African American hair tends to be thicker and stronger than other ethnic hair. Some African American hairstyles simply won’t work on thinner or drier hair. When choosing a hairstyle for your child, think simple. The less time you have to spend at the salon and the fewer treatments and products your child has on her hair, the better for her and the future of her hair.
Your child needs to have slightly long hair, at least 3 inches on all sides, to have a decently sized Afro. His hair will grow out and pouf out all around his head. The style of Afro your child will have depends on how tight his natural curls are. Some curls are springy; others are tight and close to the head. If your child is biracial, his hair may be slightly less curly, but it should still have enough body to maintain the hairstyle. Keep the Afro under control by using a pick to comb through it from the roots to the end. Make sure your son does this every day or do it for him. Wash the hair weekly and use a hair oil to keep it soft.
Cornrows work for both boys and girls. If your child has an Afro, cornrows are a great way to style the hair at night so that it doesn’t get matted or tangled while the child sleeps. Cornrows are braids of different sizes that start at the hairline and continue over the scalp to the base of the head. For a special look, you can have the cornrows stretch from one side of the head to the other, instead of front to back. You can secure the braids with elastics or brightly colored barrettes. If your child’s hair is long, you will probably have extra at the end, which you can continue braiding or gather together into a ponytail. Since cornrows are great for keeping hair out of the way, they are a good choice if your child is active or plays a lot of sports. One downside of cornrows is that they are so tight they can pull hair out or can cause your child pain.
Even if your girl has shorter hair, she can still get a full head of micro braids. Unless you are an expert hair stylist, you’ll have to take your child to a salon to get the braids put into place, as they involve a weave. If your child’s hair is longer, you can try braiding it yourself. Make sure you start with clean and detangled hair to make things easier. Divide the hair into small sections, starting at the base of the head. Braid each section and secure it with an elastic. Add a bit of color to her hair by sliding a pony bead or two onto the end of each braid.