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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