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Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Beauty & Fitness > Hair Care & Styling > African American Hair


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Good hairdresser for natural black hair

May 2008

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good hair person for natural African-American hair?

I used to wear my hair down and curly before the baby (with the help of Curly Pudding and about an hour a week spent applying and drying) and now wear it back all the time. My hair is somewhere between chin and shoulder length--depending on the product and the shrinkage and I haven't chemically processed it or even flat-ironed it in recent memory. My hair is straighter (now can see a pen-spring size curl) than it was pre-pregnancy, but I don't know what to do with it.

I went to a salon recommended for curly hair and was told point-blank that they don't do ''my kind of hair.'' Okily dokily, but who does do my kind of hair and can do it without a lot of heavy products?

Any recommendations appreciated! In Need of Hairapy


Not sure where you are located or if you are willing to travel, but I have a fantastic stylist who does (my) kinky African American hair. His name is Willie Goodwin, and he works at Mane Attraction in San Francisco. 103 Cole Street, 415.753.5500. He works weekday afternoon and evenings. Like you, I haven't straightened my hair in many years, and he's kept it looking good at lots of different lengths, in different styles. Good luck!! Love my nappy hair
If you're willing to come to El Sobrante, I'd recommend Ramona at Cross Cuts on Appian Way near San Pablo Dam Rd. She's African American, so I'm assuming she'd know what she's doing with black hair. I'm white and I love how she does my hair. My whole family goes to her. The phone number is 222-7725. Plus, she's totally reasonably priced. Happy Hair
I suggest you try a salon called Nappy or Not in Oakland near Lake Merrit. It's at 411 E. 18th St. and the phone number is 510/835-7838; you should ask for the proprietor -- Rhonda Glenn -- to do your hair. I have been going to Nappy or Not for about 6 years now. I don't wear my hair natural -- I have a light relaxer and get it flat ironed -- but many (perhaps most) folks who go to ''Nappy or Not'' have natural hair (thus the name). I'm confident that Rhonda will do a great job for you. That being said, please be prepared to wait about a half-hour for your appointment -- things do get backed up as with many ethnic salons where various processes and styles can take longer than expected.

On another note, I'm so sorry for your somewhat bad experience at a salon that didn't do your/our type of hair; you really do have to stick to ethnic salons (black, latina, Middle East) when it comes to getting good results because they really seem to be the only folks who recognize and can work with the huge variety of textures in ''black'' hair -- from almost bone straight to waves, spiral curls, bushy curls, curly 'fros, etc. Moreover, many non-ethnic salons *think* they can work with ''black'' hair -- and are anxious to capitalize on the money to be made in this area -- but have no idea what they are doing: You could leave one of these places with seriously damaged hair; let them try and hone their skills on someone else's head. Good luck. nette


Hair Product for Biracial Kids

Jan 2007

My biracial children have very fine, dry, loose, long hair. My sister loves to come over with spray detanglers and coconut butter and rub it through their hair. The butter is horrible, cheap stuff and so hard to get out. I love that she gives the girls so much attention, but if anyone knows of a product I could have on hand which is not so heavy and greasy, I'd love to know of it. Elizabeth


Try www.curls.biz. I have only used their Curly Q's Moist Curls Moisturizer, but I was just reminding myself to go online to check out more products. My daughter is 2-1/2, so she's used baby shampoo up until now. This moisturizer you leave in after their bath. I also put it in the next day to keep her hair soft. In any case, the owner is Creole and the company is based out of Sacramento. They're designed specifically for biracial kids. Felicia
Hi Elizabeth, My children are not biracial but my daughter has long, dry, curly hair that I wouldn't necessarily call fine, but soft and much thinner than my hair. I used to love spray detanglers for her until I realized that most of them contain alcohol so it was exasperating the dry problem. I found a product at Walgreens: African Pride Shea Butter Detangling Lotion that I love. It smells really good and is very light. Her hair absorbs it and it doesn't leave a residue. That said, it doesn't do anything at all for my son's hair - whose hair texture is more course and significantly drier. You might also want to try Pink Hair Lotion. It doesn't work for us but I've heard lots of people swear by it. Also check out a website: www.carolsdaughter.com. They have lots of natural hair care products that you might like. But be warned, those products are very fragrant. Lastly, you might try Infusium leave-in conditioner in lieu of the detangler spray. You could mix some with water and add it to a spray bottle to make your own detangler sans the alcohol. Good luck. Alicia
Mixed Chicks conditioner is good. You can buy it at Snippity Crickets in Berkeley, or Head Designs in Berkeley. You can see their website at mixedchicks.net (.net is important - the .com of that domain is a porn site!) mixed mom
The key to managing your bi-racial children's hair is moisturizing. This is often mistaken as applying heavy greasy products, but they don't actually moisturize the hair or manage it for that matter, as you've found out. So first I would recommend starting with a good conditioning shampoo and conditioner. I recommend aveda products; specifically the deep penetrating hair revitalizer. You want to detangle the hair in the shower/tub with plenty of the hair revitalizer and a wide- tooth comb. When you are done detangling, donmt rinse out all of the hair revitalizer, but leave just a bit in the hair.

Your second problem I am certain is the ensuing frizz. I am sorry to say that there is no permanent solution to this. It can be managed with John Freida frizz-ease products. I especially like the Corrective Styling gel with encapsulated silicone (4.99 at Walgreens) or the frizz-ease serum when Imm straightening my hair. If you have a lspecialn occasion and need to control the flyawayms use American crew forming crKme or aveda brilliant anti-humectants pomade.

When you get to the straightening use aveda hang straight straightening lotion and sparingly the brilliant universal styling crKme and/or damage control. A wet-set under the dryer is always preferable to blow drying as it is less drying and/or damaging to the hair follicle (and most people over-dry the hair trying to get it lstraightn). I donmt normally need the additional step of a flat-iron, but when you get to the teenage years, you undoubtedly might have to add this step for the bone straight look. Mild relaxers are always a possibility when she reaches 16, but generally unadvisable. You never regain your virgin hair.

In general, if at all possible avoid brushing your childrenms hair. This only serves to further separate the curls and add air and static to hair. Try to style with a wide tooth comb when hair is slightly damp. Braids and pony-tails are a girls best friend. I always wanted the hair that I could wear ldownn to school, but believe me after sitting with my mom being detangled for 45 min at night- I outgrew it and cute hair accessories took the place of tossing my locks! Lisa


I use Bumble & Bumble Leave In Conditioner on my 17 mo. old daughter who has fine, very curly and lots of it, hair. I put it on after washing her hair and comb through while she is still playing in the bath. It is wonderful, non-greasy and makes her hair easy to comb through and work with until the next washing. The product is on the expensive side but it is worth it. Anon
I am an African-American with Biracial children (girl and a boy).

Do you have any African-American or Latino Beauty Salons near you? If you take them to one of the shops, they can tell and sell you appropriate products to use on their hair.

I have learned not to use heavy products on my kids' hair. For my daughter, I wash, condition and put a light oil (Olive Oil) on her hair. It does not need much. I have had to experiment with a lot of products. I have learned that more is not better--less is with hair--any type of hair.

Remember, the hair will change over the years--what may work now may not work for the hair in six-eight months. Find a good beautician and they can make some great reccomendations.


Try Kiehl's silk groom. It is a non-greasy creme that I started using after I read Halle Berry and Isaac Mirazi recommended it. anon
You might want to check out Carol's Daughter. I know that it is sold at Sephora. Carol's Daughter has a line just for kids. Everything from shampoo to leave-in conditioners. You can also take a look at their web site: Carolsdaughter.comm. I hope this helps. jean
For my fine curly euro-ethnicity long hair I use a salon product for curly hair. It is far less heavy that some of the kids spray on de-tangler (that the next day makes hair even more tangley). I use the shampoo, conditioner and a bit of spray all called ''curl up'' by KMS or something like that. It is in orange containers. I find with somewhat curly hair, the best thing to do is wash it, comb it out wet and let it dry on its own - I don't ever use a blow dryer! and when I brush it out, I get the brush wet and let my heair bounce back again. As each kid's hair is different, you might try bringing you girls into a store with salon products and getting a few small bottles of stuff made for fine curly hair (you can ask a clerk, especially if their hair looks like your kid's). Make it an adventure and have fun. You'll find something that works for now. Mom with hair
My children are also multiethnic and I use Giovanni's leave in conditioner (sold at Berkeley Bowl, Whole Foods and other natural foods stores) and a spray bottle with water in it. People always comment on how nice my daughter's hair looks. If you don't like the coconut butter, try a little almond oil on the ends. A few things that I've learned along the way:

- Don't over-wash hair. 1-2 times per week is sufficient. I wash once a week and rinse once a week. I also leave in a small amount of regular conditioner after washing or rinsing. Cover with a generous amount, then squeeze out most of it (rinse w/a small amount of water if necessary). Comb out once or twice a week as well.

- Make sure you're using the right kind of brush- a wide brush with lots of short, soft bristles in it that are close together (not the kind with widely spaced, long bristles).

- I've found w/my daughter's hair that I can leave it out for a couple days and refresh each day with the leave in conditioner and spray bottle. But, it will need to be combed out and ''done'' in either twists, braids, or pony tails after a few days.

- If it's getting too frizzy or dry, cut down on the washing. Braiding after washing also helps control the frizz.

My black girlfriends were a great resource to me when I was learning how to do my daughter's hair. Don't be afraid to seek out tips from them. Good lu Brightstar


9 year old hates her frizzy/thick african hair

Jan. 2003

My 9 year old daughter has very frizzy/thick african hair. She is also allergic to almost all hair products, and her neck gets red, raw and itchy when used. She hates her hair and worries constantly about it, but is also terrified of having it braided, twisted, etc. because it hurts her so much. Any ideas of how to overcome the pain fear factor to get her feeling better about her hair/self? She sometimes sees kids with tight dangling twists and likes that alot. Any recommendations of a sensitive hair braider? -A mom in need of advice/help


Is your daughter of African descent or African-American? I get the feeling that she may be and you may be of another racial background. If she is, I think it is very important that you take steps immediately to make her love her hair instead of hating it. There are many issues in the African-American community regarding women and their hair. It may be that many of the people around her have hair quite different from hers and that she has come to think this is more beautiful than hers because she is the only one different. There are books that you can find on this subject (just do a search online) that can help you understand the reasons behind it and also you can find books for children that can help them love their different but special and beautiful hair type. I am an African American woman and for YEARS I had my hair chemically straightened. For the past 2+ years I wear it in it's natural state (super curly/frizzy) and I love it. I think it's more versatile and natural. Usually with this type of hair you have to use some product that contains oil. I personally use Kemi Oil (located at beauty supply stores and possibly Sally's Beauty Supply) which is made of essential oils. I shampoo and condition my hair, comb it out then do not touch it once I'm out of the shower except to put the oil in my hands and pat it through my hair. This leaves the curls intact without frizz. There are also some other options but I don't know how allergic she is. Maybe you can use natural shea butter (Berkeley flea market at Bart Station). As far as braiding is concerned, if she's allergic those braids and twists involve adding either human or synthetic hair that can cause allergic reactions. If her hair is long enough you can find someone to twist her natural hair into many small twists all over her head which looks cute and is a natural style. Email me if I can be more help, but even if you don't please, please get help so she can love herself including her hair.

Color for African American Hair

January 2003

Can anyone out there recommend a good colorist that works on african american hair? Location is not an issue. Thank you. cd


For the last 5 or so years, I have been getting my hair cut, colored, texturized and occasionally highlighted by Stacy Curns at The Right Angle salon in Oakland. I think it's on Forest Ave., at the intersection with College. The number is (510) 420- 8447. There are two Stacys at the salon; follow the voicemail prompt to get Stacy Curns' voicemail. Stacy is excellent! She is on time, your appointment time is yours alone, and you don't have to spend the whole day in the salon. She's probably not the least expensive, but she's worth it! Tell her Noel sent you. Noel
Ron Pernell Hair Studios 415-543-5201 Ron is the best. He is a good person with a fun Studio. He may be a little pricey but, he is worth it. Good Luck Markel
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