First Haircut

By: Jillian Lauren

As a Leo mom who is still technically a licensed cosmetologist in the state of California, I love Tariku’s hair long. But my fantasies of him looking like the newest member of the Jackson 5 have been at war with my dread of the daily battle to detangle. So we decided that we’d just take a tiny bit off the ends and hope that made it easier to comb through.

I’m not sure what traumatized me most about the experience. First, I showed up at the salon and was told by the stylist (after having cancelled on me last week) that she was running behind and I’d have to wait an hour. An hour. With my two-year-old. Needless to say I was heading out the door when the owner walked in and offered to do it. I threw caution to the wind and let her cut it. Tariku liked her and she did an okay job, though when I pick it out he looks a little bit like a lopsided bonsai. Plus it’s shorter than I would have liked.

T was a trooper and he was just happy that I brought his muppets DVD. He LOVES Miss Piggy. He doesn’t care one way or the other about his hair. I, however, have been randomly crying ever since.

I have to remind myself that it’s not the end of the world and that childhoods are chock-full of bad haircuts. But it was so hard watching her cut his hair and thinking that it had been a part of him for his whole life.

It’s also hard to explain the pressure that accompanies being a white mom dealing with black hair. It’s a loaded subject and everyone has an opinion. I have actually been stopped in the street by a barber who offered to cut it for me. I thanked him but told him that I’m kind of a hippie and my kid is going to go to hippie schools where no one is going to tease him because he has an afro.

As a mom, how can you always know that the choices you’re making are going to foster a positive self-image? I just want him to love his awesome hair. I want him to keep loving all of himself as much as he does today. I’m not exactly sure how to foster that kind of self love, but I’m committed to trying.


  1. says

    I think you can have hippie hair and still have it managed great. I would find a black barber or stylist who can help you and style it the way you want but have experience with this type of hair. My friends who are black all use special oils and certain shampoo and go to only barbers and salons that work on this type of hair. My BF who is black goes only to two places and can have his hair longer or shorter and when he pics it if not styled right it is cut uneven. T is so cute it doesn’t really matter but maybe it needs to have treatments that make it easier to manage the way you like it.

  2. says

    There are also a ton of tutorials on YouTube, which is what I had to consult in order to manage my hair after I cut my locs off and switched to an afro.

    For T some simple suggestions:

    1. Heavily condition it during his nighttime bath.

    2. Detangle it when it’s wet with a detangling comb (which you can find at Sally’s) during his nighttime bath.

    3. Use something like almond, jojoba, or coconut oil in the morning and just fingercomb it out.

    4. Get it trimmed by a black stylist (a woman might be better than a barber), and let her know that you’re going for length.

    5. Don’t be afraid to ask your black girlfriends for suggestions. I know it might be intimidating to you, but they’re really your best resource and trust me, they won’t be insulted, just happy to help.

    On another note, I somewhat understand how you feel, since I have to remind my white husband that I will TURN OVER IN MY GRAVE if something happens to me and he doesn’t figure out how to do our daughter’s hair after my demise. I’ve given him the same instructions, and told him to just ask someone rather than go around letting her look “crazy.” But he has a lot of fear surrounding our daughter’s hair, too.

  3. says

    Re 2: To be more exact. Detangle it with the conditioner still in his hair. Makes it WAY easier. Then rinse it all out.

    Once you get down a simple routine, you can move on to doing stuff like cornrows at night, which makes it super-big in the morning and will give you the big hippie look you’re going for when you pick it out.

    Oh, and depending on T’s hair, you should only have to detangle it about once or twice a week if you oil it up in the mornings.

  4. says

    Oh Jillian welcome to my world, but I have a teenage girl so imagine the hair tragedies! =) Madge hit it on the head. Take him to a black barber. For years and years my hubby, nieces and sis n laws did Tatiana’s hair but then when it was time for a perm it was time to get professional! We now go to a black salon/barber shop and I sit there always always the ONLY white person there. However I am now a regular with Tatiana! =)

    You must read my hair story and salon story… will totally relate.

    The hair washing is VERY infrequent. Check with the barber on how often.

    By the way your son is just toooo cute!!!

    Interracial Fams =)

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