When I had my first child, a boy, I was IN LOVE with his curls. He’s mixed (black and white) and his curls were the.cutest.thing. They’d get little blond tips in summer and although he hated having his hair combed, I discovered the best way was in the bath with lots of conditioner and a hair pick. The thing he never liked was braids, product in his hair, or to have it combed (much). He went through some phases of wanting it cut shorter, but for the most part, he loved to rock his natural hair in afros, a flat top, the old “let’s just let it grow and see what it does” look and most recently, it was faded and then twisted on top.
I never understood the people who would comment about his hair needing to be cut down and short. He’s 16 now and he loves letting it do what it does. His hair was, and is, amazing.
So, now let me back track a bit. My daughter, Amaija, was born in 2006. Her father and I had agreed, when we knew she was a girl, that we would never chemically process her hair to take the curl out. I agreed for a few reasons: I wanted her to learn to love the hair she was given. I prefer to go the natural route with our health and wellness and so chemicals on the hair was not going to happen. I didn’t want her to spend her life fighting her hair. This may sound crazy, but I didn’t think many white girls really had curly hair. And the ones I did see with curly hair, straightened it as often as needed.
My first son was 6.5 years old when Amaija was born, and I felt like I knew how to do this hair thing. I paid attention to her curls and the texture of her hair as she grew. For the longest, I did not need to do much with her hair because it took quite a while to grow in. When the curls came, I had so much fun doing little pony tails on top and using a very light product since her hair was really fine. Her hair grew in full and beautifully curly, still keeping it’s fine texture. We tried out different products along the way and got quite the collection. The thing I always wanted was that she KNEW how to take care of her hair and love the curls and know how to work with them, instead of against them. When it started to get longer, we started washing and then combing with a heavy conditioner, rinsing and then we just let it be. We would put a little curl product in her hair and played around with various braids styles, three piece twists and finger coils, but for the most part, she wanted it to do its thing without messing with it too much.
I myself had gone back to straightening my hair and so as she grew she would ask me to straighten her hair. I would agree now and then, but it was so.much.work. I knew I had to embrace my own curly hair to be a better influence on my daughters and to practice what I preach. Her hair helped me in my own journey of accepting my hair.
I decided to do a little interview with Amaija about her hair.
What is so great about your hair? Why do you like it?
Because I can do a lot of styles with it. And not many other girls my age wear their hair like me.
What is your hair care routine?
I wash it a few times a week and in between those washes, I co-wash. Co-washing is conditioning only and I do that so my hair doesn’t get so dry. I use a wide tooth comb in the shower with conditioner in my hair. After I rinse it, I use my fingers to separate the curls while rinsing out the conditioner. When I get out of the shower, I towel dry it and put in some kind of product. My favorite is Mixed Chicks Leave-in Conditioner because it isn’t too heavy and my mom likes it, but we haven’t bought it recently because it has parabens and dyes that my mom doesn’t like. We recently bought a new Shea Moisture and so far, we love it. And it’s $10 cheaper!
Sometimes we straighten your hair with a blow dryer, round brush and flat iron. What do you like about that style and in the end, do you prefer it straight or curly and why?Sometimes it is a little easier to do my hair once it’s been straightened. Keeping it straight is hard though because it goes back to being curly after a day or so. I always like when my mom does straighten it so I can see how long my hair really is! I prefer my hair curly because when my hair is straight, I have to brush it (which I don’t do when it’s curly) and after a little while, I get annoyed with it on my neck and down my back. Plus, I know that straightening my hair damages it.
What do people say about your curly hair?
Most people love my hair. Since I was little, people want to always touch my hair and ask my mom if it’s hard to take care of. I don’t really mind if people touch my hair, but they have to ask me first.
I’ve noticed the other girls at school with curly hair always have it in braids or they’ve permed it so it’s straight. One of my friends has spent a lot of time getting Brazilian blow-outs and most recently a lye-based chemical relaxer. I like that my mom has taught me how to take care of my hair and to love it, instead of spending so much time straightening it.
My message to other girls with curly hair would be don’t damage your hair to have it straight by perming, using chemicals or heat. Learn to take care of what you have and you will get a lot of compliments! Celebrate who you are and what God gave you.