I’ve Had Natural Hair for 10 Years So Why Is Styling My Baby’s So Hard?


Photo Credit:Glamour Fashion

I couldn’t wait to share wash days with my daughter. But they turned out to be more complicated than I ever expected.

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Ask any Black woman, and she’ll likely have a story about
wash day
. In my family they were particularly sacred when I was growing up. Because my mom was a cosmetologist, our kitchen was converted into a beauty salon every weekend. Every Sunday she had a routine for my twin sister, Andrea, and me. We’d start first thing in the morning and go until 3 or 4 p.m. (I was less tender-headed, so I always got the honor of going first.) She’d start by rinsing my hair in the kitchen sink, then Andrea’s. Then she’d go back and forth through the whole thing: Rinse me. Rinse Andrea. Blow-dry me. Blow-dry Andrea.
We’d talk about everything during that time. She’d teach us how to cornrow, French-braid, and straighten our hair with a hot comb without burning it all off. She’d ask us about school—whether we had a bad day that week or had any problems in school. She was also an excellent cook, so while she was doing our hair, she’d make us snacks and Popsicles. The TV was never on. We entertained each other. And as my sister and I got older, she’d let us style the other. Don’t get me wrong: It was a disaster (my hair fell out once in a straightening incident gone bad), but the most important thing was that we were having fun and felt like we could be creative.
So the day I found out I was pregnant with a little girl, I was overjoyed. Hair played such a meaningful role in my relationship with my family. I couldn’t wait to pass down my knowledge and have a routine for my daughter and me that was all our own.
At first, my daughter’s hair was soft and wavy—very low-maintenance.

I washed it with baby soap and sprayed a little water in it whenever I wanted her curls to pop. That was it! I dreamed about all the pretty barrettes and styles I would be able to create once her hair got longer. But after Sophia passed the eighth-month mark, her hair texture started to change. Her curls got tighter and she developed a flaky, almost hairless patch in the back of her scalp. All the basic drugstore baby stuff seemed to be drying her out. I was concerned, but experts assured me
this was common with babies.
Me and my two-year-old daughter, Sophia
I wanted her hair to be more moisturized, which I thought would help with her hair loss. I love
organic coconut oil
for my own hair, so I started to use it in her hair every other day to lock in the moisture and keep her hair shiny. This worked for a while until she turned one and her hair changed dramatically again. It became much more coarse and hard to comb through. Sophia also started fighting me every time I tried to wash her hair. She cried whenever water touched her face and would not sit still long enough for me to style it.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I felt like a bad mom, but I definitely felt frustrated. As someone who’s spent years doing natural hair, I thought this would be the easy part of motherhood. Was she too young to use the products I used on my hair? When was the right time to use actual shampoo and conditioner on a baby? I was second-guessing everything I thought I knew.
On top of that, being Black and a new mom, I was afraid of being judged because of how my daughter’s hair looks. For years Black women have had to deal with

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