Natural Hair Diary: 5 Things I learned About River’s Curls

I have come to terms with the reality of my curly headed babies. The reality is this: their hair is individual to each of them, and as they grow I learn a little bit more about the similarities and differences between our curls. For instance; River has fine curly hair. Some may assume it is an attribute passed down by Peter, him and I both disagree. Peter has thick curly hair…fro like. I have super thick curly hair. River’s hair gets curlier and curlier when she sweats, our hair gets fluffier and fluffier when we sweat. Over the past five years, I’ve had to concoct a hair regimen that worked for her. One that was affective, yet incredibly easy…

1. Oil. Less is More. My hair thrives when I run coconut oil through it. River’s on the other hand does not. Oil runs off her hair like water; irritating her eyes and face. About a finger tip a day, every other day or so does the trick.

2. Condition More. River’s hair needs to be co-washed every few days. Whereas I co-wash mine every two, three, or even, four weeks.

3. Detangle is key. Speaking of detangling, when left completely uncombed for too long, River’s hair locs in the middle. To keep this from happening, in addition to finger detangling, I use a denman brush with leave-in conditioner in the bath at night. Using the denman brush with the leave-in conditioner makes her hair much easier to comb and keeps it detangled for about 2-3 days.
A rule of thumb: Comb gently from tip to root. But don’t comb unless you’ve hit the bigger patches with some lightly oiled fingers

4. Don’t braid overnight. Protective styles don’t work for her hair. We tried this a few times to make the mornings easier or because she simply requested. With her fine texture, it only tangled her even more.

5. Let it be.  When I was pregnant with River, I dreamed of all the styles I would put her hair in. A side ponytail there. A top knot here. A twist in the front and out in the back. And then as she got older and her request became more detailed, I tried my best to accommodate. Occasionally, I would produce good results. Mostly, I would try and then she would ask that her hair stayed wild. Now, very rarely, do I tie her hair up. The wonderful thing about her hair is that it’s her’s. Styles and twists and crazy details aren’t necessary. And that’s okay!

More thoughts on combing through and this edible conditioner. 

(Illustration by Cali Sales for LaTonya Yvette.)

0 thoughts on “Natural Hair Diary: 5 Things I learned About River’s Curls

  • Reply Unknown June 1, 2016 at 4:01 am

    This article is so perfectly written! I have battled and beaten and been beat down by my wild curly hair. It has taken me having my third child to just let it be. The lack of time or lack of patience left has resulted in a break from the flatiron, daily washings and endless conditioner waste and has freed me to show off my wild hair for the first time since I was a child. Mine can almost start to dread in the back middle undergrowth if I don't run my fingers through it every morning, but it has a life of its own otherwise. Its defiantly an outward expression of my crazy wild life – which I think is why I am loving it so much more nowadays. Thank you for your article on the differences between you and your daughter because I think I might be the only one in my family with this mane.

  • Reply Dunia June 1, 2016 at 4:01 am

    What do you mean by co-wash?

  • Reply Unknown June 6, 2016 at 2:23 am

    Conditioner-wash, washing your hair with the conditioner instead of a shampoo.

  • Reply LaTonya Yvette June 7, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Co-wash is just using a conditioner as a wash instead of shampoo. Shampoo rips necessary nutrients out of your hair, so co-washing is key.


  • Reply LaTonya Yvette June 7, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Thank you for your comment! I'm glad it helped!!


  • Reply maryamafaq June 9, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Latonya – thank you so much for this. I'd love to know which conditioner you use for your daughter's hair? I've been taking pretty good hair of my 3 year old's curls up till now but I let her leave it down the past two nights and it turned into an insane nest. It took me almost an hour in the shower to detangle it and although I tried to load up on coconut oil and conditioner, we still had so much breakage 🙁 I feel terrible. Anyway, would love to hear specific product recommendations. Also, what do you do for night time? Does she just sleep with it loose?
    – straight haired mama learning the curls.

  • Reply Haley June 14, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    I love this! Having fine stick straight hair, I've always appreciated the look of curly hair, but never understood the work that went into it. My daughter has fine curly hair (very similar to River's) and I'm slowly learning how to work with it. I'll have to try the coconut oil and denman brush tips.

    When she requests her hair to stay "wild and crazy" are probably my favorite days.

  • Reply j+s=5 July 27, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    That sounds so much like my daughter's hair. I love how curly it is when she sweets and even thought about making a salt spray to help it along sometimes. Have you perhaps tried this?

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