Hair relaxer and natural hair products for kids
At some point in their lives, black mothers will have to make a decision about hair relaxers and natural hair products for kids. Most women grew up with perms, and using relaxers wasn’t really questioned back then. In recent times, the natural hair movement has given some mothers pause. Many people are now wondering if they should go ahead and relax their daughter’s hair or leave the hair kinky and natural.
Natural hair products for kids:
How do relaxers work?
Relaxers are creams or lotions which straighten tightly coiled or curly hair. Hair relaxers are formulated with chemicals that alter the texture of kinky thick hair to make it easier to manage. The main ingredient of hair relaxers is sodium hydroxide.
The hair will need periodic relaxer touch-ups, usually after 6-9 weeks, so that the new growth can be relaxed too.
Should you relax your child’s hair?
First, you have to understand that the choice is entirely yours! Whether you use relaxers for kids or prefer to go the natural route with natural hair products for kids, you should understand that no one’s opinion matters. So, as far as your kids are healthy and safe, the choices you make on behalf of them should concern only you.
The only thing that should matter to you is properly grooming your kids’ hair. Clean, well-groomed hair trumps the relaxer or no relaxer debate. You can perm your child’s hair or leave it in its natural state as far as the hair is well kept.
Why moms relax their children’s hair
Most moms swear that relaxers make their kids’ hair easier to manage. Those who advocate for relaxers for little girls claim that it is easier to comb and style permed hair than natural hair. Since many moms don’t want their kids to cry in the stylist chair, they’ll prefer to loosen the kinks in the child’s hair with relaxers.
Natural hair can be tough to handle if the mom or the stylist is not well-versed in natural hair care and using natural hair product for kids. As a result, a child may experience pain whenever there’s an attempt to comb out the tight coils of style it. This is worse when the child’s hair is very thick and their scalp is very tender.
When should you relax a child’s hair?
Obviously, you shouldn’t relax a baby’s hair. The chemicals in the relaxer could harm very small kids. Also, the hair follicles on small children are not fully developed, so relaxers can cause irreparable damage if you introduce it too early.
The best time to relax a child’s hair is when the child is old enough to consider both options: staying natural or getting a perm. It is their hair after all! Children from age 12 and up are old enough to make this decision. Meanwhile, if your child is not old enough to decide for themselves, you can continue taking care of their hair with natural hair products for kids. Healthy hair is the goal.
Things to know before you relax your child’s hair
• Hair relaxers have very strong chemicals, and these chemicals could cause more harm than good
• All relaxed hair is at risk of dryness, thinning and breakage
• You should always use the services of professional stylists when relaxing your child’s hair
• If the relaxer stays on too long, it could cause chemical burns, redness, and discomfort
• You should always use specially formulated children’s relaxer for your children because these are gentler on the scalp
• You can groom relaxed hair with natural hair products for kids
How to relax your child’s hair safely
• Read the relaxer box and follow the instructions
• Use a protective base oil on the scalp so the relaxer doesn’t come in contact with the child’s skin
• Never use a relaxer on recently washed hair (the dirt and oil protect your scalp from burns)
• When the hair is relaxed, ensure that you wash out all traces of the relaxer with a shampoo.
Resources: International Journal of Trichology
Also Read: 11 Difficulties Nigerian parents face