I wanted to make my first post about the basics of caring for Biracial/African American hair. I want to point out that I am not a professional. Believe it or not, I just learned how to properly care for and style my daughter's hair this year. (Around January 2009) I have done a lot of research on Biracial/African American hair yet I am still learning something new every day. I hope this helps someone out there!
Basic tools needed:
A rat tail comb for parting. I prefer metal. A spray bottle, and a WIDE tooth comb.
Wash the scalp with shampoo once a week. No need to apply the shampoo to all of your child's hair. Gently scrub the scalp with the balls of your fingers, NOT your fingernails. Depending on how thick your child's hair is, you may find it easier to work in sections. Try 4 sections. When you are done, rinse the hair and scalp thoroughly.
I personally condition my daughter's hair once a week as well. Many people cowash (washing hair with conditioner only) a few times a week. Whatever works for you.
When you add the conditioner, it would probably be best to apply it in sections. After you apply the conditioner on one section, take your wide tooth comb and starting from the ends comb through, work your way up. Be gentle! Try finger combing first if you have enough time. It makes a huge difference. The more coarse/curly the hair, the easier it is to tangle, tangles = breakage because many people do not know how to get those little tangles out. If you do come across a little snag, I suggest getting it a bit more wet and applying a little more conditioner to the tangle and just try to work it out as best you can. Do not pull the hair apart, it will break off! Detangle the rest of the hair the same way. Next, it is your decision to rinse the conditioner out, or leave it in. I personally use Teri's method of not rinsing the conditioner out. (it leaves A's curls looking great!) Now, you can't just leave in any old regular conditioner, she has a list of recommendations on her website.
Now, you will probably be tempted to dry your little one's hair with a towel. I suggest doing light dabs with a towel, or just go section by section with your hands and squeeze out the excess water.
Time for bed? If your child does not have their hair styled I suggest doing 4-8 big twists/braids in the hair so it does not tangle over night. Have them sleep on a satin bonnet/pillow case if possible. In the morning, take down each section one at a time, grab your spray bottle (which should have a conditioner or leave-in conditioner mixed in) shake it up, spray the section of hair, if you want, add a moisturizer and finger comb that section, or use a wide tooth comb, repeat on each section of hair. This should be done in no time at all! It really saves time in the morning if you do that before bed time.
If you have a style in your child's hair, it would probably be best to take out any hair accesories before bed. (beads, barrettes, bows, rubberbands, etc) I personally do not do that all of the time, even though I should. I'm working on it.
On days when A's hair is down and it needs detangled I just use my handy dandy spray bottle with conditioner mixed in and a wide tooth comb.
On days when I style A's hair I usually soak the rubberbands in olive oil first. (If I even need to use rubberbands)
I usually leave A's styles in for one week.
We currently use Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo, Herbal Essence Hello Hydration, & Giovanni Direct Leave-in.
I currently use Organic Root Stimulator Moisturizing Lotion to style A's hair. (Braids, cornrows, twists) But I recently discovered it has petroleum in it, which can dry the hair out so after this bottle is gone I will no longer use it. I am on the hunt for something new!
Determining Hair Type:
Curly Hair Salon, Naturally Curly, or Blended Beauty
Other Cool Websites:
Biracial Hair Care Guide from Treasured Locks
Caring for Kinky Curly Hair
Learn to Cornrow *This is how I learned!