Maintaining the health of your child’s textured tresses means making educated choices about products that work best for African-American little ones’ hair texture and styling options. These hair care tips from will help you gently coax babies’ hair to grow and flourish into healthy locks through their adult years.

African-American hair texture and curl patterns cause baby hair to be more fragile and to lack moisture. That makes their tresses prone to breakage. With that in mind, parents must avoid harsh styling methods and products. (Remember, the wrong products can damage the hair and scalp.)

Moisturize your baby’s hair to protect, restore and enhance his or her natural curls. Avoid petroleum and mineral oil products. These ingredients are commonly found in baby oils, shampoos and conditioners and shouldn’t be applied to baby’s hair and scalp.

As a first step, use gentle shampoos and conditioners. These nourishing products prepare hair for styling. And they protect baby’s scalp. Avoid drying ingredients, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laurenth sulfate, isopropyl alcohol, methyl, propyl and ethyl parabens.

A good way to prevent damage is by applying natural products to baby’s hair. These are products that contain natural oils to help maintain your child’s natural curl and texture. But before you stock up on these natural hair care products, check the labels. Many claim  they come straight from Mother Nature but contain ingredients that don’t. Instead, reach for hair care products that contain coconut, castor and other essential oils, fatty acids and vitamins A, B and E.

Finally, avoid these two common misconceptions: Wash your baby’s hair every day, and comb baby’s hair from root to tips. The real deal? Washing baby’s hair every day causes strands to lose their natural oils. Result? Dry, frizzy hair. And when styling baby’s hair, don’t ever comb or brush from root to tip. Instead, finger-comb and –style babies’ curls. This technique is more comfortable for babies and lessens the chances of hair breakage. When your child’s hair gets longer and thicker, use a wide-tooth comb.

Click here to learn the ABCs of caring for black children’s hair.