How to Care for Mixed African and Caucasian Hair

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Beautiful Hair
Beautiful Hair (Image: Cheryl Claussen 2007, Julia Fuller 2008)

Caring for the hair of a person who is mixed African and Caucasian depends on which parent's DNA was received for hair. Some people of mixed heritage have hair that requires essential oils and infrequent washings just like African hair. However, most people end up with soft hair that is a little thicker than most Caucasian hair, and very curly. It is easy to comb when wet and almost impossible to comb when dry, especially after rolling around in bed all night. Rubbing the hair against bedding and furniture tends to make it frizzy and impossible to work with until you soften it up a bit. How do you care for mixed African and Caucasian hair?

Things You'll Need

  • Comb
  • Hair ties, bows, barrettes
  • Any shampoo
  • Any cream rinse
  • Small spray mist bottle

Combing through dry, frizzy, morning hair is almost impossible. If you try to comb a small child's hair like this, there is likely to be crying and resistance.

Dry frizzy hair can be impossible to comb.
Dry frizzy hair can be impossible to comb.

Keep a spray mist bottle in the bathroom filled with water. If the hair you are working with needs a little extra help to comb, you can add a little of your favorite cream rinse or essential oil to the bottle. If you are having trouble with lice at school add some tea tree oil to the bottle. If you want something that smells nice add some lavender.

Wet the hair thoroughly with the spray mist. If the longer hair is particularly frizzy and unmanageable, rub a teaspoon of cream rinse between your hands, and then rub the hair between your hands. If your hair is the soft, curly type, you can wash it everyday if you desire. Be sure to rinse all of the shampoo thoroughly out of the hair. Then use a good cream rinse after each washing.

Wet the hair down
Wet the hair down

Comb the hair out before it dries. Rub your fingers through the hair a bit after combing if you want it to dry into beautiful curls all over the head.

Beautiful curls
Beautiful curls

If you plan on braiding the hair, putting it in ponytails, or styling it, do it now, while it is wet. It is easy to work with when wet and you can try many hairstyles. Once it dries, it curls quite tight, and is harder to manipulate.

Braid the hair while it is wet
Braid the hair while it is wet

Tips & Warnings

  • For thin, tight braids, you need to use an African hair product to keep the hair tight while you braid it.
  • Some people use a petroleum based product, other people use castor oil, coconut oil, hair grease, beeswax or other essential oils.
  • Everyone's hair is a little different, try some products and find what works best.
  • The tight narrow braids may stay in for a week if made with a grease-type product and with careful management with the soft, curly type hair.
  • African-type hair can hold braids for much longer.
  • Washing African-type hair daily can cause it to dry and break. Once a week may be enough.

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