I often feel sad when I see a little girl crying because her hair is painful when being combed. This is the reason why some mums relax their daughters’ hair even at a very tender age.
Almost every hair relaxer has an equivalent ‘kiddie pack’ and we assume that it is meant for all children, age notwithstanding. The packages normally have pretty happy looking girls with their hair long and thick. What is the right age to relax a child’s hair?
Relaxing the hair for an adult is a personal choice. But for children, the parent has to decide for them. Ideally, any child below the age of 12 years should not be exposed to hair relaxers. Even after that age, they are not really necessary.
The fact that a company has manufactured relaxer kits for children does not confirm that they are safe for the tender scalps. Relaxers contain chemicals, which affect the scalp and the hair.
It is unfortunate that children as young as three years are exposed to hair relaxers. Even grownups experience burns and stings from relaxers that can sometimes be irreparable; it definitely can be worse on a young girl. The young girl’s hair follicles and scalp definitely get affected and she is likely to end up with scarce hair and a hairline that begins inches away from where it should.
When your daughter turns 12, you can consider relaxing her hair. However, ensure she has a strong hairline. Ensure also that the process is done by a professional hairdresser who will also advise on how to manage the hair once it is relaxed.
Secondly, if you as a parent you are unprepared to care for your daughter’s hair, do not do it. Many are the times I have seen pretty young girls with thin hair that has fallen off especially around the edges. This clearly shows that the hair has not been maintained or cared for properly. If you relax your daughter’s hair, be prepared to care for it just like a professional.
Ensure that you also do enough research on the needs of relaxed hair and how it will affect your daughter’s developing scalp. Your daughter too, should also be responsible and mature enough to be able to care for her relaxed hair.
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Do not just relax your daughter's hair as a quick fix. Many parents will relax their daughters' hair for interesting reasons including; to save time, make hair easy to manage, show the length of the girl's hair, ‘she cries when her hair is styled’, ‘the texture is not good’, ‘she wants to be like her friends’ and ‘she is among the few girls that have kinky hair’.
When you plan to relax your daughter's hair consider her age, the sensitivity of her scalp to chemicals, dryness of the hair, maintenance and affordability.
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