Jasmin Allen has been a resident Colour Master at Errol Douglas Salon, known for a team with expertise across all hair types, for over a decade.
Here she shares her personal experience of managing mixed heritage hair as a type, and offers tips to parents of mixed heritage children! This is a topis that I have wanted to feature on the blog for a while now – so what better then to have an expert such as Jasmin contribute to this post!
Thank you so much Jasmin and the Errol Douglas Salon!
“Growing up with parents of different ethnic backgrounds was never an issue . . . until the holidays! My pops grappling with his little girl’s mixed hair brought a whole new meaning to ‘Holiday hair’ when I’d spend the week with him. In fact, a little “how to” for mixed heritage hair for them both would have been invaluable”.
For different reasons, neither of my parents really knew how to handle my mixed hair: Dad (white) committed that screamer called ‘run a brush through curls’ and mum (black) tried afro techniques on hair too light and loose to cope with it. Interestingly, most people thought that my mum would know how to deal with my hair. But the biggest misconception that existed then and still exists today is that mixed heritage hair can be managed, styled and maintained with a hybrid of “afro light” techniques.
So, I frequented European and Afro salons as a little lady, tearful (I was dramatic!) because neither salon could really hit the spot. They either left me with brushed out, soon to frizzy curls or weighed down, soon to be greasy, product laden ringlets.
Going on to work with Errol Douglas and to qualify as a colour master, I know how to handle all hair types (every member of his team has a hair type specialisation, under the ‘mane’ man), including my own of course. Errol Douglas Salon understands mixed heritage hair, from my first hand experience, to Errol’s three incredible mixed heritage children and the decades of front line experience in the salon – we’re experts..and fans of the hair type! However, I feel 5 years old again whenever I see a mixed chick come to us for the first time, with that nervous “are you SURE you know it’s neither Afro nor European?” look about them! They (and their parents) leave with their faith restored. The after care is very important, so here is parent guide to managing mixed heritage hair:
• Product – it’s a parent’s best friend – choose it and use it well – choosing right is a game changer for both adults and children. Moroccanoil Original Treatment is a moisture infuser, hair health investor and frizz beater! Only a tiny amount of this – long lasting multi-tasking product is needed. Run it through little mixed curls after washing, from the crown to ends and leave to dry naturally – it’ll separate and stop the knots.
• Learn together – knowing your own hair is an early confidence builder – explaining why, for example, moisture infusing shampoos and conditioners are crucial for curls will help mixed kids when they begin to express their own style preferences as tweens and teens – they’ll know what mixed hair does and how to best take care of it. Develop a habit of a weekly hydrating session (I like Moroccanoil Hydrating Mask – light formula as it’s incredibly light but moisturises effectively) to invest in the finish and condition of the hair and this will become routine as they grow. This deep conditioning session is a must – parents will find that it will reduce the tears whilst styling.
• Detangle gently and cleverly – BAN THE BRUSH – on both wet or dry hair …it is a no no! Instead use a Tangle Teezer on wet, lightly oil infused hair. Where was the Tangle Teezer when I was a kid? Utterly transformative for mixed heritage hair, the moveable teeth literally tease and separate knots and curls with no damage, no pain…and no frizz!
• Along came Keratin – Another product that I swear by and still use myself as an adult is Keratin Treatment. It diffuses 95% of natural frizz common in mixed heritage hair but it doesn’t break down the hair shaft. It does, however, smooth the cuticle brilliantly, like an intense hydrating treatment that lasts for around two months. The result? A celebration of the natural curl, wave and body of mixed heritage hair, with a condition that makes it way easier to manage. It’s an amazing solution for young kids as it makes hair much more manageable. I always recommend this over considering any chemically based texturizers or relaxers on children. Keratin teamed with Moroccanoil and gentle styling techniques really is enough – it’s been tried and tested on the mini mixed heritage members of my family, and the children that come to the salon too.
• Buy the right bands – opt for ‘snag-free’ options. Elastic bands or rough edged hair accessories break the hair long term and create frizz. As my mum will admit….I’m well placed to give this advice!
• Style and experiment together: mums, dads – try and teach yourself and your child simple styling techniques: Twists and plaits will help cut down on tangles and keep the hair neat. It was a complete breakthrough when me and my pops mastered a plait, switching my two hands in with his – it’s actually one of my favourite funny memories!
• Satin/silk your slumber – Sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase is a great tip I encourage parents and kids of mixed heritage do – I still do this myself. It reduces tangles, avoids drawing out essential natural oils in the hair, and because satin is low friction, there’s less frizz in the morning too.
• Come chat to the experts – Coming into Errol Douglas Salon to speak to a professional is also an idea I encourage. Arrange a parent and child appointment and observe how the hair is treated, because just watching is often the best way to learn. Using the stylists’ expertise is key.
Above all, it’s really important to recognise that mixed heritage hair is a type all of its own, that responds to bespoke care – easy once you know how! When children grow into tweens, teens and adults not liking their mixed locks, it’s usually just down to years of not understanding how to care for it and get the best out of it. Once you know – it rocks! I advise mums and dads to encourage your child to love their mixed heritage hair in its natural state just as it is!
13 year old US Disney star JadaGrace’s luscious, tumbling curls (her mother is American Japanese and her father is African American).
Other great brands for mixed heritage hair types:
New! Miss Phytospecific (I love the Phytospefic range for adults!)