Ask Afrobella: Little Boys with Kinks and Coils

You guys. I am terrible and I ask for your forgiveness. I haven’t done an Ask Afrobella in WAY too long. Instead, I chose the immediacy of Formspring and even there I’ve been letting questions just marinate. SMH at myself.

Mea culpa, and I’m back to answer a question all about raising little kids to LOVE their natural hair.

Today’s question comes from Lucie! And she so kindly sent me a photo of her adorable little boy!!

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Hi Bella!

First, let me say I adore your site. It’s such a great resource for natural hair care and I love the positive attitude you bring to everything you post about.

Here’s my question – I have been pouring through your archives reading up on your posts on taking care of your child’s hair. I have a son (what’s the word for a boy bella?) who is about to turn two. He is biracial (I am white, his father is Black) with thick hair that is a mixture of tights little curls and some kinky locks. He has never had a haircut – I usually keep his hair in twists or let him rock the curly fro. Both of his older brothers (my step sons) and his fathers wear their hair in dreadlocks (well, one just cut them off and he is now rocking the short fro, kind of like Jay Z was for awhile). Keeping his hair natural isn’t as big of a deal because, being a boy, a lot of the hair pressure is lessened. BUT most people we know (family, friends, etc) scold us about how we should just keep his hair short. We get a lot of grief about him looking “like a girl.” It doesn’t help that a lot of the best products I seem to find for hair like his smell kind of girly. I don’t want to cut his hair – when he is older I will let him decide if he wants to keep it long, braid it, lock it up, whatever he wants to do – it’s his hair.

To sum up my question – do you have any advice for little boys with natural hair? Any good unisex products you can recommend?

I attached a picture so you can see what his hair is like. While I worry about looking like one of those white parents that “doesn’t do anything” with her child’s hair I think you can tell we keep it brushed and clean. Plus, I want you to see how cute he is :)

Thanks for your blog and all the support you give to parents!


Lucie

Hey Lucie!! Please accept my apology for taking SO long to answer your question. And I want to thank you for writing!

Hair issues can be a struggle for any parent, but it’s such a topic of concern within the black community. Please note, I didn’t say African American – this is a WORLDWIDE thing! Parents in the islands do not play when it comes to having their children’s hair neatly combed. The issue can become even more difficult when it comes to being a parent in an interracial family, especially if you don’t share the same hair texture as your kids. Dealing with doubt while being concerned about judgment from others can’t be a good thing for you, or for your little one. It is my absolute pleasure to help you, and I am honored that you reached out in the first place!

I think your approach to your little boy’s hair is healthy and wise – letting him rock a curly fro for now seems to be the thing to do judging from other biracial kids I’ve been seeing here in Chicago. I don’t agree with the way society views unfettered hair, but it is true – little boys get less grief about wearing their hair loose and free, than little girls do. And it’s also true, many of the products on the market now are fragranced and marketed for females.

But there are unscented products, and less-scented products that can totally deliver the goods and keep your little boy bello (that works, right?) looking absolutely adorable! Here are my top picks for your little boy’s needs!


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Darcy’s Botanicals. Right now I am SPRUNG on Darcy’s Madagascar Vanilla Styling Creme – $12 a jar, supremely moisturizing, and not very potently scented. This is a mild scent, not a sweet and cloying vanilla. Your little man will have happy coils with this stuff. Although I haven’t tried the organic coconut and aloe moisture pudding, it looks like it may also be perfect for your boy’s beautiful hair.

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Boutique de Fleurzty’s Hydrating Hair Butter. This product is made by Fleurzty, whose reputation is well established in the natural hair community. As the founder of Texture Playground, she knows a thing or two about the specific needs of natural hair. Her hair butter is super smooth, melts in your hands, and leaves my hair soft, moisturized, and completely satisfied. The lemon ylang ylang scent is more tangy and fresh than sweet and feminine. I think it’s a great unisex natural hair product.

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The Khoret Amen collection by Carol’s Daughter. Now I said this years ago — Khoret Amen is not for me! The scent is definitely unisex IMO – woodsy and herby. If you’re looking for natural hair products for your little guy, this could be a good look!

Those are three products I’ve personally tried that I think could be the answer to your hair styling prayers. There are others I haven’t yet had the opportunity to review — Kinky Curly makes a children’s line called Tiny Twirls that is formulated for children’s hair, that could be just what the doctor ordered. Oyin has scents targeted toward men, so you may want to consider Frank Juice or Greg Juice, or even some burnt sugar pomade for your little guy. I hear it’s excellent for those of us who like to braid our hair! And of course, there’s Mixed Chicks which specializes in curly, coily, multi ethnic, highly textured hair.

I’d say keep his hair at a manageable length, and if you feel unready to wade into the world of styling, find a barbershop that takes pride in taking care of little kids’ hair. This will take some research, but once you find a salon or shop where your little guy can go to get his hair braided or twisted, you can watch at close range and get some at-home styling tips that you can then use in the future!

I hope that helps, Lucie! I won’t be as terrible about answering future Ask Afrobellas, I promise. I’m back on track! If anyone has additional advice for Lucie, please leave a comment for her below.

If you’ve got an Ask Afrobella question, e mail me at bella@afrobella.com. Don’t forget to join my Facebook page here!

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Comments

  1. Great advice! I would be less concerned about what other people think – he’s your child.

  2. msscmoore says:

    This is great advice. While many folks will give you static about the length of your son’s hair, they fail to realize just how TRAUMATIC getting a haircut can be for our little guys. Like Zenzele said, HE’S YOUR CHILD, what ever decision you and Dad makes is YOUR decision!!!

  3. Also try Qhemet Biologics. They have great products that moisturize and keep your hair soft for days.

    And I’m not a parent, but I subscribe to the “do what you want” level of thinking. He’s your son. As long as you keep it healthy who cares what others think. As long as you, your husband, and your little boy likes it.

  4. Thanks Bella for the thoughtful post, and everyone else for words of support or recommendations. We do indeed keep doing what we think is best with his hair, and I am sure one day his grandparents will get used to it!

  5. melaniecheryl says:

    I am an African American mother of three mixed race boys 12, 10 and 6. My youngest son’s hair has been as long as shoulder blade length (when wet). I have received no criticism at all about the length of his hair. He wears it in loose curls all of the time. He gets alot of attention, but all of it has been admiring as far as I can tell. Any way, as to your question about products, my whole family uses the Kinky Curly Knot Today and Curling Custard. It’s awesome for a range of curly hair textures. When we need a bit of extra detangling, I like Hello Hydration conditioner. It’s cheap and gets the job done. We mostly co-wash, 3-5 times weekly(daily in the summer or during sport seasons), and use shampoo maybe once or twice a month (curly hair does not like to be shampooed too often!) Hope this helps

  6. I’ve got two biracial nephews and nobody has ever criticized their hair except my mother lol. I can definitely relate to Lucie’s son being mistaken for a girl! My nephew, with navy blue clothes and spider man shoes still got mistaken for a girl! Some people just stop at the hair and the long eyelashes and quit looking at the whole picture.

  7. Ah, but don’t forget about Sofn’free n’pretty GroHealthy for kids. I work with the company and know that the fact that it contains no mineral oil or petrolatum is important to many moms out there. And it’s particularly good for dry, difficult to manage, or damaged young hair.

  8. Ha! I knew I recognized that little guy! Hehe. ;)

  9. The idea of never cutting it until he’s old enough to decide sounds a bit foreign to me. Could you explain again why you’ve made this decision? I don’t think I understand that clearly.

    Anyhow, back to the point, I think his curls/kinks are cute. I also think its good that you are seeking feeback about proper hair care for your son here.

    Good luck!

  10. Miss Jessie’s will now be sold at Target starting March 28,2010 so just go to there website and punch in your state for locations.I hope this helps,because I absolutely love ther products.

  11. @Kandeezie – I had a feeling I would see you on here too!

    @Rose – I suppose I don’t mean not cutting it at all (i.e. a trim to get dead ends at bay) but all his brothers and dads have always worn their hair in natural hairstyles, primarily locks, and I figure we will let him keep the fro until he decides he wants to cut it all off and not deal with it, or he decides he wants locks like his dad/brothers. Also, I admittedly would have a hard time cutting off my baby’s hair, maybe it’s a mom in denial that her baby is a boy thing?

    @Kim – That is great news! I love another good excuse to go to Target ;)

    And again, thanks everyone for suggestions, we will be trying out some new products and telling people to stop worrying about his hair (and this is mostly family – as one commenter said, strangers generally love his hair, although people always trying to touch it are a bit of a problem!)

  12. This has been so helpful for me. My little guy is 18 months old and we have yet to cut his hair. We’ve talking about cutting it when he’s 2 but we’ll see. In the meantime, there have been some great product suggestions here. I have locs and my husband keeps his hair short so styling a little boys hair has been tricky :)

  13. What’s a good hair solution, which is unscented, for the grown man with dry hair and scalp?

  14. Thanks, very helpful post. I’m a white mom to an African American 18-month old son through adoption, and while I love his twists or loose afro, I am still learning to get over my fear of what people think of my hair care skills. It’s refreshing to hear others confirm for me that I don’t really have to just buzz it off once he gets to be 2 or 3. I don’t think I could stand it anyways!

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