my first hair care post

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

No worries, this isn’t going to turn into a hair care blog, and I know the percentage of you readers who are parenting transracially is fairly small, so consider this one of those posts which mostly for historical record. Let’s be real, this is just so Raniah can look back one day and laugh at her mama’s ridiculous attempts to care for hair and skin she knows nothing about.

Through much trial and error, and even more research – blog after blog after blog that I’ve read, I think I’ve finally hit on a hair care routine that works for us. A couple of notes: I’ve been slowly switching most of the hair products in our house to only natural/organic ones. The amount of chemicals that we put on our scalps scares me a bit, and I’ve also noticed a big difference in the health of my hair since I’ve switched products. They are more expensive, but I also use less, so the cost is off-set a little bit. Especially with Niah, since we use SO much product every single day, it felt extremely important to me to not put a bunch of unknown chemicals on her head constantly.

One of the first things I did was find her hair type. You can use this resource to figure that out. It helped me narrow down what products to try. Niah’s hair is somewhere between 3B, 3C, and 4A. My best guess at this stage is 3C, but I just don’t think there’s quite enough of it yet for me to make an accurate assessment.

One of the other things we’ve tried is a sleep cap. It worked for quite awhile, but she won’t wear it anymore. She is beginning to use a pillow, so I’m hopeful that a satin pillowcase will serve the same purpose. Either way, it’s difficult to protect her hair from frizzing and drying out and breaking at night. I’m sure that’s part of the reason her hair isn’t growing in more quickly and evenly. We’re just learning as we go…

1) Do not wash the hair. Every single time I use shampoo on her hair, I am sorry. It’s just ingrained in me to shampoo hair (my own hair is so diametrically opposite of hers that I ONLY use shampoo 95% of the time), that it’s hard for me to remember. Right now, I’ve moved the shampooing to about every 3 weeks or so, and it seems to be working ok. The rest of the time, we co-wash (that’s what you call it when you only use conditioner). I try to only do that once a week. We’re using Mixed Chicks Kids Shampoo and Mixed Chicks Kids Conditioner for right now. They just seem so-so to me. They’re not bad, but when I’m finished, I’ll be trying a different product.

2) Do not dry the hair. I don’t have the right kind of towel, and her hair isn’t really long enough for it to matter, so currently, I’m not drying her hair. Immediately after the co-wash, I stick some Mixed Chicks Kids Leave-In Conditioner in it. And that’s all.

3) Daily Routine: Every morning, I detangle with a generous amount of Kinky Curly Knot Today. First with fingers, then once the major knots are out, with a wide-toothed comb.

After detangling, I spritz well with a water/olive oil mixture that I put into a spray bottle. The water moisturizes, and the oil helps seal that moisture in. Before I did this mixture, we were using coconut oil, which was delightful and lovely, but just way more expensive. After the coconut oil, I tried Oyin Handmade Juices and Berries which worked delightfully, but was even more expensive than the coconut oil. I’ve found this homemade mixture works just as well. I still occasionally use coconut oil as a pre-wash treatment, but that’s about it right now.

After the spritz, I moisturize with Curls Curl Creme Brule. This has been the hardest step for me to figure out. Either her hair turned out too crunchy, too dry, too greasy…I just wasn’t reaching a solution. This product is working really well for the winter right now. It defines the curls, keeps them moisturized, and they tend to frizz less throughout the day. If she needs a refresher during the day, which she often does if we’re out and about, and she’s been wearing a winter hat or hood, then I’ll just do a quick spritz and sometimes another round of moisturizer.

4) Extra stuff: Niah’s hair is quite long, but there isn’t a ton of it yet. As a result, I’ve been robbed (spared?) of most of the pleasures of hair styling black hair. When I do succumb to her constant requests for pony-tails, we use Darcy's Botanicals Madagascar Vanilla Styling Crème. A very, very tiny amount of it. It goes a long way in my girl’s fine hair. Both she and I are looking forward to the day when we can do more styling, but I’ll be honest, I’ve seen some adults recently whom I feel like share her hair type - they were wearing theirs loose and natural, and it was BEAUTIFUL. I’m eager for a full head of hair on her so we can see what it’s going to be.


Questions? Recommendations? Do you have a curly headed kid whose hair just won’t grow? I’d love to hear some advice on that! And skin care….well, that’s gonna be another post entirely.

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