3 great African hair styles for kids

by Tshepy Matloga-Malope
As a parent, understanding these trends and learning how to take care of your african kids' hair is important for promoting healthy hair practices.
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As a parent, understanding these trends and learning how to take care of your kids' hair is important for promoting healthy hair practices. By Tshepy Matloga-Malope.

Trends in African hair have evolved over the years, reflecting the diverse cultures and traditions across the continent. From braids and cornrows to natural coils and vibrant colours, African hair is a beautiful and integral part of creativity, uniqueness and self-expression. By understanding these trends and incorporating proper hair care practices, parents can empower their children to embrace and love their natural hair.

Porsh kidz hair salon owner, Samkelisiwe Kunene, tell us about what the current trends in African hair are and how parents can ensure their children’s hair is healthy and strong.

  1. Braiding

braided hairstyles are not only stylish but also practical for maintaining the health of the african hair. One of the most enduring and popular trends in African hair for kids is braiding. Whether it’s box braids which Samkelisiwe speaks highly of as they’re quick to do ( since kids are not very patient!) or cornrows, braided hairstyles are not only stylish but also practical for maintaining the health of the hair. They provide a protective style that helps prevent breakage and tangling, making it a great option for kids with active lifestyles.

Plus, braided hairstyles give kids the freedom to express themselves through various designs and patterns, fostering creativity and confidence. Furthermore, vibrant coloured braids, like those inspired by popular music icon Sho Madjozi’s Sparkle Braids, have become increasingly popular in African hair trends for kids especially during school holidays.

Read all about Sho Madjozi’s Sparkle Braids here

  1. Benny & Betty

black children braided hairThe good old Benny and Betty that we grew up with is also back and has proved to be a favourite amongst the little ones as it is quick, affordable, and easy on the scalp. Benny and Betty is a popular hairdo named after a book that was read and recited throughout Bantu education that every little black girl has rocked at some point during her upbringing.

Although nowadays people rock it without an understanding of where even the name comes from, it harks back to an era when black people were oppressed and has now been reappropriated into a desirable hairstyle that’s cool, funky and comfortable to wear.

  1. Natural hair

Another trend that has gained momentum in recent years is embracing natural hair textures for african hairAnother trend that has gained momentum in recent years is embracing natural hair textures. Many parents are opting to forgo chemical straightening treatments and instead support their children in embracing their natural curls, coils, and kinks. Relaxing chemicals (even lye-free formulas) can easily create scalp sores, burns, and inflammation. And even when used correctly, relaxers carry the risk of hair breakage and dry texture.

This shift represents a move towards celebrating the beauty of African hair in its natural state and teaches kids to appreciate and care for their unique hair textures. A major perk of natural hair is that it is so versatile when it comes to different hairstyles. Natural hair offers endless possibilities. Think Bantu knots, an afro, waves, curls, updo’s and more.

Check out: 7 natural hair updos

There is some maintenance to be done for natural hair, but with the proper care, it’s actually really easy to manage. Start with the basics and build from there. You will need a moisture-sealing product.

Read: How to wash your toddler’s hair without a tantrum

Tips on taking care of kids’ African hair

When it comes to caring for African hair, Samkelisiwe says there are essential practices that parents should incorporate into their kids’ hair care routines which include:

  • Wash hair about twice a month–natural hair needs to stay moisturised because it thrives on natural oils so washing daily will strip away the oil, leaving it dry.
  • Moisture is key for maintaining healthy hair, so using gentle shampoos and conditioners that nourish and hydrate the hair is crucial. Regular deep conditioning treatments can help keep hair soft, manageable, and less prone to breakage.
  • Detangling– using wide-tooth combs or detangling brushes, parents can gently remove knots and tangles from their children’s hair, minimising damage and discomfort.
  • Protective styles such hand cornrows, needle cornrows, and Ben and Betty not only serve as a trendy fashion choice but also helps protect the hair from environmental stressors and manipulation, promoting healthy growth especially in winter.
  • It’s important to ensure that protective styles are not installed too tightly, as this can cause unnecessary tension on the scalp and hair follicles. Even when parents use hair extensions, they should only add extensions at the end as this protects hair from breaking.
  • Less heat. Avoid blow drying the hair and if you must blow dry it, rather use the portable hair dryer hood because the heat isn’t direct to the hair, but it gets the work done.
  • Try stick to one product. Jumping from product-to-product damages the hair and parents then cannot know which one really is good/bad for the kids’ hair.
  • Consider using organic products as opposed to processed as they are more natural and gentler on the hair and scalp.
  • Encouraging kids to drink plenty of water and to exercise supports strong, vibrant hair growth.
  • Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, and E, as well as biotin and iron, contributes to the overall health of the hair.

Also read: Life changing hairstyles for busy moms

Read more about hairstyles in this book

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