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Back To School Hair | For Coily Girls

After a break from the sandpit (thanks COVID) in which I have enjoyed not having to wash her scalp 20 times in the middle of the week to get all the sand out -I have to admit I have my fingers crossed that sandpits will be a NO for another year- it’s been bliss I tell you!

Hairwash day over here is still a home practice, bonding time in which I hope to teach my daughter pride in her hair, self-love, and acceptance in a world that’s constantly bombarding her with visuals that straight and long is better. While I’m weary of her over-identifying with her hair, I’m taking it one battle at a time, right now I want her to understand her hair, enjoy it and to have patience with it.

Our haircare routine has not changed much since I last wrote on it last year (link here), we simply added deep conditioning to help with the detangling. She has rejected the doek / bonnet strongly and I guess a satin pillow is our next stop.

I also found that if I take down her old hairstyle the day before washday, it lessens the drama the next day because we split the process over two days.

Here are 5 of our most often used hairstyles during the year, they are a combination of mine and her favourites, in order of most loved;

  1. Three Section Braids
  2. Four-part Puffs (Mickey Mouse)
  3. Two-part Cornrows
  4. Popcorns (Bantu Knots)
  5. Twists
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Three Sectioned Braids

THREE SECTION BRAIDS. These last about 3-4 days with us then taking them down on the 5- 6th day for her hair to breathe. They are her favourite, they are easy, two sections at the top with middle part, third section in the back of her head- tie in place, braid to the ends and add hair ties.

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Mickey Mouse Hair

FOUR-PART PUFFS. These are a modified version of simple afro puffs but with 4 sections that have been cornrowed in towards the centre of the top of the head. I then leave the top two cornrows out in an afro puff at the ends while the bottom two are fully braided and the tail tucked up into the puff- she loves this- and it’s quick to do, not the quickest. I finger comb the puffs daily after water spritzing and moisturizing, this keeps them from tangling too badly. She calls these Mickey Mouse.

TWO-PART CORNROWS. This one is the “I’m too busy for this today” simple hairstyle, wonky sections, cornrow straight through from front to back with minimal crying. Best of all its easy to take down and she doesn’t mind it at all. I’ve tried adding beading once but she would come home with a few gone and I don’t think they’re worth the choking hazard.

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Our Version of Bantu Knots

POPCORNS (BANTU KNOTS). I tried these once on her because of how she used to compliment mine so much and every portrait she draws of me has Bantu knots- she LOVES them, so now they’re a staple. I basically make bunch of singular long braids and then I twist those up into knots, this method is less maintenance and not painful to twist like regular knots. I’m this imagi also cornrowed the front of her hairline but you can skip that entirely. Side note- I grew up knowing these as popcorns, I don’t know when we adopted the term Bantu knots in South Africa, its so odd. I am Xhosa and I wonder if anybody else local called them by another name growing up?

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Two strand Twists

TWISTS. Sometimes she wants to whip her hair around, sometimes I want to keep her hair in a style that lasts over a week. The two – strand twists ALWAYS keep longer and after the first few days I start styling them up into pigtails and its like a two in one. The build-up is quite a bit though so I don’t do this one too often.

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Hair Breathing

I will sometimes ask her to pick something new from some of our favorite local kids hair pages like @afrokids.salon, @nativechildkids, or just on YouTube, this is rare because her hair has become quite big and the detangling takes up far too much time for us to do all the things. I only use this option when I have time to make all her hair dreams come true. Never on a busy Sunday.

We are still in the practice of sending her to the mirror afterward with plenty of ooohs and aahs and look at yous! She now does this for me when my hair is done and it brings out all my smiles I must say and she’s become quite good at hyping me up.


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