Ask Afrobella — Growing Up Afrobella

I got a question last month that made me smile. Here tis —

Hi Afrobella,

First off let me say I love your site and can’t get enough of it every day.

I have a toddler who just turned four and I decided yesterday that instead of straightening her hair and putting lots of barrettes or braiding it up, I would like to start twisting it or have her wear it out in a natural curly afro sort of do with hair clips, headbands, clips and what not.

The problem is her hair is coarse and rather hard to manage. It’s very kinky and frizzy. Also, she cut it about a month ago but my stylist says to let it grow out rather than cutting the rest to even it out so I am wondering what product could I use to twist it up to get the soft curly look, if you know what I mean. My stylist suggests jam but I don’t find that it’s left curly, soft and manageable but rather hard to comb and stiff. I myself, haven’t taken the step to natural just yet so I have no experience with it but I would like my baby to grow up with natural hair and let her decide if she wants to straighten it.

Thank you so much for your dedication to us Bellas out here!!!

L

Hey L — love your question. Obviously there’s no way I could ever recommend straightening your little bella’s hair, ESPECIALLY not now — she’s only four years old!!! That’s old enough to be own-way and finicky about how her hair is combed, but waaaaay too early to consider using creamy crack on her tender scalp. The same chemicals that remove the kink from natural afro-textured hair, are used in harsh household products like Drano, which you use to de-clog your sink. Would you slather that on your little one’s head? Or your own, for that matter? Millions of women of color do just that, in order to alter the texture of their hair as it naturally grows. And we pass these messages along to our kids, thereby reinforcing a message that their natural hair is unkempt, unattractive, and unfit for public eyes. It’s kind of insane, if you really stop to consider it. OK, I’ll get off the soap box and answer your question!

I’ve been seeing more and more little afrobellas wearing their hair wild and free. On that note, allow me to introduce you to my favorite new model on the Trinidadian scene — my niece, little afrobella Dominique! Here she is, posing off on the beach for an advertisement for Trinidad clothing company Westport. My favorite little afrobella is such a big girl now! She’s going to pre-school, and the other day she sang “Twinkle 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 soon, and she’s got such a big bright personality. It goes with her big, beautiful hair!

I had to ask her mom — my sister-in-law, Lindsay, what they were using at home to keep her hair combed and presentable.

“I use the L’Oreal kids shampoo, which is nice and fruity and moisturizes her hair (because she has thick curly long hair). I use Miss Jessie’s Baby buttercreme moisturizer, you gave to me a big tub on the last trip and it is the best, just a little goes a long way. But to comb her hair I use a comb and a Denman classic styling D3 brush. I got this in London, I am sure you have it in the States. I do not find a comb on is own can do the job I need to brush it to get all the knots out,” says Lindsay.

Oooh, I need to get myself a Denman brush!! I might have to do some UK shopping and get that panther handle, too. Regular commenter and new beauty blogger on the scene, Wes of Honey Brown Sugar reignited my interest in the classic model. My sister Petal BELIEVES in Denman brushes and always has, for as long as I can recall. When I went natural six years ago, I figured a brush wouldn’t touch my curls ever again. But according to Wes, it is the BUSINESS. Tracee Ellis Ross swears by it, and it’s safe to use on wet hair — actually makes the combing-out of conditioner even easier. So my eyes are on the prize, and I’m making a trip to Sally’s ASAP.

So L, those are the products my sister-in-law’s been using to style her little afrobella, and I have some additional advice on styling. Stay away from the jam!! Your little one needs nurturing, moisturizing products that are gentle for her curly locks. If Miss Jessie’s baby buttercream is too expensive, consider the Curly Q line for kids, or Dark and Lovely Beautiful Beginnings Detangler. Their two-in-one shampoo and conditioner is also good stuff, if you’re trying to find affordable products for your little bella. Some of the natural recipes and methods I’ve recommended here would work great for her as well — why not make Sunday a mommy and me beauty/hair care day? The two of you can do a pre poo treatment with warm olive oil. Make the experience into a fun, bonding new ritual. After shampooing, conditioning, and detangling her hair, style it into some big two-strand twists — the twist-out should create some adorable spirals afterwards. I am no styling expert, so I implore you to consult a book like Kinki Kreations for styling techniques. Get your little bella some J Blossom products and a copy of I Love My Hair! while you’re at it, reinforce that positive self image.

I must admit that I was a bit concerned about one part of your e mail, allow me to quote — “The problem is her hair is coarse and rather hard to manage. It’s very kinky and frizzy… I am wondering what product could I use to twist it up to get the soft curly look, if you know what I mean.”

I do know what you mean, but I wouldn’t be a good afrobella if I didn’t carefully examine your turn of phrase. Your baby girl’s hair is naturally kinky, coarse, and frizzy. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, or “a problem,” but it might mean that it will take more time and patience to style her hair, and she won’t naturally be able to achieve that “soft curly look” — If it isn’t naturally like that, I know many bellas who achieve that look by using heat, or getting a texturizer or “silkener” as they call it at the Miss Jessie’s salon.

I would like to encourage you — and by extension your little princess — to embrace her natural texture for what it is. Stop referring to it in negative terms, as “hard to manage,” or “a problem,” because those feelings, that reaction to her hair at home, could well seep into her consciousness and make her start seeing herself that way as well. I speak from my own experience — little girls tend to absorb negative self images early, and that can lead to a strong desire to conform to the norm. I know I gave Mama Bella hell to comb my hair, and because of that strong-willed-stubbornness and insistence, they gave in and started relaxing my hair when I was seven. I’ve regretted it ever since.

Learn to love your little one’s natural hair, learn to work with it, and let her know how beautiful and special she is, just the way she is. Encourage her to maintain her natural beauty for as long as possible. The two of you (and her hair,) will grow healthy, gorgeous, and strong.

I hope that helps, L! Do any of you mama bellas have any advice? Share!

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Comments

  1. NaturalWheezes says:

    Thanks for this post! My goddaughter (1 1/2) has good-old extra kinky coils, and my cousin is struggling with how to style it and keep it moisturized (it’s always in puffs, and my goddaughter is getting very unhappy about having her hair done). I’m transitioning myself, but as far as I know the products I use aren’t good for so young a bella. Also, my cousin only just started back to work after being laid off so her budget isn’t ready for Miss Jessie’s just yet. And I’m not sure she’s going to want to have to order stuff online for her daughter’s hair, she might find that too much trouble. She’d much rather the convenience of going right to the store. Is there anything else that she could use, or are the Dark and Lovely Beautiful Beginnings products OK for her age? All suggestions and tips would be very welcome!

  2. Bebroma says:

    I keep distilled water in a spray bottle to dampen my kids hair and then I smooth Kinky-Curly’s Knot Today through it. I use distilled water because the minerals and stuff in tap water can be hard on hair if you use it daily, and make it dry. It seems to really help with the combing and the snarls. And you are so right, bella. Everybody’s hair does not spiral or curl when natural, and we need to make sure we send the message that that is okay!!! Kinky is beautiful too. If L finds that a full-out fro is too hard to maintain on a daily basis, maybe two cute afro puffs or one would work, with lots of pretty clips, Wal-Mart has the little ones. We have to get past this hangup that only curly natural hair is pretty. And your niece is cute as a button.

  3. NaturalWheezes says:

    Oh, and as for brushes, a lot of the ladies on nappturality.com are currently raving over the Goody Styling Therapy Jojoba Oil brushes. It’s actually converted a few Denman fans; they say it’s easier on their hair than the Denman. Of course everything doesn’t work for everyone; plenty of the ladies prefer their Denman brushes, but I wanted to let you know about another option. Here’s a link to the Goody site; the preferred one is the add+shine Paddle brush: http://www.goody.com/Products/Collections/Styling_Therapy_Collection/add_shine/add_shine.aspx (sorry, my HTML capabilities are non-existent)

  4. Bebroma says:

    Also, I’ve done my oldest’s hair in bantu knots before, and she got so many complements! Again accented with the sparkly flowery clippies.

  5. I keep it simple. A spray bottle of water, a Denman brush, and minimal combing is what works for us. I use natural products like coconut oil and shea butter on her hair. We wash about once a week, and condition more often. Also, she rarely wears her hair all. She doesn’t like wearing it out, and frankly, I don’t like it out either. It gets tangled very easily and neither of us wants to deal with that. Most days, she wears some variation of a loose braid out in ponytails, and we just re-braid at night for sleep.

  6. L,
    Don’t fight the funk! Go ‘head and love your baby’s kinks and they will love you back. Measure the beauty of her hair by its’ health and not whether or not you can run a comb thru it. Who set that sillines as a standard of beauty for us? Use gentle conditioners, i.e. Nexxus Humectress or Oyin Handmade’s Honey Hemp to cleanse the hair, instead of drying, damaging shampoos. Comb it only when it is wet and full of conditioner to detangle and blot dry, rather than rub, to reduce frizz. Moisturize daily with a heavy, creamy pomade, such as Blended Beauty’s Happy Nappy Styles or Oyin Handmade’s Whipped Butter. For a more curly look, put your princess’s hair in all-over 2 strand twists (a great protective week-day style) and on the weekends, just un-twist carefully, separate and finger-fluff (or not!)and let it fly wild and free. Use barettes or flowers to adorn. Enjoy that hair! God made it and He don’t make junk.

  7. Little Afrobella is a little goddess!!!! She is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your family photos

  8. Awww… She’s getting cuter and cuter by the minute. This is a great post. I would just like to add that I don’t have a Denman. I have the Kakkaki Kombrush and I love it. Many nappies on Nappturality haven’t tried it yet, because it looks scary, but it is great. I usually run a wide tooth comb through my hair first, and then I use the Kombrush. And the longer my hair gets, the easier it is to use. I would highly recommend it to all who love or want a Denman, but like to support Black owned businesses.

    Peace & Blessings

    Candy

  9. Bella, your niece is adorable! I enjoy being an auntie myself and proudly display their photos all over my workspace.
    I didn’t get relaxer put on my hair until I was 10 years old, so toddlerhood is way too young to contemplate putting anything like that on a child’s hair. As a child, I had thick, beautiful, strong hair (either worn in braids or pressed and hot rollered for special occasions, with plenty of hot oil treatments in between). Years of relaxing have taken their toll and I’m yearning for the strong, lush hair of my youth. Your writer’s daughter will thank her later for not making the rush to relax.

  10. Bebroma says:

    I so cosign with SJay about the whipped pudding by Oyin! I am really bad about not putting everything in one post because I forget stuff, but I was signing on to say that, and SJay beat me to it. Also about NEVER combing her hair dry, which is why I keep the spray bottle of distilled water handy. And the book “Nappy Hair” by Carolivia Herron, which is a children’s book, is so beautiful about what all is tied up each kink. I would highly recommend L reading it and reading it to her child. I’ve said it many times before on here, God don’t like ugly, he don’t make ugly, and that includes our KINKY hair.

  11. KoKoBee says:

    She is beautiful! She should help Rihanna sell umbrellas.

    I cosign on the hot oil treatments and keeping young hair in braids, especially in summer.

    On another note, I find your statement, “And we pass these messages along to our kids, thereby reinforcing a message that their natural hair is unkempt, unattractive, and unfit for public eyes” mildly offensive. My mother permed my hair when I was around 8 or 9 and she also oiled my scalp when I let it go natural. She taught me to love and care for my “crowning glory” in all of its states. She did what was best to keep me comfortable and pretty – braids, curls, kinky, or straight.

    Your statement gives me the same “us and them” vibe that people with straight hair used to give their kinkier sisters. I’m not sure if you mean to give off an “AfroMafia” vibe, but that’s what I’m getting. Lots of sisters scold me and tell me that I’m conforming to someone else’s standard when I relax my curly hair, so maybe I’m getting that scolded feeling from your comment. Just my two cents. Thanks.

  12. No kids, so no advice on products for them. BUT holy cow is your neice adorable. Gorgeous little girl and she’s gotten so big!

  13. L,
    I know it can be a little daunting at first, but you can do easy, natural (cute!) styles for her. My hair sounds very similar to your daughter’s- dry, kinky and frizzy. After trying many different products, some of which were very expensive (Miss Jessie’s), I’ve found a few things that work really well to keep my hair soft and very manageable. First of all, as long as I’m using a moisturizing shampoo, it doesn’t really matter which one I use. I like to use an ultra moisturizing conditioner to comb through. I try to only comb or style when it’s wet or damp. I’ve tried all the different products, but what works well to style and condition is Cantu Leave In conditioner with Shea butter. It’s thick and creamy, which I love. Depending on how much hold I want, I’ll use it with either a touch of gel or moisturizer. Works really well!

  14. Haitianroots says:

    Hi KoKoBee! I just wanted to reply to your statement. I know I’m not bella, and can’t speak for her, but I think what she is saying in that we need to be careful what comes out of our mouths and the looks on our faces when styling our children’s hair. Sometimes the comments from mothers, (family, friends, strangers)can get into a childs sub-conscious and can stay with them for a long time. Now these can be either positive words or negative. When as a child you hear “your hair is so unruly” , “I hate doing your hair!” “it’s so hard to manage!” “it’s just so nappy and thick!” you start thinking that your hair is “bad”. And there is nothing wrong with thick nappy hair, but when you hear those words said with disgust, all of a sudden, nappy and thick/coarse become bad words. And the same thing goes to people who say “don’t ever straighten your hair”. I personally cringe when a ladies in my church relax their daughters’ hair at age 5 with the excuse of “it’s just so hard to take care of!” I’m like OH NO! if you couldn’t take care of your baby’s hair when it was in it’s natural state, who’s to say you will take care of it when it’s relaxed?! It also saddens me when they compare and say things like “well, if she only had hair like Stephanie” and suck their teeth as they look at their daughter’s lovely kinks and coils then admire the child with the “good hair”. I think these are the phrases and attitudes that effect our kids. So I don’t think Bella is trying to be bogus and make it at “we” vs. “them” I think she is stating a truth that some (not all) mothers have when taking caring of their childrens hair. To be honest, I’ve left many a salon chair after getting a look of “omigosh” or disgust from the stylist once the see my crown and glory. And if I hear, “oh we charge extra for natural hair” I know that’s a place that doesn’t need my $$$s. I see your two cents, and raise you two more, lol.

  15. paradisebird says:

    Thank you so much for your helpful and wise advices!!Love it! i am preparing to be a mommy myself so these post is a real treasure for me. some advices that might work for your princess crown might be the purest aloe gel you can find (aubrey organics has a really nice one) or a homemade curly cream i found on nappturallity.com, they call it moeshas sheaAloe (after the sister who created it i presume). depending on how much mositure and oil/butter your little ones curls needs you may vary in the parts of shea butter and aloe vera gel you use. i suggest also to check out anitagrant.com because her homemade recipes are superb, especially the final rinses made from dries herbs (check carefully what is suitable for kids) but as far as i know from the organic baby care brands is lavender or calendula, weleda uses calendula in its baby care line). BTW a lavender rinse in the evening should soothe your nerves after a long day and gives heavenly dreams to your little princess…
    what i love on this post is the mommy-daughter- beauty sunday suggestion. i think this extra time will do wonders on your both hair and soul. and last but not least proper nutrition and good water will make your babys hair and confidence grow.
    afrobella, your niece is sooo sweet, her picture made me smile. Thank you for sharing and blessings to you and your family!

    Love Monika

  16. THANK YOU, Haitianroots. Thank you.

    Afrobella, your niece is SOOOO cute!

    I don’t have much to add to what was already said. My only suggestion would be for L. to visit any natural hair salons in the area and get a few specific suggestions from them. They may be able to see the young bella firsthand and make suggestions. I’ve read suggestions on-line from others who wear natural styles, only to realize their hair “type” isn’t like mine and may not work. Seeing her hair firsthand may provide extra information for the mom.

    Other sites like MotownGirl and TreasuredLocks might be helpful too.

  17. I just purchased a Denman brush a couple of weeks ago. I love it. I’m at the point that a comb can’t do a thing for me but this bad boy detangles like a mutha..(shut your mouth).

  18. My GOODNESS! Little Dominique is SO PRECIOUS! Give her lots of kisses next time you see her!!! :D

  19. cosign Haitianroots!

    i had a hairdresser who, as I was sitting in her chair, told another client “with good hair” to space out her time between relaxers more. “But you, on the otherhand,” she said, patting my shoulders, “don’t you NEVER go this long again. In fact, you come back in six weeks with this stuff.”

    Unfortunately, although I was offended and my feelings were hurt, at the time, I subconsciously thought there was some truth to her statement and sat in mild envy of the other clients locks.

    Nowadays??? I wish she would….

  20. ^^note: that beauticians obvious stankness soon afterwards cost her my business.

  21. Mochasiren says:

    Hey Bella,

    I bought the same Denman brush at Sally’s Beauty Supply 2 months ago. I believe I paid $8.99. My eldest sis used this brush back in the day so when I saw it I had to have one. I have fine, curly hair so it works for fine and thick hair!

  22. Oh, to be young again and have someone else style my hair!

    COMB: my wide-tooth on wet conditioner-heavy hair never fails me.

    CONDITION: Suave Tropics, Suave Humectanct, Creme of Nature, various.

    LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER: cantu shea butter, garnier fructis leave-in. Any leave-in conditioner that doesn’t have mineral oil or petroleum.

    “HAIR” GEL:use aloe vera gel that you find in the sunscreen section of Rite Aid/Walgreens/CVS. Check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t list alcohol. You can usually get a large bottle (16oz) of like 97% aloe vera gel and some include vitamin E for $6 when you buy the store brand. Or you can go with “Fruit of the Earth” brand.

    DAILY SPRITZ: half water, half vegetable glycerine in a bottle. Shake and apply to hair. You can get the glycerine at a health food store.

    STYLE: Braids, twists, pony-puffs, banded ponytails.

  23. Bella!

    I only wanted to relate a short story. When I was little my mother would press my hair. Yes green glop and all. Well my father would get so mad. “You are going to make her hate herself! She has beautiful hair leave it alone!” Well she did not. So for years and years I did the madness. But for the past 4 years I have let my hair be my hair – the truth is no matter what color, texture, culture, setting – a woman is best when she is herself, natural no matter what that means. Beauty is universal. I am glad to see more and more of us learning that lesson as early as possible. Blessings to all. We are lucky lucky folks.

  24. To put in my 2 cents, I and my family are middle eastern/south asian. My cousin had beautiful, thick and curly hair. It was hard to take care of when she was a child and she suffered from relatives cutting her hair and making comments. When she got older, she lightened it (it was dark brown/black) and straightened it. She now has a 6 year old daughter with similar hair (really wild & curly). I think her six year old realizes that her hair isn’t ‘good’ according to her mom. I’m sure my cousin doesn’t say anything but the little one always comes to me and says, “It’s just me and you with curly hair. You like it right? It’s pretty, right?” She really makes a point to make sure that I’m okay with my curly hair. The rest of our family has thick but straight hair.

    Just something to think about, you may not realize it but little ones pick these things up quickly.

  25. Your niece is a cutie! Great advice. I will invest in a Denman soon. I especially loved the last part of your advice, where you implore the mother to change her way of thinking about her daughter’s hair. My hair is different every day. I work out 4 times a week, so that factors in, as does the fact that I’ve been told that I have like three grades of hair on my head. Parts of my hair are very frizzy, while a section of hair nearby will have a perfect coil. I have noticed, though, that my hair coils more now.

  26. NotUrAvg says:

    Haitian I am so glad you took the time to respond— I don’t think I could have done it quite so thoroughly and eloquently and honestly I didn’t have the energy to even try. I have spent the last 2 hours going back and forth via forum posts debating whether a texturizer qualifies as natural hair….
    I digress. Bella your niece is so ADORABLE! And her hair….how beautiful! As far as the original question– I am so happy that you want to give your child the opportunity to love her hair the way it grows out of her head. I was not given that opportunity and know my mother, sister and I are learning to love our natural hair together.

    Products I swear by– I love my Denman and would not could not live w/o it. I like prepooing with natural ingredients like honey, EVOO, and bananas (baby food). I use Qhemet shampoo bar, but my sister uses Deva Cure No Poo and loves it. I love using vegatable glycerine, water and a litte oil (sweet almond or meadowfoam). If her hair is coarse I recommend Qhemet Alma and Olive Cream. It moisturizers SO WELL and gives the hair shine and leaves it soft and supple.

  27. nitajanelle says:

    I don’t have any suggestions for products – my daughter just turned 2 and I’m still experimenting. But I just want to add that not everyone, myself included, can acheive “the soft curly look.” I remember that in preschool I wanted to wear my hair like my best friend, who wore big fluffy afro puffs. Well, my mother had to explain to me that I had a different hair type and fluffy afro puffs were not something the my hair would do. At the same time, my mother never made me feel that my hair was “bad” or in any way less than my friend’s hair. She styled my hair in ways that worked with my hair texture like cornrows with beads, and I always received compliments on how cute my braids were.

    I love to see little girls with braids and beads – still very popular here in DC. Another style that I like to do with my daughter is to do her whole head in two-strand twists and then gather groups of the twists into ponytails.

  28. Haitianroots got it right about what bella is saying about being careful of how we react to their hair when washing & combing etc.

  29. As my mom would always say…one person’s meat is another person’s poison. I definitely understand KoKoBees message which is that we should love our hair and that of our children regardless.

  30. Hello everyone! I’ve been lurking for a few months and I love this site. :)

    I’ve been hearing great things about the Denman brush as well. However I have always been under the impression that brushing my hair(naturally kinky, frizzy, and coarse)would cause more harm than good such as breakage. Can my texture handle being brushed? I’ve been natural for a little over two years and with the length, it tangles very easily. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  31. OMG your niece is so precious!!!

  32. UnalteredBeauty says:

    First, your niece is a cutie. Secondly, I’m really glad you posted on this issue. Though I’m an NFL (Natural For Life), I’m often skeptical of the natural hair movement among black women. It seems to me that curly/spirally hair is slowly becoming the poster child for black women’s natural hair. No one wants the kinks. I do online searches for afro hair and I’m bombarded with images of biracial/multi-racial women with curly hair. Then there’s Miss Jessie’s curly pudding– a modern day jeri curl in a jar if you ask me. So many subtle suggestions that kinky/nappy hair isn’t beautiful. I could be wrong but I thought the purpose of going natural is to embrace your natural texture whether it be kinky, curly, nappy or coily. I get very suspicious when I see so many women with nappy hair trying to achieve the curly look. It’s like we’re leaving behind one flawed social train of thought (that is, where straight hair is preferred to textured hair) and entering a new one where curly hair is preferred to nappy hair.

  33. KoKoBee — I’m sorry if I came across as a scold, and I don’t mean to give an AfroMafia vibe (although I might have to borrow that turn of phrase for later). Thank you HaitianRoots and NotUrAvg for speaking up on my behalf. You explained it more eloquently than I could. The truth is, we DO pass these messages on to our kids. When I was little, I had the biggest, craziest bush of hair ever, and I was well aware that it was “unmanageable” and “impossible” and a pain to comb and wash and style. Everyone else in my family had relaxed, straight hair that seemed effortless. It was only a matter of time before I began the same ritual as everyone else, as some of you have also shared. Like HaitianRoots, I’ve had a similar experience at the salon — raised eyebrows of horror as soon as I come through the door. I’ve had to unlearn everything I once knew about my hair, and teach myself that it is beautiful just as it is — some parts curly spirally, others thick and kinky-coily. I agree with UnalteredBeauty, there is a tendency to not fully embrace the reality of having natural hair, and loving it in all its glory. Television shows and advertisements tend to feature women of color with curly spirals as the go-to “natural” look, and that certainly isn’t all of us.

  34. what a beautiful little girl!

  35. melaniec. says:

    afrobella, many thanks for a beatifully designed, informative and well-maintained site!!! i have been natural for ten years (with one much-regretted backslide several years ago). my natural 3c-4b hair is now about shoulder length (after it has dried and shrunken). my regimen is simple and inexpensive learned through trial and error and piecing together info learned from a multitude of blogging afrobellas:
    1. using Pantene conditioner for curly hair I pre-poo in the shower using a plastic hair pick to detangle. pantene knocks out the kinks better than any of the countless other conditioners i’ve tried.
    2. shampoo with a conditioning shampoo(i use pantene for curly hair just to keep it simple. apply shampoo to scalp only and do not rub hair around; this just causes tangles. rinse really, really well.
    3. condition with pantene conditioner from step one. comb through to remove any tangles (although pantene usually does such a good job in step one there really aren’t any) and rinse.
    4. squeeze water from hair then blot with a towel (pretend your hair is a fine cashmere sweater you have just handwashed. don’t rough it up!)
    5.spray hair with Motown Girls home-made leave-in conditioner(i mix mine using–yep–good old pantene from steps 1 and 3.
    6. section hair into 6 parts and using a clear alcohol free gel(i use fantasia sparkle lites or shine gellation)and a wide tooth comb, comb gel through hair like Miss Jessie’s shingle method. use gel sparingly or hair wil be crunchy! pretend you paid 50 dollars for it instead of just 4 dollars).
    7. when final section is complete i bend over and give hair a shake borrowed from shake and go method).
    curls are defined and air dry in about 1-2 hours, soft to the touch. sisters who have not seen me in a while have asked me if i am wearing a wig or a weave!!!)
    i know this is naughty but i don’t secure my hair at night (husband is scarf-phobic!). i haven’t noticed any ill-effects to sleeping with it loose. to style the next day i dampen hair with water from a spray bottle, shake and go. day 3 i dampen with leave-in mixture from step 5 and spray with water from spray bottle, shake and go. on day 4 i repeat day 2 and i usually pull up into a puff on day 5. day 6 is wash day.
    this is a simple regimen and easy on the pocket-book that should work for many bellas out there.
    sorry for the long-winded comment but i wanted to share this with my fellow natural sisters (and all of you wanting to take the leap). i’m nowhere near tech-savvy enough to start a site of my own. thanks for letting me borrow your coat-tails.

  36. Well, I have a son, but I myself transitioned for a while, and I admit that I am back on the creamy crack, but from my experience with my re-virgin hair, and my sons hair I have learned a lot and I wanted to add my 2 cents, since everyone was given wonderful step by step advice on styling natural hair.

    1. Before you do anything with your hair or your daughter’s hair, you will need to learn you hair texture; is it 4b, 3c, etc. google a natural hair website or try googling black hair texture or follow this link http://www.nappturality.com/modules/wfsection/print.php?articleid=35

    2. Now to get a semi-curly effect, you can do a twist or braid-out of your daughters hair, but the majority of hair will probably be a little frizzy and kinky because that’s her natural texture, but embrace it I have seen many people with this style, kinks and all, and it is a beautiful crown of hair.

    3. Always and only comb hair with wide toothed combs

    4. Always comb hair while still wet

    5. Go to Sally’s and invest in a denman brush, (if you don’t see it don’t give up, ask the store associate)

    Finally, Always read websites like Afrobella.com, nappturality.com, motowngirl.com. There you will learn to have confidence about the beauty of your texture, that is unique to only our people and no other ethinic group. You may even be bold enough to do a BC (As mentioned on nappturality). These websites have given me the confidence I need and when someone says my sons hair is nappy I just ask “What’s wrong with that?” I have creamy crack in my hair now, because I change my hair a lot (we are versatile and creative), but I find that with natural hair you have more texture, more options and if you take care of your hair properly, especially when you use all natural products like olive oil, which just sounds luxurious, your hair will be surprisingly soft and manageable.

  37. Thank you Bella for this amazing post. I don’t know if you’ll see this because it’s so late in the game, but I wanted to let you know great I feel having this information. I feel the same way L feels; I want my daughter to grow up to love her hair and all of its kinks, curls, coils, etc. However, because we’re continuously bombarded with the “mixed textured curls” I have no idea how to style my daughter’s thick mane. I took all of your suggestions and all of the commenters suggestions and added the websites to my favorites. She and I will have a Mother-Daughter Hair Day. What makes this situation so great is that at 4 years old she’s cognizant of the differences in our hair. Her godmother has very curly hair so when I let her wear it out she says she looks “Just like Auntie!” My hair is relaxed so I’m glad to have a Natural Role Model for my child.

    Long post short, thank you. You’re like the mailman, you always deliver!

  38. I’ve been searching for this jojoba oil infused brush by goody and can’t find it anywhere. According to Goody website the only brush available is the oval one and it’s only available from Meijer stores. I live in Maryland and there are no Meiher stores out here. Help!!

  39. I would like to know if I use no more tangles would that take my locks out?

    or is there anything I could use to take the locks out?

  40. What a great post and question! I work for a hair care company called Phyto. Have you guys heard of PhytoSpecific? It’s “specifically” for naturally curly, coarse, textured hair. Safe for kids and they even have a non-chemical, no-lye relaxer. Celeb stylist and textured expert, Diane DaCosta talks about it all the time.
    check out the site, http://www.phytospecific.com as well as Sephora.com!
    Has anyone tried it?

  41. J'Adore Rio says:

    Kelly, I live in Maryland as well, and that Goody Jojoba Oil-Infused brush is available IN ALL STYLES at most CVS stores! I looovvveee the brush.

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