Monday, March 22, 2010

Good Hair Talk

Our words have power. Sometimes the way we say things conveys a message we never intended to our children about their hair. Consider the following scenarios and leave a comment about what you think.

Scenario One

A mother sits down on Saturday night after a hectic day to style her daughter's hair for Sunday worship. She plans to do a small corn rowed style, which she hopes will last two weeks. The mother gathers her supplies and calls for the daughter. Within five minutes of their grooming session a struggle begins.

"Sit still Baby. Let me grab this section."

"Stop! I can't get this part right."

"Does that hurt? It's alright Baby. You're going to be so beautiful."

"It's not too tight. Don't you want it to be smooth and pretty? You'll tomorrow it won't hurt anymore."

"No Baby, if we leave the back out I won't be able to comb it."

"Let me finish two more braids and you can go potty. It's almost time for bed and half your head isn't done."

"My goodness, your hair is just like your Daddy's people."

"Make sure you don't get this wet."

"Stop twisting, you'll break my comb."

Scenario Two

A family is going out for some fun. The twelve year old son is about to climb in the car when he's stopped by his mother.

"Did you comb your hair?"

"Why not?"

"You can't leave the house like that!"

"Come here. Let me help you."

"Stop fidgeting."

"You really need a shape up."

Scenario Three

Two girls are invited to join their friends on a trip to the pool. They run to their mother for permission.

"When do they want to go?"

"Today? But I just did your hair!"

Scenerio Four

Two friends bring their four old daughters to the park for a play date. One daughter, Lisa, has loosely coiled hair which clumps in a visible curl pattern. The other daughter, Shea, has tightly coiled hair like fluffy cotton. Over lunch, they all sit together with the girls listening as their mothers chat.

"Lisa's hair always looks so nice. It's gotten so long!"

"Shea's hair is always so dry, what do you use for moisture?"

Scenario Five
Lisa just done her daughter Kita's hair. Kita runs to the mirror shaking her head and swinging her braids. Next Kita puts on her favorite princess costume with a pretend bridal head dress.

Lisa gasps and shouts, "Kita take that head dress off your head! All that time I spent doing your hair and it's all messed up already!"

Scenario Six
Jessica has two daughters with very different hair. One has fine hair while the other's hair is lush and thick. No matter how Jessica styles the fine haired daughter's hair, she wants her hair to look like the thick haired daughter's hair.

Jessica constantly tells her fine haired daughter, "your hair can't do that."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stretched Twists

To stretch out the hair without using heat try the following:

1. Wash and detangle hair.

2. Braid in 6 big box braids. Position your braids with the twisted style you have in mind.

3. Allow to air dry overnight.

4. To style, take down the big box braids one at a time. Spritz the hair with plain water on the mist setting before applying shea butter mix/oil of your choice. Finish twisting the entire section before repeating the process with the next big box braid. If you mist and twist one section at a time, the hair won't remain loose long enough to shrink back up.

1. Put in a ponytail (
don't pull the hair tightly). Wrap ends of ponytail around the band and tuck under. Cover with a silky wrap or cap.

2. For bath/shower, keep hair bunned but allow the hair to be exposed to steam. It may get damp, but the tension of the bun works well to prevent it from shrinking back up. Allow the hair to dry before removing the bun. We usually take ours down after breakfast.

You may expect to experience a small amount of shrinkage but this method should preserve most of the stretch.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pantry Products

In the beginning I was amazed to discover I could groom my daughters' hair easily-- from shampoo to deep conditioning---with products I have sitting around in my pantry. I've never tried the entire process from start to finish solely with these items, instead I alternate pantry items with commercial ones. However, there's no reason it shouldn't work if the hair is responding well.

I started trying pantry items out of concern for all the chemicals we find in commercial hair products. We hear so much about things being carcinogenic. Some of us are so overwhelmed by the information we put it all
on ignore, figuring we may as well just enjoy life, because everything causes cancer. Others of us go completely organic, and spend a small fortune. Personally, I'm somewhere slightly past the middle, inching towards more natural items. I'm ever cognizant that the skin, our largest organ, absorbs so much. My girls are young, and I want to expose them to as few synthetic chemicals as possible. I found my pantry to be an easy and affordable resource. I've been really pleased with how well our hair responds to pantry products. At times, the results are superior to what I've experienced with commercial products. There are so many things to try, but the following is a list of things I've actually experimented with. Some of the recipes offer a range of concentration. I encourage experimentation to discover which concentration works best for you.

Pantry Pre-wash Treatments

olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, castor oil

In my experience, any or a mixture of these oils are great for hot oil treatments. Experiment to see what your child's hair likes best.

Spritz the hair with plain water until damp. Mix 1/4 cup of oil through the hair. Cover with a plastic cap, or recycle a plastic grocery bag. Wrap head with a towel. Your child's head will generate enough heat for the treatment.

Pantry Conditioners
When using these foods to condition I often do a quick wash (no detangling), sudsing once, to remove product build up. I have also done a direct application to dirty hair if the build up is light. If the pantry conditioner I'm using is greasy, I follow up with a second wash, sudsing once, to remove all traces.


Quick Wash hair. Apply 1/4 cup mayonnaise. Cover with plastic cap and towel for 30 minutes. Wash (one sudsing), and rinse profusely.

coconut milk

I can get several treatments out of one can of coconut milk from the grocery store. I remove the portion I need and measure the rest in equal amount to freeze for future use. I often find it in the international section, near the Thai food.

Quick wash hair. Apply 1/4 cup coconut milk to 3/4 cup water. Spritz throughout the hair. Cover with plastic cap and towel for 30 minutes. Since coconut milk isn't greasy, I simply rinse it out profusely with plain water.

Pantry Clarifiers

apple cider vinegar (ACV)

1tsp-1tbsp ACV to 8oz water. Spritz throughout hair as a final step and rinse profusely. You will have plenty left in the bottle to use again and again.

I use ACV as a final rinse every time I wash my daughters' hair (except the baby). It restores the hair's ph balance, softness, and leaves a nice sheen.

baking soda

1tsp-1tbsp baking soda to 8 oz water. Spritz throughout hair as a final step and rinse profusely. You will have plenty left in the bottle to use again and again.

Pantry Sealants

olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, castor oil, shortening

In my post, Making Oils Work for Nappy Hair, we discuss the important role oils play in locking moisture into the hair shaft. Any of the oils mentioned for hot oil treatment may be used in this way. I was surprised to also experience success with
shortening. It melted easily into my daughters' hair and left it very soft.

Apply to damp hair as you would any pomade or oil during styling.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mocha Baby Regimen

I haven't been doing much with Mocha Baby's hair. I will occasionally run a super soft brush through it to loosen what little cradle cap she has. When she takes her evening bath she loves for me to slowly pour water over her head. The plain water is enough to rinse away sweat and even spit up. I'm careful to keep her face dry. I always have my face buried in her hair. If I don't like the smell I may do a gentle shampoo with diluted castille soap. Otherwise, I leave her hair alone.

The other day, I noticed some dryness and tried the following:

1. Wash with diluted castille soap. Try 1 tbsp castille soap to 8 oz water (you'll have plenty left over to use many times).

2. Rinse profusely.

3. Pat dry with soft towel.

4. Dime size Trader Joe's Refresh Conditioner (suave natural tropical coconut may be another good choice). Massage through hair and leave in.

5. Dime size drop of Grapeseed oil (may also try jojoba,unrefined coconut, or other light oil).

6. Allow to air dry.

The result was super silky and moist hair!