The way in which we speak to our young girls about their hair is really important because it shapes that way they see themselves in the world. I will fully admit that I had never considered any of this until I met David Lopez of David Lopez Hair two weeks ago at the We All Grow Latina Summit in Long Beach, California. David shared with me a bit of his own story, and some tips for taking care of my 22 moth old daughter’s curly mane. In the process, he flipped the script about how I interact with my daughters when it comes to conversations about their hair. I share with you a bit about how I met David, and 5 simple tips for empowering young girls through hair.
How I Met David
Shea Moisture was an official sponsor of the We All Grow Summit this year- and thanks to my friend Annalise (who is empowering curly haired girls in Denver through her Curls on the Block Movement– check it out!) I knew that Shea Moisture creates great hair products for curly ethnic hair. My 22 month old Latina daughter has this mass of gorgeous curly hair, and as it has grown out I have had no idea what to do with it. So I headed over to the Shea Moisture Suite and accosted the sales rep for advice on how to deal with my daughter’s hair. She immediately connected me to the celebrity stylist on hand- David Lopez.
David took 20 minutes after a long day to talk to me about my daughter because he is passionate about empowerment through hair. Before he gave me awesome tips for exactly how to style my daughter’s hair, he looked me right in the eyes and said “I need to know that the conversation in your house about your daughter’s hair is not shaming her. If she grows up believing her hair is difficult, that will translate to her believing that she is difficult, and that will hurt her self esteem.”
It takes courage and a deep insight into the relationship between hair and self esteem to have a conversation like that with someone you’ve never met. But that’s David Lopez- he cares a lot about the well-being of his clients. David is all-in when it comes to empowering women of all ages, shapes, sizes and colors to embrace our inner beauty first and then learn how to create an outward look that reflects our personality. (Check out this easy soft waves hair video tutorial we shot together– now I do my hair every day!) The conversation with David radically transformed how I think about my daughter’s curly hair, and changed not only the adult conversation in our house around hair but also how my daughter talks about her own hair.
5 Tips For Talking To Young Girls About Their Hair
- Don’t say the hair is difficult. Talking about hair as difficult can lead to young girls feeling that they are difficult. Especially since our children don’t have the socio-emotional skills yet to identify and analyze negative feelings, they end up simply internalizing them.
- Have a good hair routine. It’s just as important to have the right hair routine as it is to have a good sleep or feeding routine. (No, really!) A huge regret I now have is not asking someone sooner about how to correctly care for and style my daughter’s curly hair. Educate yourself on how to do this well.
- Involve your daughter in the hair routine. For my 22 month old, this means showing her the cream that we use on her hair, smelling it together, and allowing her to choose if her hair will be worn up or down, and which hair clip or tie she wants to wear in her hair that day. It’s so simple, but we often start rushing around and forget that it’s important for our daughters to be fully invested in their hair routine. Since we’ve been intentionally styling her hair, my daughter has stopped saying “pelo” in a frustrated way, and now lovingly refers to her hair as “mi pelo.” Melt my heart.
- Show your daughter her styled hair. After coming home from the conference, I realized that we didn’t have any mirrors in my daughter’s room. So we now have a small hand mirror, and when she is styled, I show her the result. Sometimes she sees herself and says, “No mami, no quiero.” and we start again- that’s ok! It’s about her feeling empowered.
- Practice what you preach. Speak about your own hair positively. Model good hair styling habits for your daughters- they learn more from what we do than from what we say!