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:
“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. Infact, 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 that my mum would know how to deal with my hair. But the biggest misconception that existed then and today is that mixed heritage hair can be managed, styled and maintained with a hybrid of “afro light” techniques. Nope.
So, having frequented European and afro salons as a little lady, tearful (I was dramatic!) because neither salon could really hit spot. They either left me with brushed out soon to frizz curls or weighed down soon to be greasy product laden ringlets, I’ve a few tips. 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 as a bottom line 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 again when I see a mixed chick come to us for the first time still with that nervous “are you SURE you know it’s neither afro nor European?” look about them! They leave with faith restored, but even better is getting in early, so here’s my 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 adults and children. Moroccanoil Original Treatment – moisture infuser, hair health investor and frizz beater – one bottle – tiny amount – long lasting multi-tasking product. Run through little mixed curls after washing, from crown to ends, 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, what suits them, as tweens and teens – they’ll know what mixed hair does, why and how to best take care of it. To have 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 will be routine as they grow, and for parents in the meantime it’ll cut down tears while styling.
– Detangle gently and cleverly – BAN THE BRUSH – wet or dry..just no – less fight, more canny use of Tangle Teaser on wet lightly oil infused hair. Where was the tangle teaser when I was a kid? Utterly transformative for mixed heritage hair, the moveable teeth literally tease and separate knots and curls, 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. 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. Glossy little guys and gals! I always recommend this over considering any chemically based texturizers or relaxers on children. Keratin teamed with Moroccanoil and 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 – always ensure that bands for ponies are covered with a soft non “hair tear” material. 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 an 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 pillow is a great tip I encourage parents and kids of mixed heritage do – I still do this myself. It reduces tangle, avoids drawing out essential natural oils in the hair, and because satin is low friction there’s left 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 – a parent and child trip, because just watching is often the best way to learn. Using 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 that 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!
To book a consultation with the Errol Douglas Colour Team: 020 7 235 0110
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