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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hair Nightmare- And Some Tips For Combing And Styling Toddler Hair

It's story time!  (Read the whole story or just skip to the purple text at the bottom for toddler combing/styling tips)

This is sad, I'd love any feedback you might have...

A couple weeks ago, I met and became 'friends' with a woman (T) with 2 biracial children.  A little boy around C's age and a little girl who is 3 years old (also C, so lets call her CC) The little boy always has his hair cut short, and he even recently had a design cut into it.  This gave me the idea that their mother probably takes care of their hair. 
When I first met CC, her hair was in several ponytails with barrettes.  It was very messy and frizzy, but I don't judge.  Not everyone knows how to do hair and I figured at least this mother was trying, which is more than some other people I've met!  I saw the little girl again a few days later.  Her hair was still in the ponytails, but only 2 braids remained.  The rest of the ponytails were just knotted hair.  Still, I couldn't judge- maybe T is trying her best.  There could have been lots of explanations.  Anyway...    The next time I saw her, her hair was in a single ponytail.  That same day (yesterday), T asked me if I would do CC's hair the same way as C's was done.  (Click here to see)  Of course I said yes.

T asked me what I needed, and I told her to bring out a comb and whatever products and accessories she wanted me to use.  I probably don't have to tell you that she had less than quality products.  She brought over a bottle of detangling spray and a comb, along with some rubber bands.
All of her rubber bands were either broken or had chunks of hair on them.
The spray T brought over for me to use was something similar to this.  I have to say, I miss this spray.  Me and C both loved the smell.  I actually still have a couple bottles of it, but anyway...

So, T and CC came downstairs with all their stuff and I sat little CC down to get started on her hair. 

I don't want to be mean, I'm not saying anything bad about the baby, BUT...
This little girl had the most knotted hair I've E V E R seen in my whole life!  It wasn't tangled, it wasn't knotted- it was matted!  And I mean bad!  Some parts of her hair were so matted that it looked like she had dread locks in her hair!  Not that there is anything wrong with dread locks at all, but this is not the same!  There were also parts of her hair that looked like there was gum stuck in it!  I felt SO bad for this little girl.  Her hair was matted all the way to the scalp.  I have never seen anything like that.  Not even close, and I've seen some pretty knotted hair, trust me. 

I knew I was going to have a problem doing CC's hair as soon as she sat down.  Right away she started to whine before I even touched her hair, and told her mom "Mommy, I'm scared!"   :*(
I told her I was going to be nice and I wasn't going to hurt her, but that was before I realized what condition her hair was in.  She cried and screamed the entire time even though I thought I was being pretty gentle.... As gentle as I possibly could!  I finally gave up and handed the comb to T.
T was barely even touching CC's hair with the comb- she was just rubbing it down her hair.  I got very upset because this mother wasn't even trying to keep her hair combed and then she expected me to do it!  She only 'worked' on CC's hair for maybe 30 seconds and handed the comb back to me.  I had to give her the comb back again when little CC was crying again.  I'm not going to torture a baby just so her mommy can see her hair looking pretty!
T did the same rubbing on CC's hair and asked me (as if she didn't know)  "Ok, I got that knot out.  Is there any other ones you need me to get?"  I handed her a fist full of matted hair and said "Yeah, get this out!"  You won't believe what T said next!
She took the comb again and barely touched CC's hair with it, then says to me...
"Yeah, that's not gonna come out.  You're just gonna have to work around that!"


Are you serious?!?  How am I going to 'work around' that??? 

I told T that if I was going to cornrow CC's hair (or do anything at all with it), that it had to be completely tangle free.  She just kept insisting that I needed to spray more detangling spray on her hair.  I had her hair dripping wet with it!  I must have used half a bottle just in the small section of hair I tried combing through.  That's just ridiculous in my opinion!  I'm sure you agree.

So,  I keep trying to get through CC's hair and I grabbed a section that felt very weird.  Like gum.  I asked if CC chewed gum and T said no.  She got very mad at me when I told her it looked like there was gum in her hair!  She didn't even come check, she just snapped at me "No there's not!"
I couldn't even get into her knots.  I actually broke a tooth off their comb.

Then, as if that all wasn't bad enough, T says to me "I always just cut her knots out."

detangle like I do with C's hair because it was too matted-  I couldn't even get a single strand to come loose!  Not unless I snapped all her hair away from the knot one by one, and I sure wasn't about to do that!  If her mom insisted I could have cut the knots with some hair scissors if we were at my house.  I wouldn't want to do that, but I don't see any other way.

I think T could tell that I was mad.  When I finally gave up and told her I'd do her hair after it got combed, she jumped up, grabbed all their hair things and said "Tell Danielle you're sorry CC!  Tell her don't be mad at me!"
I wasn't mad at the little girl at all!  I was very upset with her mother though!  I wanted to slap her to be honest.  It's her mothers fault that her hair got that bad- not the little girls! 

I just can't understand some people.  I know that not everyone likes doing their child's hair and not everyone even knows how.  Anyone can use a comb though! (You would think)
Poor little CC's hair was a nightmare- I'm just glad it's not my nightmare!

What would you have done or said?  What do you think about using a steel comb to get through hair this matted?

So now I'm going to give you some tips in case you're in the same situation.

Always comb or brush curly hair while it's wet.  Doing it while try will only cause frizzing and breakage.  If you need to, wash their hair first and use lots of conditioner followed by a leave-in.

Divide the child's hair into several small sections and gently pull tangles apart with your fingers before using a comb.

Use a wide tooth comb!

Do not snap any hairs that might be tangled.  If you come to a matted section, try to loosen it with leave-in conditioner and a rat tail comb.  If you still can't get it loose, use hair scissors to cut one hair at a time until you can.  Cut each hair as close to the knot as you can, because the end of that hair is somewhere in that knot.  You don't want to cut any shorter than you have to.

Keep your child's hair in a protective style, at least while they sleep.  This can be as simple as 1 or more french braids or cornrows, or even simpler yet is banding.  Do this by dividing the hair into several sections (4, or as many as you would like).  Add a METAL FREE ponytail holder at the base of each section and another one every inch or so until you reach the end of the hair.

If your child does not like hair time, keep it short.  Don't expect them to sit for an hour or more getting their hair cornrowed if they've never had anything other than ponytails.  Start simple by doing just a couple big cornrows, or cornrow only halfway back.

Put something on tv that your child likes or even let them play a video game.  I've learned that if you let them see something they haven't seen before or don't see very often, they're more likely to pay attention.  Try buying or renting a movie they haven't seen, or keep certain movies and/or games that your child only gets to watch/play during hair time.

Give your child a snack.  I wouldn't recommend anything sugary like candy or junk food if it makes them hyper.  If something sweet is the only thing that will work, try some fruit snacks.  At least the have Vitamin C :)

Let your child get involved in hair time.  C still loves to chose her own bead patterns and put them on the beader for me.  That keeps her busy for quite some time!  Even if you aren't using beads, they still might like to play with them.  Older kids can even sort them (as long as they know their colors).  I had C sorting her hair things by color when she was as little as 2 years old, and she liked that too.

Let your child see your work.  Get a little hand held mirror and keep it with your hair supplies.  Every little girl who had their hair done by me always wanted to see how pretty it was looking.  If they like the way it looks, they're probably going to want you to finish!

Compliment your child.  Still to this day, while I do C's hair I keep saying "This is gonna look SOOO pretty!"  When I'm done, I really go on and on about how nice her hair looks and how pretty she is.  That has made her not only put up with having her hair done, but also like it.  She even asks for styles she likes best.

Don't let your child hear you talk negatively about their hair.  Doing that will just make them learn to hate their hair and give them low self esteem.

One more thing- say thanks!  When I'm done doing C or any child's hair, I tell them  "Thank You for letting me do your hair!  That was fun- and you look so beautiful!"

So those are the tips I have for you.  These are all things that have worked for me and I hope this can help someone else too  :)

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