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How old is too old for Barrettes?

I recently had a friend post this question on Facebook and it had me wondering in this day and age, how old would be too old? Is there an expiration or age limit? My motto used to be as long as Da Brat is still wearing ponytails, they are permissible. Some of us grew up with wearing whatever hairstyle our moms or grandmas would fix until we had our own money to go to a salon. I got my first relaxer i.e. “perm” around age 8 and regret that it messed with my hair texture so I’m not trying to repeat the same cycle with my daughter’s hair. I also don’t want her to rush and grow up. It’s bad enough that some of the clothes that are out now for children are just smaller versions of adult clothes. At least they can hold on to their youthful look with barrettes and bows.

I do allow Mariah to look on Pinterest and pick out some fun hairstyles that we can try out with beads, braids, twists, or barrettes to allow some variety and giving her some freedom in choosing hairstyles. That way, it’s a win-win. One of her recent questions was “mom, when can I start washing my own hair?” As a nurse and mom, I like to have control over certain things so when I heard this question, I cringed. She has a beautiful, full head of wavy hair that is pretty healthy and I’d like to keep it that way for as long as possible. I made an agreement with her and shared that since my mom allowed me to try caring for my hair at 9, on her 9th birthday, I will let her wash my hair and hers. In the meantime, when I wash hers, I coach her and explain how I wash and condition and why I do it that way.

I think a good age to start transitioning out of barrettes might be around 12. I know around that age young girls of the African American culture can be cruel and start teasing so in preparation for high school, it may be a good time. What are your thoughts?

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