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Please leave that baby's hair alone!

I'll never forget the first time I saw Mocha Girl One (HmG). She was an emergency c-section, and had to spend several days in NICU. She was born four days past her estimated due date and looked huge in her incubator. I imagined her to be especially delicate and feminine. I couldn't wait to frill her up, and more importantly to do her hair! The only reason she wasn't sporting a barrette the day we took her home from the hospital, was because the one I brought to match her lacey outfit, slid right out.

Mocha Girl One's baby hair was silky straight and fine. As the weeks rolled by, it became wavier until she had a lovely curly fro. I washed
it all the time. I brushed it several times a day. I tried snap clips, and moved to velcro barrets when the clips slid out. I bought a different head band for every outfit. Meanwhile her curls continued to wind tighter and tighter.

I kept everything in a pretty box, dubbed
the hair bin. I was really frustrated at not being able to give Mocha Girl One a real style, until I discovered the rubber band. Rubber bands came in all sizes and colors. Rubber bands gripped Mocha Girl One's hair and it stayed in place. Rubber bands held every stray strand captive and her hair looked fresh all day. I liked a nice smooth look, which meant I was winding the bands around her hair tightly. She had little bumps in some areas, but I'd seen those before on my own head, and thought nothing of it. When Mocha Girl One's hair began to break in various areas, I was really perplexed at the cause. I never imagined I was pulling my daughter's hair too tight. I got compliments about her styles wherever I went, and imagined I was doing a fabulous job with grooming.

Mocha Girl One's hair became so patchy that I had to give her a trim around her second birthday to even things up. Prior to the trim, some braids were as much as three inches shorter than others. I cried as I trimmed her hair. I bought countless products, searching everywhere for a solution, while watching her hair intently for improvements. For some reason, my problems with her hair felt like a personal failure. It's amazing how vested we can be in our daughters' appearance.

I made some changes and Mocha Girl One's hair grew back stronger. I continued to make mistakes, but nappy hair can be resilient. It thrived anyway. I'm thankful for the experiences I had with her, because it helped me to do better for her sisters in their turn.

Looking back, I wish someone had told me that first day in NICU, "Congratulations on the birth of your baby girl.'ve got plenty of time."

Consider the following suggestions:

1. Baby shampoos may contain harsh and drying detergents. Read the label carefully and avoid anything containing sodium laurate sulfate (SLS). Try a mild natural soap like liquid castile soap. Moisturize by spritzing with water. Add a light oil, like 100% pure unrefined coconut oil. Jojoba Oil is also a good choice. I've read it's the closest oil to the natural sebum our scalps produce. If your baby's curl pattern is still very loose, you may not need an oil, because her natural sebum will do an effective job of keeping her strands moist.

Update 4/2011: I used Trader Joe's Liquid Castille Soap which is labeled for safe use as a shampoo. I can't endorse any other formulation because I've never tried it. For example some people love Bronner's brand, others say it is not ph balanced for hair and may be damaging. At this time, Trader Joe's Castille Soap is discontinued. I don't know why. I recommend trying a moisturizing sulfate free shampoo. Even Walmart has at least one to offer these days. I've also had success with African Black Soap.

2. If you don't oil your baby's scalp and hair you may not need to use shampoo every time. Plain water will easily rinse away dried sweat and spit up.

3. If you use oil to loosen cradle cap, be sure to wash it away with a mild shampoo. Oils may clog a baby's delicate pores.

4. Be patient with styling. Use accessories proportionate to your baby's hair length and head size. Make sure you leave slack at the roots. Never pull the hair tight. It may be pretty, but come right out later.

5. Watch out for little bumps on the scalp. This is a sign the baby's hair has been pulled too tightly. These bumps may become filled with puss, indicating an infection.

6. If you can, please leave the baby's hair alone as much as possible. Your frequent styling and grooming sessions are coming soon. Enjoy these care free days.

7. If you must dress her hair, try headbands, but make sure they aren't too tight around her head. Use one or two strategically placed barrettes instead of a head full.

8. Be careful with rubber bands. I continued to use rubber bands safely for years. I was careful not to wind them tight. I carefully cut them out of the hair during take down.

Our baby girls have few ways to communicate their discomfort. If a style isn't killing them they may not cry, but it may still be painfully uncomfortable. Even as they get older they may not always communicate their discomfort well. They can get headaches from tight pony tails and poorly fit head bands just like we do. I cringe at the thought of a little baby sleeping on a head full of hard plastic barrettes. I confess to being the worst offender of this in the past, but I've learned my lesson. Mocha Girl Four (age 4 months) has yet to wear a barrette.
In the worse case, a baby's hair may not tolerate the stress and break off, as I experienced with Mocha Girl One. It's fun to dress our daughters up. As we fuss over them, let's try to remain mindful of their tender immature strands.


  1. Hey Lady! Don't know if you know lol, but I created a blog for Aija too, and if you read it, you notice I'm in a major dilemma of sorts with her hair. I'm going to update about what I read here later on today. I confess, I'm currently KILLING THA GAME with those rubber bands. :( I know the spot in the back is normal but still, it's really painful for me and I try to style around it b/c it looks so bad. (I'll post pics when I update) It's out of sheer ignorance, but I'm learning.
    God bless you. Thank you for this info, this was definitely for ME, sis. LOL!

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  2. Hang in there Girl! There's still time to make a change. If Mocha Girl one can recover, any baby can! I still can't believe what I put her tender little head through. Aija will make it out too...=)

  3. This is so great! Very good tips. My little one is 3 now and I remember I couldn't wait until I could get ponytails in her hair. She lost a lot of hair due to my ignorance and I am still working on getting it back. I still have so much to learn. I know what you mean by saying the damage felt like a personal failure. I am going through that today.

  4. You'll be amazed by how much your daughter's hair will grow back Silkee. Concentrate on keeping it moisturized and leaving it alone. Stay as far as you can from heat--not that you would, but I've heard some people recommend blow drying to make the hair easier to work with. Too much stress. Don't give up!

  5. Same here!! My daughter is 16 months old and was born with a beautiful afro. I succumbed to relatives saying "When you gonna do her hair?" Now my poor baby has patches. How long do you think it will take to grow back? Also I've continued to use baby shampoo due to the "tear free" factor. How do you suggest I use other shampoos w/o it getting in her eyes?

  6. I was reading that tear free shampoo is just regular shampoo with a chemical in it--I guess like anesthesia-so that when it gets in the eye it numbs the eye so it doesn't hurt. That idea made me stop using it for my babies.

    I don't shampoo their hair with them sitting in the tub. I sit on the rim of the bathtub or over the kitchen sink, hold the baby in my arms with her head tilted back and shampoo her hair. I use diluted shampoo in a spray bottle. I keep their face dry--I notice a wet face creates a path for shampoo to slide down. Also, with their body slanted down, shampoo doesn't get in their eyes.

  7. Jessc381--also at 16 months I'd wash my daughter's hair in the kitchen with her lying across the counter like you see in my videos. Little bit of shampoo--lots of water.

    As for the hair growing back--think of it as fruit for doing everything else right. It will grow back, but I remember it taking time and patience. I just had to let it go and not worry about it. The switch in thinking finally killed the temptation to buy everything I saw with a label promoting hair growth. Instead I made sure I fed her well, she was sleeping well, active, was gentle with her hair, kept it moist and protected.....eventually it bore fruit. Mocha Girl One's hair was quite short until she was about 5--but it grew and improved steadily.

  8. I'm so glad I found this website..I have surfed the web for months and this blog site is the best yet..My daughter Morgan was born with bone straight hair that became loose beautiful curls..By age one her hair was so long and thick..Then came everyone telling me to do her hair so it can keep growing..Well I did her hair..small ponytails that hung to her shoulders..Everyone was I became addicted to the compliments and as she reach two I noticed the texture became more coarse so I would wash it let it dry and flat iron the kinks out of it..Needless to say around Dec 2009..I noticed my daughter was loosing a significant amount of hair..Her edges had already come out before Dec 2009 so I stop with the rubber bands..but I was still styling her hair everyday..In Dec 2009 I started using the Carol's daughter products but no improvement to her hair..My daughter now only have hair around the crown of her head and I can't bear to even look at it sometime..Did I really take my Baby's hair completely out before she turned 3..I asked myself that..I'm taking her to a Dermatologist Tue..but if any got any harsh helpful words for me they will be greatly appreciated.. oh by the way one of my sister's friends gave me some used hair bows and I used them in my daughter's hair too..How could I have been so!!!!! STUPID

  9. I'm glad you're here Vermont1st! Welcome! Your pain is palpable--you remind me of myself when I had to cut away my oldest daughter's hair to even up the mess I had made. I cried and beat myself up too--but one thing I learned through all of that is when you know better you'll do better--please forgive yourself. Hugs to you--you're moving in the right direction by trying to make some changes. Looking at my oldest daughter. Looking back, I can't believe how much we struggled to nurse her hair back to fullness. She had the most hair in the middle of her head too. She's got enough hair on her head now for two people! Prayerfully, your daughter's hair will recover too. For now, try to concentrate on being very gentle and leaving your daughter's hair alone as much as possible. Try to keep her hair clean and moist and make sure you're protecting it at night from the sheets by covering it up with a silky cap or wrap. When my girls were really young I had success using a stocking cap.

  10. Natacha, thank you so much for your kind words. I cried when I read them..the same people that were cheering me on when I was killing her hair are the very same people that don't want to hear me talk about the hair loss so your words were more than appreciated. I bought a satin cap for her head and she started wearing it this weekend. Your daughters are beautiful..I saw your oldest daughter's hair and my heart felt better. I pray that Morgan have the same beautiful outcome.and you're so right I had no idea..I actually thought I was taking care of her hair..I didn't have no advice to pull from my mother died when I was 10 and grandmothers all gone way before my daughter was born. a HEAVEN SENT SITE..

  11. Vermont1st--Moms like you are the reason I'm doing this. I thank God for the opportunity. Don't say another word to those unsupportive people. They may not even realize their horrible advice is what yielded the hair situation you're dealing with now. Amazing how people don't make the connection. Mark my words--when your daughter's hair recovers and thrives they'll be right back with the compliments. Just watch out for the---"her hair would be sooooo long if you straighten it." Remember....they may just not get it. You know?

    I can appreciate a beautiful head of straight hair like everyone else, but I've let that go when it comes to my hair and my daughters. To me, it's like playing Russian Roulette. It's just not worth the risk. Check out my youtube channel. I interviewed my oldest daughter about her hair and her little friend. Next I interviewed her friend's parents because their daughter has such a healthy view of her hair. Very encouraging. Your daughter is so little---one day with all this work you are doing now that could be your daughter speaking. Don't give up. Here's the link to the friend's video

  12. Vermont1st--let us know how your trip to the dermotologist goes. Here a couple of more cherish my daughter links so you can get more support. We've got a growing community on Facebook. Here's the group and fan page!/group.php?gid=298474676508

  13. Hello, Natacha I watched your Youtube Video of proper hair washing..My husband and I both were glued to the computer screen...and I wanted to know what kind of conditioner do you use..Is there something you can recommend for Morgan..I also made a list of things to buy like the Apple Cider Vinger and Castile soap, and spray bottles..I'm one of those over shampoo users..I don't think shampoo every reached Morgan's scalp the way I used to pile it on her head..Mocha Girl Two has some very strong hair, I mean thick and absolutely gorgeous often do you wash your daughters's often should I wash Morgan's hair..Morgan has an appointment today but I'm thinking about making her an appointment with a Dr..more familiar with our hair..because her scalp isn't red, bruise or patchy..she just scratches in it occassionally but before I read your site and did any research I had never greased her scalp..but the satin cap keeps her little fingers from having direct contact to her scalp and the oil has helped with the itching..

  14. I read what you said about the conditoner..sorry about that question...Thank you

  15. Glad you enjoyed the video!

    Hmmmm....I'm thinking about the itchy scalp situation. I think the Dr.'s visit is a good idea. If you don't think their advice makes sense you can always try for another opinion. You are wise to look for someone familiar with our experience. I remember having horrible flaking when I was relaxed and going to a dermatologist who prescribed a really harsh shampoo and told me to wash with it every day. With a relaxer? It was a disaster! Be careful though--just because the doctor is Black doesn't automatically mean he/she understands natural hair. Pay attention to what is said. A referral is great if you can get one. Have you ever tried posting on You could ask for a referral in your general area. They have been having some tech problems with the site but it should be running well again soon.

    Does your daughter have flakes with the itching?

    If you want to apply an oil to her scalp, I've read that jojoba oil is really good. I've read that it is the closest oil to our natural sebum and that it can balance out the condition of the scalp (dryness, etc.). You may want to go really light with it though because I've also read that oiling can clog the pores on the scalp. Maybe oil her scalp after a wash like once a week or something.

    You want to look for a routine where you have to manipulate your daughter's hair as little as possible. Give it a chance to recover. I'd conditioner wash her hair with a natural conditioner like suave naturals coconut--once a week. Let the steam hit it at bath time every day--if it gets a little wet--fine. I would NOT actually shampoo (castille, black soap, poo bar, or shampoo without sodium laurate sulfate--Giovani Direct makes some) more than once a month. I think of shampoo as something to manage build up.

    I go about a month before washing my daughters' hair with shampoo unless they've been in the pool. If I need to rinse their braids I will. I also look at their scalp--if it starts looking and feeling dirty I wash sooner. If the hair smells bad...etc. I've trained myself to examine the hair and let that determine when I need to wash more so than a time frame. The only non water soluble thing i use on their hair is my shea butter mix and so I use the shampoo to manage build up.

  16. Thank you Natacha for all the time you have taken to answer my questions..No she don't have any flaking with the itching but I read that coconut oil may help my Morgan.. and I was pleasantly surprised that coconut oil is one of your oils of choice for your daughters. I finish reading other entries to your blog and I have gain a lot of confidence in moving forward with Morgan's hair..I will definitely keep you updated with my progress with Morgan's hair...MOCHA GIRLS are very bless..

  17. This article was right on time... We adopted our daughter at 14 months. I was so excited to dress her up and do her hair. In the beginning, I kept hair styles simple. Within a few months, I had over 15 different products that eventually dried the hair and caused small bumps around the hairline from pulling the rubber bands too tight. Now we keep it simple... natural oil moisturizers and loose rubber band styles(when necessary). I am watching and praying that I haven't caused permanent damage.

  18. ^^^^Thanks for sharing your experience. It's amazing how well our babies heal up. TLC can go a long way...keep us posted how your daughter does.

  19. Hi Natacha, how are you...Ever since I found your "Cherish My Daughter" site I am so much better with Morgan's hair..It hasn't grew back in a Week's time which would be really nice if it did..but I'm understanding more how my constant grooming everyday really put a strain on her hair.. Just wanted to stay in touch because before this site I was desperately seeking a mircale now I can relax and enjoy my little girl..

  20. Natacha you have really been an inspiration. I have a 7 month old baby girl and I really want to do all I can to ensure that her hair is well taken care of. Instinctively, I avoided combing her hair too often but then everybody started making comments here and there. I started feeling so bad and succumbed. Then I encountered your site during one of my many sessions searching to find the best way to handle my baby's hair, THANK YOU SO MUCH, you have been an inspiration!

  21. Great post. I have recently (8 months ago) become a new mommy again to another girl. It's funny how much you forget in 9 years (the age difference between my girls), but reading your post brought it all back. Great information as usual!

  22. Thanks Pam--check out myupdate above, in green!

  23. How can you know the difference between a baby losing their baby hair and making the hair (unnaturally) fall out?

  24. It CAN be tricky to tell. If you know you're being as gentle as possible then it's probably not unnatural breakage. I think how old the child is an indicator. My babies were born with a full head of hair and started developing a bald spot in the back of their heads once they start rolling around and being more physically active. I'd see hair on the bed, on the back of the high chair beginning around age 5 months. It took months to grow back in. An 18 month old shouldn't suddenly start losing hair unless something is wrong. HMG lost a little bit of baby hair naturally, but had more breakage later on. Having had 5 babies, and looking back on the situation I can definitely tell I caused the breakage by styling HMG's hair too often and too tight.

  25. My daughter(black) is five months with a head full of soft curly hair what should be her hair routine to keep texture

  26. I don't believe there is anything you can do to keep your baby's texture the way it is. I've had a family member constantly accuse me of forever altering my son's texture from the silky fat curls he had as a young baby to the nappy coils he has today--by cutting his hair too soon. She makes some comment about it EVERY single time we meet. That's a lot of years to be missing some silky baby hair. I've read that a baby's texture may be affected internally by hormonal changes and other health related issues--but all things being normal, texture has more to do with the shape of the follicle your daughter's hair grows out of than anything you do to her hair. Do what you can to treat it gently and keep it moist so it will stay pliable and less susceptible to breakage. Embrace whatever it does after that.

  27. I was told not to wash hair??I have not wash but put water on when take a bath and oil it with baby don't be bald, is this a good oil?? Or should I use the Apple cider vinger..etc I just want it to grow!!!!

  28. Your baby's hair WILL grow--all it needs is time. You will have to be patient. You don't need to find something special to put on her hair. Find a gentle sulfate free shampoo.You can find them in health food stores, and I'm seeing more and more in Walmart, supermarkets and target. Even Tresemme makes one. I like the shampoo bars from Bobeam Naturals--check her out on Etsy. WASH your baby's hair--oil and dead skin accumulates on her scalp just like everyone else. I'd do it once a week or one every 2 weeks. One lather should be enough if you don't put a bunch of heavy grease and stuff in her hair. Let it get wet when she bathes. Try a light oil like jojoba, sweet almond or coconut oil and apply it to her damp hair. Don't put too much--just a light coating. Be gentle and make sure you don't pull the hair too tight with hair accessories and rubber bands. That's all! My baby has so much hair and she's the one I did the least to.

  29. what is a good hair product for 6 mth she has the patch in the back of her head?

  30. Are satin pillow cases really helpful or is that too much? I have a 10 month old girl with thick curly hair on top and soft curly hair that is growing back due to breakage. She essentially has a Mohawk/bowl cut. I did not style her hair much so she had a little Afro, but around 6 months, it started breaking off. I have been told that is natural and now that she is trying to walk and she Is lying down less, it will continue to grow back. I too have taken the breakage personally. I want to help protect the hair and I heard satin caps or pillow cases help. Any insight there? I was also told to just use Vaseline??? Thank you!!!

  31. I find them helpful. I must say that I didn't use a pillow for my babies at that age, nor was I able to make them keep a cap on. The hair eventually filled in anyway.

  32. Hi,

    I am have been following your blog since my daughter was born. she is 6 months now and has a full head of hair and balding a little at the back. what do you suggest with balding? should i be doing something with her hair? i usually just spritz her hair with water in the morning and comb it out then i usually just leave it in a fro. Thanks! any suggestions will be great:)

  33. Hi,

    I am have been following your blog since my daughter was born. she is 6 months now and has a full head of hair and balding a little at the back. what do you suggest with balding? should i be doing something with her hair? i usually just spritz her hair with water in the morning and comb it out then i usually just leave it in a fro. Thanks! any suggestions will be great:)

    1. Thanks for your support! I know how frustrating that bald spot can be. Time WILL take care of it. All you can do is try not to make it worse. Try not to pull the hair around it too tight. Leave it alone as much as possible. I would slather stuff on the area but i think I was just clogging my baby's pores. I just needed to be patient. I've heard that having the baby on their backs all of the time makes it worse and that incorporating more tummy time can help. I had a baby who hated tummy time--so even this advice will have to be applied as best as what works for you. Even if you do nothing---eventually her bald spot will fill out. I comforted myself by noticing that none of the preschool girls I knew were still walking around with bald spots...:-)

  34. Thank you so much for this site AND your Youtube page. I've watched your videos many times just to get some proper techniques to help me take care of not only my daughter's hair, but mine as well.

    My daughter was one of those babies with loose curls when she was born that lasted around 1 year of age. At that time, her curl pattern began to tighten up and her hair was so dry, she had itchy, flaky patches on her scalp. In the face of family members who constantly harassed me about her dry hair and afro, I re-read your articles over and over again and watched your videoss and realized "it would all be ok". I did NOT need to constantly style her hair to please others; my job was to make sure her scalp was healthy and that meant getting her eczema diagnosis, working to follow doctor's orders and using common sense when it came to styling her hair.

    Now, my daughter is 2 1/2 years old and has hair to her shoulder blades that I keep braided up and moisturized. Her scalp is flake-free and though I will always work very hard to keep her hair moisturized, it's thriving.

    Thank you for all your hard work. This is the first time I've posted anything, but know that I am so grateful to you and your family for sharing your experiences and being an inspiration to my little family (my daughter and me :) ). -Sistahknow

    1. hi my daughter is 19 mths old now an have dry flaky scalp i dnt over style her hair so what is it that you use to keep her scalp good an hydrated.

  35. Is 10 months too young to cornwow hair or twist? (My daughter grandmother does this ) ???

  36. Personally I think if the baby's hair is really short and can be shaped into a little fro--that's the best style for a 10 month old. However if the babies hair has grown long and causes her to sweat or gets really matted then cornrows should be fine. Make sure they are not done tightly and too often. If you are doing cornrows are they left in for at least a week? I think their hair appreciates minimum manipulation.

  37. i have a two year old and she has a lot of hair she do not like no one combing her. so i brush her hair in one and put a ponytail or wen she is sleeping i comb her i just like to know what type of shampoo do i use or what do i use to keep her hair soft.

    1. I have a 18 month old daughter and her weak spots are her side in the back of her head. Her hair started to come out in the back when she was 5 months old, & I have had problems every since then. Her hair came out from one side towards the back up to the other side. Before she turned 1 years old her cousin braided her hair and put beads on them, in one day when I took her hair down I noticed that I rubber band caught hold of one of the braid and the rubber band took everything that it caught OUT!!! Which left her with a huge bald spot on the right side of her head. I'm still trying to grow her hair in like it was when she was first born, because she had a head full of hair. I am currently using Jamaican black castor oil, vitamin E oil, coconut oil,sweet almond oil, S Curl moisturizer sulfate free shampoo and I let her hair air dry. I am lost for things to do to her head, and if you can please help me out with this one I would greatly appreciate it. I currently have braids and beads in there now but those areas are still a problem for me.

  38. The Scunci curly hair accessories is really very nice. I want to use this one. Please Visit:

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  39. beautiful....ultimate....and usefule info

    What should I Include In My Hair Care Routine
    If you want healthy and shiny hair then you need daily care for that. Using expensive cosmetics only can not better treat you hair. It is very important that it is included in you daily hair care routine.

    Here in this section we are giving you some easy hair care routine maintaining tips.

  40. My daughtter is 5 months old and has two textured hair. The back is very curly, soft and easy to mousterize while the top is course, thick, Dry afro like and never seem to be mouturized no matter how much oil I put in it. Please help me grow and resture my baby girls hair and make it 1 texture. :-(.
    I live in Jamaica and not all the products u mentioned are availabe here.

  41. Replies
    1. The bac is straight and curly while the top is afro like.

  42. If your children are experiencing the hair loss problem from childhood then you must get focused on their treatment as there are some crucial diseases that can affect their whole body. You can go through our blog post for more information.


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