Natural Hairnamix: OUCHH...That Hurts!
March 4, 2015By Rossette Allen

Kids are just the most precious little blessings. They are so free-spirited, honest, playful and loving. For the most part, they are usually very adventurous and willing to face challenges head on. There are, however, a few dreaded activities that kids just don’t look forward to. Trips to the doctor and the dentist are a kid’s nightmare. Also, very high on the list of dreaded things to do is having their hair washed. This is especially true for kids with coily, kinky or curly texture. We all can attest to the fact that we would have our heads pulled from one direction to the next, almost as though the comb is literally in combat with the thick, coarse strands of hair, quite often resulting in combs popping. Frowns, squirms, screams, tears and total discomfort are often features of a typical wash day experience.


The woes of wash day can be greatly minimized if the proper procedure is applied during the process. The experience of hair washing doesn’t have to be a horrible one. With care, patience and proper techniques, our little angels can enjoy this weekly routine without having to feel as though they are being punished. The following 5 tips, if put into practice, will be sure to improve the efficiency of hair washing and make it a more pleasant experience for kids:



1. Moisturize and Detangle prior to Shampooing - Natural hair, by the end of a typical week, is usually dry and somewhat matted. Introducing shampoo to the hair in that state can cause the hair to be less manageable and sometimes a tangled mess. Shampoo is already very drying on natural hair and the problem can be further compounded if you attempt to wash it without first getting rid of the excess knots and tangles. The simple process of doing a Pre-poo in the child’s hair will spare them much of the agony at the back end of the hair-washing escapade. Simply mix some inexpensive conditioner with your favorite natural carrier oil and apply the blend all over the hair from root to tips. Cover with a plastic cap and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes and you will be surprised to observe that the tangles will literally melt away to the touch. Use a wide tooth comb and gently comb through the hair and then proceed to shampoo. This may seem like a time consuming, additional step in the wash day regimen but believe me when I say it way omit a lot of the drama that you and the child would have otherwise experienced at the back end.


2. Never Comb Hair while dry – Combing through natural hair in its dry state is not an option. Not only is it crucially painful to the little one but the practice also is damaging to natural hair as the comb often gets stuck in tiny knots and causes breakage. Many parents proceed to comb the hair before washing it to remove tangles but this should be done on damp hair so as to soften the hair a bit, giving it more slip and ease for detangling. The same is true for after the hair is conditioned. Ensuring that the hair is detangled before it is rinsed will also eliminate the need to do aggressive coming when you get to the styling stage. I came to learn very early into the natural hair game that it’s not really so much what you do, but how you do it that really makes the difference. Many people tend to think that as far as naturals are concerned, the comb is the enemy. This is certainly not the case. Making minor adjustments in how you comb your child’s hair will surely make or break their wash day experience.



3. Work in Small Sections – Tackling the entire head of hair all at once can be quite frustrating. Natural hair is usually thick and bulky, making it difficult to manage all at once. Portions that are already combed through sometimes get mixed in with that which isn’t. Separating the hair into small sections on the other hand, makes it a less tedious, less painful, less damaging process. The entire wash process can be executed with the hair sectioned, usually in four parts. This prevents the hair from getting excessively tangled. As one portion is conditioned and detangled, it is immediately secured back in place so as to prevent it from becoming tangled with other portions of hair, not yet detangled. Sectioning also ensures that the products being applied are properly absorbed into every inch of the hair. This organized approach to washing your little one’s hair will be less painful and will minimize the length of time that kiddies will have to “sacrifice” to get their hair nice and clean.


4. Twist Before Rinsing – This little trick has proven to be a lifesaver and it makes the styling step of the washing process way easier. Having completed shampooing, kids can now look forward to the fun part. Conditioning is not nearly as unpleasant as applying shampoo because there is in this process, little or no product running into the little one’s eyes. It is also that magical step that transform their strands from its dry, coarser texture to being softer, more moisturized and more manageable. Allow the conditioner to sit on the hair for at least 15 minutes then comb through in small sections and twist while the conditioner is still in. The hair should then be rinsed while the twists are still in to prevent the strands from getting tangled again. Kids will be pleased to know that the usual comb-popping process of fighting to detangle again after rinsing is eliminated.



5. Use a Shower Attachment – One of the main reasons why kids literally hate to get their hair washed, at least at home, is because of the drowning effect that it has. Water tends to get into their eyes, ears, nose and even mouth at some point or another throughout the process. This is understandably very unpleasant for kids and somewhat explains why wash day is often detested because in their minds it is nothing short of a near death experience.  The physical discomfort that kids sometimes endure on wash day doesn’t help. I remember my head being pushed so far down in the bathtub to get it to fit underneath the pipe that I thought I would suffer a cricked neck. The simple and inexpensive solution lies in using a shower attachment to ensure that there is an extension that allows the water to be applied to the hair while the child is at standing level. It also helps to concentrate the water on the hair and not everywhere else that it shouldn’t be at that time. Explore this option and you will find that kids will become most likely find this wash day event to be tolerable.




The challenge of managing natural hair is often what drives parents to cave in and succumb to the temptation of relaxing a kid’s hair. The lengthy, tedious and unpleasant wash day process may be one of the culprits. As mentioned earlier, it is not so much what you do, but how you do it that will determine the outcome. Try making these simple adjustments during your child’s next wash day episode and you will be pleased to find out that both parties will enjoy a more pleasant and fulfilling experience.  




Candie's Natural Hairnamix was birthed a few months after Jamaican native Rossette "Candie" Allen began her natural hair journey in May 2010. She gears this column toward naturals, transitioning naturals, aspiring naturals and the naturally curious, sharing experiences, expertise and experiments while celebrating emancipation from chemical slavery.


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