busy mum, you may want to do a style that will last like forever, but remember that those intricate.
Tiny and beautiful looking braids could be the reason why your daughter’s hairline is receding.
4. Don’t Use Products With Harsh Ingredients for Your Child
The use of the wrong products with harsh ingredients may also be a reason why a baby’s hair is damaged by his/her first birthday.
One major thing to pay attention to in this aspect is the ingredients that make up the products we use for washing or grooming your baby’s hair.
Certain harsh ingredients such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate, used in soaps and some shampoos, has a drying effect on baby’s hair and with dryness comes breakage, and eventually leads to damaged hair.
Some other ingredients that cause poor baby hair health are mineral oil and silicones.
5. Don’t Put Your Child to Bed without a Satin Headrest or Satin Bonnet
Have you ever wondered why most babies tend to have a bald line at the back of their heads? It just seems like a natural thing, that line of baldness, well let me tell you today, that it is not natural.
I had always thought it was a biological thing, that it was only the lucky babies who didn’t get that bald line or bald spot at the back of their heads.
I knew I wasn’t alone in my assumption when I started asking people about it, I asked family and friends, and no one seemed to know how it comes about.
So I started out researching on it, because I just love to get to the bottom of things.
So the reason why your baby may have developed this “Parted Red Sea” at the back of his/her head is because of where he or she puts her head down.
If your baby constantly sleeps facing upwards, then this is probably the reason for the bald line at the back.
This is because the harsh cotton or car seat material, tends to soak up all the moisture and natural oils on your baby’s hair leaving it dry, brittle and susceptible to breakage.
Because that part of your baby’s hair is what constantly comes in contact with harsh materials, whether on the crib, on the car seat, bouncer or even the pay pen, leading to that area being dry and more subject to breakage than any other part of the hair.
Satin headrests are for tender babies who cannot hold their neck up straight.
If your baby is over 18 months, you can get her a satin bonnet to prevent hair loss at bedtime.
Dos of Child Natural Hair Care
Now that we have looked at the Don’ts, lets take a look at 5 things we should actually do to grow long healthy hair for our Children.
Thankfully the methods to restore a baby’s damaged hair is not as complicated as that for an adult.
Every part of a child’s system is constantly in a developmental and regenerative state, so all you need is to do a few simple things to see results and that includes hair care.
These methods also apply if your baby was born with not so much hair, which is perfectly normal for some babies, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being born bald.
This does not also mean that a baby who was born bald cannot spot a head full of healthy hair in future.
Did you even know that most babies tend to lose their birth hair in one year, so if you experienced this with your baby, this chapter is for you!
1. Do Fewer Wash Days In A Month
You should wash your baby’s hair once a week with a baby safe and sulfate free cleanser. You can even stretch your baby’s wash day as far as two weeks.
This will help preserve the natural oils and moisture that is coming from your baby’s developing scalp.
Infrequent washing will also ensure your baby’s hair does not dry out and become more susceptible to breakage.
When it comes to what kind of product you should use for washing your baby’s hair, simply use a product that does not have harsh ingredients like Sodium Laureth Sulfate and mineral oil.
Some experts even advice the use of a rinse out conditioner to wash babies’ because they are milder on their scalp.
Whichever product you chose to wash your baby’s hair, just ensure it is natural and that you keep her wash days to a minimum, say once a week.
Do not be afraid that your child’s hair will smell or that it will be dirty, trust me, it will not be too dirty or smelly.
2. Do Give Your Child Regular Scalp Massages
I personally took this tip for granted until I saw the results it produced or other mothers I had advised to add this to their child hair care, the feedback has been mind-blowing!
The benefit of scalp massages is that it improves blood circulation in the scalp which stimulates the hair follicles and thereby encourages healthy hair growth.
You do no need to be a professional masseuse to give your baby a scalp massage, all you have to do is, dip your hands (fingers mainly) in a natural stimulating oil, like coconut oil.
Then use the pads of your fingers to massage in circular motions, like you do when shampooing the hair.
If your baby is still tender, just cradle his/her head in your hand facing upwards, while you sit in a yoga position and the baby facing you.
Gently massage your baby’s head, avoiding the fontanel (the soft spot on top of your baby’s head).
3. Do Choose Simple Child Safe Styles
Choose styles that you know are safe for your baby.
While I agree that as a mother, you cannot simply wait to start styling and decorating your little girl’s hair, it may not be the best option for her.
Keep styling to a minimum and keep it simple and playful.
I recommend styles that come in “singles” for little ones simply because they do not put as much tension on their scalps as the intricate cornrows that I see some babies and little girls wear.
Really, I started styling my daughter’s hair when she turned 7 months and that was because her hair was too long to be let in a simple form.
Single Braids Or Twists
I put my daughter’s hair in single braids or twists of about five to ten chunks. I have found that the single braids last longer, so you can opt for that, if you are a busy mum.
If your child’s hair is still too short for single braids and twists done with her own hair, just let her hair be till it grows long enough to be styled.
Just let her hair be in afro and for special occasions, you can add a cute hair accessory for decoration.
Someone once made this profound statement “…that the state of your child’s hair is not a visual representation of your mothering abilities.”
I believe will make so much sense to you once you decide to put your child on a healthy hair regimen.
Because I know society in Nigeria will make you feel bad that you didn’t put extensions on your baby’s hair for it to “look good”.
It’s important you keep your eyes on the ball and do what you have to do for your baby’s hair to grow well.
Just give it a couple of years when people will start asking you if you added extensions on your baby’s hair and your answer will be a big fat NO!
4. Do Keep Your Child’s Hair Moisturised
Natural hair loves MOISTURE! There are several ways to add moisture to your child hair care regimen.
The first thing is that you need to deep condition regularly, preferably once a month, this will help add a rich supply of moisture to her locs.
The next thing is to ensure you wash your child’s hair with conditioner only at least once or twice a week, this is called, co-washing.
The third and most important of them all for children is to moisturise daily with some water, natural oil and leave in conditioner.
Conditioners are moisture adding products because they contain ingredients such as Glycerine, Aloe Vera, Cetearyl Alcohol, Shea Butter and Panthenol (Vitamin B5).
These ingredients help to bind water to the hair strands and also helps retain added moisture to the hair, for a longer period of time.
Cover With Bonnet For Bed
So be sure to check for these ingredients when choosing a conditioner for your little one.
Moisture in the hair needs to be preserved at bedtime because the cotton material which most pillowcases are made of tends to absorb all the moisture in your child’s hair, leaving it dry, brittle and susceptible to breakage.
Thus to avoid this you need to cover your child’s hair with a satin bonnet before bed if she is above 12 months.
If she refuses to wear her bonnet, because most toddlers would rather not have anything on their hair, you can get him/her a satin or silk pillowcase as a substitute.
If your child is under 12 months, you will need a satin or silk headrest for car seat, bouncer/rocker and crib.
These will help protect your child’s hair from getting dry at bedtime. It will also help when the child is lounging on her back against the car seat and bouncer.
5. Do Get Patience!
Yes oh…thankfully this doesn’t not come with a price tag, boom shakalaka!
See to restore damaged hair takes some work and it requires patience to stay consistent and not give up before you see your desired results.
Bear in mind that the average hair growth rate is half an inch per month, this means that it takes up to three months to grow one and half inch of hair!
Oh yes, but do not let this fact deter you from restoring your baby’s hair to a healthy state.
Do you think this list is exhaustive? Was it helpful? Let me know in the comments section below.
Luchi is the founder of the Muna & Luchi Child Hair Care Brand. She has a passion to help young mothers, care for and grow their children’s natural hair from birth.
You can also follow Luchi and her daughter, Muna on Instagram @munaandluchi and get daily tips on child hair care
Find other resources on child hair care here.