Monday, April 03, 2006

Hair Styling for Tiny Tots

I was at the hairdresser's the other day and realised that there is a great market for hairdressers who specialise in making children's hair.

Maybe because it is located in a residential area, but the salon I go to now and then to get my hair braided, is frequented by many children who I assume live in the area. The girls are dropped off with their nannies or big sisters. Many of them come in with freshly washed and blow-dried hair, sit and wait their turn. When the hairdresser is ready for them, they clamber into the chair and that’s when the pain begins.

A few girls who come in have relaxed hair (incredible when you think that many of these girls are no more than 8 or 9), but most are still natural. I always feel so sorry for these poor girls, as I watch their hair tugged in all directions by women who probably haven’t had natural hair in years and can’t remember how to care for it (and that’s if they ever knew how to, in the first place). Most girls end up in tears. Those who have been in the game longer, wince and hold their screams in check. I remember very well what it was like to be that little girl and since I have been wearing my hair naturally for the last seven and a half years, I still know what it feels like.

Natural hair is not tough or 'hard' like many women seem to think it is. It does not need to have combs yanked through it in order to get rid of tangles. It especially does not need to be beaten into submission with relaxers (but to each their own, I guess). All it really needs is a lot of love and care (and a little goes a long way). I would suggest that anyone looking to go into a viable business area, open a hair salon for little girls. Make sure you have stylists who really know how to care for and style natural hair and who treat hair gently. Be sure that they love children. Have available lots of books for the girls to read and show fun, interesting and age-appropriate programs or films to hold their interest as they get their hair done. I guarantee it – you’ll be raking in money faster than you can spend it.


Molara Wood said...

This debunks some of the modern 'old wives tales' about natural hair. Black women have largely convinced themselves that their natural hair is a no-no. Have you seen even hair magazine 'specials' on natural hair that show styles you can tell are done with wigs?!

I find it particularly disturbing when I see young children already saddled with relaxers and what not. I suppose if people can be convinced that there's money to be made in promoting the natural look, it might work. And for young girls, it won't be a moment too soon.

I stopped relaxing my hair in 2001 it's the best hair decision I've ever made.

Ore said...

Oh, I feel you on the 'natural hairdos' in hair mags. I mean who are they fooling?

The faux natural look is quite popular in Lagos and maybe that will start to lead to a change in the popular perception of natural hair as unattractive and unsophisticated. But, it seems that many will still regard it as highly unmanageable. If I hear one more person compliment my hair but add "Oh, I'd love to do that, but I can't because my hair is too tough." I will throw something at them. >-(

adefunke said...

I think its down right cruel to saddle children with relaxers, weaves. Princess (relutantly) allowed me to relax my hair in form 5 and only because I changed schools. (My new school allowed permed hair).

Natural hair is not difficult to maintain, I remember when I was growing up, we had the following rules:
1. Don't take out your braids until you are absolutely ready to get them redone - Following this rule ensures your hair doesn't shrink into a dense, painful afro. If there must be an appreciable time between taking out braids and putting them back in, 'calabarise' it into at least four.

2. When you wash your hair, towel it dry and then calabarise immediately, and don't go to sleep for at least a couple of hours - This way your hair doesn't shrink into a dense, painful, smelly afro.

3. Apply hair oil sparingly to your scalp - This helps to keep dandruff at bay, and also ensures your hair doesn't start smelling the minute you sweat. Also apply oil to the hair itself.

4. Redo plaits once a week - So you don't get head lice!!!

My aunt lived with us and she is wizz at braiding hair (you should see her kids now). The times when she was unavaialable to braid our hair, my mum would divide our hair into at least 4 places and calabarise it with colorful beads and rubber bands. I was usually the envy of all my classmamtes at school.

Pilgrimage to Self said...

I've sent your entry to my sister in-law who mentioned this gap in the market to me about three months ago and then proceeded to do nothing about it. I am hoping your entry will spur her on again.