That time I tried to straighten my daughter’s hair

So this happened.

Biracial hair straightening fail

After months and months of Lil’ J asking to have her hair straight I finally gave in and gave it a go… Sorta.

We were on vacation (I won’t say where) and we had a free day from all the fun. We were just hanging out around the resort and Lil’ J noticed a blow drier.

“Mama, can you straighten my hair?” She asked me.

Well, we don’t own a blow drier at home, and we didn’t have any plans. Why not?

I agreed we’d give it a try, on low heat, and using no flat irons. I didn’t know how her hair would react to the change.

We already had a lot of pixie dust and hair gel to wash out of her hair, and I didn’t bring all of my usual hair-washing supplies, so detangling was a nightmare. I told her we had to make it through if she wanted her hair to be straight.

After I finished the preliminary round of detangling, I borrowed my sister-in-law’s brush to try to use to pull through while blow drying…Mind you, I’ve never done this before. Not to my own hair, or anyone elses’. I used a mixture of cool and low heat in fear of damaging her tresses, so it took forever to dry a single section.

Biracial hair straightening fail Lil’ J whined and cried basically the whole way through as I tugged, trying to find a way to maneuver the brush and blow dryer seamlessly. I never found that groove.

This doesn’t seem as easy as it is when I go to the salon. I thought to myself. Maybe that blow dryer with the comb attachment is key!

It seemed to take forever, and we were still just on that first little piece of hair.

Once she saw how long and straight her hair was getting she got excited and said I could finish the section, but by the time we started on the next, she said she was done, and that she liked her curly hair.

I totally flipped the script and I didn’t even mean to. I unknowingly reverse-psychologied her into appreciating her curly hair.


Since then I’ve felt a little guilty. I don’t want her to be terrified of blow dryers forever. And as much as I want her to love her curly hair, I don’t at the expense of her having PTSD from her hair-straightening experience.

I told her we could try again some day when she is older and she seemed fine with that idea.

We have a nightly moisturizing and detangling routine that we do before bed. She used to dread it but now that it involves a tradition of popcorn and a new Disney movie, she looks forward to it every evening after her brother goes to bed. Her hair is getting longer and longer by the day and she loves to play in it and “help” me.

Biracial hair washing styling upkeep

She uses her pretend hair straightener and blow drier. As I work on combing out one section of hair, she sprays and “straightens” another.

“Don’t worry, it’s just pretend mom,” she reassures me.

I’ve been bouncing a new blow dryer in and out of my Amazon shopping cart, debating if I’m ready to re-welcome heat straightening back into our home. Are we ready? Or should I stick with our curly styles a bit longer?

Part of me just wants to make up for our terrible first experience–Prove to myself that I CAN DO THIS TOO!

But another part of me wonders if we should save it for special occasions and leave it to the pros at the salon.

Yea, that’s probably a good idea.

Have you ever had a bad-hair experience?

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  1. I had the skin on the back of my neck burned once while getting it straightened with hot comb. It wasn’t traumatic, but I was definitely a little jumpy the next the time I got my hair straightened. And the comb attachment definitely helps when blow drying curly hair or you could use a wide toothed comb. I’ve only blown out Moo’s hair twice, but didn’t make it bone straight.

    She’s been asking to get it bone straight for a while now and I told she has wait a few more years because we need to find the right salon. We have different hair textures which makes uncomfortable using something like a flat iron. I don’t want my baby walking around with heat damage at the tender age of 6.

  2. I think hair dryers work better on hair than is thin, fine, and tends to lose curl easily. like with my hair, if I pull it back into a ponytail and braid it while wet, it will stay fairly straight. If I let it hang loose and run my fingers through it, it stays curly. Whatever way it dries is how it stays.

    The thicker or kinkier the hair, the less it does what I just described. Perms, hot irons tend to do better from there. A good stylist will know how long to leave a perm in to get it straight but not damage the hair, but I’d personally stick with flat irons or hot combs especially at her age. I think you’ll have better success (and faster results).

    I had plenty of hair disasters, but they were mostly because my white mom kept brushing my hair and not using a comb. I was a Chaka Khan look-a-like until I got a perm at age 12. I frickin hated my hair. I love it know, but I definitely had to learn how to care for it first, and then once I saw how pretty it could be, I fell in love.

    Good luck with your efforts to help your baby girl. 🙂

  3. I have this great debate as well. My oldest daughter has really tight curls that fall right around her neck when curled. However I can stretch her hair past her butt when pulled. She tells me all the time she wants hair like Rapunzel and i try to explain to her it is lol. I have blow dried it but she hated it and I have never done it since. I wanted to suggest if you want to maybe integrate the blow dryer try diffusing it. Make sure you get a great blow dryer and a diffuser. She can still have her beautiful curls the diffuser just locks them in and totally helps during the winter to get it dryer faster. P.S. I love all your post esp about hair because its huge for our community 🙂

  4. My daughter is only one and she has curls for days, her hair is 1/2 down her back when stretched. I’m hoping that we don’t have that talk for a long time or ever! LOL It took me all my life to realize that my hair is beautiful in it’s natural state and I pray my daughter understands the beauty of her hair. Your daughter’s hair is so long and beautiful. Good luck with the strengthening process and thanks for sharing. Curls Rock!

  5. Love this article!!
    My hair does just fine with blow dryer only on Medium setting and my hair is similar to little J’s but slightly tighter curls. I think you had a great start but that amount & length just takes a while to blow dry so both of you have to be in the mood to do it.
    The advice my mom gave me (that I still use) is blow it dry in small sections no larger than 1.5″ using a heat protector that works best for you. The additional tips I learned from vloggers was to do a small section but stretch it out while the blow dryer is on (tension method).
    BUT I say if you are only going to do it for special occasions then find a salon now!! That way you can turn it into a mother daughter spa type day.
    Please keep us posted on your hair adventures 🙂

  6. I can understand the desire to straighten her hair. I grew up with my hair natural and seeing so many others with straight hair always made me wonder what my hair would look like that way too. I definitely recommend not doing anything permanent like relaxers at her age. There are other ways to stretch her curls out- use large curlers or curl formers to make larger curls and then ceramic straighteners or a blowdryer with the right brush (round, boar bristle or denman) and keep tension on her hair as you draw the blowdryer down the section. There are lots of heat protecting cremes on the market as well. Another idea is to twist her hair in small sections while wet ( with shea butter or argan oil) and pin it around her head to keep it as stretched as possible and then once it’s dry, use ceramic straighteners or a blowdryer to smooth each twist as you take it out. Lots of options. 😀

    Definitely might be easier to just take her to a reputable salon and make sure you stress to the stylist that you’re only interested in something temporary that does as little damage as possible to her tender tresses.

    The first time I saw my hair bone straight, it looked and felt soooo weird to me but it was fun to see how it moved differently and how much longer it seemed without the curl. I was definitely happy to wet it and see it spring back to it’s bouncy self after a few days, though! 😀

    1. Thanks Ajira! Very helpful!! I love my curl formers but they aren’t long enough for her hair I don’t think. But I definitely will try stretching the twists and other ideas. Thanks for the tips! 🙂 This is definitely a learning process. haha.

  7. Ouch, did you use a heat protectant first? That’s so important because you don’t want to damage the hair. also the tension method is worth trying. That way it won’t hurt so much. You can always follow up with a flat iron on low heat of course. Good luck.

    1. Well, I was out of town and didn’t have my heat spray so we just used the dryer on cool. Definitely will keep that in mind for next time if/when there is a next tim 😉 thanks mama! You’re great with the beauty stuff!

  8. Hi one of my older Daughters took my ten-year-old to a Dominican hair salon to get her hair pressed for a school dance, two and a half weeks later I wash her hair for the first time after and it fell out in globs and it had a burnt odor to it as if a relaxer was used but when I called her, the lady at the salon they reassured me they only used a leave-in conditioner to blow out her hair and then straighten her hair nothing else. I washed her hair again a week later and some more hair fell out I still have the hair how do I get it tested to see if they did used a relaxer inside the leave-in conditioner any suggestions??

  9. By the way my ten-year-old, it’s her first time going to a salon and she is half Black/Indian and half Puerto Rican so she does have that mixed texture hair but it’s not harsh it’s just more less dry and frowy with fine baby hair and lots of curls. I want to get her hair tested or her scalp something so that I’m not going crazy trying to figure out what has been used in her hair she was so scared and so was I?!

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