'Teaching our kids to love themselves': Natural hair blogger and mom shares confidence-building tips

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"I guess it all boils down to loving yourself and teaching our kids to love ALL of themselves, including their natural hair". (Supplied/Stephanie Mashigo)
"I guess it all boils down to loving yourself and teaching our kids to love ALL of themselves, including their natural hair". (Supplied/Stephanie Mashigo)

Local mom Stephanie Mashigo has lockdown, a mishap with hair dye and pregnancy to thank for unintentionally ending her 28-year relationship with hair straighteners and starting her natural hair blog Raising Curly Girls

"I first started my natural hair journey during the lockdown in April 2020," Mashigo told Parent24, joking that this was after she had "gone a little wild and went blonde". 

"After years of relaxing my hair, this was not a smart thing to do, and it left my hair damaged and weak. I tried to remedy the damage by dying it black. It just made it worse. When I found out I was pregnant with our second daughter, I decided to give the chemicals a break and try this natural hair thing for real". 

Also read: Top hair care tips for anti-washing warriors

'I just hated my own hair'

The mom of two says it took the break from straightening for her to realise that she had never learned to take care of her hair without relaxers. 

"The very first time my hair was relaxed was when I was four years old. I was visiting with my grandmother, and she decided my wild curly mane needed to be tamed," Stephanie says. 

"I used to look at photos of curly girls and wonder why my hair didn't look like that. I just didn't know how to care for it, and neither did my mom. I just hated my own hair," the mom of two says, adding that she had noticed her love-hate hair relationship rub off on her daughter. 

"She hated wash days and hated her crown just as much because it wasn't deemed 'desirable' and it was difficult to manage". 

Since moving to natural hair care techniques, Mashigo says her daughter "simply loves doing her own hair".

"I tried for the longest time to teach my daughter to love her natural hair, but I didn't love mine, and she could see that every day. Me embracing my own hair was a game-changer". 

'It builds self-confidence'

While it may seem superficial, Stephanie says that she believes it's important to teach children to embrace their hair in whatever shape or form and views this as another way parents can teach self-love. 

"I guess it all boils down to loving yourself and teaching our kids to love ALL of themselves, including their natural hair. It builds self-confidence and empowers them. Setting them up for life!"

This was also her motivation for starting the blog. "In sharing our videos, we've had so many mommies reach out to us for guidance in learning how to care for their children's natural hair."

Also see: Is hair washday creating a power struggle between you and your toddler? You need to read this

'Spend some time understanding your little one's hair'

"Not every day is a great hair day," Stephanie says of what new and potential naturals need to know about the natural hair journey. 

She also warns against making comparisons and rushing through hair care.

"Be patient in learning how to care for it… Your hair will not look the same after every wash day- and that's ok too. It's authentic, and you'll have a fresh look every week. Enjoy it!"

On what moms and dads can do to make wash day easier, Stephanie provided the following tips:

Choosing products

Spend some time understanding your little one's hair and how it responds to products. This helps a lot when choosing which products to use and how to apply them. These things matter and make a huge difference when done right.

Don't rush 

Choose a day that gives you enough time, so you're not rushing wash day. We normally do Saturday or Sunday washdays.  

Make it fun and do it together

It's also an opportunity to bond with your little ones and teach them about self-care.

Get curl-friendly 

Invest in curly-friendly products and a good detangling brush. Trust me on this- it makes all the difference.

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