Hair Care for Little Afrobellas

Ladies, I’d like you to meet Dominique Aura, the littlest Afrobella in my family.

She’s 17 months old and a bundle of fun. And as you can see, she’s got quite the thick head of hair for such a wee one!

Like her Auntie Patrice did at that age, she hates having her hair done.

It takes a lot of patience, time, and love to take Dominique from fierce ‘fro to neatly presented little curly-haired cutie.

After having my efforts at applying some Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk rejected in no uncertain terms (Dominique’s new favorite word is “No!”) I had to ask her mom (my sister-in-law), how the heck she does it every day.

She sits behind her on the bed, parts her hair into sections, and uses lots of moisture before beginning to comb from the tip to the root. And believe me, Dominique doesn’t make it easy for her mom.

“You have to distract her in some way, because like all women with curly hair, she has a lot of tangles and knots. So every day I have to find a different thing to distract her,” my sister-in-law Lindsay, explains. She uses toys, cartoons on TV, shiny jewelry, even the very hair clips and accessories she’s about to use in Dominique’s hair to keep her little hands busy.

Eventually, she becomes entranced enough to sit still and let Mama work her magic.

Most often, Lindsay does her hair in two adorable little braids, she uses a chic headband to pull her afropuff back, or for special occasions, she’ll break out colorful hairclips for a funky style.

For Christmas, I gave the grown bellas beauty baskets, and gave Dominique a basket of her own, filled with the entire line of my beloved Suave for Kids. Now, after they wash her hair with dragonfruit shampoo and grape conditioner, they spray her with awesome apple detangling spray. That’s good enough to keep her curls clean, but what about styling products for little afrobellas?

Trinidad has limited baby supplies in terms of moisturizers for natural hair. The search led Lindsay to Trinidad’s biggest beauty supply store. “Pennywise didn’t have anything for babies. They said their detanglers are for bigger kids. I was like, what should I use to moisturize her curly hair? There really aren’t any products like that here,” explains Mama Lindsay.

“Her hair is getting longer now, so the detangler that you gave me helps. But I don’t always want to put it in plaits, sometimes I just want to make it look shiny and pretty with her hair out,” says Linds, who currently uses petroleum jelly to give Dominique’s hair some shine, and to slick down her flyaway baby ringlets.

Vaseline is certainly not the best product for anyone’s hair – thick, mineral oil and petrolatum based products clog pores and don’t encourage hair growth. Lindsay tried to find some pure coconut oil, but was unable to source a steady supply of well-produced, pleasant smelling oil.

That sent me on a mission for hair care tips and a moisturizing, nurturing product for the littlest afrobellas. At my go-to hair care resource, Motown Girl, I found some awesome tips for child hair care, and she also has this great article about the importance of keeping a child’s hair natural, written by hairstylist Kelli Harris.

I also found a valuable resource in this adoption site for and by Caucasian moms, which features both confused and accurate information about hair care for little afrobellas (Seriously, about midway through that post it starts getting a bit ridiculous. Many of the hairstyles these women are trying to do are waaaaaaaaay too complicated).

I became fixated on SoftSheen Carson’s Baby Love line, but I couldn’t find ingredient details on their website. And SoftSheen Carson being the company behind Optimum, Dark & Lovely, and Carefree Curl, I just suspect that their baby stuff is chock-a-clock with chemicals, and probably based on petrolatum and mineral oil.

Then I discovered another wonderful article at Mommy Too! Magazine, a great new webmag for black moms.

“Tis the Season to be Curly” is a to-the-point article by Mahisha Dellinger, founder of Curls. In addition to offering raved about products for grown-up afrobellas, Curls has a line of products for kids.

Curly Q’s for Kids is a range of cleansers, moisturizers, conditioners, and styling products for little afrobellas that is made with pure ingredients including coconut oil and sweet almond milk. Huzzah!

So for little Dominique’s birthday I will get her Curly Q Milkshake, Custard and Coconut Dream Conditioner.
I’m sure those products will keep her looking and feeling like the little princess that she is.

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  1. Watch_and_Learn says:

    Baby Bella is too adorable!!!

  2. She is beautiful!

  3. Black Honey says:

    What a beautiful baby!!!

  4. What a cutie! My girlie is four and the styling has not gotten easier. We keep it pretty simple. Minimal poo, lots of conditioning and moisture, moisture, moisture (mostly organic coconut oil). Here’s another article on styling baby bellas even though I’m not a fan of blowdrying the hair…

    I want 2 just like Dominique!

    For what it’s worth here are my suggestions:
    Use single oils on baby hair like 100% Pure Virgin Coconut Oil or single fruit oils like Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Organic Watermelon Seed Oil etc..

    No petroleum – here in Europe the European Union’s Dangerous Substances Directive (UNECE 2004) lists petrolatum as being a probable human carcinogen. Those personal care products that do contain petroleum (petrolatum) must verify its full refining history prior to public sale… IMHO better safe than sorry especially with baby bellas.

    YES ITA with Dee, moisture, moisture, moisture!

    Instead of shampoo use herbal infusions on baby bellas those with loads of plant mucilage. Freshly made herbal infusions can act as a shampoo, clarifier and/or final rinse for delicate baby hair.
    Herbal infusions are like making a cup of tea just make sure the water has cooled sufficiently for baby bella.

    IMHO – dried herbs that are lovely for baby bellas are:
    Organic Chamomile
    Organic Lavender
    Organic Roses

    Whatever you do *do not* use honey on baby bellas.
    Honey should not be used on infants under the age of 12 months for fear of infant botulism.
    Clostridium bacteria may be one of the causes of infant botulism. This bacteria is said to be found in certain types of foods like honey. Infant botulism may occur in children from the age of six months or under.

    These are my suggestions & should in no way be construed as medical advice.

  6. She is absolutely precious. Love her Princess attire.
    I have two sons who have thick heads of curls.

    I also use the Suave shampoo and conditioner and I find that adding some infusium leave in conditioner does wonders for their hair.

  7. She is a cutie!

    Does your sister-in-law take her hair down every night? If she does, of course there’s going to be a battle every morning:) My mom had two foster kids with hair that was just like heres and I would make braids that lasted a few days after moisturizing and washing with conditioner only.

  8. She’s beautiful! I use Curls products for my own hair and am about to order the Curly Qs for my 3-year-old’s hair. I’ll let you know how they work!

  9. Your niece is so adorable. I am an adult and I just discovered Curly Q’s Coconut Dream Conditioner at Ricky’s in New York. I love how hydrating the product is, and it also makes detangling a lot easier.

  10. jerseybred says:

    She’s a cutie. Bella your next!!

  11. I have a 2 yr old with type 3c hair. I wash it with baby shampoo and use coconut oil to moisturize. I’m always looking for improvements so I will definitely try the Curly Q’s products. She hates having her hair washed although I can usually distract her like your sis-in-law for the combing part.

    Thanks so much for all your wonderful advice. Love your site!

  12. she is adorable bella!! She is indeed a natural bella in the making. I love it. My sister was also having a little difficulty with my niece’s hair. She has 3a hair, it is thick and there is a lot of it!!! I love the fact that you touched on the issue of natural hair for kids. My sister is relaxed and has had relaxed hair from her early teens. The adjustment to taking care of natural hair has been difficult, especially since she no longer relates to natural hair (we had a little conflict over natural hair care, she like most, still holds onto all the misconceptions about natural hair). My sister was using pink oil moisturizer and Always Natural conditioning hair dress on my niece’s hair. Both products are packed with petroleum and mineral oil and needless to say my nieces hair was a mess. After that ordeal I got her a few products from kids organics. I highly recommend them. She uses their Shea butter detangling hair lotion and their protein & vitamin scalp remedy. While these products aren’t vegan products they at least contain no Petroleum or mineral oils. The difference in her hair was instant and my sister had to given to the information that I was giving. They have a very broad range of products that cover all aspects of hair care. My niece currently uses the suave kids 2 in 1 shampoo (yup in Dragon fruit), but because its cold right now in NY she isn’t using their detangler because its water based. I also realized that her hair responds better to a cream detangler. She has also had success with the Loreal line for kids shampoo. I plan to eventually try the kids Organics Shea butter conditioning shampoo and conditioner on her. Those a few of my recommendations. Sorry for such a long post

  13. OHMYGOD she is adorable! What a little cutie :)

  14. Ha ha, Jerseybred!! Give me a few years. I’m not ready yet – spending time with her over Christmas made me realize how much of a life-change a baby can be!

  15. Hi Bella,
    Love the article on baby bella, as you know she is just the best, we love her so much. Thank you Anita Grant and Dahls, I will check it out.
    Bella love to you and keep up the good work.

  16. selah'smommy says:

    she is toooo cute!

  17. Too cute!

  18. please help. my baby girl is 2 years old, and her hair is very fine and soft but also (looks rough) and dry. her hair is very curly to. she is 1/2 white 1/2 black also. i have tired everything in her hair and nothing seems to work. her hair will look moisturized for my be 10 min, then its back to being fizzy and dry.i hear talk of all these products,carols d,curls,blended cutie,mixed chicks and jessie curl. i dont know who to trust in my babys hair.please help who has the best line for my little afrobella.

  19. This is just the kinda information that i was looking for. Thanks a million.
    Your niece really is adorable.

  20. Love this post. I added it to my website: Mahogany Momma’s Guide to African American Children’s Haircare

    Take Care

  21. OMG! That little girl is ADORABLE! You guys need to put Little Ms. Terrible Two’s to work. She needs to be doing commercials. I am so serious. She is a cutie pie and seems like she has a lot of personality.

    Keep in touch and drop by my blog spot.

  22. I know I’m way late on this post, but what is 3a, 3c, etc. type hair??? I want (read: need) to be in the know on this! ;-)

  23. Healthy hair is something that we all want, and that’s why the sales of products that are supposed to give people healthy hair are so huge. However, most of the time those products are simply not what they’re cracked up to be. There are many things we can do to prevent hair damage, and to treat damaged hair.

    It’s a pretty good idea to use conditioner every time you shampoo your hair. This can help hydrate your hair, and is also good for tangles. Leave in conditioner is fine as long as it doesn’t weigh the hair down and make it appear oily. Don’t forget that you shouldn’t brush your hair when it’s wet, as it stretches easily and can break. Instead, wait until the hair dries to gently comb it out.

    Shea Butter is amazing for the hair. With it’s hydrating and healing properties, Shea Butter can be used as a deep conditioner. Just rub a generous amount of the Shea Butter between your hands to melt it and apply it to the hair. Make sure to pay close attention to the ends of hair, which is more likely to have damage than the roots. After you have covered all of your hair with the Shea Butter, place a shower cap on your head and allow the Shea Butter to work it’s magic for about a half hour or so. Then you can use a gentle shampoo.

    Another tip is to use Shea Butter to tame flyaways. Just use a dime sized amount, rub your hands together, and smooth your hair down with it. This will help keep your style the way you want it without annoying frizz.

    Beautiful hair can be achieved by everyone, if we all take care of our hair properly.

    For more information please visit Purely Shea at

  24. your daughter is beautiful, i was looking at the pictures and had seen that the last photo has a glare in her left eye, while watching 20/20 which is a news show, it was talking about a case where a person was viewinf photos on the internet and cometo find out the person was friends to the person that was on the photo, they exchange pictures of each others child and there was a glow to one of the girls eye, its the same glow that is in the last picture, please take her to a optomitrist and get that checked out…please……i am not trying to scare you but i am justing asking that you get her eye checked on.///

  25. I visited your website. All babies pics are very cute and hairstyle is good. I love very much..

  26. Will this work on a child that is mixed? My niece is three and her hair is about almost waist length and I’ve yet to find anything that “truly” works on her hair without weighing it down, drying it out, or leaving it sticky-feeling. Her hair isn’t thick or thin but it tangles really bad after her hair is shampooed and we have to keep it in two braids while she sleeps to prevent any further tangling. It’s a big hassle and your product says “Afro”, so I’m not sure if you are speaking texture or race. We use a product called “Mixed-chick” but it’s okay. So, can we use this or no?

  27. I really need your help i have a 15 month old im trying to find a product that will keep her hair moisturized i’ve tried everything she has kinky curly hair please help

  28. My baby girl is 17 months old with patches of very thick, long hair, alternating with patches of thin, short hair. She suffers frm eczema, so she can’t use products with any perfumes or she will itch, itch, itch. What can I use for shampoo, conditioner or detangler? currently I’m using Baby Aveeno body wash as a shampoo, because I’m at a total loss….no conditioner, and virgin coconut oil as a moisturizer. Help!!

  29. Heather says:

    I have a 15 month old son he is biracial and I dont know what to put on his hair. It is kinky curly when wet then it looks frizzy and dry. People tell me to pic it out and trim down his fro but I like it when it looks good…lol

  30. All of u have given great advice about hair care! I have a 11month baby girl that absolutly hates her hair bein combd. I have to do her hair at night when shes about to go to sleep. My family has always used LIV on our hair for over 25 years. Well i didnt know how much the different chemicals really hurt our hair until some of u said to start lookn at the ingredients. So, LIV has petroleum, mineral oil, sodium borate, methylparaben,propylparaben and the list goes on! So im gonna start using natural products on my lil punkin and for me and my husband. These days theres so many products that claim to be natural until u look at the ingredients!

  31. What do you think is the preferred baby carrier then?
    After this research We are still divided between a backpack carrier and a baby sling, I want some thing which won’t induce a lot of agony when holding him for a couple of hours.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hair Care for Little Afrobellas

    Hair care tips from a black mother to other black parents seeking to maintain their little one’s naturally beautiful hair.

  2. […] Take a look at Anita’s new blog, Ingredient Junkie, (older recipes can be found here) or read any of her exhaustive comments on this very site and the breadth of her knowledge becomes instantly apparent. But she started out just like you or me. […]

  3. […] The first product I tried was the Baby Buttercreme, which costs $58. I will definitely be passing this jar along to my niece Dominique when she comes to visit in May! I think it’s exactly what her mom’s been looking for — a super hydrating hair product that leaves hair soft, moisturized, satisfied, and manageable. The scent is my favorite of the four, it’s like mild vanilla frosting. I like the baby buttercreme, but my mistake may have been in using too much at once; it left my curls limp and heavy, albeit very moisturized. But just a dab when my hair’s still wet from the shower is all I need for a day of moist, well behaved, deliciously scented hair. It’s perfect for parents who need something to make their little afrobellas’ hair behave before you pack them off to school. […]

  4. […] Say it with me: awwwwwwww… The littlest afrobella in my family is growing up so fast! I’m so excited, I get to see her this week! My whole entire family is coming to Miami to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary with us. I’m psyched to see everyone, and super duper psyched to see little Dominique. She’s grown up so much, and I hear she’s saying lots of new words, getting into all kinds of mischief, and learning lots of new and wonderful things. […]

  5. […] Little Afrobella Dominique is getting bigger and brighter and more wonderful each day. And because I hardly ever get to see her, when I do, my whole life goes on hold. Work deadlines loom ahead, but tomorrow – I promise it’ll be back to the regular afrobella posts. Promise.   […]

  6. […] If you’re having a hard time finding products in your local “afro shop” as you call it, my advice is, look for reasonably priced products you can order online. Since you’re in Germany, shipping from Anita Grant shouldn’t be too expensive, and she’s got great conditioning products for naturally curly afro-textured hair. Stateside, I can’t recommend Curls more highly, and their Curly Q’s line for kids might be what you’re looking for. Brangelina swears by Carol’s Daughter for Baby Z, and for the little Afrobella in my life, my niece Dominique, we’ve used coconut oil, and now she’s got a big ol’ tub of Miss Jessie’s Baby Buttercreme that works wonderfully on her two-year-old baby fro. And now if I may, I’d like to address Esther directly. […]

  7. […] In case you were wondering, this is what terrible two looks like. Here’s hoping my niece, Little Afrobella Dominique, can still make the “nice” list after this incident! […]

  8. […] Twinkle Little Star” for her aunty Afrobella over the phone. YAY! (Click here here and here to see earlier photos of little miss gorgeous). Little afrobella Dominique is going to be three […]

  9. […] I tried was the Baby Buttercreme, which costs $58. I will definitely be passing this jar along to my niece Dominique when she comes to visit in May! I think it’s exactly what her mom’s been looking for […]

  10. […] been a while since I’ve shared a photo of Little Afrobella, AKA my niece Dominique. And I’ve shared even fewer of her sister, my even littler niece Isabella. So here’s […]

  11. […] My mom’s in the green cardigan and navy dress. Then in front of me is my niece Dominique – Little Afrobella has grown up! […]

  12. […] for a day spa. Floating Feather offers a wonderful Prenatal massage for mothers to be. Comments:- Santa Rhynes: If you are trying to figure out how to bring in new business to a day spa, here are 5 day spa […]

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  16. […] have to walk back to your car and drive or put up with unpleasant public transport. Comments:- Darron Dowda: That will make people lose rather than gain interest in what your business has to offer. Spas […]

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