It can be difficult to take care of your daughter’s hair and sometimes, you might even feel as if it is a losing situation. It is especially difficult if your daughter’s hair does not look like your own.
A wide variety of techniques are used by African-American women to style their hair but Stephanie Hollifield didn’t know much about it. She grew up with straight blonde hair but when she adopted her daughter, Haley, she needed some help. Haley was only eight months old but now she is two and her mother is doing all she can to help.
“When we adopted Haley, many of our black friends pulled me aside and shared with me the importance of educating myself on African-American hair care. Since then, I have consulted with salons, watched YouTube videos, and taken notes on everything my friends shared. There has never been a product that was recommended to me that I didn’t immediately go out and buy.”
Haley’s daycare sent Stephanie a picture one day and the mother of five was stressed out to find that her daughter had messy hair. Stephanie had sent her to school with hair that was washed, conditioned and styled but within only a few hours, it looked like she had just slept in it. She started to feel like a failure and realized she didn’t truly know what she was doing.
She went to Facebook and asked for help:
“Dear Black Friends of Social Media,
This clueless white momma is humbly coming to you to ask your help with Haley’s hair. I have asked my friends. I have asked strangers in Publix with kids with cute hair, and I’m still not getting it. We wash once a week. We do the water, leave in conditioner, oil, and hot towel every morning. We’ve tried more products, no products, less products. We are gentle as can be, but she still requires at least 6 minutes of cuddles after the trauma of her daily hair combing. I feel like it looks great for about an hour or two and then it is tangly and clumpy again. This picture is 3 hours into the day. What am I doing wrong? I have literally bought every product that has been recommended to us. I desperately want to get this right!”
Stephanie received dozens of private messages, comments and lots of advice. A woman who had never met Stephanie before saw the post and sent a list of suggestions. She then suggested that she could should come over and help with a private tutorial.
Monica Hunter is a Georgia mom with three daughters and they all have the same type of hair as Haley. She showed up at Stephanie’s house and had all of the supplies necessary to get to work.
“She came to my home with a basket full of supplies, hair products, combs and headbands. She gave us her time, and advice. She asked for nothing in return and wouldn’t accept my money. By the time she left I had a little more confidence in fixing my daughter’s hair, and most importantly, I felt supported by my new friend.”
Haley and Monica were friends almost instantly. She sat in her lap as she worked on her hair and told Stephanie how to do it. Stephanie was amazed that there were so many simple hair techniques that she didn’t think about and Monica gave all of the instructions necessary so she could make her daughter look fabulous.
The two of them continued to bond more during the styling sessions and they found out that they had more in common.
“Monica and I chatted about hair, marriage, friendship, parenting, education, and race issues. That day, I got so much more than advice and confidence in fixing my daughter’s hair. I made a new friend. I know for a fact that we will continue our relationship past this point. We are already making plans to invite our husbands and children to our next get-together.”
Stephanie went on Facebook and updated the page with news about the styling tutorial. She also sent a picture and the post went viral. She didn’t understand, at first, why it was getting so much attention.
“Then, it clicked. It is newsworthy, because this is so uncommon. So inspirational. In our country, where everything seems so divisive, this quiet act of kindness spoke loudly to people from all walks of life. People are hesitant to reach out to someone who may be different. Conversations are too difficult.
In these tricky times, it’s hard to know what to say. How to respond. People seem so easily offended, so we stop trying to understand each other. We cling to those who think like us. Those who share our beliefs. Those in our same political party. Those who look like us. In the process, we close the others out.”
Stephanie hopes that sharing this story will help to encourage others to ask for assistance where needed. Monica says that she was more than happy to help, saying: “You all have no clue, that little girl Haley — and Stephanie — blessed me more than I blessed them. I think this opened up an opportunity to create positivity for everybody.”
A new play date is already being planned.