Wanted: Helpful Suggestions for Biracial Hair Care for Kids

Erin Laplante of Northampton, MA writes:

I have a biracial three year old daughter whose hair has been a little difficult for me to manage. I have tried wetting her hair and combing it out to put it into barrettes or elastics, just brushing it out and putting product into it, just using conditioner to detangle it, and have not had much luck. I’ve used a variety of shampoos for women of color that all work fine, but what I really need help with is how to get it manageable on a daily basis. If it grows longer than a few inches it starts to knot up and hurts her more. Does anyone have any helpful suggestions? I don’t mind putting work into her hair every day so that she is comfortable and her hair is not knotting up! I have no experience in doing hair beyond brushing (my own hair is fine and straight) so this is completely new territory for me! Any help would be appreciated.

Please post any suggestions or resources in the comment box.

14 Comments on “Wanted: Helpful Suggestions for Biracial Hair Care for Kids

  1. I’m reading the Curly Girl book too and a lot of the information is helpful but I’m finding that for my dds hair there really is not that many options for biracial children’s hair. If you think about it, there are now a large variety of hair care lines for black hair but about 5 that cater to biracial hair needs. Private-label-minerals is probably the only company to date that I feel like is really helping me find the best products for my dds curly hair. They do customization and have a LARGE amount of natural hair products for curly hair. My personal fave for Jasmin is the Coconut & Hibiscus Hair Milk. They help women create their own line of natural hair products and I’m thinking that may be the best route for me. Highly recommend.


  2. I have a four yr old daughter that’s mixed mexican/black the main problem with her hair was dryness and frizz and finding a good shampoo and conditioner was hard but we finally found one that works great and it’s affordable. TREsseme hair products are wonderful I used the deep cleansing shampoo twice a week to get rid of build-up and dirt then I use the Naturals moisture conditioner from their naturals line which I leave for 15 min. Then I use the flawless curls lotion creme and to finish it off I put the split-in end conditioning treatment. This is just one day routine I normally wash her hair everyother day with just conditioner. I heard of mixed chicks and how wonderful of a hair product it is I really didn’t want to try it until she was older but now that they have a line for kids I can’t wait to try it but if you are on a budget I would definetly recommend TREsemme.

  3. Hi I have a four year old daughter she is mixed. Her dad is caucasian and I am blk. I have been havin a hard time finding what to use on her hair I have tried everything!! Plz help..

  4. I have to biracial girls that r 8 and 6 need help with the dryness and to help it grow. I put stuff in it before they go to school and it will look good then when they get home it is all proffed out and dry looking.

  5. My daughter is 8 and our biggest problem is the knots and tangles. She is very tender headed so what product does anyone suggest for that problem. I have bought the most expensive things and they still do not work. I have seen the ad for Quidad, does it work?

  6. Erin,
    I have a 4 year old biracial daughter. I’m gonna take you through her hair care routine and hope it helps. I wash her hair once a week (usually on saturday). I use Organix Sulfate Free Coconut Milk Shampoo ($6.00 at drugstores/mass retailers). I focus on really cleaning her scalp and not so much on the ends. I then thoroughly rinse all the shampoo out & apply conditioner. I use Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner ($3.00-5.00 at drugstores/mass retailers). I let it sit on her hair for 15-30 minutes, with or without a plastic shower cap, while she plays with her bath toys. After that time I VERY quickly & lightly rinse the conditioner, but I leave a majority of it in. I then part her hair into four sections. I GENTLY detangle the first section with my FINGERS, then a wide tooth comb (If you only use a comb, it will cause breakage.) I then braid that section and move on to repeat these steps on the next 3 sections. Then I rinse the conditioner out (you can leave some conditioner in depending on your childs hair) while the braids are still in. I squeeze the excess water out of her hair either with my hands, or with a towel. Do Not wrap the towel around the head, or rub the towel on the head, this will cause frizz. I unravel one braid at a time, and apply a leave in mousturizer. I usually use Organics Root Stimulator Loc & Twist Gel ($4.00 or less drugstore/mass retailers). Then I re-braid each section. My daughter’s hair tends to unravel easily, so I have to use something on her ends to hold it. I use Faded Glory brand OUCHLESS ponytail holders. You can find these at Walmart ($2.50 for a pack of 50). I have her sleep on a satin pillow case or you can get a satin bonnet. Sunday is our styling day. I take the braids out & figure out what style I want her to have for the week. I lightly spray her hair with a water & conditioner mix & detangle with my FINGERS. I style her hair & if I use elastics or rubber bands, I soak them in some extra virgin olive oil for about an hour before. I do this because rubber bands tend to be very dry & cause breakage. I also add some extra moisturizer to where the elastic will be placed. I don’t pull the hair too tight & I don’t leave elastics or rubber bands in for more than a few days. When I do take them out I cut them out, careful not to cut the hair. If you like her to wear her hair natural & out everyday instead of styled, you will need to adopt a nightly routine. If my daughter is wearing her hair natural, before she goes to bed we will spray her hair with the water & conditioner mix & gently detangle with my FINGERS, then we will braid or twist her hair in sections everynight with a moisturizer. In the morning we will take her hair down & gently separate, but not too much, touching dry hair creates frizz. We do this every night before bed. It seems like a lot to take in, but once you start doing it, everything will come together & you will pick it up quickly. A lot of taking care of biracial hair is about learning about your childs hair & what products work for her hair. It is a lot of trial & error. But always use sulfate free shampoo, always use alcohol free products (alcohol drys the hair), Never use heat or chemicals in the hair ( perms, relaxers, flat irons, blow dryers-these cause nothing but damage!) always be gentle and always teach your child to love their hair. Natural hair is so beautiful & versatile. I hope this helped. If you need more help you can check out my blog imgrowingnatural.blogspot.com or email me at imgrowingnatural@yahoo.com. Best of luck!

  7. I am a caucasian mom of a 7 yr.old biracial girl Our biggest problem is frizz and knotting. I was fortunate enough to find the mixed chicks products you order on line.It changed my hair styling life! I actually got spoiled because her hair became so nice that I stopped using it.(Big Mistake) Now Im back to the frizz and knotting! So im starting up again.You need to buy 3 products.The shampoo,deep conditioner,and leave-in conditioner.If you do all that,you just spray the hair down in the morning and detangle with the leave-in.well worth the money! Good luck!Carrie

  8. I have a biracial 6 yr old and me and my dh used to have issues with her hair as well. There are a couple of hair care lines out now for biracial hair, so those may perform better on your dds hair, they sure did for us!

    First off, part her hair into four sections while wet and comb them out BEFORE you wash her hair. Wash her hair with a sulfae free shampoo in these sections as well. Condition her hair in these sections too. This will help her hair be manageable and prevent tangling.

    Secondly, ALWAYS apply leave-in conditioner to her hair while DAMP, and twist her hair up or braid it to seal in that moisture. In the morning unravel her hair and it should be easy to manage.

    My HG products for my dds hair right now are the Mineral Indulgence and Bare Mineral Indulgence products. I apply the products to my daugher’s hair at night and then reactivate with my homemade water mixture in the morning. I don’t have to reapply product and her hair is really manageable and soft.

    The “Curly Girl” method that a lot of people refer to is basically a compilation of methods that may work for curly hair. One of them being co-washing. What this is is when you wash the hair with conditioner instead of shampoo in between shampoo washes. People who follow this method generally use natural products to avoid cones and sufates. HIH!


  9. I personally have extremely dry frizzy & curly hard to manage hair and I have purchased everything you can possibly imagine but the only thing that works for me is a treatment made of Shea Butter and Vitamin e. I use only a tiny tiny bit after I shower and shampoo but don’t use normal conditioner anymore and my hair is completely tangle free. I used to go to the salon and spend 30 on a bottle of conditioner that was good but not great and I would still frizz and knot up regularly. This is a great Leave in conditioner. If you are interested in getting some e-mail me and I will gladly get you the information

  10. Thank you so much all! I am solo in my struggle with Anna’s hair, and everyone I meet just says “brush it wet” which is not a very helpful suggestion when dealing with my lovely little three year old. I really, really appreciate your insight! Thank you Sienna for posting this question and hosting this site!

  11. Try a satin pillow case to decrease snarls. My daughter has very fine straight hair that snarls easily. Thesatin pillow case has made a big defference.

  12. My sister-in-law has two daughters with different types of bi-racial hair. Below are her suggestions. Good luck.

    I certainly can relate to her struggles and have some suggestions of things that have worked for me.

    As far as washing goes, I only actually shampoo their hair once every 2 weeks (more if they’re swimming in chlorine). That is based on recommendations from the professionals who work on their hair, who say not to wash more than once a week, once every 2 weeks is better. A rinse with conditioner can be used more frequently. In fact, if wanting to leave out and curly on a daily basis, the girls’ hairdresser says to rewet and comb through in the morning. If it has product already on it, no more is needed. Given our climate, I don’t want the girls going out with wet heads, so I don’t do that. I use a wide-toothed comb when working with their hair curly and limit brushing to avoid making it frizzy. I do use a narrow-toothed comb to work out small tangles, but am careful not to overuse that as well. And, for parting a sectioning, I use a metal-tipped tail comb. A plastic tip does not work – the metal tipped one has been extremely helpful. I also use a boar-bristle brush for smoothing. Synthetic bristles can damage the hair.

    Now that Simone’s hair is long (and because she has a looser curl than Devon had), I can blow dry it out and flat iron. When we don’t do that, braiding is what works best. I wash, condition and braid it wet. If you let the curls shrink up before braiding, it tangles. After it has dried, I can take it out and comb through, which I do in the morning and re-braid. Given that her daughter is 3 years old and it sounds like her hair is still relatively short, it sounds like she may want to do plats. She can section hair into small (1-inch square or so) sections and braid into little braids. No band is needed – the braid will hold by itself. As braids loosen, they can be re-done, but this should hold well for some days. My mother-in-law (and others, too) recommended this for strengthening the hair. It minimizes tangling and the need for excessive combing which damages the hair.

    One thing I didn’t do with the girls hair when they were young (and wish I had) was get their hair cut frequently (just trimmed about once every 8 weeks). Because the curls shrink so much, my tendency was to not cut it in an effort to get it longer faster. The problem that I found out was that there was breakage that was preventing it from getting long when I did that and the ends were split. This led to more tangles and curls that were fuzzy when they dried. We’re still working to repair some of the long-term damage, but the girls’ hair looks so much healthier and is easier to work with and style now that I get it trimmed more often. I would also recommend for her to seek out an African-american stylist or someone who has a lot of experience working with black hair. My experience with stylists who don’t know (even those who say they know how to work with curly hair) has not been good. African-American curly is much different (and drier) than Caucasian curly hair. JCPenney salons are typically a good place to find such stylists.

    As far as products go, I’ve tried many. The ones I like best are Keracare hydrating shampoo and Keracare moisturizing conditioner. I don’t like some of the other Keracare products, though. I also like the Curls products (www.curls.biz) . They have great ones for babies and kids, and they were developed specifically for multi-ethnic hair. The Curls milkshake is one I like best for moisturizing. I’ve found that the less product I use, sometimes the better. I used to think I needed to dump product on to really moisturize, but that would just gunk it up and cause more problems.

    Hope this helps!


  13. Hey there,

    Someone posted a comment about this inquiry on my blog, so I’m stopping by…

    First… products that say they’re “made for women of color” more often than not really don’t do anything special. It’s marketing, to be honest, and a lot of times these products do nothing special.

    Now, onto suggestions. My first piece of advice is CONDITIONER, CONDITIONER, CONDITIONER! This is the most basic way to give your daughter’s hair the moisture it needs. The trick is to completely ignore the directions on the label. You’re already headed the right way, using the condish to detangle. Then, after (gently) shampooing, use the condish to style. That means, separate the hair into sections (probably four or five) and apply a generous amount of conditioner to each, like a hair cream. Distribute it evenly, then simply leave it in. That will give her hair hold, definition and moisture. That should hold her hair for a good few days (textured hair doesn’t need to be washed every day, and often is healthier because of that). Because she’s little, I’d say to put her hair into thick twists (which you can then decorate with barrettes and whatnot). As for which conditioner to use — you can’t really go wrong with Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut. It’s super good and super cheap, and a favorite among many.

    A great resource is biracialhair.org. Terri walks readers through the steps of caring for textured hair, and her practice shows in her own tresses. Hope this helps!

  14. Hi Erin,

    I just finished reading a book called “Curly Girl” by Lorraine Massey. There is a chapter on African American hair, as well as a chapter on hair care for kids. Basically, she explains that curly hair is a different type of fiber from straight hair and needs “delicate” care. You can check it out from the library; I got a copy through interlibrary loan. It might be helpful, or at least kind of point you in the right direction.

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