the language and science of hair – part 1

natural styles poster

i wanted to share a little more in depth look at what our family is learning over here, beyond the free hair friday posts, on zelda’s hair journey. also we don’t have a free hair friday post this week since her last style just went in on tuesday and i’m hoping we can get it to last two weeks with a twist out for our next free hair friday post.

the learning curve on how to care for zelda’s hair is steep.  thank goodness for the internet.  both for the information it provides but also it lets me know that we are not alone in our hair journey.  i like this NYTimes article.  natural hair is hard and not just for new mamas but for full grown women who’ve been dealing with it all their lives.  honestly, i’m thankful zelda was born with lots of hair so we just had to jump right in, plus a bow in a little baby’s hair is adorable, don’t you think?

bow in zelda's hair
although frustrating for both of us at first (try explaining to a six month old why she has to sit still so you can comb through her hair and you don’t know what you’re doing so its taking a looong time), i think only through caring for zelda’s natural hair together will we learn what she needs to do to keep it healthy when she starts doing it herself.  however, before i can teach her anything about her hair, i need to know what i’m talking about.

some of the first ponies

before we started doing any serious styling or really anything we had to figure out what type of hair zelda has.  zelda’s a 4A.  i’m a 2B. papa was a 2A when he had longer hair.

hair types illustration


but hair type is more than just the curl, it’s also the texture.  there’s fine, medium and course.  the texture of zelda’s hair is almost more important than the curl since it dictates what types of products work well in her hair.  zelda has fine hair.  i have course hair.  papa has minimal fine hair and his beard is course.

once we knew something about zelda’s hair (and learned a little more about our own.  did you know your hair type before reading this?), i had to figure out how to comb and part it.  here’s my first attempt at parting zelda’s hair at seven months old:

the first part

this part probably took a couple of hours of internet research and about an hour of actual time with my hands in her hair.  and it is by no means straight, but it did let us get our first style in, six little piggies.

six little piggies

i remember being so proud of these piggies.  it took me longer than it probably should have to work up the courage to seriously get my hands in zelda’s hair for fear of ruining it or breaking it.  now, of course i regularly get my hands into zelda’s hair and papa even does some detangling from time to time.  zelda’s hair was a major accomplishment for our household in 2012.

of course there’s more than just doing hair.  we’ve also had to learn to speak hair.  check back later for part 2 and we’ll get into the lingo of black hair.


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