Multiracial Hair

8

November 11, 2007 by multiracialsky

I spend a lot of time on my children’s hair. Teri’s hair is at a length where it is almost–but not quite–long enough for cornrows or small braids. The back is just growing out from nearly bald, and the sides are also short. My goal is to secure the edges (which get dry and knotted the quickest) and create a style that will last for 2-4 days with minimal re-parting (daily spray with oil/water mixture, gentle brushing of each individual puff, and the occasional re-fastening of a slipping ponytail). The four-ponytail X-style is a current favorite, although the tiny back puff makes the style a little uneven. Dawn is right: it’s all in the straight parts. Even a super-fancy style with crooked parts looks sloppy.

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Aside from syrup and other assorted goodies caked into her hair, Gretel’s locks are fairly simple to style, but nothing stays in for long. Her fine hair slips out of every kind of band, braid or ponytail I devise. The best bet is to secure her hair close to the hairline with quick and simple styles–because no matter what I do, I know I’ll be re-styling again tomorrow.

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Rico has a very short hair cut (he calls it a shaved head) for the first time in his life, after years of long hair, and then the long-awaited mohawk for his birthday this fall. When his hair is long enough to reach his eyes, it must be held back (probably one of the reasons he loves all those hats), because his thick, straight hair falls directly into his eyes. Tight braids work best, and will hold for up to three days. Rico is now growing his hair long again. His dark, fast-growing hair is a lot like mine.
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Jaja had her first major haircut this fall, and is now sporting a chin-length bob. The goal of this haircut was to decrease the morning fuss-attack about brushing her hair (and it has worked). In the colder months (about 6 months a year here) her fine, wavy hair needs to be braided almost all the time to protect it from static and knots. I taught myself how to french braid last year, and Jaja’s long hair spent most of last winter in snug braids, a style that took 25-40 minutes to put in, and lasted 2-4 days.

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My children receive extra attention and extra scrutiny from the general public–and from acquaintances and friends–because they are part of a multiracial family. This applies even more to my visible children of color. Neatly parted, brushed, and styled hair is my top leaving-the-house priority (followed closely by clean faces, moisturized skin, and reasonably clean clothes). Somedays I wish I could just let my kids roll out of bed and step out the door with birdsnest-hair (like many of their friends), but that would not be fair to them.

I was questioned today about Jaja’s curls (as in, ‘where did they go?’) Her baby hair was curly; her little-kid hair, not so much. I was told that curls are ‘in her genes’–as is stick straight hair, we pointed out. There is still the expectation that biracial and multiracial kids will have a certain texture of hair, a certain color of skin, or a certain shape or color to their eyes. Not so.

In our family, there is occasional grumbling that Teri is the only one with enough hair curl and thickness to really hold cornrows, two-stranded twists, or tiny box braids. The hair-styles for kids with highly-textured hair are so much more interesting to my kids. But the promise of a green mohawk or five braids with multi-colored ponytail holders will suffice, most days.

More info on caring for and styling all children’s hair, especially multiracial children

8 thoughts on “Multiracial Hair

  1. Dee says:

    Your website is an excellent resource for hair and skin care information. Simple and informative. I like it.

  2. Kohana says:

    I love letting my son’s (who is biracial) hair grow to the longish side but his hair is too fine to hold braids and since he has so many different curl textures it tends to look wild when it has any real length. Right now I am keeping his hair short because he looks most “presentable” that way. For his sake, and for mine, I don’t want to be the white mom with the child of color that has crazy hair. We get enough attention as it is. It makes me sad though, that I am sacrificing what I want to do with his hair, for what people might think about him and us. I’m not sure what the best thing to do is. Any suggestions or thoughts?

    I’m with you – I always make it a high priority that my kids are brushed, styled, moisturized, and dressed appropriately. I once allowed my son to wear a barrette in his hair (he HAD to have one since his sister was wearing one) and I sure took a beating over that!

  3. stillamomma says:

    This is helpful. I notice as an African American woman, people assume that I know how to “do hair”. I have no clue how to braid or cornrow!

    I am definitely going to try the box braids and the cross thingy you have up there. My daughter’s curls are there, but not enough of them…she is almost bald in the back. lol

    Thanks again!

  4. Patti says:

    Ah – my girls battle over wanting to have each others hair. My older daughter is German and Native American and my younger is African American and Hispanic. I have had to step up my game from ponytails and box braids to fish tail braids and veil styles so that they both feel like they have fancy cool hair. Now the baby has a headful of baby baloney curls which I have been happily leaving alone. But he sees me sit down with the brushes and hair goodies and he toddles on over and plops on my lap for his hair time…… Which at least lets me know that “hair time” at our house is a pleasant experience (mostly) and that I am going to have to learn just a bit more about this little guys hair styles!
    Thanks

  5. Jenny Cipolla says:

    Dear friends, hello and how are you all doing? I have 3 children all mixed with black descent. I was just curious in how to create different designs for braiding their hair. Can anyone give me any tips or cool designs.

  6. Kris says:

    How great! I came upon your page looking for styles for my hair as I am letting it grow back out natural after relaxing it to fit in with my white classmates in college (I am black and my hair is curly)! I got tired of the questions and people wanting to touch my hair like I was a zoo critter! I understand the curiosity but it was a bit demeaning and caused me some frustration. Anyway, I am going to use the Star style for my little bundle of toddlerisms and for mine once I get this relaxer all grown out! Thanks! Be blessed and you are doing an excellent job on the hair styles. Moisture is the big key for black hair especially extremely curly hair. But you got that with your oil and water mixture. Johnson and Johnson has a detangler spray as well that works well along with a little more oil for a nice sheen. It does get a bit sticky though so it is better to use it every other day. I could go on and on but I think I should get back to reading your blog! THANK YOU again!

  7. Delia says:

    I glad to see children of most hair textures on here and not just the curly/kinky type hair. I have a biracial (African-American/Caucasian) son who has wavy, but not curly hair texture similar the Jaja’s. It only stays for 2-4 days!

  8. Sabrina says:

    Wow. I am of Afro-Caribbean, East-Indian, Chinese, and European ancestry. My hair is the most similar to the first child’s hair. Mine is VERY long and it’s passes than shoulder length, even when not straighten. When it is straighten it is most similar to Raja and covers most of my back to my butt. I do not see anything different or extra-ordinary about my hair (maybe b/c I see it everyday), but other people wether “white” or “black” seem to and LOVE it! Lol.

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