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Let’s Talk About Boys & Natural Hair (And No, Not Just Haircuts)

By on Sep 22, 2015 in Life | 7 comments

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I received a question on the BrownBoyGenius Facebook page from a mom in Germany asking about resources for boys with kinky/curly hair. While books, YouTube vids, and blog advice abounds for women and girls with natural hair, resources for boys are extremely hard to find.

Le Kid at 2.

Le Kid at 2

Here’s the question:

Hello there.

I am the mother of a Black boy here in Germany and part of a group of parents of Afro/German/Black children, seeking to educate ourselves and empower our children. We are looking for books for boys about hair and/or hair related issues. We know of quite a lot of these books for girls, but none for boys.

Can you help us out? Do you have suggestions, know of such books?

Sadly, I didn’t know of any books off hand, and a pretty exhaustive search on Amazon and Google yielded few results as well.

While I did find some YouTube styling vids (here and here), books encouraging boys to love their hair seem to be lacking.

This may be for two reasons:

  1. Most people rely on haircuts for boys because it’s super low maintenance
  2. Some people view haircare & styling as a “girl thing.”

But those of us with sons with afros, locs, or kinky/curly hair know boys need just as much help styling–and loving–their hair too.

Back when I was pregnant and found out Le Kid was going to be a boy I was a little disappointed. Like many women, I wanted a daughter. The only upside, I thought at the time, was that I wouldn’t have to worry about his hair.

Then….I had a big ol’ baby with a whole lot of hair.

Exhibit A:

1930980_41555941123_4748_n

As he grew, so did his hair…

So, while I was initially relieved that I wouldn’t have to deal with hair because I was having a boy, I soon found out I was completely wrong.

Over the years Le Kid’s gotten a few haircuts, grown out his ‘fro over and over again, and now I trim it down every couple of months, wash it weekly, try to detangle it (he hates that), and keep it moisturized. Even though he has A LOT of hair, it’s still pretty low maintenance, too. Score!

In terms of taking care of a little boys with kinky/curly hair, I’d approach it just like you would a girl’s hair–keep it clean, moisturized, and fairly neat.

A photo posted by Brown Boy Genius (@brownboygenius) on

If you can cornrow, great (I can’t). If you want to try more adventurous styles, cool (I don’t). But as your son gets older, listen to what he wants to do with his hair and go with that.

In terms of images affirming boys with natural hair, Instagram is a great place to look. There are several natural-haired (and stylish!) boys on the ‘gram. 

Here are a few:

What is this little man thinking?? probably, 'if I'm so instafamous, why am I taking the bus?' ??? #humblebeginnings ? #mista #chilledvibes

A photo posted by faroukjames (@faroukjames) on

Happy Tuesday ? when it seems like the sky is gray remember guys the sun always shines thru. #mrcorys #mrcoryscookies #CEO #boss #believe #love #loveit #fashion #fashionkid #flawless #smile

A photo posted by Mr. Cory's (@mrcory) on

Just the 2 of us…?

A photo posted by M&D tWins (@2yungkings) on

 

A photo posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Ashley, Grace, Romeo & Me (@chichiromeoandme) on

While there certainly aren’t a lot of books about boys and hair (ehem, perhaps we’ll tackle that when we launch BBG Books), I found a pair of books–Chocolate Me and Bippity Bop Barbershop–about boys loving the skin (and hair) their in.

Like we wrote about a while ago, boys struggle with body image and hair issues just like girls. Unfortunately, parents have to get a little more creative when it comes to affirming the way they look.

Following helpful parenting sites, cool Instagram accounts, and reading books with characters who look like your son can help your BrownBoyGenius build healthy self-esteem that will serve him well in the future.

What are your thoughts on boys and natural hair? Do you have any books or resources you enjoy? Please share them in the comments section below! 

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7 Comments

  1. Patrice

    September 22, 2015

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    I take Dallas to the barbershop once every 4-6 weeks. When his hair grows out too long, brushing/picking gets painful and traumatic for the both of us. He doesn’t have the kind of hair that’s gonna curl and drop into ringlets with a little bit of leave-in. When his hair grew longish during his “frohawk” stage, regular washing, moisturizing and picking was a must. Dallas has eczema and keeping his scalp properly moisturized is a struggle. I’ve endured a few side-eyes from new barbers when they get to his scalp and its shedding monster flakes. I tried coconut oil and it was a no go because he didn’t like the smell. After a few hours, I guess the natural oils activate and along with our daily moisture regime “stay sof’fro” and Qhemet Biologics hydrate and twist butter, the flakes go away, not to return until the next hair cut. So barbering isn’t always the easiest route either, especially if they have razor and skin sensitivity issues.

      • Catherine

        August 20, 2016

        Post a Reply

        I am caring for my nephew. He has a very tight curl to his hair. It grows pretty well but it does not look like it. I try to moisturize and comb regularly but he just doesn’t want to take the time. He likes it really short during the summer but asks about a fro during the winter and I just can’t figure out what to do to give it that soft round look as it grows out, is there anything not chemically that could soften the texture of his hair? Would more moisture and picking work? He is a little jealous of his mixed cousins hair.

  2. DvaMommy

    September 25, 2015

    Post a Reply

    This is a great question and an issue I feel so strongly about. My little guy is 2.5 and his hair has grown out pretty full. I am natural as well. I do not plan to cut his hair unless he asks and will encourage him to wear it full and afrolicious. I did not cut, or have plans to, his hair early because I wanted him to have a fully developed hairline and have read that cutting too early impacts future hair receding and growth. I personally use the same tips and tricks that is shared via the blogs and you tube for girls. I just modify it for my boy. One of my favorite sites is chocolate hair, vanilla care. I also really like boys with braids, on facebook, since this is geared towards boys. The same basic principles apply when it comes to caring for and maintaining afro textured hair, such as proper detangling and moisturizing. Now finding products I like to use on a boy has been challenging but not too difficult. I enjoy the Africa Sleeps, Shea Moisture (hair milk), Cara B, and Talijah Wajiid for kids brands. Other good ones are My Honey Child and Bee Mine. We have a routine of shampooing or co washing (using conditioner to cleanse the hair and scalp), sometimes deep conditioning, detangling and then stretching (braiding hair while wet to elongate it), and then either twisting or cornrowing it. We do this every couple of weeks. Lots of good snacks some of his favorite cartoons (which we don’t typically watch) and we are set. There may be some trial and error but with the right products maintaining a boy’s natural hair is no different than a girls or your own, if you really want to do it and do it well. Good luck!

  3. DvaMommy

    September 25, 2015

    Post a Reply

    I forgot to add Oyin for the product brands. They are a must! We have used them with excellent results as well.

  4. MD

    March 10, 2017

    Post a Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! My 10yo is embracing the afro look and refuses a haircut and/or braids. I’m all about the SheaMoisture products bc they work on my frizzy/wavy hair as well. Would you rec washing in AM rather than PM to avoid bedhead overnight?
    Also, going to check out Taye’s book, looks cute. Thanks again!

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