There are a ton of blogs and Youtube channels devoted to girls and their curls- -how to style them, dress them up, keep them healthy etc. There is almost no information online devoted to young boys with highly textured hair. What about those of us with little princes who don’t want to chuck up the deuces to that beautiful hair and “just get a fade”? Every blue moon I may see a little boy with locs or cornrows, but almost never free flowing a la Jaden Smith. It's frowned upon to have your son rock his curls after learning how to talk, as the old wives tale goes.
My son, Kai, is 2 ½, and I decided that I am not going to cut his hair (again…this will be explained later) to conform to the norms of African American society. My son has a beautiful head of hair. His curls have tightened up a bit since he was born, and they are gorgeous. Even while wearing a blue outfit, with airplanes, and tiny chuck taylors, he is mistaken for a girl. I began to think that maybe it was his hair, which I used to keep in box braids. Apparently, many people think that having long hair is more of a feminine aesthetic. My thoughts were confirmed by my BF’s mother when she stressed that he really should get his hair cut. Her reasons were that “he needs to feel like a boy” *side eye on deck*. After much thought, I lopped off a few of his braids. I gave in ya’ll, I cut my baby’s hair . We took him to the barber to complete the job I started, and he cut Kai’s hair to this <> long. It was literally 1 ½” long and lop sided. The “barber” cut his hair with industrial scissors so I had to go back and cut even more to get rid of any split ends that may have emerged from the butchering of his tiny head.
I cried….and cried….and cried. For a week straight. I don’t know if it was because his hair was gone or the fact that I gave into pressure and did something I didn’t want to do in the first place. After that, I vowed to never cut his hair again. That was about 8 months ago. His hair is almost as long as it was pre-cut. I started my own blog that focuses on natural hair kids, especially boys, to help other mothers in this predicament. I provide tips and styling options, and ask and search for answers to the questions: Does long hair really equal feminine? Doesn’t boy hair require just as much care and attention as a girl’s does? This journey is just beginning and I hope there are other mother's interested in taking it with me.
Since this guest post was written there have been more resources available to mothers who want to grow their boy's hair. There are still strides to be made, but here are a couple of resources to start with if you have a little boy and need more information on how to care for his hair.
Youtube - there are many videos now on how to care for boys' hair, no matter what length. Here's just one example that you can watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG2Q6RwG2Gw
Blogs - While there's still work to be done, here are some blogs that mention taking care of boys' hair. Let me know in the comments what other blogs you suggest!
- Afrobella - Little Boys with Kinks and Coils
- Manly Curls - African American Baby Boy Curly Hair and How to Take Care of It
- Kidz with Curlz
- Brown Boy Genius - Let's Talk about Boys and Natural Hair (and no, not just haircuts)
How do you feel about boys getting their hair lopped off on their 1 year birthday?
This guest post was originally written in 2011 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.