Understanding the Styling and Product Needs of Infants and Children with Natural Hair

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With more women embracing natural hair and the use of natural hair care products, it’s important to remember that these customers tend to also adopt natural hair styling for their children. However, caring for a child’s naturally kinky, curly or wavy hair can seem daunting, especially for new parents who may not be accustomed to managing a child’s unique beauty needs. Therefore, it is important to let your customers know that you carry chemical-free inventory that specifically addresses hair maintenance needs for children. If you do not offer such inventory, then you’re missing out on an important sector of the natural hair care market.

The first thing to know about children’s natural hair is that its texture and curl patterns don’t fully mature until the child is at least 10 years of age. For this reason, products an adult uses may be too harsh or heavy to use on a child’s hair. Often an infant’s hair texture will change dramatically as that child grows into a toddler and enters into early childhood.

For parents of very young children, you’ll want to offer products that are light and mild and focus primarily on moisturizing baby’s hair. You’ll also want to advise parents of infant and toddler aged children to check product contents for any potential ingredients to which the child may be allergic. At such a young age, even all natural products could potentially contain allergens such as nut oils.

While many of today’s parents take a more relaxed approach to styling their child’s hair simply by not doing so at all, others will be interested in conditioning and manipulating the hair early on to get their children accustomed to future styles such as updos and braids. An initial lack of manipulation of the hair and scalp (by gentle rubbing and finger combing) may lead to scalp sensitivity later on.

For parents who do practice early conditioning and manipulating, they will be interested in products such as moisturizers, conditioners and creams to make the child’s hair more manageable. Typically, they will also use fingers to comb through the hair in lieu of an actual comb. As baby matures, parents will then need a large tooth comb, spray bottles to keep the hair moist while combing out after shampooing, leave-in conditioner to detangle and soften hair, scalp oil to combat dry scalp, and styling cream to add shine and maintain specific styles.

For special occasions, many parents of children with natural hair will heat-style their child’s hair by straightening with a hot comb or curling with curling iron. Products accompanying such heat-styling needs ought to be chemical free. Parents should also be advised not to stress their child’s hair by heat-styling the hair on a weekly basis. To maintain the child’s natural curl patterns, they should heat-style every few months or so, being sure not to use too high of a heating setting on their styling tools.

 

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Taliah Waajid is a natural hair care specialist who, for the past 25 years, has trailblazed and innovated the acceptance and ongoing popularity of natural hair care, natural hair care techniques and natural hair care products. She is the creator and developer of Black Earth Products, Shea-Coco Natural Collection, Curls|Waves & Naturals, Uncle Jimmy products, and Protective Styles line. She also produces the Kinky Wavy Natural line which are products specifically geared toward children’s natural hair styling needs. Her various natural hair care creations are available in all 50 states and four countries.