[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]Hey Pro Hair Mum!
I bet you like the sound of that? It is another week and today, the course is going deeper! I’m going to share the 5 Biggest mistakes some of us make in caring for our child’s hair and how to avoid them. I know you’ll be excited to know about these so let’s dive in! … [/dropcap]
1. Excessive Washing
One common practice we have in Africa is that of washing our baby’s hair every single bath time, and this for some, may be twice a day!
You see the afro hair texture was not made to withstand excessive exposure to SOAP! The reason is that, contrary to popular opinion of it being “stubborn”, the afro hair is actually made up of very fragile strands of protein that thrive only with tender loving care.
The soap ingredient in most baby shampoos known as Sodium Laureth Sulphate is responsible for leaving your child’s hair stripped of its natural oils and moisture making it dry, brittle and susceptible to breakage which may eventually lead to hair damage. So you might want to reduce washes to once a week or once every two weeks for bigger babies.
2. Inappropriate Styling Methods
This is a major culprit to why babies lose the beautiful curls they once had at birth and I see a lot of mothers make the mistake of choosing the wrong styles for their babies.
Styles such as small puffs with those colourful hair ruffles should be avoided for two reasons. The first is, your baby’s scalp is far too tender to bear the tension that comes from putting it into those tiny little puffs no matter how lose you think they are.
Excessive tension on your baby’s scalp results in the damage of the child’s hair follicles and this leads to poor hair growth. Another reason is that, the ruffles are made with cotton/woolly material that gets some hair strands trapped in them, and this leads to gradual hair loss. Over time you begin to notice that your baby’s hair has become very thin and scanty.
The second thing style that causes hair damage for children is the use of hair extensions and the fixing of weaves. I understand that as mothers we want what is best for our children and that sometimes means that we tend to overdo it. However we must know that things like extensions and weaves, put so much weight and pressure on our poor babies’ scalp and this usually leads to hair loss.
The braiders who put those things on your child may not even have the slightest clue of how painful it is for your baby and I have seen some really tight braids with extensions on some babies and it just looks so wrong. Early use of extensions or weaves is one of the causes of extreme case of hair loss in babies known as alopecia.
I also know that as a busy mum, you may want to do a style that will last like forever, but remember that those intricate, tiny and beautiful looking braids could be the reason why your daughter’s hairline is receding.
Please try as much as possible to stay away from these styles, just keep it simple and easy on your growing child by doing styles such as single braids and twists for her.
3. Excessive Combing
I have come to realize that hair loss in babies and children is usually a gradual process that often goes unnoticed as it occurs. One day your child has a full head of hair, another day, it’s all gone in a flash. What went wrong in between?
Excessive combing might be another reason why your baby’s hair is damaged, because combing is a mechanical action that causes friction and puts the baby’s fragile curly strands under tension to break and fall off prematurely. You do not need to comb your baby’s soft and tender curls. Till date, I only use my fingers to comb my baby’s hair and her hair is about 10 inches long now.
I use a comb when I absolutely have to and it has to be a very big wide toothed comb with her hair drenched in either water or conditioner.
4. Use of Wrong Products
The use of the wrong products with harsh ingredients may also be a reason why a baby’s hair is damaged by his/her first birthday. One major thing to pay attention to in this aspect is the ingredients that make up the products we use for washing or grooming your baby’s hair.
Certain harsh ingredients such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate, used in soaps and some shampoos, has a drying effect on baby’s hair and with dryness comes breakage, and eventually leads to damaged hair.
Some other ingredients that cause poor baby hair health are mineral oil and silicones. Another thing to pay attention to is safety, chemical relaxers are dangerous to the general health of your baby’s scalp and I have seen some really young children, under the age of five, with chemically treated hair.
I am not going to act like I have never relaxed my hair before, heck I got my first relaxer when I was nine years old, and then, I thought it was the best thing that could have happened to me and my ‘’thick’’, ‘’stubborn’’ kinky hair. I felt really beautiful and grateful to my mother that she let me get my hair relaxed.
However these chemical relaxers are made of a substance called “lye”, a corrosive alkaline substance, either sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. One thing I discovered in my research is that lye is used as an oven cleaner and a drain opener! Apart from the fact that this substance is not safe for children, the corrosive nature causes hair to deteriorate with time, leaving it thin and weak.
So I urge you to try as much as possible to avoid these ingredients and products, they do not help the health and growth of your child’s hair.
5. Poor Bedtime Routine
Have you ever wondered why most babies tend to have a bald line at the back of their heads? It just seems like a natural thing, that line of baldness, well let me tell you today, that it is not natural.
Most people think that it is a biological thing, that it is only the lucky babies who didn’t get that baldline or bald spot at the back of their heads. The reason why your baby may have developed this “Parted Red Sea” at the back of his/her head is because of where he or she puts her head down.
If your baby constantly sleeps facing upwards, then this is probably the reason for the baldline at the back and you need to get a satin scarf or satin headrests to prevent this.
The smooth texture of the satin fabric, allows hair strands to just slide past and remain moisturised. On the other hand, the harsh cotton or car seat material, tends to soak up all the moisture and natural oils on your baby’s hair leaving it dry, brittle and susceptible to breakage. (I am sure by now you’re getting the idea that moisture is a very important thing for your baby’s hair).
That part of your baby’s hair is what constantly comes in contact with harsh materials, whether on the crib, on the car seat, bouncer or even the play pen, leading to that area being dry and more subject to breakage than any other part of the hair.
You can send me a reply to this email and tell me one or some of these mistakes you have made, also let me know how you think it might have affected the health of your child’s hair.
If you are just joining this course, you can catch up with us on this page by clicking Week 1 and Week 2
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Follow Luchi and her daughter, Muna on Instagram @munaandluchi and get daily tips on child hair care
[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]Hey Pro Hair Mum!