If you happen to have kinky/curly/textured hair and you’ve just really begun digging into the facts of how to take care of it in its natural state, I’m sure you’ve probably come to the conclusion that our parents had no earthly idea of what they were actually dealing with on top of our heads.
Back when we were children, there were no natural hair blogs to read or YouTube videos to watch. Our parents just did to our hair what their parents did to theirs: snap a comb through it, slap some grease on the scalp, throw some cornrows in it, and call it a day.
The reality is that this technique does not make for a good long-term hair regimen. The only reason why we may have had “long” hair as a child is because our hair was most likely placed in a protective style (cornrows, braids, twists) for extended periods of time. Very little manipulation gave our hair the chance to retain moisture and length.
So, now you’re at a point where you’re realizing that the “comb, grease, cornrow” method just isn’t enough to maintain a healthy head of hair. Your child’s hair is chronically dry, broken, and damaged; and it seems like it’s getting shorter by the day. So what do you do?
The solution is actually quite simple; but it will take a little extra time and will also require a measure of consistency.
If your child’s hair is natural and it is damaged and broken, the most likely cause is a moisture deficiency.
The moisture deficiency could be because your child is sleeping on cotton bedding with hair unprotected; or your child may not be getting in enough water each day. It could also be that your child has low porosity hair. This essentially means that your child’s hair cuticles are so tight that it’s hard for moisture to penetrate the strand. (This is most common with coarser hair types.)
Realistically, the moisture deficiency could be happening for all of the reasons I’ve listed above. Whatever the case, there are steps you can take to correct it.
The author of The Science of Black Hair has conveniently broken down hair breakage into three different levels of severity. Find the level that your child fits in and follow the corresponding steps to fix it.
Use the steps as a guideline, not a rule. If you find that adding or modifying a step works better for your child or lifestyle, go for it! The natural hair journey is all about experimentation, trial and error.
Note: The repair regimen in the below graphic covers how to fix damage from moisture deficiency in natural hair only. I will cover in a future piece how to repair hair damaged from chemical processing or protein sensitivities.
The steps outlined above should help your child on their road to hair recovery; but doing them alone won’t get you results. You must also treat the hair properly: Have your child sleep on a satin pillowcase or wear a satin bonnet nightly, handle hair gently only detangling when hair is damp/wet and slick with conditioner, and make sure your child gets in enough water each day.
Combine all of these practices and you’ll see wonderful results in no time.