Originally posted on Nappy Sexy Fly, we found this amazing story on BGLH. Big Thank you to Ayoka for givin’ us the green light to repost it on FC.This is the version from BGLH :
My daughter has a whole lot of nappy hair as you can see. Her hair is below waist length when stretched. She is 5 years old and of course has never had her hair straightened.
She knows she’s beautiful because we always tell her that she is soooo beautiful. She knows nothing of self loathing. She loves her skin and hair and everything about herself because we adore her and tell her so all the time.
We live in a predominantly white community so she interacts with them on the regular but has no issues. She attracts love and kindness like a magnet because this is what she experiences all the time in her home. This is her foundation. It’s all in how you treat your children. It’s all in the messages you send them. A child should not feel insecure, ugly or unwanted. Our job as parents is to make sure they know they are perfect and precious. Their lives even when we are not around will reflect the love we planted in their souls.
Ayoka with her daughter
As for her hair, there is no way on earth her hair would ever be as healthy or achieve this length with a relaxer. I have older twin daughters who’s hair was as long as this. Their father begged me for years to relax it because he couldn’t do it on their visits so I gave in eventually and let him take them to have it done. I knew what would happen but he didn’t believe me when I told him. Their hair was super long and healthy to start then it began to break off. It eventually broke off to chin length in a year’s time even though they had their hair done professionally and kept it up. Needless to say, they are both transitioning now and never want to see another relaxer as long as they live. Now when I send them to their father for visits, their hair is in braids. They know how healthy their hair was prior to the relaxer and how badly it damaged their hair. Relaxers hold no mystique for them. They will not be begging me to perm it for prom. Nappy hair is fragile not strong and chemicals break it down to the point that it is even more fragile and prone to breakage.
My youngest daughter is by my husband. We both agreed no chemical would ever touch her hair. Her hair got this long by treating it the way nappy hair needs to be treated. Very little manipulation. I put her braids in and don’t take them down for weeks at a time. I wash her hair in the braids. When its time to redo, I take it one braid at a time making sure to moisturize and oil to prevent breakage. I separate and smooth with my fingers and very gently comb the ends with a wide tooth comb and re-braid. She usually has anywhere from 8 to 12 braids. It takes about 2 hours to do her hair because I don’t yank and snatch through it like it needs to be punished. The keys to healthy naps are moisture, low manipulation and a gentle patient touch. That’s pretty much it. Her hair is also never blow dried, in fact no heat is used on her hair.
For all those who use hair typing, we are both 4b in other words nappy. Her father is a pure blooded Ghanaian (Ghana, West Africa, blackest Africa, home of the purest naps and deepest melanin endowed gorgeous dark skin where the majority of us can trace our roots because it is from there that the majority of our ancestors departed) I am an African-American with no recent interruption of my African bloodline, in other words not mixed. Yes, true African naps can achieve length if so desired if you honor God’s blessing by nurturing and loving them and caring enough to learn about how to take care of them instead of trying to murder them with toxic chemicals.
As long as I am in charge, my daughter will never feel the burn of chemicals or the heat of a straightening tool. She will always know and not question the power and truth of her own God given beauty just as she knows it at the impressionable age of 5.
Naturally I was amazed by this story, so I asked Ayoka to share her daughter’s regimen. She sent this in her reply e-mail
“People can mistake a well managed head of 4b hair for 3 type hair. I get that a lot and I educate people so they aren’t mistaken and know that their hair can do all the stuff my daughter’s and my hair does. I think when people understand all the options they have with their hair and that it’s really not that difficult to manage, then we will see more of us letting go of the relaxers because relaxed hair isn’t nearly as versatile, healthy and in my opinion, beautiful on us as our own hair texture.”
AYOKA’S DAUGHTER’S REGIMEN
1. Very low manipulation. This is the most important thing I must emphasize for type 4 hair. 4b hair is the most fragile and if you’re breaking it off while you’re trying to grow it, you’ll never see length. I’m able to avoid a lot of manipulation because I keep it stretched never letting it bunch up, tangle up or shrink.
2. Keep it stretched. This is especially important for me because she has a lot of hair and I can’t afford the situations that will surely jump off, if I allow all that hair to shrink and wrap around each other. The detangle would be enormous. The way I keep her hair in a stretched state is by keeping it moisturized, oiled and in box braids, this way it is never really tangled to the point where I have to go at it like a mad woman. I am able to detangle her hair for the most part using my fingers. I use a wide tooth comb to help and a soft brush down the length of it to smooth it out when I style it. The most important thing is to never snatch though it. Be gentle and work your way from the bottom when detangling.
3. I never wash it all loose. That would be an epic undertaking. I always keep her hair separated. I take her braids down one at a time (I do this in our bath tub) wash, condition, rinse and sloppily twist or braid that section and continue on to the next until I’m done and ready to style. I mostly co-wash and ACV rinse prior to co-washing when it’s really dirty. When washing I do not ever scrub the hair against it self like you see in commercials this will create tangle and knots. I wet the section thoroughly and pull the conditioner gently down her hair shaft and rinse downward, loosening and separating any tangles as I go using a wide tooth comb from the ends upward if necessary.
4. Moisture is key for type 4 hair because as we all know it’s drier than a dessert. My daughters hair likes heavy products. So any thick leave-in or moisturizer is where I start on her damp washed hair. I coat each section with a leave in or moisturizer (not picky just has to be thick) and then seal with olive oil and shea always gently pulling the product down the hair shaft. This is heavy but for her dry hair it smooths it out and helps it to stretch to the max without heat. I spray her scalp and braids with pure Aloe Vera juice mixed with olive oil. I redo her hair no more than every two weeks. If she’s rocking 8 or more braids that can be styled different ways, I’ll leave it up for up to a month, cleaning her scalp with a wet rag and cleaning her braids from top to bottom with a wet rag, sometimes I’ll wash her hair while in the braids if it gets to dirty. Yes it gets fuzzy when I do this but sometimes I’m lazy and sometimes she doesn’t feel like getting it done lol. If she’s got her 5 braid situation going on, I will of course take her hair wraps off each braid and tie her hair up at night and use some product to brush and smooth it in the morning and put her hair bands (non-elastic and using very little tension). She looks fresh like that for 2 weeks.
Since we’ve been getting lots of emails from moms who just can’t handle their little girls’ type 4 hair, we found this story quiet inspiring and hope it will also inspire you and give you some guidance on handling that “skuurpot” that led you to a pair of scissors.lol