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?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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

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Rachel R.
Okay I’m real­ly ticked off now. Lets get to the point. Lets get it out on the table and YES some­one is going to get mad what I have to say. All the this maddness starts at home. It begins with our grand­moth­ers and they’re moth­ers before them which has been hand­ed down gen­er­a­tion after gen­er­a­tion that our hair is ugly. If the moth­ers and fathers of the 21st cen­tu­ry can not teach there chil­dren to love the beau­ty that is with­in them. Who do we keep blam­ing? Sor­ry but this pic real­ly upsets me. Thats only a baby and… Read more »

I total­ly agree!

While my child’s(when I have one) hair will not be straight­ened as long as it is my choice and not hers. Straight­en­ing a baby’s hair def­i­nite­ly isn’t exact­ly the same as straight­en­ing an old­er child’s and while I am an advo­cate for nat­ur­al hair and don’t think that it is send­ing a good mes­sage when you say that a child’s hair MUST be straight­ened. I think it is push­ing it to accuse a moth­er who straight­ens her child’s hair of being a bad mother(which I have seen done more than once online). My mom gave me my first relax­er at… Read more »

This is just wrong one false move, one slight sway of her head and she could have had a hor­ren­dous acci­dent that could have fatal­ly injured that child.
You seri­ous­ly have issues if you feel the need so des­per­ate­ly to straight­en your 4 month old baby’s hair you can bring a flat iron/hot comb or what­ev­er appli­ance used to your baby’s head. There are more impor­tant things that need to be con­sid­ered at that age then her tex­ture. *I’m appalled!*


While I don’t con­done straight­en­ing a baby’s hair…I do have a dif­fer­ent take on it. Some women treat their daugh­ters like lit­tle baby dolls. They want to dress them up, do their hair, put nail pol­ish on them, etc. I think she viewed it very inno­cent­ly. I know some moms who are quite over zeal­ous braid­ing their daugh­ters hair to the point where the baby is already suf­fer­ing from thining/receding edges…and I think to myself “real­ly?!” Ulti­mate­ly every­thing you do should be in the best inter­est of your child.


That’s what I thought at first — but I didn’t real­ly think about the baby not sit­ting still and the high poten­tial of burn­ing her child (I’m rarely around babies). I’m glad the baby is okay and this woman needs manda­to­ry par­ent­ing class­es.


There are many peo­ple who need par­ent­ing class­es for many rea­sons. What makes you sure she needs it? Though we may think of it as sil­ly for her to have done that, it’s under­stand­able to want to do your children’s hair in dif­fer­ent ways. I am going to assume she took ad much pre­cau­tion as some­one braid­ing a child’s hair. Just because you see one small thing hap­pen doesn’t mean you rule that per­son out as a par­ent. Can you imag­ine some­one con­tin­u­ing on straight­en­ing as they burn their child’s head every two sec­onds? High­ly unlike­ly.

Rose Red

Anoth­er apol­o­gist and anoth­er lack­ing empa­thy for an inno­cent baby you are mak­ing excus­es dang even black women don’t have love for an inno­cent baby!


Now you are just trolling. How is one woman’s deci­sion to look at the mother’s pos­si­ble moti­va­tions objec­tive­ly a sign that black women here don’t have sym­pa­thy for and empa­thy with this baby?


This is inap­pro­pri­ate. The moth­er needs to reeval­u­ate what she’s doing before child ser­vices come in. I don’t real­ly care about hair at a old­er age, straight, curly, coarse. It all depends on the per­son and who they are. I say a person’s hair can also tell a lot about a per­son. But this… Is just unfor­giv­able.


I agree with others–this is more fun­da­men­tal than the ques­tion of whether you choose to alter your child’s hair tex­ture or not. I remem­ber my scalp being burned with a flat iron even after I was old enough to sit still. On an infant, I can’t imag­ine tak­ing that kind of risk. Her response to the friend who asks whether it’s safe “It’s just her hair” is maybe the most dis­turb­ing part–like she didn’t ignore the risks, it just didn’t occur to her that there were any.

I don’t think it right at any age. When i was young I also fell vic­tim to soci­ety feel­ing like my hair need­ed to be relaxed to fit in. I also fell vic­tim to dam­ag­ing my hair. I am now a respon­si­ble adult with a 15 year old of my own. And she also has nev­er had a relax­er and I let her know every­day of life that she is a beau­ti­ful, intel­li­gent, strong young African Amer­i­can women. How­ev­er she is the rea­son that I am nat­ur­al today how can I explain the impor­tance of being your­self, and being hap­py… Read more »

I get the dis­tinct feel­ing that this “moth­er” is very young. Not that it is an excuse but her com­plete igno­rance of how inap­pro­pri­ate this is or how dan­ger­ous this is leads me to that con­clu­sion. Who even thinks to do things like that?


If it was all that, they have baby wigs that babies use in those pageants. But real­ly this is just sil­ly. Nobody is check­ing for a baby’s hair. Some babies her age don’t even have hair! Peo­ple aren’t gonna be like, “Wow your baby is so cute, but WHOA her hair is NAPPY!” Mom­ma needs pro­fes­sion­al (psy­cho­log­i­cal) help.

First, my moth­er straight­ened (press­ing comb) and lat­er permed my hair since I was…well, before I can even remem­ber. But at least from five years for­ward. I don’t recall receiv­ing the mes­sage that my hair wasn’t ok. My moth­er took excel­lent care of my hair until well into adult hood. I mad the deci­sion to go nat­ur­al and lat­er to perm and then back to nat­ur­al. All with her hands to care for it. I dare to say, she took bet­ter care of my hair than of me and I nev­er received the mes­sage that my hair wasn’t “good enough”.… Read more »

Your mom may not have ver­bal­ly said your hair was bad, but the fact that she was using a per­ma­nent relax­er on your hair from before you can remem­ber is an indi­rect way of say­ing she prefers your hair straight than nap­py. It’s not her hair, yet she relax­es it for what pur­pose? It would be one thing if this was real­ly about style but when you use a per­ma­nent method to alter someone’s appear­ance that means you are try­ing to CHANGE some­one.

Rose Red

Peo­ple like you are part of the prob­lem that BP have you showed zero sym­pa­thy with that baby, I feel sor­ry for you!! That is a clear cut case of child abuse.


You need to calm down. Sounds like you’re mis­in­ter­pret­ing what Blac­girl­lost said. Looks like she doesn’t agree with straight­en­ing a baby’s hair from the above com­ment.


Thanks for your hon­esty Black­girlost. I also think that the mother’s deci­sion was fool­ish and unwise, but beyond that, we can­not judge her.


Of course we can, I’m JUDGING all day and all night, where did this idea that no one can be judged no mat­ter what their actions umm­mm since when? I can’t mete out jus­tice but damn right I’m judg­ing this imbe­cile.


Let the church say AMEN


The church says, in fact Jesus says, “DO NOT JUDGE… JUDGEMENT IS MURDER.” Jesus is the wis­est man who ever lived and I’ll take his advice and not yours.

The church says, in fact Jesus says, “DO NOT JUDGE… JUDGEMENT IS MURDER.” Jesus is the wis­est man who ever lived and I’ll take his advice and not yours.”  No. He didn’t say judg­ing is mur­der the Bible says hat­ing some­one in your heart is like mur­der-which makes sense as that tends to be the first step-( 1 John 1:15). And being angry in itself isn’t even a sin (Eph­esians 4:26). It is pos­si­ble to be upset by an act and not hate the per­son. Besides, Jesus did plen­ty of judg­ing and tells us to. John 7:24 says to judge with… Read more »

Thank you. I’m so tired of see­ing peo­ple mis­use the Scrip­tures pro­scrib­ing judg­ing.


Nice to meet some­one who knows their stuff.


If you think I will ever be swayed by a fake chris­t­ian like your­self you are sad­ly mis­tak­en. Some of the worst peo­ple I have ever met go to church every Sun­day.


Let the church fol­low Jesus, as one body in love, as Jesus preached.


Um yeah, you can read the response above.…


I would urge any chris­tians who feel moved by what has hap­pened to this child, to pray for her rather than judge her moth­er.


What the heck for? You’re telling me her hair was so coarse it couldn’t be man­aged any oth­er way? And the child looks fool­ish with that bone straight hair. What mes­sage are we send­ing her at such a young age? I wan­na see a pic of the mom. Hope she’s not one of those sad indi­vid­u­als with Blond hair and blue con­tant lens­es.


The mes­sage? What about the health of a baby? What kind of moth­er brings the heat of a straight­en­ing iron or worse, the chem­i­cal burn of a relax­er, to their child’s scalp? Social Ser­vices, any­one?




-1 Guys you guys are total­ly being ridicu­lous. You guys must be upset because yall did­nt have the choice to have nat­ur­al or straight hair as a baby and tak­ing it out on the babys mom. What dif­fer­ence does it make


THAT IS A 4 MONTH OLD BABY! That baby’s brain could be per­ma­nent­ly dam­aged for life, AND if she was old­er we could talk about her self esteem etc but it’s not just the hair it’s what’s under it, smh. Was your com­ment real­ly even a ques­tion?? .…I can’t.


The moth­er has some real self hate issues!! Poor baby.


This is some tru­ly ridicu­lous ish! And some peo­ple won­der why they have a hard time grow­ing and main­tain­ing healthy hair. SMH! This looks like child abuse.


My con­cern is the safe­ty of the child…4 month old babies are active and I don’t know how it could be safe to use heat on a child that is con­stant­ly mov­ing around. Also, at only 4 months old, the baby is way too young to have her hair looks this. She is a cute baby, but her hair looks ridicu­lous!


Looks like child abuse to me. Why can’t par­ents take a “do no harm” oath to their chil­dren? Does the baby real­ly look asthet­i­cal­ly bet­ter with that hair?


I agree. I’m sure the baby’s hair looked much bet­ter before the moth­er decid­ed to straight­en it. I don’t even know how the baby sat still through all of that, but this moth­er has clear­ly made a bad deci­sion.


I agree. Def­i­nite­ly child abuse. If that woman got arrest­ed for tak­ing her nine year old into a tan­ning bed, then I think straight­en­ing a 4 month olds’ hair def­i­nite­ly falls into the same cat­e­go­ry of abuse.

Yet, a lot of white moth­ers bleach their children’s hair because they have been brain­washed to believe that blonde hair is supe­ri­or to their nat­ur­al mousy-brown hair. Jack­ie Evancho’s hair, the 9yr. old girl from the tal­ent show, has had her hair bleached prac­ti­cal­ly white. You see this over and over with whites who can­not even remem­ber their hair col­or they have been bleach­ing for so long. The first thing that hap­pens when white women, espe­cial­ly when they go on TV, is that they get out the bleach-Shawn John­son , the gym­nast, bleached every bit of col­or out of her… Read more »

Well said. Thank you.


That was a long but wor­thy read. I thought I was the only one who noticed the BS with car­toon and kids shows. I let my son know ear­ly on that beau­ty does not equal white/light skin.


No excus­es. That was a Hor­ri­ble deci­sion on the moth­er. What was she think­ing?


That is redicu­lous!!! Come on now, the baby’s hair foli­cles haven’t even ful­ly devel­oped yet. This is an act of bad par­ent­ing. I won­der how old the moth­er is? Is straight hair REALLY that impor­tant? What’s the benifit of straight hair on a child that young, I mean at 4mons it can’t be that hard to comb.


How low can peo­ple get? The baby’s real tex­ture comes through after 1 so no one should be doing that so young. That is plain igno­rance with Google at your fin­ger­tips that is real­ly shock­ing.


This is clear­ly a case of “child endan­ger­ment” and less of a self-esteem issue. The babies skull is still devel­op­ing, the hair fol­li­cles are still pro­duc­ing, and on top of that most of an infants hair is “lanu­go” not the babies actu­al hair. I ques­tion the age of the moth­er, the depth of her intel­li­gence, and her abil­i­ty to par­ent. I’m sor­ry, but this moth­er should be arrest­ed, because clear­ly this is the begin­ning of some seri­ous abuse, which I guar­an­tee will snow­ball into some­thing far worse, of some­one does not inter­vene.

Thick Nigerian Hair
“…my ques­tion is, how is this any dif­fer­ent than straightening/relaxing a child’s hair at age 4 or 8 or 12 or 15?” Is that a real ques­tion? Biol­o­gy would answer that. “Fontanelles are soft spots on a baby’s head which, dur­ing birth, enable the bony plates of the skull to flex, allow­ing the child’s head to pass through the birth canal. The ossi­fi­ca­tion of the bones of the skull caus­es the fontanelles to close over by 18 to 24 months.” ~http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fontanelle This means the pro­tec­tive barrier–the skull–is not cov­er­ing every­thing and not ful­ly ossi­fied. I’m sure that this area has dif­fer­ent… Read more »

Thanks for that extra info. I hadn’t con­sid­ered the devel­op­ment of the brain at this age. Very un-nec­es­sary at this age. 

I’m with @Iva as well, the post is also word­ed in a way that baits peo­ple for comments–guess it worked.


Exact­ly @ thick Niger­ian hair. This has noth­ing to do with esteem, but pro­tec­tion of the brain. I know Jamaican’s who don’t cut a baby’s hair until they are 2 because they don’t want to hurt the baby’s ten­der head.

This is just wrong.

Agree with Thick Niger­ian it is com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent. I think the guide­line for boys get­ting a hair­cut is one year old because by that point they have begun to be able to sit still. A 4, 8,12, or 15 year-old can sit still a four month old clear­ly can’t. I think the mother’s an idiot and pos­si­bly a dan­ger­ous one for doing that to her child but try­ing to make this a larg­er debate for the pur­pose of com­ments is a lit­tle disin­gen­u­ous. In no way do I sup­port giv­ing a 4 or 8 or 12 year old a relax­er… Read more »

So agree as well .. well said Thick Niger­ian this hve noth­ing to do with it being a mes­sage. It’s about the health & well being of an baby still con­sid­ered infant. This is real cause some of the ppl (fb)members are list­ed in the com­ments. Wow !!

Coco mane

This is the result of igno­rance!! Clear­ly this mom does not have the tools to raise a child which is the ulti­mate issue of the arti­cle. I won­der what else she’s done to this child oth­er than straight­en her hair!!


Calm down its just hair. What dif­fer­ence does it make from a 3 or 4 year old get­ting their hair straight. The childs hair has noth­ing to do with good par­ent­ing or not. Dont be upset because your mom ruined your hair at a young age


“its just hair”

omg r u srs rn

This isn’t even about the hair; it’s about the fact that a four month old baby had that done to her. She obvi­ous­ly isn’t even close to being old enough to have chemicals/heat that close to her hair, and to sug­gest oth­er­wise is ridicu­lous.

No need to be cat­ty.


If this is a real pic and the hair was actu­al­ly straight­ened whether it be by chem­i­cal or heat, 4mths is way to young. What’s the rush why the need to put this sweet young child through this?


Because her baby’s naps were offend­ing her. Duh! How she’s sup­posed to go out with a nap­py-head­ed baby on her hip? What will peo­ple think? You know us Blacks have to hide the defect that is our nap­py hair.

:sar­casm for you peo­ple who can’t detect it with­out tone:


i’m sor­ry for that baby.