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Should you lock your child's hair for you?

What if my four daughter's had locks and I allowed their locks to free form--meaning I allow the locks to form on their own? Even if I chose to cultivate their locks, wouldn't my routine would be much simpler? Imagine only having to maintain one to two inches of new growth every other month by twisting or latching the roots! Imagine NEVER detangling again! I mean, I don't think locks look that great--maybe on some people, but wouldn't it be worth it so I wouldn't have to struggle through these long grooming sessions anymore? It's taking over my life, shouldn't I have the right to choose whether I want to give that much? What about me?


I feel so blessed to be able to adopt this baby girl from the continent of Africa. I only know how to deal with straight and wavy hair. I love my new daughter so much already, but I'm completely overwhelmed by dealing with her hair. My friends are telling me I don't stand a chance, and that the easiest thing for me to do is lock my baby's hair. Nappy hair is so much harder to manage than my own hair. Maybe they're right because I can't imagine weaving those complicated styles I've seen Black mothers do on their daughters. Maybe that skill is innate. My one Black friend is always telling me to do exactly the opposite of what I've been reading online on the hair blogs. I know she doubts I can handle this. Maybe I should lock this baby's hair...if I do it early enough, she'll never know the difference.

I tackle this issue in my latest Hot Topic Video. Check it out--I look forward to reading your thoughts.


  1. For the past couple of weeks I have had thoughts of locking my daughter's hair pop into my head. She is two years old and biracial--I'm White and her dad is Black. It's not because I have issues with her hair, I absolutely love her hair. It's because I really think the small and thin locks are beautiful! At the same time I kind of feel it might be easier to care for her hair...(that's me being shameful because it's a selfish reason). I adore braiding my daughter's hair and am learning how to do the more intricate braids so that I can cornrow and flat rope twist her hair myself. I also realize that with the smaller locks we would still be able to style her hair in plaits and twists. I asked her father about his thoughts and he just looked at me lol. I haven't had anyone telling me I'm not doing a good job with her hair and I'm comfortable enough with the caregivers at her daycare that are Black to ask them for suggestions and advice on how to care for her hair and they gladly help me out! I realize that locks are a permanent thing, so I've decided to wait until she's older to bring up the idea of locking her hair. I want my daughter to love her hair and understand how beautiful her curls are and the color of her hair is. By locking it would I take these things away from her? She wouldn't be able to have the rows of beads in her hair to click and clack like her friends do and right now being able to sit and swing her braids with her friends is more important to her than me seeing a head full of beautiful locks. I haven't watched your video yet, I plan on doing so when I get home. I'm anxious to hear your views on this topic--thank you for posting this!

  2. I made the decision when my daughter was very young that she (and any future girls) will only be able to alter their hair from it's natural texture/style when they are old enough to do it/pay for it themselves. When I made that decision I also included blowdyring it straight, though she may be able to change my mind when she's older if she tries hard enough.

    I understand that there is a mentality out there that whatever takes the least amount of time is the easiest. There is a consistent effort from my husbands family to convince me that making hair straight through texturizer or hot combs is the best way to go. And for a while my husband felt the same way. So I guess it's the stubborness in me that made me set out to prove that hair in it's natural state can be easy! It's taken a lot of time (and money) but it's been worth it. In the beginning it was tough, but I realize now that I was using the wrong products and I didn't understand that her natural texture can be enhanced rather than needing to be tamed. Now that I understand what her 4a texture needs and how it is different from that 3c or 3b or 4b child down the road, and I have the right products, she's styling. As time goes by I'm actually doing less work when it comes to her hair, and it looks better.

    I would never relax or lock my daughter's hair to make it easier for ME. If when she's doing her own hair and she wants to make it easier for HER, than sure.

    As a white woman my message to everyone I can share it with is that black hair is not intimidating and it's not difficult. It just takes patience. A lot of time in the beginning means less time later. I do understand that there is a history surrounding black hair in North America, and that there are mentalities that are hard to break out of. But we are blessed today to have the internet to share with each other and amazing products for all hair types so we don't have to think about what is easiest.

  3. Nikki-there's nothing wrong with wanting locks for your daughter if you love locks. Locks are NOT permanent. People pick them out all of the time and post videos of themselves doing it right on YouTube. With lots of patience and determination you could do the same with your daughter if you lock her hair. My problem isn't the idea that locks are permanent and parents are making permanent choices for their children. I am against the mentality of a parent choosing to lock a child's hair because they are frustrated with managing their child's hair loose. There's no real attraction to locks--in fact they may even disdain locks but feel it's better than continuing with the loose hair. Frustration is real but we can change our methods and expectations.

    I'm also against the mentality of a parent who forces their child to cultivate locks when they clearly don't want locks. I think the message being communicated about the child's natural texture is detrimental.

    @Shan Thanks for your thoughts. Well said.

  4. Now that I watch the video, I see where your post was going. I do agree with both of you, I wouldn't lock Baby O's hair just to make my life easier. That's not fair to her, unless she was old enough to make the decision that she really wanted them. Like you said in the video, Baby O needs to be just O before she can understand and decide on her own if she wants locks. I also won't allow an chemicals in her hair, while she's under my roof. I just can't imagine chancing ruining her beautiful curl pattern. Thank you again, for this post--made me sit back and think why I really was pondering locks.

  5. Great topic! I myself am a proud mother to a beautiful brown skinned, corkscrew curly headed Ethiopian girl. Personally, my feelings are mixed on this subject. When we brought our sweet peas home 22 months ago I was so disappointed that they had recently cut her hair. Now looking back I am so thankful her hair was short.

    The first year of becoming a family is exhilerating, overwhelming and emotionally exhausting. There was so much happening with attachment that I couldn't imagine having to figure out our baby girl's hair on top of it.

    For me the learning curve was steep. My hair is stick straight and greasy. I was truly dumbfounded when I learned people with curly hair cowash and don't wash their hair everyday. It was a whole new world for me.

    But for me, locs were never a consideration nor was straightening her hair. I adore her curls. Even when I would sit crying in frustration because I felt like I was failing our daughter miserably I never considered locs. Still to this day I am slower than a seven year itch at styling. But I no longer care. I no longer care when bloggers talk about detangling in 20 minutes when it still takes me almost an hour. I don't care when someone can do mini twists in 3 hours and it takes me 5 hours. I no longer care that my daughter has never had beads in her hair or an elaborate maze of braids covering her head. I choose the routine and styles that work best for both of us.

    I would hope that for those of us adopting whether we are willing to take on the challenge of curly hair should be a factor in the country you decide on. If you do not like dealing with curly hair then don't adopt a child who is going to have curly hair. It's that simple. Saying you don't want to "deal" with their hair is saying you do not accept a part of who they are.

    But... for those who have tried and feel like they have failed, I believe there needs to be alternatives. Locs is a great alternative.

    I know a mom who chose this path for her daughter after she failed to manage the hair on her own. She had her hair professionally done and they taught her how to maintain them. It has been 4 years and her daughter's hair is amazing! The mom has never been negative about her daugher's hair; just honest about her own short comings.

    Another woman I know has chosen to keep her little girls hair short. This way she can still keep her hair natural.

    I believe expecting all mothers to be able to manage curly hair in its natural state is just not realistic. All of us have strengths and weaknesses. I think it is better to realize our weaknesses and figure out how to worth with them. If this means locs or short hair then go for it!

  6. I haven't watched your video but I will say that both my girls have locs, started at ages 4 and 6.

    I am a white mom. I made the choice for my younger daughter first because she was (and still is) extremely tender headed. No matter how much spray detangler, oil, how gentle I was, she would cry until she made herself throw up when I, or anyone else, did her hair.

    My older daughter chose to have locs when she saw her sister's maintenance routine and how easy it was.

    They look great, if I say so myself, and get tons of compliments. I have even been asked for advice on loc care and maintenance.

  7. Hi,

    I would like to contact you as I have a lot of questions. I don't have a facebook account, may I email?

  8. You can send me a private message through my YouTube channel if you'd like.

  9. I have wanted to loc my daughter's hair for over 2 years. She is almost 6 now and I am about to start our journey this weekend. I have learned how to care for her hair, I've learned how to do 2-strand twists, cornrows, and many other creative hair styles, but what has finalized my decision is this: When I say it is time to do hair, she cries and begs for more time to play or anything but that! I feel like this is damaging to her relationship with her hair and it doesn't help that her sister's hair has a more relaxed curl that takes less time to care for and can be worn down. When I do her hair it takes hours, even a quick style will take an hour and she is so active, it is ruined within a couple days, I hate to beg her to watch out for her hair... I don't have to say that to her sister. Some days, we can't leave the house because we don't have enough time to do hair. I know people judge her when we leave the safety of our home and her hair is a bit fuzzy. I am aware that locs can be taken out and I am willing to do that if she asks. I just wish women would not be so judgmental about hair!

  10. Women can be VERY judgemental. i had to challenge myself about how much that matters to me anymore. I go out with their hair fuzzy and I enjoy my life and they do too. I was once that judgemental woman shaking my head, and if there is anyone around with the standards I had then--they are DEFINITELY shaking their heads at me. I no longer care. It's freedom for me and my girls.


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