More hair decisions


When washing my daughter’s hair in the tub her curls stretch down to her hips. My little sister (my hair assistant for the night) stood by me, and commented.

“Her hair is SO LONG,” she said.

Yea, and she has a lot of it.

Naturally curly hair toddler girl Our hair routine has changed since I wrote it years ago, and it’s about time I write some updates with new favorite products and what not… I’ll get to it soon. But lately, almost every time while washing her hair I admire the length, adorable soft curls, and I can’t help it as my mind wanders, wondering what it would look like blown straight.

Now don’t freak out. I don’t even own a blow drier, and I haven’t used heat on my hair for about a year. I’m enjoying my natural curls, and it’s all Lil’ J has ever known for herself. But curiosity tends to get the best of me.

I asked my mom when she straightened my hair for the first time. If her memory serves her correctly I was about eight. My sister was four. Straightening for us never meant chemicals, but rather a hot comb that was set on a stove and pulled through my hair after it was blown straight. Later in life it meant flat irons.

Nowadays I feel many moms like myself lean in the other direction, not wanting to touch our daughters’ precious curls with a spec of heat, much less chemicals.

My mom (thankfully) never allowed me to chemically straighten my hair. I’m so grateful for that.

The nice thing about our hair is that the curls come naturally. A fancy blow-out wouldn’t be too difficult here and there in the future, and a rinse under the shower will bring the curls back to life.

The downside however is bringing that awareness to her mind. Would she love her straight hair more? Would I be planting some sort of self-hating seed?

Alright, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. She’d be fine. But I’m not going down that road just yet. Curiosity can wait. At least until she starts asking about it a dozen times or so. Then I may consider it, and I might be a tad excited at the opportunity to experiment together.

Do you have girls with curly hair? Do you ever experiment with blowing it straight? 

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  1. My daughter doesn’t have curly hair, but I sure did/do. I was told on a constant basis that my curly hair was my “crown and glory”. I, on the other hand, hated it. It was so hard to manage, since neither of my parents had curly hair nor knew how to teach me to care for it. Once I hit puberty, my spiral curls turned into incredibly frizzy, poofy curls that would tangle five minutes after I brushed it. It wasn’t until I was about 12/13 that I discovered a flat iron, and my life has changed forever. From that point til a few years ago, I had a new sense of confidence. But, after I had my daughter, I learned how to manage my curls and refrain from straightening my hair besides special occasions and whenever I fly (flying makes my curly hair go bananas).

  2. I have the “Diablo” curly hair!!! My issue is that when I flat iron and them want to go back curly, the front, being a much softer texture, will not curl. I am stuck with a patch of permanently straight hair! I end up trimming a “sort of” bang until all the curls return. This summer I have sworn off heat and am rocking my curls! As if I really had a choice with the humidity here in the south.

  3. My little one has very curly hair, and we have straightened it twice, now (she’s 5). Of course, she sees me using a flat iron once or twice a week, since my own curls turned into lame, half-wavy, mostly confused hair as I grew. Luckily, even though she loved it all straightened she still preferred having curly hair. Of course, we were in her ear telling her that it looked pretty straight but curly was much, much better.

  4. Like Amber, everyone always told me how lucky I was to have my thick curly hair. I on the other hand have always had a love, hate, on again, off again relationship with it, especially with summer humidity. It’s not easy to manage – at all, and people look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them, “really it’s so not worth the hassle.” I often blow it straight and constantly have the split ends to prove it. I’m not as bad as I once was. I’d blow it straight and then flat iron it but I really need to give the heat a beak.
    My Daughter is almost 1 and it looks like she’s going to have similar hair. My mom has thin poker straight hair so she had no idea what to do with my “mop” (trust me I have childhood pictures to prove the comparison is real.) At least I have some experience to work from. I’m going to refrain from heat on her hair, including blowing it dry as long as possible. To give me an extra challenge she has a CRAZY callac in the front… I really hope she never wants bangs!

  5. I recently saw another blogger who has a 3 and 6 year old and she dyed their ends blue and pink. Everyone was commenting, “Oh you are the best mom!” I kind of felt like am I the only one who wants kids to be kids? In your mind, you may be thinking it was probably temporary, but it wasn’t. She took her daughters to en expensive salon and it took 3 hours to achieve this “look.” It just made me really sad. I think 8 is a good age to maybe try straightening as a special treat. I have wavy/curly hair and I think I remember my mom straightening it for my 4th grade picture for the first time. To me it was a fun experience and I liked the way it looked and felt. However, I also felt like it was a lot of work and only for special occasions.

  6. A friend of mine has a daughter about a year older than J’s and she takes her to the salon about twice per year. They blow it straight and the trim her ends. I would highly recommend it. It doesn’t have to stay straight (it probably won’t anyway) but it will promote healthier ends for her hair and it “looks” neater (for lack of a better description). I wish I could show you her before and after pics so you can see what I’m talking about.

    1. That’s a really good idea. I don’t know when she’ll need her first trim. I imagine they could do it while it’s wet and curly. But mine were always done while straight.

  7. Curiosity…hmm. I would never straighten my daughters hair at a young age….chemicals or flat iron. I am mixed and my mom is Asian and when I was about 8 yo my mom straighten my hair with an all natural straightening product and my hair fell out….I literally had to see a doctor….later I still wanted straight hair, not knowing much about curly hair she took me to get it straighten at a salon, my scalped burned and my hair fried. I flat iron and blow out my hair but that comes with a lot of damage….when my daughter turns 16 I will allow her to get blow outs, but until then….the answer is “no”. When thinking about mixed ethnic hair, think about your own. The one thing I realized is curly hair dries out fast and needs to be replenished. There are a plethora of you tube videos with how to naturally care for ethnic hair….I am so happy for them, bc without them, I would not know what to do with mine. I would love to see your take on caring for natural curly hair…maybe even learn a thing or two.

    1. Oh man!! I’m sorry you had such bad salon experiences. I’m hearing that more and more these days. We are scarred from our youth. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones in that my hair wasn’t totally destroyed. I definitely have some heat damaged ends but I think I’m doing a much better job caring for it now.

      I’ll probably try non-chemical non-heat stretch methods first and go from there when she’s older.

  8. I have 2 daughters w/ naturally curly hair and the education process on what products to use/not use goes on and on. The oldest is 7 and obviously has had the most experimentation, but I never once thought about adding chemicals to her hair and almost freaked when my in laws blew it straight during a visit b/c I thought they had, lol. for maybe the last 3 yrs, we have done the the blow dry and trim at my salon at least 1x/yr around a holiday so she can wear it that way for a few days. She prefers her straight hair and would like to wear it that way more often, but we just tell her how important it is for her hair to be healthy to grow long and how the heat is not good for that. another thing that helps is now we are finding ways to allow her to wear her natural curls out more often. the wind in her free flowing curly hair seems to do the trick lol. you tube videos have been helpful with that. my little 2 y/o is still in pig tails mostly but I’m sure she’ll start having her requests soon enough. oh the joys of curls!

  9. My niece is 9 and my sister and I took her to get her hair blown straight when she was about 7. She was absolutely IN love with it (full on thinks she’s a mini-Beyonce) She’s mixed with Guatemalan and black so she has super thick hair made of fluffy-soft curls that sounds about the length you describe Lil’ J’s as. That’s what I was worried about, too.. That she would love her straight hair more and we were right. She loooooves her hair straight and hates when it’s back curly (but we think it’s because we actually have to take effort to comb it!) lol

  10. My sister and I have straight hair. It dries straight from being wet. My youngest sister has curly hair and always hated it. My mom didn’t let her straighten her hair until 16 and even then, it was more like her doing it and my mom not killing her lol.
    Personally if my girls do end up with curly, I will not let them straighten it. I think they can experiment all they want when they get older but while they are living with us, they can’t. Dd1 has straight hair so far but I know that can change. Not sure about dd2 yet.
    I’m probably a strict mom though. For her ballet recital (3.5), she didn’t wear make up as requested and didn’t seem to care. I thought she looked great.

  11. I blew Moo’s hair out last weekend because she had been asking for like a year to have it straight. 45 minutes later she looks in the mirror and says, “Can you make it curly again?” I had to give her a “Really?” look. Turns out it was too much of a big change for her.

    I’m kind of relieved that she prefers her curls because regular blowouts were not going to be happening right now. Maybe, when she gets older she will want to revisit having straight hair and I’d be fine with that.

  12. My daughter is only 6 months and does not have much hair yet. I will not allow her to get her hair straighten with a flat iron until she is 10 years old.

  13. Love that sweetheart!

    What an interesting topic this is… I didn’t blow out my hair until my 20s. I just always enjoyed having curls, but having it blown out is nice. It’s much easier, faster to do in the morning, and I like the change in look it gives me.

    I do notice that I get more second looks or men checking me out when I have straight hair. Haha… but I suppose that makes sense, since our “standard” of beauty in this country is straight hair. Although… I do get more compliments with it curly and people (ie women) tend to like the curls more.

    Hair is weird.

    1. Comments like this are always interesting to me. When I first went natural and my hair was shorter, I used to get a lot of criticism and odd looks (probably in part because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing lol). Now that I’ve been natural for 4 years and my hair is extremely long, I get nothing but compliments from men and women (of all races), and I get hit on a LOT more than when my hair was straight.

      But I’m also Canadian. I don’t think the US and Canada are so different from each other, but maybe the “standards” you mentioned aren’t so rigid here. People here do seem to have a greater appreciation for individuality.

      And about the post in general, I’m currently 30 weeks pregnant with my first baby: A little girl, who will also be mixed race like Lil’ J. If her hair is like mine (I’m hoping and praying it is because I adore natural hair), I’m planning on teaching her to care for it on her own, and hopefully I can also teach her to love it as much as I do. But since she’ll looking after it herself, hopefully by the age of 10, what she does with it will pretty much be up to her. However, straightening, chemical or not, will not be encouraged.

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