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Monday, April 18, 2011

Straight Hair

Normally, I don't recommend heat for anyone's hair.  As everyone (probably) knows, heat is damaging and can make your hair look even worse in the long run.   But what if your hair is straight, or some what straight, and it just doesn't look good unless you do straighten it with heat?
Here are some photos of my friends daughter.  She was 6 years old at the time these photos were taken, and here is the story...
My friend used to live across the street from me, and her and my daughter started pre-school at the same time, and they became best friends!  Well anyway, she also has a biracial daughter.  (Also a C, so were going to call her C2 from here on out!)  C2 used to have a hair type between 2C and 3A  (somewhat curly, with a lot of straight hair.)  The curls C2 had were big and loose.  They ended up moving away, and when they came back about 2 years later, C2 had a completely different hair type.  That isn't too uncommon- hair can change texture.  But, C2's hair was VERY dry and damaged, with a lot of split ends and breakage.  To be honest, her hair looked like my friend had permed it.  She insists she didn't, but I cant understand why her hair would look permed. C2's mom refuses to take any hair advice, so she doesn't take care of it, and that is definitely contributing to C2's damaged hair (Ill get to that in a little while!)
I really wish I had a before picture, but I seem to have deleted it- I cant find it anywhere and sadly I'm no longer friends with C2's mom so I cant get another one! :(    Anyway, here is C2 after I used a flat iron to lightly straighten her hair...

Before C2's hair was straightened, she had chunks of hair sticking up all over the place and it just was horrid looking!  After I flat ironed her hair, it was all laid down in place, even the random chunks of hair.  C2 had gotten gum stuck in her hair, and her mom had to cut a big chunk out.  There was a patch of hair in the front of C2's hair that stuck up no matter what I would put in it.  (I used to do C2's hair all the time!)  Well, finally I talked C2's mom into letting me flat iron her hair.  C2 never ever had her hair done unless I did it, so she wasn't used to sitting still for it and everything hurt her even though I'm very gentle! Flat ironing it was the easy way for me to fix her hair so that's what I wanted to do.
After her hair was flat ironed, the hair in front of her head that was cut looked like it was actually meant to be cut- like bangs. (I knew it would look like that, and telling C2's mom it would look deliberate is what talked her into letting me flat iron it instead of trying to braid it into a style)
As you can see, C2's hair still looked really damaged (because it was obviously), but it looked much better! She got more compliments on her straightened hair than she ever got from any braided style I did on her hair before.  Everyone said she looked more Indian with her hair flat ironed, and I think she looked like Pocahontas! :)

C2's hair was very easy to straighten.  C's hair takes at least 5 swipes with the straight iron, burning her hair, to even take it down to a wavy texture!  C2's hair was straight and smooth in just 1 swipe, so it wasn't causing as much damage as it would to someone with C's hair type.  I really miss doing C2's hair, not just because I LOVE doing hair, but because it made C2 feel good- which also made me happy!  C2 used to get made fun of because of the way her hair looked, and she wouldn't ever feel comfortable wearing her hair down even though she hates having her hair styled!  C2's mom still doesn't do anything to her hair, and she uses rubber bands any way her hair is done... I'm talking about industrial rubber bands- not rubber bands made for hair!  Rubber bands from a newspaper were saved and used in C2's hair!  And the worst part is... When C2's mom would take these rubber bands out of her hair, she just rips them out!  She grabs her hair at the base (sometimes) and just pulls the rubber band out, ripping a glob of hair out in the process!
I tried to tell C2's mom several times that isn't good, but she wouldn't listen to me and that's why C2's hair is as damaged as it is now.
So this brings me to my questions for all of you!...
1.  Do you think that when a woman has a biracial child, they should be expected to know how to style it (even if it's just a simple ponytail)?

2.  What do you think of a mother of a biracial child when you see the child with severely unruly hair?   Do you think that the mother just doesn't know how to do hair, did she maybe not bother to do anything special because there was no occasion, or do you think she is just lazy and didn't feel like being bothered with her hair?
Or do you have some other opinion?  Id like to know!  :)


  1. ohhhh man... you really hit a soft spot on my heart with this one. you are starting to be my favorite blog of all time!

    i'm biracial. my mom is white and my dad is black. i was born in the 80s and in the south. while interacial dating wasn't an unknown, it still wasn't something that was always accepted. my parents ended up spliting when i was about 1 or so. i had very little contact with the blk side of my fam. in pictures of me it's rare you see me with unkept hair. the ones where my hair is a mess it's me just getting up. i vividly remember hair time with my mom. i always compare this back to my mom. my mom was a young single parent, with a low paying job but yet she still took the time to do my hair even though it was an unknown to her.

    now.. that takes me to another one. my stepdaughters mom is white. her hair looks similar to the lil girl you posted. her hair looks a hot mess. her mom straightens it and takes her to the salon to get it blown out. while i know hair can change texture over the years, sometimes it can change because it was forced to be changed. any time she gets to see us (which is rarely) and i do her hair, her mom gets really mad. i personally think her hair looks crappy so i either braid it or bun it up. her mom wants her to be white.. but that's another story for another day.

    i get really offended when i see a biracial kid with their hair a mess. i personally think there's no excuse. all hair products are not expensive. it only takes a few minutes to wet hair with some water and conditioner and brush it and put it in a pony tail. when you decide to dtd with a person of another race, you should EXPECT differences of the child. just becuz you don't know about something is not an excuse to not do it at all. i mean.. really? it's your kid. if it was your head, you'd be trying to figure out a way to fix it, am i right?

    i could go on and on about this subject but i won't bore you guys any longer. lol. *the term you was used in a general form.. not to point out anybody in particular!*

  2. I think with any race wether they are mixed or not if the child's hair looks unruly it looks "bad" on the mother, but with bi-racial children it's even worse. If a bi-racial child's hair looks bad you get them stares like there's another ignorant white woman with a brown baby that doesn't know what she's doing. There are white mothers of white girls with straight hair who don't have a clue how to do hair, but it's easy for them to pull that off!!

  3. I always thought and assumed and maybe this was stereotyping now that I think of it that the mom just didn't know how to do their hair. :( I love it when I see little girls with their hair styled, no matter their race, white, black, mexican I just love it! I think yay for that mom for taking the time to actually put some effort into her little's one hair :) Even it's is a simple ponytail.

  4. I agree with all of you- there is no excuse for not at least trying to do SOMETHING with your kids hair, no matter what race or hair type they are. When I see any mother with a child who's hair isnt at least brushed, I always think they just dont know what they are doing- especially if they have a biracial child! If your kid has the same hair type as you, there is even less excuse- sometimes you can tell if the mother doesnt know what shes doing or if its just laziness.

  5. Interesting topic--and a controversial one! ;) While I think that, in an ideal world, every parent should know how to care for their child's hair, I've learned that there are often extenuating circumstances contributing to a child's hair situation and not merely a mother's laziness.

    For example, in the adoption community (which is where I approach hair from), many adoptive parents research how to care for very curly hair, only to adopt a child who absolutely will not let the mother touch his/her hair (for a variety of medical and psychological reasons--attachment disorder, sensory integration problems, etc.). I know several mothers in this position, and my heart breaks for them because they are misjudged every time they take their child in public, and there's so little they can do to make things better.

    More personally, I remember a year or two ago when I had to spend a few weeks in the hospital. Since I was sick as a dog, my poor daughter's hair stayed in small box braids for 6 weeks until I was able to care for her hair again. (Normally, I would've taken those braids out after 1 or 2 weeks--yikes!)

    I'm sure there were strangers who saw her hair during that time and thought, "her mother must not have a clue!" Since then, I've tried to think more kindly about the mothers of children I see with unkempt hair. As I learned after my own illness, you just never know what's going on in their lives!

    But for mothers, like your former friend, who know better and could do better but who still choose NOT to do better...well, my sympathy is much more limited! ;) Why you would send your child out into the world knowing that she'll be teased and made of--and for a concern that you could correct!--is beyond me. =(

  6. I agree wholeheartedly; I think that regardless of race, you should take care of your children's hair. If you don't know how, learn. It's not that hard to make your child's hair look neat and clean! I don't think it's vanity, I believe that it teaches your child to be well-groomed and have a good self image and self-confidence. When I see moms not caring for their children's hair, it upsets me.

  7. Some black woman have been raised on relaxers, so they don't know their hair texture. But I've seen ones go natural because of their kids, and take care of both heads because they LEARNED! Regardless of race, taking care of your child's hair is more than making them look nice, it also affects their self-esteem and over all hygiene.

  8. I agree with Kimberly. I think when we are quick to judge others and assume that they are being neglectful we are hurting more than helping. I am mom is white and Spanish and my day is purtugeuse and black. Growing up, my white mother had no idea how to care for my hair. I grew up in an all black neighborhood of Detroit MI, and everyone had relaxed hair. So when I was in 5th grade, my mother was convinced to relax my 3a/3b hair. And she kept relaxing it. When you are poor, and have no access to internet or other resources, you only know what you are told. And what if you are told is wrong? Relaxers messed my hair up HORRIBLY. I got the stares and the comments, and yes, they were hurtful. But I know for a fact my mom tried her best. My hair was always clean, it wasnt a 'hygeine' was an 'ignorance on how to style it problem'.

    On another note, I think its great that you helped out with c2's hair. I think its also very nice of her mom to let you post her pictures on the blog even though the 2 of you are no longer friends. Maybe she recognizes that this can be used as a learning experience for others...

    My Princess has hair very much like C2. Straight, a few waves. I used to flat iron her hair every once in awhile....I would heat the flat iron up then unplug it. Once it cooled down considerably, I would run it through her hair once or twice and it would be straight as a bone. The Princess has baby soft hair, and it looks almost like it is supposed to be straight. The reason I stopped straightening it is because in my house, we love texture. So if we want her hair down now, its in a braidout or a twist out.

    Great post! This topic definitely opened my eyes to how judgemental people can be sometimes. Im curious as to how people view myself and my children when we need to run to the store in the middle of a styling session, or if we are between syles and letting it out 'au naturale' for the day. I wonder if I am neglectful and lacking hygeine then? hmmmmmm


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