I have avoided this post for about a year now. I've avoided it because I feel like I'm still on junior varsity at the whole black hair care game. I've watched so many Youtube videos and looked on blogs like: keepmecurly and beadsbraidsbeyond and others that I forgot to bookmark in my 'black hair care' folder. I also feel like by posting this, people will comment and say I'm doing it all wrong and I am just days from Makaria breaking out in a scalp rash and loosing all her hair from my moronic care of her hair. But, despite my confidence issues in this sphere, I am posting because hopefully it will help some other poor white mom with a black child.
I wash Makaria's hair about once a week. Sometimes twice if she's been outside a lot or it's dry winter time. Again, blogger won't let me cut and paste my pictures, so they are out of order. Ugh. When I wash her hair, I make sure to really rub the hair follicles. Black hair pores are different than my white hair and they need to be massaged and the hair needs to be pulled out gently from the follicle base. Both this and combing her hair every morning will keep it from matting, storing sand and dirt and help it to grow out faster.
When I'm done with the conditioner, I usually comb it out in the bathtub. I try and hold it at the roots to try and not pull her hair too much. This is still the most dramatic part of the process and is usually done with tears and trauma.
At this point her hair is in a round afro.
When she gets out of the bath, I spray on some Black Vanilla Leave-in Conditioner from Carol's Daughter. Everything I use is Carol's Daughter. They are a bit pricey. I've tried other, cheaper products and they just don't seem to work on Makaria's hair. With the amount of product that I need to put in her hair, I also like that the products are natural.
Then I take some of Hair Milk and rub it in both of my hands. I use my fingers to comb it through her hair. This defines her locks and keeps it from getting too frizzy.
You can see the difference now as opposed to the fro action happening in her toilet seat picture above. I've even had black women ask how I got her curls to stay so tight and non-frizzy. It was strange to be giving hair advice to grown black women.
I use this leave-in conditioner right out of the bath and then a few times a week. I use the hair milk every morning. You are supposed to put more on after nap time, but I live in a country with about 13 black people. That makes it very hard to find hair products and consequently super expensive to mail from the states. We go au naturale in the afternoon.
The Tui Herbal shampoo and Tui Smoothie conditioner are what I use once a week to wash her hair. I love the smell of these. They are not fruity, but more herbal smelling. This feature may seem insignificant, but it can be a big deal. When we first brought Makaria home, we were using another product line. My husband hated the smell of it. He commented to me one day "This stuff smells so bad that it makes me not want to hold her and hug on her." I switched the next day.
This is Lisa's hair elixir. It's kind of a hot oil treatment. You can add heat or just leave it in her hair for 5 minutes and then rinse it out. I do the later. I can't imagine her sitting still long enough to add any type of heat whatsoever. I don't use it every time I wash her hair. Maybe every other time.
Every morning, I use a water bottle and spray her hair until it's fairly damp. I then use this comb of torture to brush it out. This is loads of fun each day.
Don't be deceived at these sweet, shifty eyes. This girl hates getting her hair combed out. I've tried every trick in the book, she can see that comb coming a mile away. Then I add a dime size of hair milk to shape her hair. Every few days I'll add the Mimosa Hair Honey. This is more of a greasy product that keeps her hair from frizzing. You can add it if you are keeping their hair in braids or pony tails to tame to fly aways.
Here's my team:
I've recently gotten these children's shampoos, but haven't used them yet. I treat my black hair care products like gold because they are so hard to get here. So when I finish the bottles I am on, I'll give these a try.
This is the elixir that I add some times while in the bath and let it sit for 5 minutes. The Tai Jojoba and Shea Butter Hair Sheen is used to give her hair a little glisten. It came free in a set I bought. It works great, but not an essential. I just use it when I remember to. You spray it on as you are putting the bows and trinkets in her hair.
I have a satin pillowcase for her pillow that helps keep her hair from getting too crazy.
Doing her hair has been a 2 year journey of trial and error. I asked tons of questions and read a gazillion blogs by other adoptive parents. I feel like we're in a good rhythm in our little hair world, but still have a lot to learn.