God pity the curly haired child born into a straight-hair family. No one knows what to do with them. And, they certainly do not know how to comb out their hair without causing WWIII.
As a wee curly haired child myself, I remember many a day screaming, crying and running away from the dreaded “brushing”. Back in those days (I’m 50!) there was only water to help loosen them up, or at least that’s all we had. So, water it was…for me! Thick, curly, coarse–it hurt like hell!
(Although, by 3rd grade, I did develop an unusual tolerance for getting my hair pulled!)
By the 4th grade, my poor mom had given up on me and was tired of the fighting. She handed me a brush, and said you’re on your own, girl!
Which led me to the most horrifying experience of my curly girl life.
When given the choice to brush my own hair, I took the easy way out and only brushed the canopy. A year of brushing the canopy, as you can imagine, led to a tangley, dreadlocky mess at the base of my neck. Enter my grandmother, who would have none of that, and whisked me off for a haircut at the local beauty college.
The poor girl who had to cut my hair didn’t know what to do. The instructor called all the students to my chair so they could watch how she fixed it–which was basically to cut it all off in a god-awful “Dorothy Hamill” style which would take years and years to grow back out. I was mortified. It really cemented my belief that I had freakish hair–a belief that would be validated, over and over again, by frustrated stylists.
So, for all you moms out there with a curly haired kid–PLEASE read Curly Girl: The Handbook. When you finish, please hand it off to another curly haired person..and another…and another.
In the meantime, throw away the shampoo and go to a conditioner-only wash (Co-wash), comb the hair with your fingers in the shower while it has the conditioner worked through, after toweling it dry with a t-shirt, use a leave-in conditioner and continue to separate the curls with your fingers. Then, let it dry and maybe add some curl cream or a gel that doesn’t leave them too crunchy. The next day, spray the curls with lavender water and bounce them out with your fingers. Voila! Your curly haired kid will thank you.