A routine regimen is key for healthy African American children’s hair
SUN Spotlight on: Oxsun Meji Hair Salon
Owner: Kimberly E. Rollins
1010 E. Passyunk Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Appts: Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Specialties: Natural Hair Styling, Customized Hair Color, Coils, Twits, Braids, Loc Maintenance and Spa Services;
Zuresh body, skin and hair care products are available
By Leah Fletcher
African American hair has a texture that is unique. The hair is extremely curly—or kinky—and should be treated with patience and delicate care. Frequent and improper combing, tight styling and lack of sufficient moisture and chemical straightening treatments may cause breakage of African American children's hair, especially at the edges.
"Knowing how to properly care for highly textured hairs goes a long way toward keeping it healthy and growing," according to Kimberly Rollins, owner of Oxsun Meji, Hair Salon in South Philadelphia.
Because children are often impatient and find it difficult to sit still for hair grooming, Rollins believes that whenever possible it is best to choose simple hairstyles that don't require a lot of time. She suggested that two to four braids are an easy style for little girls, or even little boys who have long hair. Other styles that work for children include Afro puffs and twists.
Taking care of your child's hair to keep it healthy and strong is necessary, but should also be motivated by hair management itself. "African American hair is managed better when it is kept clean and moisturized,' explained rolling, a 20-year veteran of the industry. "It is very easy to manage your child's hair if you develop a regular routine and follow it carefully,' she added.
Rollins instructs parents to comb their child's hair gently with a wide-tooth comb. "Start at the tips and gently make your way to the roots," she noted. "Attempting to comb your child's hair from the root to the tip will hurt your child and will cause hair breakage."
PHOTO: The staff of Oxsun Meji (from left) Nyima Gallishaw, Acacia Holly-Golightly R, Owner Kimberly Rollins, Claudette James Raynor and Twyla Wiggins.
A cardinal rule, in Rollins opinion, is to keep your child's hair moisturized because African American hair is naturally dry and breaks off easily if the strands are not fortified with moisture. "Don't wash your child's hair more than once per week, as you will strip her hair of its natural oils; and use a deep conditioner with every wash, "advised Rollins, who encouraged discontinued use of non-alcohol based moisturizer before styling. There are moisturizers, she said, that feature avocado oil, jojoba oil, virgin coconut oil and emu oil that are better for the hair.
Rollins, who specializes in natural hair care, is against the use of chemicals to straighten children's hair. She has witnessed a trend where parents are beginning to perm and relax their children's hair as young as 2-years old. "Perms and relaxers weaken African American hair, causing it to come out more easily,' said Rollins. "Although it may be harder to comb and style, leaving your child's hair natural will help it grow around the edges."
Protect your child's hair at night with a satin or silk scarf. Cotton pillowcases and sheets, Rollins said, may cause hair breakage, especially around the edges, which are extremely delicate.
It is important to gently style your child's hair around the edges. Braids, cornrows and ponytails pulled to tight can damage the edges of African American hair. Don't use rubber bands to secure ponytails, as they will pull out strands of your child's hair when removed. Rollins said you may use this test to determine if you've styled her hair too tight: have your child move her eyebrows up and down after you finish doing the front of her hair. If moving her forehead hurts, her hair is being pulled too tight.
Using Rollins tips will ensure a pleasant experience every time you style your child's hair.
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