Center Stage: Aila

big hair pink tutu

Name: Aila
Age: 2
Hobbies: Exploring and watching Maisy Mouse

african american toddler hairstyles

Hair Care Routine: Wash, yogurt conditioning and moisturizer (coconut oil, Kinky-Curly Knot Today and Shea Moisture Coconut Oil and Hibiscus).
Favorite styles: Wild or curly puffs

toddler hairstyles

Hair Care Tips: I use a light vinegar solution with her wash routine and plain, 100% fat yogurt as a conditioner makes her hair soft and shiny, mine too!! For this I dilute about a tablespoon or 2 of apple cider vinegar into about 2 cups of water, rinse her slowly with the solution and lather the shampoo into her hair (I use Creme of Nature Naturals) rinse and repeat the wash again with just water and shampoo. Before hand I mix the whole (100% fat) yogurt (2 parts) with her conditioner (1 part) warm it a tad and smother her hair. I leave it on during her bath (about 15 mins.) and rinse after. At times I put saran wrap or a plastic cap on her head to prevent drips. After the rinse I towel dry and smooth in a quarter-sized dollop of coconut oil of her scalp and hair. I use a large-toothed comb or a large bristle brush and gently comb her curls with kinky-curly knot today. I then add about a quarter amount of Shea Moisture and style as usual. I always let her hair air dry. Every morning, between washes, I add more moisturizer. I usually wash once a week on Sunday nights. I do the same for my hair and since I have been using this regimen, I have seen a huge difference in the look and feel of our hair.

baby big hair

black hair care
natural hair care

Would you like to participate on our blog, too? There are several ways in which you can! You can submit a blog feature like this one. Submit a photo for our fan page. Or submit a question to be posted and answered on our fan page.

Center Stage: Jaleea

cornrow updo hairstyle

Mother- Shannon Calmese
Daugther- Jaleea Calmese
Age– Jaleea is currently 4 years old.
Hobbies– She loves to sing, color, read, watch television, dress up, and play with princess toys.
Favorite Styles– Braids

triangle part braids

When I first got asked for a Center Stage Feature I had no idea what to do. I am not an expert. I am still learning everyday myself. I only try to keep my daughters hair presentable, while teaching her to embrace her hair. I do have some styles posted on my Facebook page. I really only create them so I can remember how to restyle the hair that particular way or give others ideas. If I find people want instructions on a particular style then I will be more than happy to create a instructional post, just message Untrained Hair Mom with your request. Thanks in advance for reading.

criss cross hair style

Hair care routine– Man, I would have to write a novel to cover this! I am sure Untrained Hair Mom has an article for each routine out there. The basics: Deep condition, wash weekly or every other week, hot oil treatments, protein treatments, finger detangling etc.

heart hairstyle

Hair Products

I am what they call a “product junkie”. I am not on the search for a magical product. I just get curious about what is out there (in other words someone is marketing really well). I usually give the products 2 weeks before deciding yay or nay. I have tried everything from the all natural route to chemicals. One thing I have never done is put a perm on Jaleea’s hair (and it’s not on my list of things to do).

Products I love
Unrefined Shea butter, tea tree oil, castor oil, argan oil, vitamin e oil, avocado oil, peppermint oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, grape seed oil, Herbal Essence Hello Hydration shampoo and conditioner, African Royal products (Fro Spray, Brx Braid and Extentions), Shea Moisture products, Eco Styler gel, Hot Six Oil Hair and Body Mist for greasing the scalp or oiling the hair, Cantu Butter Super Shine Hair Silk to make hair look extra shiny,

Products that don’t work for us
Aloe Vera Juice (shedding), cantu butter leave in repair cream (left clumps), kids organics soft hold olive oil conditioning smoothing and styling gel for baby hair/ bangs (not enough hold), palmers olive oil formula (too greesy but great for my son), flax seed gel-(too annoying to make and not as good as a hold as eco styler)

How to Know if a Product Isn’t Working
Shedding/Breakage- If you notice excessive shedding or lots of extra hair when washing then
change your routine. This means the product is not working for you. A trick I learned from Kandy Land Kurls-If your hair has a white bulb on the end then it is considered normal shedding. If there is no white bulb on the end then it is breakage.

cornrows puffs beads hairstyle
Love this style? See our Criss Cross Cornrow Tutorial.

Hair Care Tips

1. Learn to block the negative comments or stares out! I get some nasty stares from time to time but I just dismiss them. They are not worth me going to jail over.
2. Always research your information before you assume anyone knows what they are talking about. I have learned more from a Facebook hair group I am in than any stylist I’ve ever talked to. Just because someone has the same texture as your child’s hair does not make him or her an expert.
3. If you decide to cut or trim the hair, I believe straightening it is the only way to evenly cut it. I have seen many people screw up kids hair because they cut it while in the completely curly stage-wet, etc.
4. Apply the LOC or LCO method per your hair type. We apply it daily sometimes twice depending on the weather. (L-liquid, O-Oil, C-cream/conditioner) If you feel the hair is still sucking up moisture apply it twice daily.
5. Do not jump on the hair bandwagon. Everyone is going to have an opinion. Do what you feel is best for you or your child. Do not feel guilty about not having all natural hair products. As you can see I love many types of products and my child’s hair is healthy.
6. Invest in a water bottle spray-(I usually mix a leave in conditioner, oil, and water) Spray on the hair every time you brush. Never brush the hair dry. This will eliminate a lot of breakage.
7. Protect the hair at all times-It will not only keep the hair from breaking but also help stretch your hairstyle.
8. Do not get discouraged when your child hair is not as long as another child his or her age. Our hair all grows at different rates. I am still waiting for my daughter to have long hair but I try to obsess more over it being healthy. Look back at some old pictures. I love to create a style I have not done for a long time and compare it to a year ago etc. This helps boost my confidence that her hair is growing.
8. If you need some hair encouragement….Join a hair group or post your styles on some some hair websites on Facebook. Surely someone will fall in love with them and offer positive feedback!

kids cornrow style
spider cornrows
twist out hairstyle

Want to be featured on Untrained Hair Mom or on our fan page? Get all the details here.

Center Stage: Braiding Is Art

Braiding is Art

“The creativity when braiding is endless”
-Cynthia from Braiding is Art


Child’s name – Angelina Micelly Cedeño

Momma’s name – Cynthia Mercado

cornrow braid styles

Age – 7 yrs old

Hobbies – playing piano, singing, gymnastics, cheer leading, modeling for mommy.

Momma’s hobbies – BRAIDING, passion of mine since I was 11 years old. I also love makeup, very proficient at crocheting, awesome cook and baker. My mom has always told me I was born with a gift when it came to crafts and creativity.

pretty hairstyles

Hair care routine – after shampooing hair I deep condition for 15 minutes. I then rinse and apply leave-in hair conditioner. I then blow out and flat iron.

Favorite hairstyles – Her favorite hairstyle is anything with a braided heart.

braided heart hairstyle

 Momma’s Favorite hairstyles – I love them all, but basket braid is my heart.

basket weave braid

Hair tips – It’s very important to deep condition hair. It nourishes and heals hair of damages caused by the everyday heat and chemical usage. It also restores shine to your hair.

How long have you been doing hair?
I’ve been doing hair as a hobby for about 20 years and professionally for only two years.

braid bun

How did you learn how to do all the amazing styles you do?
I’m self taught. I’ve always had a passion for braiding. I would braid my dolls hair when I was a little girl. As I got older, I would braid my friends hair, sisters, basically anyone standing next to me…lol. Now, I have my beautiful princess, Angelina.

creative braid styles

You seem so passionate about what you do. When did you know that hair styling was your passion?
Two years ago, my boyfriend and photographer, David Pacheco, observed me doing hair. He convinced me to begin doing it professionally. His company, Pro Found Studios, alongside his partner, Robert Covarrubias, gave me my first gig. I took off from there.
cute braid styles

 girls braid hairstyles

cornrows for girls

braids for girls

You can find Cynthia’s youtube channel at dluxhairnmakeup and online at You can also find Braiding is Art on Facebook.

Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Celebrity Center Stage: McKenzie Franklin

celebrity center stage mckenzie franklin untrained hair mom

Some of you may recognize this beauty from tv or magazines, she’s also been featured on our Facebook fan page. I got the chance to ask her mom the typical center stage questions regarding her hair and also what it’s like for McKenzie to be a child model and actress. Read on for our interview and to find out how McKenzie got her career started, who she has modeled for and what shows/movies she has appeared in.


Name: McKenzie Franklin

Age: 9

Hobbies: McKenzie is an avid reader! She enjoys reading everything she can get her 
hands on, her favorite book is R.L.Stine’s Goosebumps. She also enjoys playing with her 
American Girl dolls and her cat Sandy Lion. McKenzie is an only child, so she loves play 
dates, birthday parties and spending time with her friends.  She recently took horseback 
riding lessons and fell in love. She now wants a pony for her birthday!

mckenzie frankin hair

Hair care routine: McKenzie’s hair texture is thick and naturally curly so to keep 
her hair and scalp healthy and to maintain moisture and shine to her curls, I shampoo 
and condition her hair once a week and use tea tree oil on her scalp. Her hair is braided 
at night and she sleeps with a satin bonnet. To create a more finished look to her curls, 
I apply Miss Jessie’s Quick Curls and Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie. For 
styling & ponytails I use Olive Oil Girls Hair Pudding by Organic Root Stimulator.

kids natural hair

Favorite Styles: McKenzie loves to wear her hair naturally curly with a cute bow 
that match her outfits!  She also loves to experiment with other styles as well (ie Shirley 
temple curls & straight & sassy). What can I say, she loves being a GIRL! 

dad and mj2012

Any hair care tips you would like to share?
1. It is important to remember that a healthy scalp creates the perfect environment 
for hair to grow so moisturize daily
2. Do NOT wear rubber bands. They are often placed in children’s hair too tightly 
and pull at healthy hair follicles which over time may leads to split ends, balding 
and breakage in those areas.


How long has McKenzie been acting/modeling? McKenzie has been modeling since 
she was 12 months old! Her father spent years as a professional model so she followed 
in his footsteps. She was featured on the cover of One Step Ahead Magazine and made 
various cameo’s in Leaps and Bound Magazine as a toddler.

kid actress natural hair

How did she get into the acting/modeling business?
We were approached by a photographer who asked us to submit her photo’s to local talent agents because of her 
outgoing personality, energy in front of the camera and unique look. After we were 
signed by her current Agent, McKenzie began to audition for commercials, print and 
other local paid and non paid acting projects in our hometown. 

Mckenzie Franklin hair

What is McKenzie’s favorite part about acting and modeling? Being an Actor is definitely
what McKenzie was born to do! She not only enjoys being around other focused like-
minded children (and adult actors) on set, but she takes her work very seriously, respects
the craft and understands that acting is a job. She believes that in acting (and school) it
is very important to always present your best work! Her favorite part about acting and
modeling costumes.

Mckenzie Franklin child actress model

What commercials/shows/movies/special ads has she been a part of?FILM: McKenzie booked the lead female role as ‘Mindy’ in the award winning short  film Jonah and The Crab. At the ripe old age of 9, McKenzie has already appeared in 
various TV shows and feature films. Her favorite on set experience was being selected 
to work as a featured extra on an episode of the Starz Network Series, Boss where she 
had the unique opportunity to act alongside her ‘real mom’ as the daughter of a Lennox 
Garden’s family being evicted from their home and placed in a new residence. *(Season 
2 Episode 6 Backlash).

PRINT: McKenzie is a featured model for Organic Root Stimulator, Olive Oil Girl’s 
Hair Care Products.  Her print ad can be found in various ethnic hair care magazines on 
the shelves of your local Walgreens, CVS and Target stores to name a few.

child model magazine cover

MUSIC: McKenzie has a single out that is available on iTunes called ‘The Marching 
Band Dance Song’. She  has also been featured in two music video’s.

Her single and video(s) can be viewed on youtube.

THEATER: McKenzie made her theatrical debut as The Coroner Munchkin at the 
Wixom Theatre in “The Wizard of Oz With A Wicked Twist” receiving a standing 
ovation for her performance!  McKenzie recently joined the cast of world musical 
SitaRam and performed in the opening and closing shows as one of the lead characters 
in front of an audience of over 1,500 people with The Chicago Children’s Choir adding 
Broadway In Chicago as another one of her most cherished accomplishments as a child 

McKenzie’s First Monologue:
Marching Band Dance Song Video (Featuring McKenzie & Omarr):
Music Video (McKenzie Featured Solo):
B-Free Featuring Zip ‘When I Go’

Center Stage: Isa (D’s Look-a-Like?)

little girls natural hair

Name: Isa

Age: 3

Hobbies: Isa loves dancing, singing, pretending to be a princess and playing tag.


toddler hair

Hair Care Routine: We wash with ACV once a week and co-wash once a week depending on how well her hair holds styles and how much she sweats. We use Suave Naturals Coconut conditioner. I learned my lesson on spending a lot of money on conditioner that is literally going down the drain. We then moisturize with Shea Moisture Curl Milk (the ONLY leave-in I have found light enough yet still moisturizing for her hair) and seal with coconut or olive oil. Isa’s hair is then styled or banded for the night.

banded hair


Favorite Styles: Isa loves her hair down like Rapunzel and Pocahontas. She’s also a fan of braids, as long as she can swing them.

cute girl hairstyles

Any Tips or Advice? I think the most important things are avoiding sulfates, rubber bands, and products containing a bunch of chemicals. Isa had her first haircut 2 months before she turned 3 at which point it was down to the bottom of her butt when stretched. It didn’t get that way from bad shampoos or chemical products. I also can’t stress enough how important it is for our children to love and embrace their curls. There will come a day when some child will tell them their hair is “different” and they should all have the confidence and love of their hair to say yes it is, but I love it!

braided hairstyles for kids

(Love this style!)
braided hairstyles for kids
kids natural hair care

Isn’t she adorable?! Isa’s mom has dubbed her D’s hair twin and some of our other readers have noted that they even favor each other.. what do you think? Are Isa and D look-a-likes?

natural hair twins

Untrained Hair Mom

Center Stage: Ava aka Hurricane


Name/Nickname: Ava/Hurricane!!

Age: Will be 4 years old Sept 30th!!

Hobbies: Playing at the beach, and feeding the turtles!!

Favorite Styles: Doesn’t have any favorites, just usually goes along with what Mom feels like doing!! LOL

Hair type/Hair routine: Not sure what her hair type is, routine includes washing once a week with Tres’ Emme MoistureRich shampoo and adding a generous amount of Tres’ Emme MoistureRich conditioner and leave it on for about 15 mins while she plays in the water. After bath, and every morning I dampen her hair with Creme of Nature Leave-In conditioner and sometimes a huge glob of Garnier Fructis


I want to thank mama Tanya for sharing with us! If you’d like to have a feature on our blog get all the details here!



Center Stage Toddler Hairstyles: Aniya

Kristy shares the hair care routine and hairstyles for her toddler Aniya.

toddler hair

I am quite frequently asked what it is I do to Aniya’s hair to make it look so pretty. So here is our routine and preferred products…
We wash only once a week using the Fekkai Shampoo and Conditioner (can be purchased at Target). As far as styling I douse with a detangler (Suave kids) and comb out with a wide tooth comb. Then I massage through the hair more of the Fekkai conditioner (It works well as a leave in). Then a dab of the Fekkai Glossing Cream for taming extra frizzies, sleekness and shine. Define curls with fingers(this is key in getting the ringlets to come out so pretty). Sometimes I will blowdry for just a couple of minutes to really set the curls and combat the shrinkage. There isn’t too much a of a night routine at this point but I am sure once her hair starts getting longer and harder to brush out in the mornings I will begin wrapping it. Plus she is just 19 months so there is no way she would leave a head wrap on. Favorite hairstyles, most days I just style curls and add a headband. Some days we do a side clip, pigtails or a pixie tail.  I have attached a few pics, before styling and after styling. Enjoy!

toddler hair and tangles

easy toddler hairstyles


toddler curls

toddler curly hair

Thanks to Kristy for sharing her beautiful toddlers hair regimen with us! If you’d like a featured spot on our blog email us at centerstage @ you can see Center Stage details for more info, we’d love to hear from you!

Center Stage: Kiairah

free natural hair

This is Kiairah or KeKe (which she hates but I can’t help but call her from time to time!). She’s 8 (9 in April). Kiairah loves to dance (& is a competitive dancer). She’s also an avid reader! Kiairah also likes to play Wii, she takes pride in kicking butt (mostly mine & her uncle’s).
I would say that her hair type is 4b/c. Our hair care routine is pretty simple…we wash once a week (maybe every other week depending on her scalp & the style that is in) and once a month we do a hot (warm) oil treatment with EVOO.
The products we are currently using are One & Only Argon Oil (shampoo & conditioner). Kinky Kurly Knot Today (however I’m running out and it’s not widely available in Canada). Bee Mine (for moisture) and EVOO.
I would have to say that the hardest struggle when learing to care for Kiariah’s hair has been what to use on her hair and what works. I’ve been thru so many products it isn’t even funny! I am also ashamed to say that when she was younger I was too quick to listen to other people who I thought were offering me good advice and I didn’t research the products. I once put a texturizer in her hair because I thought that’s what was best for her. I later found out that it was basically like a relaxer and I was crushed! I never put it near her again, and in the summer of 2010 I took her and had all the “dead” (texturized) hair cut off. I learnt how to braid hair from watching YouTube videos. I use to take her to a salon when she was younger but she didn’t like other people touching her hair, so I finally got frustrated and decided it was time to learn to cornrow. I think my only advice is to just keep trying… There are times when I feel like Kiairah’s hair is just OK, and I’m not totally satisfied but then she will get a ton of compliments.

cornrow faux hawk mohawk style with beads

cross over cornrow design

yarn braid hairstyle

You can be featured on our blog, too! See Center Stage Feature, for more details!