Mom Posts Photo of 4-Month-Old Daughter with Straightened Hair on Facebook, Sparks Outrage

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A picture of a 4-month-old baby girl with straightened hair (seemingly by flat ironing) has circulated Facebook, sparking outrage and broaching the question: How young is too young to introduce children to hair straightening and relaxers. While women, both natural and relaxed, have denounced the mother because the child is so young, my question is, how is this any different than straightening/relaxing a child’s hair at age 4 or 8 or 12 or 15? The message being transmitted from mother to child is the same: Your hair is not okay as it is and would look better if it were straight. Sending that message to a preteen girl is just as harmful as sending it to a baby (I mean, at least the baby doesn’t fully understand what’s going on!) It’s unfortunate how hair insecurities are so often passed on from black mother to child, almost like a rite of passage. Ladies, what are your thoughts?

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founding editor of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008), social media and black beauty enthusiast. When I'm not here, I'm moderating a Facebook group for black mothers called Black Moms Connect.


158 thoughts on “Mom Posts Photo of 4-Month-Old Daughter with Straightened Hair on Facebook, Sparks Outrage

  1. Many people have asked what is wrong with relaxing or heat processing a child’s hair. The same thing that is wrong with doing that to an adults hair but magnify it by 100. Relaxers do not just sit on the scalp they penetrate and form a thick black/green layer onto the skull. They cause different health problems the longer you use them. Some people have reported severe migraines, seizures, etc. A mortician told me that when a body comes onto her table that is unidentifiable she can usually determine if she is a black female by the amount of burns on the scalp and skull. When my Aunt had her brain tumor removed they charged her $300 for a scalp scrape to remove the relaxer residue before they drilled into the brain. It is more serious than just self esteem it is a health issue and this should be considered child abuse. The same way we would consider taking our young children to a tanning booth or giving them a tatoo. Just because the parents do not understand the seriousness does not change damage they are inflicting on the child. When it comes to self esteem if more parents focused on personality traits instead of beauty than that would be a big help. Telling your child constantly how beautiful she is the way she is will do wonders. I NEVER recommend relaxing but if someone wants to heat process and doesn’t mind the shedding or the awkward “in-between” stage then more power to them as long as you don’t overdue it and cause breakage or burning. This young child however, does have soft spots and it is quite dangerous to put a hot comb or flat iron on her hair. Even if she says she didn’t go close to the scalp the heat travels up the hair and to the scalp anyway. This is really sad on so many levels. Not only what she did as a mother but the amount of people who have no idea what they are doing to their bodies by using different chemicals.

  2. Um..maybe it’s a bad idea because of the dangerous chemicals and or damaging heat that the ‘mother’ is exposing ths baby too. Forget natural or relaxed, who cares. But, where in heck is the common sense and maternal instinct?

  3. Nothing is wrong with straightening hair in and of itself, but this is a health issue. The baby’s mole is still open, so she is more exposed to risk than a ten yr old.

  4. What if she moved and it burned her. Im not going to straighten my kids hair until she is 7. Until then she is gonna rock her natural state before she wants a change. I would do wash and gos, braid outs, twist outs. etc you name it except heat or chemicals

  5. While I agree that this is not smart! Using harsh chemicals on a child is terrible! However, I wish we would stop arguing about what adults do to THEIR own hair. I am natural because my hair is manageable and I like it this way but I do not condemn people who straighten their hair. Not everyone finds managing natural hair easy. It should be their choice. Other people with natural hair often frown at me because they ASSUME my hair is relaxed because my natural curl pattern is very loose especially when I use detangling conditioners. I don’t broadcast that it is natural because it is my business! I am just sick of people finding reasons to segregate themselves! Enough already! Let’s applaud any woman if they are happy and healthy!

  6. I find it interesting that so many people are upset about this but in the same breath speak negatively of Beyonce and JayZ letting their daughter run around rocking her natural hair. The picture of Jay Z holding Blue on her birthday that has circled around many social sites all have comments of how she needs her hair done even straightened. A child’s hair is so sensitive and not much should be done to it outside of washing and conditioning it. It is the parent’s job to teach their child how to take care of themselves but more importantly how to love themselves as God made them. Heavy management of a child’s hair can lead to hair damage and the hair not properly growing in right. This is why so many girls at young ages have distressed and thinned edges and hair growth issues. The mother should let the child’s hair be and everyone putting down Blue Ivy’s natural styles should stop she’s also too young for excessive styling.

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