15 Most FAQ Answered: Curly Biracial Hair Care Tips
If I told you how many emails I get on a weekly basis about Alina’s curly hair, you wouldn’t believe me. From white moms, black moms, adoptive moms, grandmoms, and especially Latina moms, they all share in their pursuit for healthy biracial hair. The love for their kids always shines through, and it makes me proud to know these awesome moms are raising multiracial children who love their mixed curly hair.
Raising Multiracial Children and Biracial Hair
What I’ve learned from all these women is that biracial hair – which is not a technical term, because hair is hair… not a race – is more than just a beauty regime. It’s about the combination of cultures, the redefinition of beauty and a deep desire to raise happy kids.
This post on Mixed Hair Care Tips for Tips for Toddler’s Ringlet Curls has been all over Pinterest. This one on Mixed Hair Care: Night Time Routine for Ringlet Curls has been viewed many times, too. Both posts, and the others I’ve written on biracial hair and identity, have received many comments and emails and I thought a post answering the most common questions was warranted. As a note, these pictures are of Alina’s hair two days after a deep condition and first thing in the morning. I had not touched it all before taking these pictures.
Here are 15 of most common FAQ answered…
Most Common FAQ Biracial Hair Questions
1. Products! By far, the most common question asked is about the products I use on Alina’s curly hair. This is hard to answer because I use many different brands for many different purposes – and I’m constantly changing. Some of the staples we always keep on hand, though, are: Mixed Chicks Leave-In, Eden Deep Conditioner (at Walmart), Shea Deep Conditioners (at Walmart, in stores), Carol’s Daughter’s co-wash and Quidad’s Define and Shine Curly Styling Gel Cream. I also use a variety of less expensive conditions to use as a combing conditioner (see explanation below), such as: Johnson’s No More Tangles, Sauve’s Moroccan Oil line and a few others. Eventually I’ll have a page for Mixed Hair Care Products We Love (it will be hyperlinked when live).
2. Tools! By far the next most requested information is what we use to manage her hair. I use a variety of combs – for general combing, combating small tangles and styling. And I also swear by these Spring Bands by Mixed Chicks. They are they only hair bands I use now and they have been AMAZING on preventing breakage. Alina literally has no breakage. Also, we don’t use or own a brush at all. Not for my hair or hers. We don’t brush wet or dry. No brushes!!!
3. In Between Days: I’ve been asked repeatably about the days in between her deep condition. I wrote the original hair care post over a year ago. At 4.5 years old, Alina needs deep conditioning more often. On the days we wet her hair, I put in as much conditioner as her hair “asks” for. On the days we don’t wet her hair, the curls remain as-is and we style as needed. We always use a spray bottle during styling and use conditioners and styling agents as needed.
4. What kind of conditioners do you use? This is another loaded question that could take days to answer, but I think I finally have a formula that works for us. I use three different conditioners on Alina’s biracial hair: combing condition (used to detangle hair), deep conditioner (that I leave in) and a leave-in conditioner (used for styling). I don’t follow package instructions and use the amount needed for my daughter’s hair to be feel properly moisturized.
5. Do you leave all of that condition in her hair? Yes. The answer is yes. I shampoo or co-wash her hair and rinse. But then I use a comb through conditioner to help me work through the tangles and do not rinse. Most of it comes out during the detangling process, but I don’t make an effort to remove it. A deep condition comes after, if needed or weekly, using my finger tips to close the cuticles of each strand of hair. This is when I check the ends and assess for breakage. But, no. I don’t rinse out conditioner.
6. How do I get the “wet” look? I’ve gotten this question – or the reference – on how to get the “wet” look and this is what I think… curly hair looks wet when its wet, but when it’s dry… is it dry? The real question here should be whether the biracial hair is properly moisturized. Because of its shape and texture, it’s very hard to have shiny curly hair. It won’t look wet when dry. You need to constantly be adding moisture to curly hair so that it looks healthy and to weigh it down. Consider the texture of the hair at the root, and if the hair looks dried out, wet it and use a product to keep the moisture in.
7. When did curls start to drop? I don’t know… have they? Alina’s hair goes down her back when wet, and because I refuse to use a brush, embrace hydrated curls and only keep her hair down or in protected styles, she has suffered minimal breakage. But at 4.5 years old, her hair is only chin length. She has never had a cut, other than a little at-home chop to remove some yucky stuff. I used to band her hair faithfully at night, helping to train the hair downward. Eventually, she’ll have a professional cut to give her tresses some shape, but I don’t mind waiting for the extra-long curls to arrive. As long as her curls look defined and healthy, I’m happy.
8. How about letting the hair air-dry? I don’t like letting Alina’s hair air dry. For my loose curls, sure. But because of the crazy amount of shrinkage that occurs, I stay away from air drying with Alina. A few weeks ago we let her hair air dry before my brother’s graduation – I even used a blow dryer on cold pointing down to avoid the shrinkage, but that hardly helped. She had the most adorable curly temple ringlets that day, but the shrinkage was crazy! If we have to air dry, that’s fine… but usually I prefer to have her hair dry overnight in a banded ponytail, using additional leave-in conditioners with hold during styling.
9. Sleep routine updated: We still do not use a scarf or head wrap. They kind of freak me out and I’d rather not lose sleep wondering if my little, wild sleeper accidentally inhales it and suffocates. I’m crazy, I know. If her hair is dry at bedtime (meaning, we didn’t wet it at bath time or she went to bed without a bath), it’s not tied at all. Her curls have set and don’t need to be banded. Just a little water and leave-in during styling the next day. I’ve started to wrap sections of her hair around a low/mid bun to preserve the curl and center of her scalp (we were having an issue with dryness there). Hopefully I’ll do a post on that technique soon.
10. Is her hair wet at bedtime? Yup, it sure is. And she sleeps in a warm bed on a satin pillow case with dreams of doggies and dandelions running through her mind. I’m not worried about it.
11. How long does your routine take – a.k.a THIS IS SO MUCH WORK! I feel ya, mama. This IS a ton of work. But your kids will be happier for it. Alina’s hair routine, at its longest, takes close to an hour. The detangling part takes the most time and is dependent on how many days I’ve been lazy. My husband is amazing and helps out, but try as he may, he never gets it right. TOUCH those curls and release the tangles. Ensure the conditioner has been adsorbed completely and use your finger tips to close the hair shaft.
12. Speaking of tangles… What’s with the frustration with tangles? Tangles shouldn’t be an issue with curly hair until it’s time to DEtangle the hair. When I get emails about tangles, I think of my mom batting down my head with a brush. Curly hair is going to tangle, my friends. Let go of the image of tangle-free tresses and embrace the beautiful curls you have. Curly hair also doesn’t shed like straight hair – because of the tangles that keep hair on the scalp – and thus the massive amount of hair loss during detangling. Yes – you need to get rid of the tangles to ensure your high quality conditioners are being adsorbed. But once the curls are set and defined, they’re going to tangle. Let it go. Also, for my teenager girl readers, please let go of Prince Charming running his fingers through your perfectly detangled mane. That game is old news and you don’t need that dude, anyway.
13. Why not braids or twist outs? In truth, I don’t braid. I wish I could! Because I wear my hair down, Alina wants to also. Perhaps its cultural, and one day I’ll have my sister-in-law give me pointers on twists, but for now we’re sticking to Alina’s naturally defined curl pattern.
14. Frizz, frizz, frizz! I read a TON about other people’s frizz-ness. And again, while I’m happy you’re asking questions, I start to twitch thinking of my mom brushing my hair. Frizz is not healthy. Frizz means the hair is not moisturized. Frizz can mean you’re dry brushing. Ultimately, frizz means you don’t have ringlet curls. First, I would take a long and honest look at the hair texture and type (Alina is a C3) and determine if you’re expectations are in check. Alina doesn’t have long, loose curls like mine. Her’s are spirals… and they are gorgeous. Most definitely combat frizz, but be real on the hair texture your little one has.
15. I say NO to straighteners: I’ve been asked, but I’m hesitant answer. While I don’t judge a mom for taking care of her child’s hair how she sees fit, my daughter will never get a straightener on my watch. Ever. A fun, new straight hair style for a special occasion? Sure, when she’s much much older. A chemical process to remove the curl pattern from her hair indefinitely? Nope. Not with my money. I’ve never had a Brazilian Blow Out or messed with my hair that way, so I won’t allow my child to either. Curly hair is part of our identity and if she wants to abolish those curls, she’ll have to get a job and pay for it herself.
All Grown Up: Her FIRST Mixed Curly Haircut
This sweet baby is growing up and finally had her first curly haircut at 7 years-old. Read on to find out what we learned – about hair and ourselves. <3
BONUS: How about the boys? Check out our new favorite Curly Haircut for Boys!
Woo nelly, this post was giant. If you stayed till the end, thanks! Hope this helped a tiny bit. I promise to be back with more mixed hair tips in the future.
Check out the ENTIRE BIRACIAL HAIR CARE series here!