Chantelle is a fulltime mother and teacher in the Old Dominion state. In August 2016 she and her husband welcomed their baby girl, Christina, into the world. Christina is now two-years-old.
CM: Did you have a plan when you first got pregnant on how you wanted to do your baby’s hair?
CG: I knew that I would cornrow and braid my baby’s hair whether I was having a boy or a girl. Once I knew I was having a girl, I began thinking of different types of hairstyles typical of what I had when I was a kid. Such as two ponytails in the front with one in the back; five ponytails with one in the center, two in the front and two in the back. I thought about the type of parts I’d put in her head, including zigzags, diamonds, triangles, crisscrossing.
CM: Did your vision of how you wanted to do your baby’s hair change after she was born?
CG: Well, initially it seemed as if she was going to have a head full of hair when she was born, but it stayed pretty much the same length the whole first year. It was short, fine, and curly in some sections and smooth in others. We mostly did headbands and clip-on bows her whole first year.
CM: How has your care for your daughter’s hair changed as she’s grown?
CG: As she grew older and her hair began to fill in more I began talking to my hair care provider and stylist to get her input on products that would promote healthy hair growth for my daughter. I would wash her hair about once a week if not longer and use a leave-in conditioner and coconut oil to two-strand twist it.
CM: What is your daughter’s hair care routine? Does your care routine differ from your mother’s routine with you?
CG: Currently I wash my daughter’s hair every 2-3 weeks, depending on her activity level and if she had any incidents, such as putting food in her hair, or coming home from daycare with mulch from the playground stuck in her hair. I use an organic shampoo and coconut milk leave in conditioner. I then use the Influance It’s Natural Line – Shea Butter Moisture Lock, Coconut Leave-In Conditioner, and Curls Passionfruit Curl Control Paste to either braid or twist her hair into whatever style comes to mind. I finish it off with some As I Am Born Curly oil on her scalp. I wrap her hair in a satin lined bonnet from Grace Eleyae at night before bed. The routines from my childhood with my mother are somewhat similar to what I do with my own daughter, only the products available today are lighter and better suited for healthy hair care.
CM: How has your feelings regarding the care of your hair as a child impacted how you care for your child’s hair?
CG: Well for me, I think my mom did a pretty decent job until the point she began giving me relaxers – with the idea that straight hair was the most beautiful. My hair was thick, long and healthy until relaxers. I don’t want to put relaxers in my child’s hair. In the past, people did relaxers themselves without realizing they need to be maintained otherwise they’ll break your hair off. I think people looked at the desired result without considering the long-term effects. Lack of proper maintenance leads to hair breakage, over application, scalp and follicle damage, etc. Back then people wanted straight hair so badly they would leave the relaxer on their head longer than the box suggested. Many consumers didn’t consider the damaging effects of lye and harsh chemicals.
If I know it’s safe for her, then it’s safe for me because I use products that are gentle on her scalp and hair.
CM: Has caring for your child’s hair influenced how you care for your hair?
CG: It’s made me more conscious about the products I use in my hair. Essentially, if I know it’s safe for her, then it’s safe for me because I use products that are gentle on her scalp and hair. As a result we share many products. My efforts to care for her hair have also shown me that I don’t always care for mine. For example, I always oil her scalp every few days but I don’t always do mine. It’s shown me that I could devote more time to my hair care.
CM: Do you have advice for new mothers?
CG: Be patient; especially with your daughters. I think in our [black] culture, we’re afraid of our daughters coming out with no hair as hair is tied to beauty. Besides clothing, hair helps to distinguish gender and it can be frustrating if people continue to mistake your baby girl for a baby boy or vice versa. Do your research; Johnson & Johnson is not for everybody just as Pantene isn’t for everyone. Read your labels and know what you are putting in your child’s hair. Less is more; 2 or 3 good products is better than a cabinet of ineffective ones.