One of the most frequent questions I get in regards to my kids is “how do you maintain all that hair?”. No doubt mixed hair is a whole different ball game than how I manage my own hair. When I was new to the game of maintaining my biracial daughter’s hair I was constantly looking up articles on how to care for mixed hair and what products I should be using.
I didn’t have help from my family because they wanted to treat it like white hair, (brushing it out all the time, shampooing it every day) and her dad wanted to treat it like black hair, (putting grease in it). That might work for some if your kid’s hair is super fine or super coarse but many mixed kids (mine included) have a mix of hair textures.
After trying out lots of different routines and many more products, I have super helpful step-by-step instructions for mixed hair care with products that I find work the best!
Let’s start with the products I use and love.
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Products To Use
- Sturdy, wide tooth comb
- Cantu conditioner
- Satin cap
- Cantu curl activator
- Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
- Kinky Curly Curling Custard
You can also use these optional products that I have used and loved if they are in your budget!
In the beginning I had to experiment a lot with different products to find out what worked best with my children’s hair. Also as they got older and their hair became more coarse I had to change products. There is a huge variety in biracial/multiracial hair texture so you may have to experiment with different products to find the best one for your child’s hair type.
I used to use Mixed Chicks hair products on my daughter’s hair when she was younger and her hair was more fine. Now that she’s older, her hair is literally a mix between my hair and her dad’s hair. She has some looser (in terms of her hair) curls on the top layer, tight curls on the bottom layer and one small section of Afro texture hair right in the back of her head. Her hair is coarser now that she is older so I use Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus curly line. I had heard good things about Shea Moisture like they are organic, and free of parabens and sulfates. Many people recommended this line for thick, coarse, curly hair so I decided to give it a try.
The Curl and Shine conditioner is thick and you need a good thick conditioner to hydrate mixed hair because it’s so dry. I like the conditioner but it is on the expensive side considering how much conditioner you have to use on mixed hair. If it’s in your budget I say it’s a good option.
I recently started using Cantu’s hydrating cream conditioner because I was looking for a cheaper option and I am so happy I found this! It is really thick and moisturizing and cheap! So I can use a lot without feeling guilty about how quickly we go through it or the amount of money it costs.
The Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie is a leave in cream and you only need a little bit when you use it so the jar lasts a long time, (I use it on two kids and it still lasts me months)! The line smells great and people always compliment how great my kids hair smells.
The Curl Enhancing Smoothie is really affordable especially considering how little of it you need. This is great news for those of us on a budget!
I also use Cantu’s curl activator cream, in conjunction with the curl enhancing smoothie. This is another cheap option to help define those beautiful curls and keep them soft!
I’ve always avoided gel because they ended up being too sticky or too crunchy. But the Kinky Curling Custard is amazing! Using this product helps keep her curls more defined for days!! It definitely keeps the frizz at bay too. You don’t need a lot of it at all and when it dries it’s not sticky or crunchy. It’s my secret weapon for beautiful curls!
Now that we’ve talked about what products I love, let’s begin the process! (By the way this is specifically how to manage my daughter’s hair but my son’s routine is pretty similar).
Instructions For Mixed Hair Care
So first off, I don’t wash their hair with shampoo….ever. That’s right, I only use conditioner or Cantu conditioning co-wash and I co-wash with it. So if you are unfamiliar with what co-washing is, I basically wash their scalp and hair with conditioner or co-wash instead of shampoo. It still cleans their scalp, but it doesn’t dry their hair out like shampoo does.
Since I have started doing this (it’s been several months), I’ve noticed their hair is much softer and easier to comb through. Cutting time is essential for me as my daughter HATES getting her hair washed and combed!! I only go through this process twice a week as her hair is dry so it doesn’t need to be washed more than that. Also because she hates having her hair combed out, routine is essential so she knows when to expect it.
Step 1. I wet her head, scrub her scalp with conditioner, wash it out, and then put another generous amount of conditioner all through her hair. Your child’s hair should have enough conditioner in it that you can see it all through their hair (hence the need for cheap conditioner).
Step 2. I take a wide tooth comb and comb out her hair with the conditioner still in it. You only want to use a sturdy wide tooth comb if your child has really curly hair as a brush would completely frizz their hair, cause breakage, and ruin their curl pattern. Fine tooth combs would never make it through thick curly hair! You want to comb from the bottom to the top. So comb out the bottom tangles and work your way up.
You’ll want to section your child’s hair out with clips if it’s long. 3-5 sections works best and comb out each section. Once you’ve combed out each section, take the clips out and comb it all together one more time.
Depending on how long it has been since the last time I combed out her hair and how well it was maintained, this can take about 30 minutes. My daughter is 4 years old so I can only imagine what this process will look like in another couple of years!
Step 3. Once her hair has been combed out, I rinse the conditioner out (but not all the way out, I leave a little bit in) and right away I put in the Curl activator cream, Curl Enhancing Smoothie, and Kinky Curling Custard at the same time. All 3 products combined are about a dollop. I put them in my hands and rub my hands together and distribute it throughout her hair.
Step 4. Once this is done I use an old t-shirt and blot her hair to get a lot of the excess water out but then I let it air dry. I find that this is the best way to get beautiful frizz free curls. I only do this whole process though when I know I have a good 5 hours or more before she is going to sleep because if she sleeps on it while it is still wet then all that hard work has to be re-done the next day! Something I want to avoid at all costs!
Step 5. When it is bedtime, I put my daughter’s hair in a really high ponytail (also called a pineapple) with a loose scrunchy and put a satin cap on her head. I have also been doing this for several months and I’ve noticed that her hair is much less frizzy when she wakes up.
Using the satin cap helps me get more days between needing to comb it out because she is frizz free longer.
Step 6. In the morning I can spritz her hair with a little water and I run just a little bit of the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Cantu curl activator cream through her hair and let it air dry, which doesn’t take that long. Then I can leave it down for the day.
I do repeat the pineapple and satin cap every time she naps or goes to sleep. Then after a few days of that short routine in the morning, I usually will put it in a pony tail or braid for a day or two. Then it is time to start the process over again!
There you have it! The best way I’ve found to take care of mixed hair is find a good hydrating conditioner and a product that works well with your child’s hair type. Create a routine so your child knows what to expect because that hair is only getting thicker and longer my friend! If your child is anything like mine, they need to know what to expect to cut down on the tantrums! I’m sure as my daughter gets older the maintenance will change, but for now this is what works best for her beautiful biracial hair.
I’d love to hear how you take care of mixed curls! Leave a comment to share your routine or go to products!