Q: My eleven year old biracial daughter had straight hair until she was seven. Then it became real curly. It is very pretty when
she first washes it, but after it dries, it becomes frizzy and flyaway. We have tried every thing and are at our wit’s end. The only way
she can wear it to look ok is in a slicked back bun. Help!
A: It’s entirely possible that the biggest problem you are facing is that your daughter’s hair is being under-conditioned. Different
ethnic hair types require different levels of conditioning. The textures of African-ethnic hair types and racially-mixed hair types
can be more porous and coarse, requiring additional moisturizing and smoothing of the cuticle layer.
The fact that her hair changed its texture and wave pattern is not surprising. It’s common for a
child’s hair to change in texture as they get older and begin to mature. The new hair texture may require additional care in order to
achieve styling results that are desired.
What I recommend is that you visit your local beauty supply shop and look for hair care products
for African-ethnic hair types. Specifically, you will want a moisturizing shampoo, an after-shampoo conditioner, a daily-use leave-in
conditioner, and a light oil spray. In addition, you will want to get a styling product. I can recommend Motions styling lotion/setting lotion.
Shampoo your daughter’s hair as often as needed to keep it clean, and always use a rinse-through
conditioner after shampooing the hair. (If the hair seems to need “freshening up” daily, due to activity and perspiration causing odor,
you can use the rinse-through conditioner on the hair every day, instead of shampoo. In this case, still be sure to shampoo
periodically.) After shampooing and/or conditioning the hair, towel-dry the hair gently by patting and squeezing the hair with the folds of the towel, rather than rubbing the head.
Apply a liberal amount of the leave-in conditioner spray (which should be used daily, regardless of
your shampooing/conditioning schedule) to the towel-dried hair and comb it through using a pick or wide-tooth comb. After this, apply
the styling product you’ve selected. Comb it through the hair as well.
At this point, you can either allow the hair to air-dry naturally, or dry the hair using a
blow-dryer with a diffuser attachment. The key is to dry the hair carefully to avoid breaking up the curls as they dry. You can use
your fingers to style the hair as needed, but try not to dry the hair too completely.
Afterward, mist the curls with the light oil spray, and scrunch them gently with the fingers to
smooth the oil into the hair. This should keep the curls looking smooth and lasting through the day, but if they hair dries out and
you need to re-smooth them, feel free to re-mist with the oil or a little leave-in conditioner and scrunch lightly to smooth.