There are a variety of hairstyles that can cause major damage and breakage to your little one’s curly hair. Here are 5 styles to avoid and a few tips to keep your child’s hair healthy.
Super Tight Ponytails
Even if you prefer a sleek and tight ponytail if it’s too tight it can break your little one’s hair. So, create a loose but secure pony that showcases their waves and curls. Or apply a Curly Hair Gel to their hair and use your hands or a hairbrush to create a smooth and sleek, but not too tight pony. Be particularly mindful of the hair along the edges and at the first sign of significant breakage or hair loss, it’s time to determine the cause. This can often be resolved with a combination of the right hair care products, styling tools, and mixing up their hairstyles. Don’t be shy about heading into your hairstylist for advice.
Super Tight Braids
Traction alopecia can occur when daily ponytails or braids are too tight or too heavy. While you want their braids to be tight enough to look beautiful for as long as possible, you don’t want their braids to be so tight that it pulls and damages hair follicles. You can tell their braids are too tight if you see red bumps or little white tips on their scalp. Also, be mindful of the weight of beads and synthetic hair that you braid in. While not too heavy alone, if their braids are tight and heavy, the two combined can be too much. Synthetic hair is also quite heavy when wet so gently dry wet braids with a microfiber towel—or only use natural hair to lengthen braids.
It’s not always their hairstyle that damages their hair but wearing the same style daily. Even parting your child’s curly hair in the same place before styling can cause damage and breakage along the part line. Or twisting their hair in the same direction into a bun each day. So, whether it’s a loose or tight ponytail, pigtails, or braids—it’s important to mix things up. Maybe keep their braids in for 3 weeks, then wear their hair down for a month or so. Or switch between a variety of protective styles.
All-Day Wet Hair
Wet hair is weak hair, so be mindful of how often you completely wet your child’s hair, and what styles you choose when their hair is wet. Curly hair is porous, therefore 50 percent weaker when wet. While you may only shampoo their hair once or twice a week, you may wet their hair in the bath or shower to make it easier to comb through. On days that you get their hair completely wet, apply curl cream and let them wear it down, maybe with a headband. If you must put it in a ponytail or braid, let it air dry a bit first. If time is tight and you must braid or pull back completely wet hair, take it down when they get home from school to ensure the center hair dries. Again, all-day wet hair once in a while isn’t an issue, but every day can be problematic. To minimize fully wetting their hair to style, use a spray bottle with 1 ¼ cup water and at least 3 tablespoons of Curly Kids Conditioner.
Fro Babies hair is a fan of natural hair, but variety is the spice of life, so you may want to straighten your child’s hair from time to time. Professional straightening performed by a curly hair specialist is ideal. If you prefer to straighten their hair at home, apply a heat protectant to their hair first—and use a straightening brush or hot comb designed for their hair texture and type. Straightening their hair with the right products or tools on occasion shouldn’t cause much damage, but if you straighten their hair weekly you need to keep a close eye for signs of damage. Extend the life of their straightened hair by wrapping their hair with a silk or satin scarf when they sleep.
Dreadlocks are beautiful and make daily haircare easy, but before you commit you must understand how to care for and maintain them—or they can do damage. It’s best to have hair professionally locked and to follow the suggested care routine. This is often shampooing every 7 to 10 days and avoiding the temptation to twist new growth too much. The constant tight twisting, touching up, and trying to tame the frizz of new growth is the most common cause of damage.
Before you lock your child’s hair, decide how long you want it twisted or locked. It’s possible to unlock hair, but success rates vary depending on how long the locks have been in, how long their hair is, and their hair texture and type. Unlocking hair should be done by someone with experience. Expect to lose at least a bit of length when unlocking dreads. However, your child may not want to sit through the lengthy process, so a big chop may be the fastest, easiest, and tear-free option.
Other Hairstyling Habits That Can Damage Your Child’s Hair
Hairstyles aren’t the only thing that can cause major damage to your child’s hair. Here are a few other daily and weekly habits to consider:
- Only use Curly Hair Products on their hair to maintain moisture and minimize breakage.
- Shampoo their hair every 7 to 10 days and cowash with conditioner if it’s dirty in-between wash days.
- Find a curly hairbrush or comb that works for their hair type and texture.
- Have your kids sleep with a bonnet or on a silky pillowcase.
- Be mindful of the styling accessories you use, choosing options that don’t tangle.
- Create seasonal and activity-based hair care routines, such as wetting hair and applying coconut oil before they swim—and shampooing afterward.
Here’s to keeping your little one’s hair healthy, beautiful, and natural!