I have natural hair and so does my daughter, Miss O. Every weekend she gets a wash, condition, a scalp massage and then goes off to the salon to weave her hair. Although she is just 4 years old, the stylist and almost every adult that I meet at the salon ‘advices’ me to relax her hair so that it is more manageable. They usually cannot understand why their advice is met with an adamant no. Depending on my mood, I may leave it at that, but I generally try to explain why I want to keep my daughter’s hair natural. They usually think that I am full of high faluting ideals.

I can’t say that I blame them. The majority of Nigerian females have been conditioned to think that natural hair is too much trouble and that relaxing it will make it more manageable for the mothers, stylists and for the kids. There is also the line of thinking that kinky hair is not beautiful.

I beg to differ. The reasons I beg to differ will be discussed properly in several more posts. I will however say that there are an abundance of products out there and in your kitchen that would soften a child’s hair without the need to straighten it chemically.

I was standing in front of my house the other day when I saw a young girl (about 8 years old) walking towards me in her school uniform with what appeared to be a black mop on her head (Forgive me, I am nearsighted. No be me do). It turned out that she had a dark colored weave that fell to her shoulders. It was worn down and did not at all flatter her. She had “grown up” hair, a child’s face and body. It was so incongruous I had to look away.

    Source

Just like this is.

The way I look at it, children should be allowed to be children.  They should also look like children. The Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) that is used in the production of relaxers is dangerous to adults and even more so to children. It is particularly bad when a cheap, harsher relaxer is used. A lot of children come away from the relaxing process with pus-filled scabs on their heads and even ears. They have to learn the hard way to sit as still as rocks when relaxers are being applied. As parents we keep drugs away from our children, childproof stairs and rooms, put monitors in their rooms so that we can respond to their every cry. It stands to reason that we would protect them from the harsh chemicals in relaxers.

It is slightly ironic that some white parents who adopt black children jump through hoops to understand how to style and maintain their children’s hair in its natural state while black parents fix the “problem” with a perm or the so called blow-out which involves leaving the relaxer on for less time.

A good example of such a white parent is this Professsor below who makes his adopted Ethiopian daughter’s hair himself. You can read more about the story and view more pictures here. He and his wife went out of their way to understand their daughter’s hair and learn how to style it. Motivating, isn’t it?

 Source

Spending time doing a child’s hair is a labor of love. Just one of the many ways to tell your daughter/son that you love her/him. The time can even be spent bonding with your child. Think about it.

Natural hair is beautiful and children can rock different looks: Twist-outs, braids, beaded braids, threaded hair and more. I look forward to a time when I will see more children looking like this:

Source

                                                                                                                      Source                                         

Source

62 Comments

myne Whitman

Thanks for your comments on my blog, and this is a lovely blog too. I agree with you about children’s hair especially, their scalps are too tender for relaxers.

Reply
Natural Nigerian

I am glad to know that there are people out there that think the same. Thanks for the compliment on the blog.

Reply
Adaeze

I love this post and oh what a relevant and important subject to bring up. Have you watched Chris Rock’s documentary about hair? I think the title is just Hair. Very informative and thorough, at the same time funny. He goes to the factories that produces relaxers and finds out what really goes into those ‘creams’. He also brings up the the whole dilemma and issue of black people and any people of colours need to change themselves to look more ‘white’ or generally the societies pressure and messages that straight hair is more beautiful etc. I couldnt agree with you more that no children should have to get relaxer in their hair and I’d go even further to say, as hazardous as a relaxer is, it shouldnt be used at all.I have curly thick hair, but I don’t have “african” hair myself so I am not the one to speak but I dare to think and say that if I did, since i am already the natural kind I’d wear my hair natural too. How lucky your girl is to have you!

Reply
Natural Nigerian

Thank you Adaeze. I haven’t have Chris Rock’s documentary, Good Hair. I actually have it but have not gotten round to watching it. You just helped me make it a priority to see it ;).

Reply
Joxy

Lovely post. I agree totally with everything you have said.My daughters’ hair is natural, and I intend to keep it that way until they become teenagers. I have never used attachment for their hair either (I think they are way too young, eldest is 7), and it pains me to see 3,4,5 year-old girls with receding hairlines due to incorrect braiding with extensions/ too tight hair-dos. I’m interested in learning what you do with your daughter’s hair, I’ll be keeping an eye on this blog 🙂

Reply
Natural Nigerian

You are so correct. Those children are not given a fighting chance before they have to deal with adult problems like receeding hair. I intend to do a series for children’s hair. I would love to know what you do as well.

Reply
Repressed One

I like to say if we [parents] knew better we would do better. I do agree that children should be in the most natural state possible..food/hair/etc just so we are not causing any problems for them as they grow older. When they can make their own decisions they can decide for themselves.

Thanks for stopping by mine 🙂

Reply
Natural Nigerian

I agree that we will. On my post, natural beginnings, in response to a comment, I said: “I also feel that a lot of times, people act a certain way from lack of awareness and would act differently if they just know“. The irony of relaxing a child’s hair is that most of the time it is done out of love. The mother usually wants to save the little one from the trauma of combing that kinky. I feel confident that if more people found a chemical free method of managing our coarse hair, they would use it instead. Hopefully with this blog, that information and more will be made available.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Reply
Vera Ezimora

I feel you on this men. Not only do children’s hair get relaxed these days, but they are also made to wear weaves. Not cool at all!!!

Just my two cents. Tired of seeing kids walking around looking like a toupée is on their head. Mba!

Reply
Anoda Phase

This is a very educative post…I’m now more than ever determined to keep my daughter’s hair unrelaxed until she’s old enough, and her scalp tough enough to handle it.

Reply
Natural Nigerian

I am so glad this post has reinforced your decision. Hopefully, others will follow suit and who knows – give up relaxers all together :).

Reply
MyPenMyPaper

that first picture, the one with the baby whose hair is her whole length is really scary, u know. Cant that be tantamount to child-abuse?

I want to imagine how many hours the mother/father had to hold the baby still just to get her hair into such a diificult position. I wonder, if that baby could talk, if she would have accepted the offer to put herself in an uncomfortable position just for the sake of fashion.

And is the baby really thinking about being “beautiful”? at such a tender age. Who is she posing for?

Back to the real talk: braids:
– my mom taught me how to braid her hair and very soon, I started braiding mine. In Nigeria, men with braided hair are looked at from a certain angle, so I would don a cap when I fully braid my hair / I sometimes braid part and leave the rest normal. I keep it for just a day or two, weekends maybe, coz such isnt accepted at work. And usually, people think I go somewhere to braid it.

Reply
Natural Nigerian

It really is sad that parents would subject their child to that – I hope they at least did it only when she was sleeping (not that it is right to do it at anytime at all). However, a lot of times these things are down to ignorance. If the parents knew better, they may do better. You are quite right about the way men in Nigeria are regarded if they weave their hair.

Reply
Toksyk

I totally agree with everything you have written. I am also a Proud Natural woman and maintaining my daughter’s natural hair also. The thing is that her hair is very soft and people actually I have previously relaxed her hair and she’s only 4!

Reply
thirtyishsingle

Hi Natural,

I’ve also wondered why I see mothers applying relaxers to lil’ gurls hair under 5 years of age?
I just think it is not healthy and wud not allow the hair grow to its full potential.

Reply
ScrewyHair

At my son’s primary school graduation last year, there was only one girl in his entire year who had her own (permed) hair, and that was probably only because she has long hair. Every one of the other girls had a weave, with only one or two in braids (because they have natural hair). My mother and I looked on in horror and, for a few minutes, I couldn’t focus on what the speaker was saying. I was kicking myself for having Ghana weaving in that day; I’d have shown the other mothers that natural hair is not a wild animal that needs to be put down. The sad thing is that they all of the girls had receding hairlines at their young age of 11 from the weaves and perm. Even sadder is the fact that they’ve already been brainwashed–yes, yes, strong word but accurate–by what they see on TV and at the mall into thinking that they’re not pretty unless they have the fake hair they see on TV and at the mall.

My son, on the other hand, is proud of his mom’s and aunt’s natural hair (and is trying to grow his out LOL).

Reply
Natural Nigerian

Amazing. Times have indeed changed. I am not sure I have seen weaves at my daughter’s school. Only woven hair sometimes with attachment.

I wonder if any other parent saw what you saw and thought that something was amiss.

Reply
lilian

My dear, I hear the same thing here in spain. My 2 yrs old is natural all through and I am learning to care for her hair. I am actually transitioning to natural hair , so that I can lead by example , because one day she would ask me ”mum why isn’t your hair like mine”…lol

Reply
Natural Nigerian

Bravo Lilian. My daughter has already started asking those sort of questions and I am glad to point out the fact that her hair is just like Mummy’s own.

Reply
omozele

http://beadsbraidsbeyond.blogspot.com/ —- You may have seen this blog but I find it has beautiful styles you can try on your little one. I have tired some of the styles on my head as I am always in protective styles :). My cousin has entrusted her 6 year old’s hair to me and I heard the same questions each time I took her to the braiders then I stumbled on this blog and that has since changed :).

Reply
Natural Nigerian

That is a lot of responsibility…I just shared that link with one of my readers who had questions about styling her daughter’s hair.. Thank you for posting it.

Reply
ibinike

You have strengthened my resolve not to chemically treat my baby girl’s hair (when i finally have her, *winks). I cringed with disgust when i see babies barely out of the womb with huge attachemnts and coloured threads all in the name of making them beautiful. Mothers, we only make them look ugly and weird. Children are supposed to look innocent and relaxres aint good for their scalps. I think we should start a movement to make this awareness known.

Reply
Floetrymama

Honestly it’s a really sad state of affairs that we gave here in Nigeria regarding Natural hair. I am a PROUD mum to 2 naturals my son is 22 months and my daughter is 8 months and I have already started schooling her care givers on the importance of keeping moisture in her and her brothers hair.
My son had a gorgeous full head of hair and was mostly in plaits when he was younger but due to family pressure bat boys braiding hair, my husband cut his hair without my consent (very unhappy mummy)
Anyway I have many friends who believe in putting relaxer in kids hair but I have been able to show them with my hair as an example that u can do Sokol many things with natural hair And keep it manageable just by looking after it properly. I am Jo
Ing that by leading by example mNy more will follow in my Natural footsteps.
Your blog is AWESOME and I’m zoo encouraged by the amount of Naija Naturals out there God bless u

Reply
Natural Nigerian

I am really glad that YOU are out there. Like you said, we can change our community by doing things that others can emulate. There are some women out there that understand that relaxing a child’s hair is not the right way to go. However, they tend to cave in to pressure and go with the flow because there is no-one to tell them out there that it is okay NOT to do so. We must all be the change we want to see in the world.

Thank your for liking the blog. It means a lot.

Reply
chibaby

My sista,
Its truly annoying to see babies with relaxed hair and weaves..My daughter is almost 4 and thansk to shea butter and her shea butter detangler her hair is really soft.Its all about knowing how to handle natural hair, and most people dont have any idea! i didnt get a relaxer till i was a teenager (a blow out) and till i entered uni no weaves were allowed…Until recently my hair was natural (im transitioning back to natural though) and one reason is because of my daugther I want her to see natural hair is fabulous!!! even my househelp went natural beacsue of me and is still enjoying havein her hair natural! I cant say enough good things about ur blog..its fantastic..Nne ji si ike o!

Reply
funmi

My daughters aged 8 and 6 had the longest and thickest hair u can imagine, and I made the mistake of ‘blowing out’ their hair once a term since they were aged 2 because combing their hair was such pain for them. Over the years, their hair remained relatively long enough to be mistaken for attachments in their school; in the past year, I have noticed the weak hair tips and reducing length of their hair due to weaving tiny plaits intended to last two-weekly.

I recently made the decision to transition their hair back, now, I plan to start using only natural products, of black soap for shampoo, coconut oil for conditioning and shea butter/coconut oil for moisturising; to this end, no chemical relaxers/texturizers have been added to their hair since May (five months back) when they resumed for third term. I also stopped using a hair dryer to dry after washing, its air-drying all the way now!

True, the hair is not as ‘silky’ to comb as when texturised, but I have noticed that adequate moisturising with the shea butter/coconut oil softens the hair, making it easy (& painless) to comb and plait. Slowly & surely, the hair is coming back to its thick & long nature

Forgive the long post, I just had to share my story to encourage you all 🙂 Well done, Natural Nigerian!!

Reply
Natural Nigerian

I like the fact that you took your time to share your story. It is not always easy for people to admit that they took a wrong turn. You have not only done so, you have taken steps to correct it so yay! for you.

I like the routine you have outlined and I think it may be helpful to use an actual conditioner (there are all natural ones available). Also, I don’t see a hydration step in your regime.

I hope you will be at the meet up as there is a lot to learn.We would also like to hear from you! I think you have quite a bit to share.

Reply
funmi

Hi there,

Thanks for your reply! I am so excited at the way my girls’ hair is turning out; its fantastic!! I have also started using an eggs/olive oil/honey mix to condition their hair after shampooing with black soap.
You referred to hydrating the hair, what do u suggest for that? the only thing, I have been doing is leaving the hair slightly damp before applying the shea butter/olive oil mix after washing out the conditioner;I will appreciate any tips!
Pity I cant attend the meet up as I don’t stay in Lagos 🙁

Cheers!

Reply
Natural Nigerian

Hi Funmi, I am glad that you are seeing positive results with their hair. Leaving the hair slightly damp before you apply the sealant is a great idea! You are on the right path. If you want to introduce a 3rd step, you can put some leave- in conditioner on their hair after the water and THEN seal it all in with the Shea Butter Mix.

Also, the best time to do this hydrating is at night because the moisture stays in the hair for longer. If it is done in the morning the moisture gets sucked up and out in a matter of minutes once the sun hits it. Something I have started doing with my daughter is to do the 3-step moisturizing process at night, place a plastic bag on her head and have her sleep like that – when she wakes up, her hair is still slightly damp so clearly the hair is still nice and moisturized.

We had so much fun at the meet up! I am sorry that you couldn’t attend. Where do you stay?

Reply
Krystal

very cute story. I’ve been adamant on perming my baby’s hair as soon as she’s old enough. My hair is relaxed because that is my personal preference. But as much as I prefer my hair relaxed that doesn’t mean my baby’s needs to be. so now I’m on a new mission to find ways of managing, softening, and styling her natural hair and any suggestions are welcome as long as they are helpful! I never got the oportunity to choose so I never had a reason to learn how to take care of natural hair but its time to break the cycle and show her that kinky hair is beautiful 🙂

Reply
curious kinks

I guess things are changing in 9ja as they say! I never saw a kid with a perm in Nigeria when i was living there. The first time i saw a kid with a perm at a church convention in Toronto shocked me! I thought “what pain this kid must have gone through to receive that perm!” But i see so many kids in perms and weaves now, its not shocking anymore. I can’t believe a stylist would suggest putting a perm on a preschooler’s age all to make her job easier! I guess that’s a cue for you to start styling your own kid’s hair. I too think it’s interesting to see white moms braiding and doing all sorts of creative styles on their black kids hair, where black moms just perm or fix whatever easy hairstyle on their kids head.

Reply
perfect kids hair & beauty shop abuja

I totally totally agree with you.n am happy some mothers still get it right.I run a salon for kids in abuja.I always tell my clients to avoid adding relaxers to their kids hair.no matter how curly,spongy,or short your childs hair is,it can b perfectly managed with no tears.some of my clients hv decided to stop(can give reference) while some just fill my method is tacky n old fashion
To braid a natural hair we wash then part the hair into 4-5 sections,startn with one section by sprayin it with kids detangler.den comb with a wide big comb.den use d blow dryer with its comb n comb the hair.doing this process makes the hair soft that your fingers can pass Tru easily without her crying.relaxers only make the hair weak n prone to breakage.with the front hair all gone.and parents should reduce too much tiny hair style,and also making hair styles dat pull the hair to d back all the time.a relaxed hair require more hair food n maintainance than natural hair for it to stay healthy.

Reply
perfect kids hair & beauty shop abuja

Please I want to retail good quality hair product for kids and maybe some fantastic working ones.which products would you recomeend? And u do import ????please would aprt your kind quick response.and please do u supply hair product??

Reply
Arra

I love this post and agree with all you said. I’m currently learning how to care for my own hair properly and I’m determined to care for my daughters natural hair if I ever have one 😀

Reply
Eno

You know dear, ignorance is a real big problem in our society. About a year and a half ago, I watched Chris Rock’s “GOOD HAIR” documentary and I must say, it changed me. I have three beautiful girls and of course as a mum you want the best for them. So when I realized that putting a relaxer on their hair and mine was of more harm than good, I made a decision to change. I did a lot of research (thank God for the internet) and we have all been natural since then. I must say it is one of the best decisions I ever made. Our hair is so healthy and there is no going back! The best thing is that our self confidence has sky rocketed and my girls appreciate who they truly are and love themselves that way.
I was browsing the internet the other day and googled Nigerians who are natural and to my utmost excitement, I found your website. Finally a voice to educate Nigerian women to appreciate their hair the way it grows out their scalp. Keep up the good work dear and let us know if you need anything. SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!

Reply
Lindi

Hi,
I noticed the picture with the baby wearing weave. I remember seeing it in a hair care forum (hairlista or kiss). If my memory serves me right, the mom is a member and was just clowning around about not being too young to protective style. She doesn’t actually have a weave!

Reply
Estelle

Ok…its my first time here and i feel sad. This is because i made the mistake of texturising my baby’s long, thick and black hair. She would cry and cry for hours while making the hair. Now, i would love to get it back to its natural state.

I would appreciate your suggestions on how to do that.

P.s

I looooove this place! 😉

Reply
Natural Nigerian

I am glad that you find it helpful. To get hair back to its natural state, simply stop applying chemical treatments like texturizers or relaxers.

Since she is still a baby, I would advice the big chop – she will not miss her hair and it will give you both time to get used to long natural hair. Get lots of conditioner and keep her hair moisturized.

Reply
Nnenne

I hv 2 girls, one is 4yrs old, d other is 7months old. All came out with full thick black hair. With d first, I used dark n lovely children kit on her hair, up till now, her hair is not growing well. Her front hair is so scanty, I even had 2 cut her hair but nothing changed. with my 2nd, she has a very thick dark hair, combing is a nightmare, I had to cut it when she was 5months. Now its grown, I dont want to cut it, started using kids organics detangling moisturizing hair lotion n it softens d hair just for combing right after bathing but ones it dries up it goes back to what it used to be and looks so unkept . I don’t want to use relaxer on her hair for obvious reasons. Pls advice me on a way to go. Thanks

Reply
Mayowa

I have a 4 year old daughter who has long and very thick hair. I recently texturized her hair because she cries all the way from loosening her hair, to washing and even weaving. I’m ready to for the transition but need to get the step by step procedure right.
(1.) Use black soap for shampooing. (2.) Eggs/Olive Oil/Honey for conditioning. (3.) Leave hair slightly damp and apply shea butter & coconut oil mix, cover hair up with plastic bag overnight. After which the hair could be weaved as desired. Kindly advise where I could get natural conditioners. I really like what you are doing. Keep up the good work.

Reply
Lily

I have a 12months old daughter,she was born with a head full of hair,but it started cutting and became scanty as she grew,though I ve not used relaxers or any products on her hair,So I want to cut the hair and allow it to grow,I need an advice on how to take care of her hair..Will cutting her hair make it full again?P.S this will be her first hair cut since birth..

Reply
Natural Nigerian

Hi Lily, I can’t say if her hair will be full again. My advice is to cut it and nurse it back to health. Make sure you treat it well. There are lots of posts on caring for hair on this blog. You will be able to pick up many important tips. Good luck.

Reply
Okorie Mercy

Please i need your product, because i started keeping natural hair and i need a product that help smoothen and also soften the hair

Reply
Ifeoma

I enjoyed reading through this thread. I started my healthy hair journey October, 2013 and it has been fun all the way. I have a full head of hair, thick and dark. I do a good job styling it and I feel sooo good in it. I get tons of compliments everyday which always starts with, ‘is that all your hair?’

About meetups, can we have one in Port Harcourt so we can get to share knowledge and encourage each other? I feel sad when I see everything happening in Lagos alone.

Reply
Mrs Roks

Great thread.

Someone mentioned starting a movement to end perm for kids. That has been my dream everyday since I went natural.

I realize that most parents perm their kids’ hair because they have never heard of moisturizers or leave ins.

Please bloggers and everyone else reading this. let us make huge efforts to spread the word throughout Africa. No Perm For Kids!
If each one reach one… together we shall conquer.
So that these little ones don’t have to suffer for the ignorance of us parents.

Relaxers are dangerous. I dream that one day all relaxer companies would make moisturizers leave ins instead.

Reply
zabella

my baby hair is long wat can I do to maintain her hair cause I don’t want to put relaxer

Reply
Kemisola Adeleye

Thank God I got to read all dis before I make a mistake dt I will regret at d end . l am about to go and put just for me texturizer on my 3years old girl hair , I just wanted to read more about d product on d internet before I was all dis . Thanks so much

Reply

Add Your Comment

  • (will not be published)
  • XHTML: You can use these tags <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

    © 2017 Natural Nigerian. All rights reserved.