Mixed Race Hair Care Guide

I’ve had a lot of trouble working out how best to take care of my girls’ lovely mixed race hair. I’ve tried so many products and methods over the years and have finally found a routine that works for us. I haven’t found many guides on the internet that are UK-based, so I thought I would write my own.

First I’d like to recommend visiting the British Curlies Curl Forum. I learnt so much about hair products, what’s in them, and what is best for curly hair by reading through the threads there. However, I find thata lot of the good curl-specific products are really very pricey, so I’ve been in search of cheaper options. We use:

  • Tresemme Naturals ‘Nourishing Moisture’ shampoo and conditioner. These are good as they don’t contain such harsh chemicals as your average products. Sulphates (a key ingredient in most shampoos) can cause curls to become really dry and silicone conditioners can cause trouble as the silicone builds up on the hair. The Naturals range has low sulphates and no silicone at all, and since using it my daughters’ hair has been so much more manageable. As a bonus, it’s often on special offer in Superdrug. You can also get it in Boots and some supermarkets.
  • Coconut Oil. We have used the one from Superdrug, which is £1.99 a tub and lasts a decent amount of time. It smells lovely too. Currently we are using one from ebay that was about £6.50 for a huge tub and has a wonderful consistency. This one is fragrance free. Coconut oil is great to use on skin too!
  • Tangle Teezer Hairbrush. This is the thing to splash out on. It minimises hair breakage and makes hair brushing time much less stressful for everybody as it doesn’t pull the hair as it goes through. It is an absolute godsend and I would recommend one for anybody, curly or not. They are available in Boots and some hair salons, as well as online.

We wash hair once a week. Doing it more often can be really drying for curly hair. We wash with the Naturals shampoo, then condition. We leave the conditioner onfor about five minutes so it gets a good chance to work, then rinse. We then run a small amount of conditioner through the hair and leave in. After that, we brush the hair using a Tangle Teezer while still wet and put a good amount of coconut oil on to seal in the moisture of the conditioner.

Day-to-day, I wet the hair using a spray bottle (about 80p from Wilkinson) with water and afew drops of tea tree oil. The tea tree is not essential for conditioning the hair, but it helps in repelling headlice, which is a big bonus if you have a school-age child. I run a little bit of Naturals conditioner through the hair, brush with the Tangle Teezer, smooth in some coconut oil and then it is ready for styling.

I’m certainly no hair stylist, and we don’t like to spend too much time on hair so we stick to simple styles. Sometimes we let the hair fly loose in a ‘fro with a stretchy headband to keep it off the face, or have it in one or two pompoms which look very cute. My favourite style is two-strand twists, which is great as it only needs to be done every other day, it stops the hair from becoming tangled, and it’s also great for keeping headlice away. Last term there were two bouts of headlice at school, and my daughter came through both nit-free. It’s really simple to do. There are many videos on youtube that show how to do it, and I intend to write my own little ‘how-to’ on it soon.

At bedtime we take any accessories from the hair, and put on a hair net (really cheap from Wilkinson) to protect the hair and prevent tangling.

Current Knitting Project: Scarf

Have a poorly-taken photo (someday soon I will learn to take some better shots!) of my current knitting project. Also in the picture, my gorgeous bamboo needles which are so delicious to knit with.

This scarf will be for me come winter. I saw the colours in my local yarn shop and couldn’t resist. The yarn (King Cole Big Value Chunky) is lovely and soft too. It was something like £2 per ball. £4 for a one-off scarf isn’t bad, I think, and I also get the joy of making it. Looking at this picture now, I see how far I have come from my attempts at knitting a few months ago, which were horribly uneven and holey.

I also plan on making a scarf each for my children and husband-to-be in colours of their choice.

Getting there…

Two months post-partum and I feel like I’m starting to get into my groove being a mum of three. Everything takes a lot longer than I expect, and I’m usually running even later than usual because I’ve forgotten to pack something, or had to change a poo-splosion, or had to stop and feed (I look forward to the day I get the hang of feeding in the wrap!) but I’m feeling less and less frazzled as the days go on, and thinking more and more that I can do this. It’s just taking a little bit of adjustment.

I think it will be easier still now that school is back on as I have a bit more structure to my days, plus my eldest gets to let off stream with her friends so there is less excess energy to be used fighting with her sister or ploughing into door frames. That said, getting all of us up and dressed, fed and with hair done on time isn’t easy, but they say practice makes perfect. We were only a little while late today and the hair looked fabulous.

Cloth nappies, mixed race hair and crafty mummy chatter