Teaching Your Daughter to Love Her Natural Hair

by Sherrell Dorsey of Organic Beauty Vixen

When I was a child I always wanted long and flowing hair. I loved to play dress up and put on my wigs from Halloween and pretend that I was a princess. I wore braids most of the time and every now and again my mom would relax my hair with every young black girl’s favorite, Just For Me kit.

I never really felt self-conscious about my hair until I developed a bald spot in eighth grade after a bad relaxer and using too much gel. My hair was probably to my shoulders, a decent length compared to many of my struggling friends. So when that bald spot happened and I had to side swoop my bangs for a few months until it grew back, I knew I had to ditch the relaxer and go natural. My mom went natural around the same time and started to rock twists and straw sets. She never talked about hair being good or bad. You had what God gave you and you learned to work with it.

I cringe every time I hear someone use the term “good hair”– a degrading statement used far too often in the black community. To me, “good hair” is healthy hair that grows and is an expression of who you are. As black women, our hair is our crown and an extension of who we are: queens, mothers, our ancestors and God. That’s what I plan on telling my daughter. Take the time out to teach your daughters how to love and care for their natural hair. Instill the confidence in them that they are beautiful and to wear their crown proudly with a few tips to help:

  • Mirror affirmations – Stand your daughter in the mirror and point out to her how beautiful she is and how beautiful her hair is. Use descriptive words like “your curls are soft and pretty”, “your hair is long and thick”, “you have hair just like your grandmother who was a special woman”.
  • Picture perfect – Take pictures with your daughter of silly hairstyles you both can create with your hair. Show your daughter versatility and creativity with her hair. Save the pictures in a scrap book or frame in her bedroom to show quality time with mom she will remember.
  • Hair care tots – Let your child touch, feel and do their own hair. Show them how to use a comb on their hair, apply product and style their hair. Let them get familiar with their tresses and ow to properly care for it. They’ll love the independence!

Do you have any tips or advice for teaching your child how to love their hair? What do you do with your little ones at home?



Sherrell Dorsey is a natural beauty expert, writer, speaker and advocate of health, wellness and sustainability in communities of color. In addition to creating OrganicBeautyVixen.com, Sherrell writes beauty articles for Tyra Banks's beauty and fashion site TypeF.com, Jones Magazine, MySalonScoop.com and Posh Beauty. Follow Sherrell on twitter at www.twitter.com/organicvixen and connect with her on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/OBVMedia

14 Weigh in!:
Nia0303 said...

I love this post! As a mom of a daughter I think one of the best things I could've done for her (as it relates to hair) is to be a great example for her to follow.

She'll see how I care for and style my hair, its length, health and thickness. My daughter has a different texture from mine more of a 4 category while mine is 3b/c and I love it just the same, if not more. It's GORGEOUS!! I can't wait until it's longer so I can play in her curls.lol

India said...

I love post like this. My baby girl is about the same age as Boogie *cn's daughter* But she has a head full of thick coils, which I'm not used to at this age. All of my gf's or family's baby's have really straight thin hair. And they look at my baby side ways. But I proudly take care of her hair, always praising her locs and telling her she is a pretty girl.... crazy, dramatic, spoiled and bossy.... but still pretty. lol

Ashley said...

One of the main reasons I went natural was so I could learn how to take care of my own natural hair so when I have children I can teach them and be an example of natural beauty and taking pride in their hair. I think that being positive and using positive words when in discussion of their hair is going to be key but also not making a big deal about it may also be important.

MelMelBee said...

I dont have any children, but I have a 5 year old godsister, who's mother is relaxed and she attends a school with white children. She has occasionally said that she wants her hair like Mommy, or she asks why the girls' hair in her school is long and straight.

I make it a habit every time I'm around to ask her "Who's the prettiest girl she knows?" To which her response is "Me". She has helped me wash and style my hair, and I always tell her how beautiful her braids and twists are.

She and I are planning a "photo shoot" so that we can take pics of our hair in various styles and have fabulous memories of our beautiful hair. I'm hoping to help build her confidence so much that she will never want a relaxer :)

Anonymous said...

don't put braids (with extenstions) in your children's hair when they are less than 5 years old. Seriously, eventually they will have no edges, broken hair and it will take even more work to get them to appreciate their hair....just saying from what i've seen from a certain family member *sigh*

Anonymous said...

I love this post and the responses as well! :) It's so unfortunate that all this stuff (i.e. support groups, products, and knowledge wasn't around when I was dealing my daughters hair!:( This child had enough hair on her head for 3 children!!! So of course I went the "just for me" route.

But I'm very please to report that she now going on 20 decide for the second time 3 years ago to go back to natural! Her hair is back to that lovely thick hair that I once knew! :)

Anonymous said...

excellent post with great info! love it :)

atribitt said...

one of my fav posts. LOVE!

Courtney said...

My daughter just turned 3, and this past week we saw a woman with a big puff at the salad bar in Whole Foods. My little girl said "Look Mommy! She has the pretty hair!" The woman came and talked to her and complimented her hair. Let's hope she keeps up the natural hair love as she gets older and has more outside influences.

Anonymous said...

hair is so beautiful in its natural state. it's really encouraging to see mothers supporting their daughters natural hair.

Anonymous said...

I love this post. I'm a white girl with extremely fine hair that will not curl or do anything but lay long and straight. As a young girl, I always wondered why my friends wouldn't leave their hair in its naturally beautiful state. Even in high school, I didn't understand my wavy haired friends' obsession with the flat iron. I'd have given anything, and still would, to have thick curls or any texture at all to my hair. I encourage all my friends to leave their hair alone, let it grow, and care for it properly while appreciating how gorgeous, soft, and shiny it is. I work at a children's toy store for fun, and I always compliment mothers and children with natural hair.

Anonymous said...

This is right on time for me. I'm trying my hardest to make sure my 5 y.o loves her hair. Right now, it's a struggle b/c she wants it long and straight ;-( and it becomes increasingly challenging to say, your hair is not like that, without bring heat or race into the pic. I try fun and exciting styles, I ask her for her input, but she wants me to flat-iron it. I'm constantly showing her pics of naturally curly hair girls & women, but how do you get rid of the constant images of straight hair women and girls, whether they are black or white?

BrooklynShoeBabe said...

I'm in the same boat as Anonymous. It seems no matter how many times my husband, my baby sitter, and I tell my 5 and 7 year old daughters how beautiful and thick their hair is, they seem obsessed with wearing their hair straight or "out." I wish I could be a better hair example for them, but I wear my hair in a very short natural because I am losing my hair (genetics & hormones). My daughters are part of a handful of black children that attend their school, which is full of brown people with straight dark hair (i.e.: Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Middle Eastern).

My daughters' rock twists, afro puffs, corn rows, and box braids depending on our patience levels of that Sunday afternoon. They love having lots of barrettes that click and clack when they move. But every so often, I get the "I wish my hair was straight, long or yellow" sigh.

Keta B said...

Well its good to see I'm not the only one struggling to teach my baby girl her hair is beautiful!
At 7, it's a bit harder for her to understand because her father and I both have locks and her older sister's curls are loser and easy to flat iron so she "gets" to wear it straight and Little Bit doesn't. (she's too young for heat in our opinion)
Her hair is thicker than any child I have ever seen- the beautician said the same thing- and her coils are soft and beautiful blonde.
To top it off she got her fathers' sensitive skin so she cant use a lot of products or have braids because they cause her skin to break and bleed.
We do simple styles like all over twist then she can wear a twist out for a few days, or I'll braid it myself much loser than the professionals. Either way everyone in the family makes sure to tell her that her blonde curls are uniquely gorgeous!

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