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« at long last | Main | follow-up to biracial hair »

05 October 2006



You might want to section her head and do one section at a sitting for braiding. That is why you will sometimes see children with a section that is braided and other sections which are just up in a puffy 'pig tail'. Remember that the hair can be washed while still in braids and her head and hair can be oiled while in the braids. Because AA children often suffer from dry skin it is important not to use soap too often and to keep the moisturizer a part of daily grooming. Good luck!


I have had maybe 5 different Blcak women advise me to do her hair in fancier braids and stuff while she's sleeping.

The thing is, I cherish her naps as the time I desperately need to get my actual paid labor done, so I am not keen to try it--or convinced she'd sleep through it.

Still--if another person suggests this, I might just go for it. I would like to be able to do her hair in a style that would last a few days at least. Last time I left her alone for three days (with Cole and my in-laws, none of whom can do her hair) when she came back to me I swore I'd never leave her again until I had learned to give her a hairstyle that would last the duration. I hated the thought that folks had seen her that way in public!

I can get her to let me futz with her hair for ten to twenty minutes tops, unless there's another adult actively entertaining her at the same time. Otherwise, I turn on her favrite video or pile up her favorite books to distract her.

What's so frustrating, is that I'm good at doing it. If she'd sit still for those ten minutes I could do something really cute, but as it is, I am dealing with a moving target!


actually cornrows are pretty easy,alot like frenchbraiding, if you know how to do that. and most likely, he hair will continue to change in texture, thickness,etc so you may be able to do more in the future. Just remember to always make her feel good about her hair, it can be really easy for her to feel awkward in a hh of others that dont have her type of hair. sounds like you are doing great.


Yeah, I think locality has a lot to do with it. And I think age does. My friend who has a bio daughter who is biracial (my friend is Latina) got a lot of attitude and she looks very young. You look younger than you are. I, alas, look my age. Maybe that's why I haven't had anyone say anything.


Wow. This is so deeply fascinating to me. Where I live there is a HUGE ethnic population... but it's not African in origin, it's Asian, or South East Asian. So here, the cultural issues regarding appearances are equally ingrained, but it's about things other than hair.

Very interesting to read this and the challenges both you and Zade face in this regard.


I will second the recommendation for doing her hair in stages. If you can devote 10 minutes a day -you can start braids and be done with them in a couple of days. As with everything concerning children - it really is about routine. If you do it regularly (easier said than done, I well know) Z. will get much more used to having her hair played with and will get more patient and less tender headed. and hey, it might be worth taking her to a salon to get braided as they might be able to do it signifigantly faster and braided hair dos do stay for a long time with adequate moisturizing and upkeep. Good Luck!


As a white girl with really really curly hair I found this post absolutely fascinating.
My parents solution to my hair "problem" was to cut it all off. I'm not bitter or scarred by that at all.
Now, thank god, there are so many more products out for curly headed people. I didn't learn how to properly care for my hair until I was an adult.
I have a friend who is five - she is of AA and East Indian descent. Her mother swears by putting lots of conditioner in every morning and brushing it out. Every single morning. This will stop the frizzies in their tracks.
Good for you for making this important. My mother tells me they kept it super short because I wouldn't let them brush it. I think they just couldn't be bothered with the hassle. As much as Z might fight you - taking proper care of nappy/curly hair will be well worth the effort for her self esteem!

Round is Funny

This is great. What I'm trying to figure out is what the differences are in expectations for boys' hair...

At least at this point it seems like Roo's hair is similar to Z's, so we have no idea. But that could change too.

By the way, I meant to say the other day that I love your new purty pink hair.


I love reading about all this too, but I wish there were more conversations and information about boys hair! Not from you exactly, of course, but in general. I do feel fortunate that boys hair is easier to deal with. I am learning to cut my son's heads (been cutting hair for a long time) and I think I do OK but I could use some tips and feedback. They hate sitting still just for the haircuts. I give them lolipops and videos (rare treats). God must have known (from looking at my head LOL) I wouldn't be up to doing girl's hair.


I bet I can asked my friend keesha to do some styling for you, if you like... she has both black and bi-racial hair in the family! Lemme know, Ms S.


BTW, the traffic is ridiculous so I only use it for browsing but there's this group:


I have nothing as complicated as race relations to think about when I do my daughter's hair, but I *do* know all about the daily struggles of hair brushing, de-tangling, coaxing, bribing, and struggling with a kid who HATES having her head touched. We keep Hazel's hair bobbed, and that helps a lot. For what it's worth, I think Zaidee's hair is beautiful, and you are such a thoughtful mom.


Great entry. While I currently live in the whitest place on earth, I grew up in a community that had a large African American population. (My high school, in fact, was about 70% African American.) The first thing that my mom asked when I told her that we were considering adopting transracially was "But, how will you know what do do with the hair?" This struck some of my friends as seeming racist, but I thought that it was a huge issue not only practically, but because hair was a huge part of the lives of my black female friends. I'm impressed with your take and actions about it all.


I really appreciated your insight into the AA community. I'm linking to share your post at my blog at on Tuesday morning.

Mary, mom to many including 2 Ethiopian daughters


I'm really enjoying your hair postings and the comments, as my own moving target now has enough hair to really worry about. She's Ethiopian, and her hair looks to be about the texture of Z's, though she doesn't have as much yet.

Heidi Durrow

the hair thing is a never-ending issue. and i constant barometer of identity for me. i look more ethnic when i wear my hair crazy curly. i look more "majority" when it's straight. hair is still political. why is that?


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the hair styling for a biracial girl. As we look to adopt a second time, we may be needing to learn these styles as well.

some girl

to the lady who said she lives in an ethnic community: we all live in an ethnic community. everybody has an ethnicity, white people included.

some girl

to the lady who said she lives in an ethnic community: we all live in an ethnic community. everybody has an ethnicity, white people included.

S. Iron

As a biracial woman, I struggled with hair issues my whole life. That's why I am so excited about Mixed Chicks Hair products. They have a leave-in conditioner that I put in after the shower... it has changed my life! It gets rid of frizz and makes my curls so soft and perfect and best yet, not sticky. Check them out on the web at


" for some reason, the young children we see, by and large, have totally unkempt hair. i'm talking styles that are not styles (hair barely pulled into a knot on the top of the head), hair that is so dry it would crack like twigs were you to brush it, frizzies sticking out at all angles"

Welcome to AFrican hair textures 101. Not unkempt hair, just frizzy hair that does what it does naturally, especially in a child who plays and messes up their hair. It happens but that doesn't necessarily mean the hair is unkempt or started out "unkempt" in the morning. Our hair is known for dryness so that's not an indication of uncaring parenthood as you seem to suggest.


I know i dont have white or latino curly hair. But i notice many simularites with there curly hair and my biracal currly hair. Anyway i noticed how some of my boys (latino and white ) have curlly hair and some of them were it naturally an some of them get it cut. There hair is cut in curlly layers almost. with scissors instead of clippers. And it looks great there curlrs stand out more. So what i was wondering about my curly very thick hair was is there anyway i could do the same. I'm sure it would take much more time.but curl is a curl- right? Isn't there some type of cut to make tighter biracial curls stand out more with "scissors" Are there any salons or dressers specializing in bi-racial hair. I even see some other guys who's curls just stand out more on there shorter styled curlly hair( 5 or 6 inch hair ) is there a solution or am i crazy.


This forum is fascinating to me...we adopted out daughter when she was one month old, and now she is twelve. She is biracial, with all the hair issues to go with it. She never would sit still for me, but somtimes vdeos and huge bowls of popcorn did the trick. I learned to do corn row braids with beads, and that was always great in the summer months, and would last three or four weeks. When she was little, two-strand twists were quicker and easier to do than braids. Her hair has gotten to be more difficult to manage over the years, and now she wants to do it herself. I got her some good AA detangling shampoo, and a strong wide toothed comb. She got pretty good at working out the tangles herself in the shower. Now we are learning to blow dry, which relaxes it beautifully when done properly, and for Christmas we got her a good flat iron...and yesterday we tried it out with wonderful results! She is becoming such a beautiful young lady! Her favorite hairstyle is always pulling it back in a pony tail...she has lots of tight little ringlets, and if she wets it and pulls it back, it looks really pretty. But the other AA kids at school give her a bad time because her hair isn't becomes a social issue in middle school.This is a lifelong learning process for all of us!

albert S.

On mixed race hair products:

hair woman

Sounds like you are doing good. I'm definately in support of bi-racial families.

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