Hair Care

For many parents fostering or adopting across ethnic lines, the subject of hair care is an overwhelming but vital part of their parenting experience. I well remember the first instructions I received from a helpful African American woman about what to use on our son’s hair and the completely debilitating experience that followed as I walked down an aisle of ethnic hair care products in search of what she had suggested. I didn’t even know where to start!

As time has gone on, I have learned bits and pieces of this important part of preserving a child’s culture, but am by no means an expert. One of the more helpful pieces of advice I have received is that every child’s hair is different and you must discover by trial and error what unique products will work for your child. That said, here are some helpful resources to help you on your journey…

The History of Black Hair – This an eleven-minute video on You Tube based on the book, Hair Story by Ayana Byrd & Lori Tharps. This gives a brief history of African hair and helps inform those of us who are clueless as to why hair is such an important issue in black culture. WARNING: While most pictures of African villagers have blurred out body parts, there are a few images in this piece that I do not consider to be family friendly!

Hair and Skin Care for AA and Biracial Children – A PDF document produced by the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Training Program to help train foster parents how to care for their children. A very detailed workbook with advice on products and their application. Also includes a list of resources where more information can be obtained. A great place to start!

Hair Care DVD – A DVD produced in order to assist adoptive or foster parents in caring for the hair of African American or biracial children. Featuring hair care specialists, it has various segments that demonstrate techniques including: hair care basics; combing out; processing; styling; braids, twists & knots; and styling for toddlers.

Transracial Adoption Haircare – An article by a transracial adoptive mom on about the importance of caring for your child’s hair and some resources to help you towards that end. Also check out these links to read of this mom’s adventures with hair care products for her children from Ethiopia: (Part One) – (Part Two) – (Part Three)

Braids, Beads, Truth – A blog by an adoptive mom of two from Haiti, filled with information about the history of African hair, haircare basics, and pictures of hairstyles.

Kiddobeans – This is the Hair Care and Styles section of a transracial adoptive mom’s blog. She gives specific information about what has been helpful as she has learned how to care for her daughter’s hair.

Hair & Skin Care for Adoptive Parents – A Yahoo Group that was formed by parents whom have adopted children of African descent in order to share hair care tips with one another. You must request membership by the moderator and state your reasons for wanting to join. A great way to get support in this area!

African American Hair & Skin Care – A collection of suggestions from many parents about what has worked with their children from product suggestions to bathing tips.


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