Smoothen Mixed Race Hair

Girl with mixed race hair
Photo: Shutterstock
Q: I have a question about my daughter. She is from a mixed race, and you can imagine that I have a lot of problems with her hair. It seems that it won't grow because it's still the same as a year ago, then the other problem is that she always has to put it in a ponytail to wear it. I don't know how to make her hair smooth a little bit so that she can wear it in a different style.
A: My first question for you would be “How old is your daughter?” There are certain processes I usually discourage for a child. Among them are chemical relaxers and straighteners. However, there are a number of companies that have created these products especially formulated for children, and they offer assurance of safe, effective results as long as you use them properly.
These can help you to add some manageability to the hair, making it easier to style. I recommend looking for them in your local beauty supply store and if they cannot be found there, look for them on the internet by searching for the keywords “children’s hair relaxers”.
If you aren’t confident that you can apply the relaxer yourself, please go to a salon. However, make sure that the salon carries hair relaxer formulas specifically for children. If they don’t have the appropriate formulas, tell them that you will get the product for them to use on your child’s hair and bring it with you for the service. Then be sure to do so.
Do not let them use regular strength hair relaxer on your child’s hair. If you have trouble finding a salon that is experienced in working with afro-ethnic hair, be sure to read all the instructions and cautions before attempting the process yourself.
As for the apparent lack of growth in your child’s hair, I have a couple of suggestions: First, be sure to look for signs of breakage. Your daughter’s hair type can often be very prone to breakage, which could be the reason her hair has not appeared to grow. Her regular use of ponytail elastics could be making this situation worse.
It also sounds as though you need to make sure you are using the right shampoos and conditioners, and that you aren’t “over-washing” her hair. Your daughter’s hair doesn’t necessarily need to be shampooed as frequently as your own hair would. However, it should be conditioned every day. Look for spray-on, leave-in conditioners designed for her hair type, as well as hair “polishers” that offer light, natural oils to help keep the hair soft and conditioned. Wash your daughter’s hair only as often as needed to keep it clean.
Next, never try to brush your daughter’s hair. Use only wide-toothed combs and picks. And be sure to treat the hair very gently. As you replenish the moisture and condition of your child’s hair, you should find it becoming easier to care for and style, and you should begin to see a better rate of apparent growth.
If you don't want to use permanent chemical processing on your child's hair (which is understandable and a position I typically support) you may want to use some simple styling techniques such as twisting and braiding to style your daughter's hair. You can create some very attractive styles for young girls by sectioning the hair into small (2-3cm) sections, braiding the hair, and clipping the ends with small barrettes.
See also:
Hair straightening
Brush strokes for healthy hair
How to see the difference between broken hairs and new growth
How to control very curly and frizzy biracial hair