Deanna is the hair, fashion, and lifestyle blogger of NaturallyCreole.net. She has been wearing her naturally since 2010 when she began blogging to document her natural hair journey. As a lover of natural hair and the mother of a daughter who swims – we thought she’d have some great advice for Black Kids Swim readers. We were right! Read Deanna’s article below for tips on how to handle your swimmer’s hair and recommended African American hairstyles for swimming.
Hair care for African American swimmers is important. Our children have real talent and it would be a shame for them to give up on the sport simply because it affects the way they look – and consequently the way they feel about themselves. When Black Kids Swim contacted me I was happy to help! Since our daughter swims, black swimmers hair care is something I have a lot of experience with.[pullquote align=”left” class=”” link=”” color=”#066cb2″ size=”20″]Our children have real talent and it would be a shame for them to give up on the sport simply because it affects the way they look – and consequently the way they feel about themselves.[/pullquote]
I’ve noticed lots of African American women are moving away from relaxers and chemically treated hair. Even if we still use heat to straighten our hair, we are realizing that natural hair is simply more versatile and more healthy than chemically processed hair. Natural hair, in just about any style is a great African American hairstyle for swimming.
I think a big reason is the shedding. Our hair sheds, but permed hair sheds a lot more. Remember all the hair we used to see on the floor or in the sink? That was the chemicals making our hair thinner and causing it to fall out.
I am not a licensed cosmetologist so I can only speak for what I’ve experienced with my hair and with my daughter’s hair. I’ve noticed that our hair is thicker, healthier, and it grows pretty fast (1.5 to 2 inches per month.) When my hair was permed it grew fast but it also broke off very frequently. Our hair thrives more without the chemicals. In addition to relaxers, color, bleaching, and poor diet can also impact the health and growth rate of hair.
Some shampoos are harsh and can strip your hair of moisture. I try to avoid products with sulfates and parabens. My favorite products are Alikay Naturals at Target, especially their black soap shampoo. I also enjoy Shea Moisture shampoo, Creme of Nature, and the Huetiful shampoo, steamer, and hair products. I have low porosity hair so the Huetiful steamer works great on my hair.
[pullquote align=”full” class=”” link=”” color=”#066cb2″ size=”20″]When my hair was permed it grew fast but it also broke off very frequently. Our hair thrives more without the chemicals. In addition to relaxers, color, bleaching, and poor diet can also impact the health and growth rate of hair.[/pullquote]
My daughter used to swim and we had a pretty detailed regimen to keep her hair healthy so we wouldn’t be fighting a huge mass of tangled hair. My daughter swam once a week so braiding it after every swim practice wasn’t very time consuming for our family.
1. Coat the hair with a moisturizing conditioner before swim practice
2. Always wear a swim cap
3. Shampoo the hair right after swim practice
4. Condition the hair
5. Braid or twist the hair
For kids who swim 5 – 6 times a week they may need an alternate regimen. Using a clarifying shampoo almost every day will strip the hair of its natural oils so I recommend the following:
1. Maintain a braided style like cornrows
2. Coat the hair with a leave in conditioner
3. Wear a swim cap and possibly a shower cap under the swim cap
4. Rinse the hair after practice
5. Use moisturizers every day
*We strongly encourage BKS readers find a natural stylist in their area who is a licensed cosmetologist to give additional advice.*