How to Take Care of Biracial Hair

at the hairdresser image by Gina Smith from

Children born to parents of different racial backgrounds often have hair that combines the best and worst features from each genetic signature. Examine your child’s hair to determine which hair characteristics to consider before you attempt to groom, shampoo and style her hair. For best results, use products and techniques designed for the more dominant racial hair type.


Detangle curly biracial hair before you attempt any grooming or cleaning. Part your child’s hair into several small sections, and use a hair clip or elastic hair band to keep the sections separate. The thickness and length will determine how many sections you need.

Hold an unclipped section of hair with one hand. Start combing at the ends of the hair with a wide-tooth comb. Continue combing from the ends to the roots.

Use your fingers to separate strands you cannot untangle easily with the comb. Do not force the comb through big clumps.

Clean and Condition

Shampoo your child’s hair every seven to 10 days, unless it is very oily. More frequent cleaning will make her hair more unmanageable. African-American hair is often much drier than Caucasian hair because the curl pattern keeps the scalp’s natural oil from reaching the full length of each hair shaft.

Use a pH 5.0 moisturizing shampoo. This pH is the closest to the alkalinity of human hair, so these shampoos keep your child’s hair manageable and shiny. Avoid shampoos that contain alcohol, glycol and sulfates, which tend to strip oil from hair and scalp.

Apply a conditioner after every shampoo. Products that contain lanolin, vegetable oils or butters and cholesterol help keep the cuticle -- the outer layer -- of each hair shaft smooth and make your child’s hair softer.

Massage your child’s scalp with lightweight plant oil like jojoba or coconut oil after each washing. Detangle her hair, and then brush the oil through to the ends. Depending on the curl pattern of her hair, you may need to apply more oil directly to the hair between shampoos to keep it moisturized and shiny.

Detangle your child’s hair after shampooing with a comb and blow dryer. Use a low heat setting. Start at the ends and work your way up to the roots. Go slowly; wet curly hair is prone to breakage.


Choose hairstyles that keep your child’s hair neat, but do not put excessive tension on the hair and scalp. Tight braids, particularly with added hair extensions, can cause traction alopecia. The constant pressure and weight of the extensions will damage your child’s hair follicles.

Comb your child’s hair into the style that you want, if you are not plaiting, braiding, twisting or locking it.

Use a brush to smooth the hair before attaching barrettes, bands or clips after you have combed it into the style that you envision.