Thursday, July 15, 2010

Loving My Little Diva's Hair

I read this article in the Washington Post early this year about the beauty rituals of "hair day" prevalent in the Black community. It got me thinking about my own days of sitting between my mom & grandma's knees getting my hair "did".

Fast forward to present day. I have been in charge of hair little cousin AJ's hair for the past few years. Between then and now a lot has changed as I try to bring my new found knowledge into the process...but a lot has stayed the same - its all about enjoying the process.

Over the past year, as I've been learning about myself and my hair, I've also been learning about hers. She has scalp issues (psoriasis) which create growth challenges and a very coarse dry texture. I try very hard to make this a tolerable, if not thoroughly enjoyable process for everyone involved as I am working to foster a loving association with her natural hair.

I am still very much a work in progress myself and have been known to respond in exasperation at times - but here are a few nuggets I've picked up along the way that has made the whole journey easier to bear:
1. Make it a regular activity so that they can anticipate that it will happen and be mentally prepared. Approach the task with a positive attitude - no yelling, no yanking, no frowning.

2. Be responsive - if they say it hurts or your pulling, they may just be tying to be difficult, but you don't want to take that chance. Apologize and lighten up.

3. Engage them in the process. This typically works better for older girls, but ask them for input in the style choice, have hem pick out beads/clips or other accessories. I am often accused of spoiling my little ones, but I acknowledge them as little people that have valid feelings and that have something to say. Give them some ownership of their beauty.

4. Learn how to CARE for their hair and handle them with love. Learn the tricks of the trade and employ them. Research their hair types for products/techniques that make the process easier as you would do for yourself.

5. Be a role model. Let them witness your own hair care process and the joy you take in your own beautification process.

6. Practice what you preach. Preferably you are also natural so they can see someone else, an adult, embracing their natural beauty. It's hard not to have perm envy when you are the only kinky and associate it with being a little girl.

7. Make them fly. Find new and exciting pretty hair styles that are age appropriate. If they leave the chair feeling "ugly" or not as pretty as the big girls with the perms, they are going to make that association with their natural hair. If they think they are pretty and everyone else thinks their hair is fly that only helps to boost their self image. Maybe even find some styles you can both try.

8. Compliment them sincerely and often! It's easier to value what others also recognize value in.

Some things are easier said than done when you have a cranky squirmy little one, but bring a boatload of patience to the hair party, make it fun, talk, provide distractions...and of course try to be quick!

No comments:

Post a Comment