Friday, February 5, 2010


Keep it simple Sister.

Sometimes when we're exposed to so much information about hair care, we think we need to do it all right away. I experienced this after spending a lot of time on the internet researching deep conditioning treatments for my own hair. I found everything from expensive salon grade products, to exotic international concoctions, to do it yourself mixtures made from ingredients from the ordinary kitchen pantry. I got great results using some of these on my hair, and imagined it would work the same way for my daughters.

One day I decided to treat us all to a
home spa day. We all changed into our bathrobes, and got in line for a special mud treatment. I had used bentonite clay on my hair several weeks previously, and loved the resulting softness and sheen. I imagined we'd have a special time pampering ourselves, and gain gloriously conditioned hair.

The girls watched with interest as I grabbed a ceramic bowl while explaining something about the composition of bentonite clay, and how we should avoid mixing it with anything metal. They crinkled their noses as I poured enough apple cider vinegar over a cup of bentonite clay to render the mix the consistency of creamy yogurt.

"It stinks Mommy!" Declared Mocha Girl Three.

I promised her that it would work wonders for her hair despite its foul stench. I was accustomed to the strong odor of apple cider vinegar, because I diluted it to rinse my hair daily in warm weather. It restores the ph balance of our nappy strands and gives good sheen. I practically rubbed my two hands together in gleeful anticipation of how great our hair would look after the treatment.

I plastered the bentonite clay on everyone, and had enough to spare to give us facial masks.

"This is mud." I told the girls proudly.

The littles giggled, but Mocha Girl One shook her head and smirked. She thought it was very foolish to spend money on something we could dig up easily in the back yard. I made her promise not to put that kind of mud in her hair.

Finally I rinsed their hair repeatedly. Everyone's hair looks perfectly clean. Mocha Girl Two and Three's hair felt a little funny to me, but I had great expectations. I put everyone's hair in big fat braids to dry and prepared for a long session of twisting.

I usually go from quickest head to most time consuming head, because I feel a sense of accomplishment with each head I finish. Mocha Girl Three's fuzzy naps were up first. I frowned as I felt her tacky strands. They weren't sticky, but adjacent strands resisted as I tried to separate them. It reminded me of what we experience after spraying our hair with holding product. Her hair looked a little chalky too. She had lots of clay left in her hair despite all that rinsing and its clean appearance while wet. I had to march her right back to the sink. After rinsing again profusely, I put her hair back in big braids and planned to do her hair the next day.

I had a similar experience with Mocha Girl Two. Mocha Girl One's hair looked great. I was done twisting three quarters of her head, before encountering a chalky section. I walked her to the sink, awkwardly trying to rinse only the chalky section, while keeping the already twisted hair dry. Some twists slipped my grasp anyway. Frustration grew as I rinsed repeatedly, but the area continued to look chalky, like a stain. I finally decided to just finish twisting her hair soaking wet. She ended up with some of her twists being much more shrunken than others.

It took many weeks to completely rinse, and brush all of the bentonite clay from my girls coily strands. I continued to marvel at the random patches I found later on. I was very perplexed by the experience. I had none of these problems when using it on my own head. After much thought, I have concluded that my method of rinsing their hair in the kitchen sink, must not be as forceful as what I experience while rinsing my hair in the shower. Who knows?

I still use bentonite clay for myself, in fact, I highly recommend it. I never plan to put it in my daughters' hair again. When they are ready to treat their own hair I may offer it. I also realized they don't need all the special treatments I give myself. I stress my hair much more when creating intricate adult styles. Their hair mainly remains protected.

My girls' hair was fine before I decided they needed extra pampering. I was especially drawn to the detoxification properties of bentonite clay. I've learned if their hair looks good, and is performing well, I should leave it alone. Sometimes I want to experiment because I'm bored. Boredom sometimes gives way to frustration when I create new problems with something that fails. K.I.S.S. makes our grooming sessions easier, because I know what to expect. As obvious as this is, I've learned that using methods that work consistently will consistently yield healthy nappy hair.

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