DEAR HARRIETTE: I take my daughter to ballet class every week, and I have noticed one of the other girls always has unruly hair. She is a black girl, and her mom is white. It is obvious that the mom loves her a lot, but I guess she hasn’t figured out how to do her daughter's hair yet.
My daughter and I are black with curly hair similar to the little girl's. I want to reach out to this mom to tell her what products I use for my daughter, but I don’t want to offend her. I know how prickly moms can be. How should I approach her? -- Unruly Hair
DEAR UNRULY HAIR: I have been in this situation before, and it is tough. Often, there is a heightened sensitivity among mothers of children of different races who are trying to figure it all out.
It is likely that this mom has already gotten her fair share of advice from people, some delivered more lovingly than others. Tread lightly. You can ask her privately if she is open to talking about hair. If she is, tell her the truth about what you have learned about tending to curly hair, what products you use for your daughter and what you think might work for her. If she is open to the discussion, ask her if you can share some samples of product with her. You might make a care package to deliver at the next dance class. Be discreet. This may open the door to a larger conversation that can build trust.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)