Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Current Daily Hair Care Routine

I thought I had better post about our current daily hair care routine for our girls since it’s going to be changing soon as their hair starts getting longer!

Before our girls came home I went through this website: http://www.chocolatehairvanillacare.com/ with a fine-toothed comb (hee hee) to come up with some sort of plan of what I was going to be doing! I studied her posts, made a binder of style instructions and photos and practiced techniques on Barbies and Jayla. Most of all, I needed lessons on the care and maintenance of African hair. Everything I have below I learned from this website.

Right now since Jennifer and Jasara’s hair is so short, my main job is keeping it moisturized and promoting growth….I won’t attempt any styles until it gets a bit longer. African hair is different from Caucasian hair in that theirs does not produce as much oil as mine does. That’s why I have to wash my hair every day so it doesn’t look greasy, and that’s why I have to add some form of oil [our African friends call it ‘grease’ :)] to their hair every day to combat the dryness. The first piece of success that I learned from this website was that African hair oil moisturizers/lotions ‘work’ (my determination for that is that they make the hair look good) by sealing in moisture….which means there has to be moisture there to seal in….moisture=WATER. Therefore, STEP 1 as soon as the girls head into the bathroom in the morning to get ready is to spray water onto their hair via a water bottle sprayer (since they bathe at nighttime this is the easiest way to get their hair wet in the morn). We do drape a towel over the girls' shoulders to catch run-off.  Justice, who goes through the same hair routine when he wears his longer, prefers to just dunk his head under the bath faucet each morning to wet his hair (since he showers at nighttime).

Morning hair routine Step 1: Spray hair with water or somehow get it wet.
 
Next comes the oil moisturizer. Jennifer and Jasara have different curl types so I don’t use the same moisturizer for both of them. On the Facebook feed for the above website, it is kind of a toss up between whether olive oil or coconut oil is preferred best. I’ve tried olive oil moisturizers on Justice’s hair before, and it just wasn’t enough for him. His hair would be curled back into little balls about mid-way through the day and look unkempt even though he just did it a few hours earlier. When I found out about coconut oil on the website (read the post here) and we tried it on his hair (which has a very strong/tightly coiled curl) it gave a lasting effect throughout the day. Since Jennifer’s hair is a similar texture to his, I went with the coconut oil for her moisturizer as well and it is working great for what we need it for right now. You actually get this coconut oil in the organic food aisle in your local grocery store!!! Don’t look in the hair aisle – you won’t find it there!

Morning hair routine Step 2: Add oil moisturizer. For Jennifer we use coconut oil.
 
I just scoop out a little coconut oil with my fingers (which is solidified in the jar more like a butter) and rub it in my hands until it melts. Then I massage it into Jennifer’s hair. Once her hair is covered I then do Step 3 which is using a pick to comb her hair out. The first few months I actually used a regular fine toothed comb to comb it out because her hair was so short (since it had been recently shaved) and I needed some tighter 'teeth' to reach the tight coils. Now that her hair has grown out to almost an inch in length, I only use the tiny black comb on her hair line because it breaks her hair since it is thicker now. I use the pick over her entire head. So, for a recap, here is what we use for Jennifer’s morning/daily hair routine, in order from left to right:
 
And below are some before and after snapshots of ‘doing’ her hair in the morning. I am kind of disappointed in this before picture because it is so hard to get a feel for the dryness from the photo. But, when Jennifer wakes up her hair has clumped together in little balls/tufts all over.

BEFORE…
 
Then, you can see here in the after picture how it is smoothed out and looks soft. AFTER…
 
The hair will sparkle and look and feel 'wet' right after you moisturize with the coconut oil...but it will soak in to the hair in no time flat!

Since Jasara was malnourished as a baby/toddler, one of the effects is that her hair didn’t grow. So, now that her hair is coming in it is ‘baby hair’ which has a very soft texture and loose curl. Her hair has also never been cut, which I am told by the Ghanaian mommas will help her to keep what they call ‘good hair’….the soft texture and loose curl that she has now….time will tell….it may just be a myth. For her hair, an oil lotion provides just the right amount of moisture to define her little curls and keep her hair from getting dry and frizzing out. The straight coconut oil that I use on Jennifer’s hair would be way too runny and ‘slick’ for her curls. So for Jasara, I just picked an oil lotion that they had in the ethnic aisle at Wal-mart….this is the one that I chose:
 
You can see that this is an olive oil. Right now I use maybe 2 quarter-sized dollops on her entire head, and then I comb it out with the pick pictured. I wouldn’t dare use a fine-toothed comb on her hair because her curls would snap and break the second I hit a tangle. As a recap here is what I use for Jasara’s morning/daily hair care routine, in order from left to right:
 

Here are the before and after snapshots for Jasara...BEFORE...
 

AFTER...
 
And I tried to get a zoomed in shot so you could see her defined curls….I took this about 30 minutes after I did her hair one morning….so the moisturizer is all soaked in and you can really see her coils!
 
Another big thing I learned on the website is that African hair does not need to be washed daily, but more like weekly! And, it is recommended to not use shampoo for the washing because it really strips their hair of the moisture that they need. Instead, you can use a conditioner for the washing, which will still cleanse the hair, but will add moisture back in during the wash instead of taking it away like a shampoo does. For us, I picked one day each week that we will wash Jennifer and Jasara’s hair with conditioner. We do so on Saturdays. I picked the Shea Moisture line which gets great comments on the website’s Facebook feed. I’ve seen these products so far at Target and Walgreens. For Jennifer we wash her hair on Saturdays with this conditioner:
 

For Jasara we wash her hair on Saturdays with this baby head-to-toe wash:
 
An added bonus with the Shea Moisture line is that the products smell sooooooo good AND the lady who developed the products back in the 1900’s has a really cool story…it’s on the back of the products.

One other thing to mention is that the website mostly recommends organic products which tend to be a bit pricier….for example the coconut oil is $12 per jar. HOWEVER, we are using such small amounts of these that these bottles are lasting a really long time! I am only about half through each of the products I've pictured in this post (other than the head-to-toe wash since we also use that for body wash), and the girls have been home almost 3 months.

Other than the difference in washing, I realized that the daily hair care routine I am doing for Jennifer and Jasara is actually very similar to what I have been doing with Jayla and her wavy curls. The only difference is that for Jayla right now I actually have one more step added in – DETANGLING! Eventually as Jennifer and Jasara’s hair gets longer this will be a big (and from what I’ve read, time-consuming) part of their hair care that will happen after washings and before putting in a style. Here is what I am using on Jayla right now in order from left to right…..water sprayed on, detangler, pick it out, curl defining lotion.
 
I just find it interesting that I am essentially doing the same steps with Jennifer and Jasara’s hair, just using different products and dealing with different textures. :) Of course everything will change once I can start doing styles in the girls' hair since the styles typically can stay in around 4 weeks at a time. That will be a whole other adventure (and new routine) that I will update you on when we get there!

While I am on the subject of body care, just wanted to also mention what we use for skin care for our Ghana kids….once again, African skin needs a lot of moisture added back in….I cannot even explain how this Iowa air sucks their skin SO dry! When we were in the midst of Justice’s adoption one of my African mom-friends gave me a rundown on skin care products. She told me that you cannot go wrong with the Vaseline brand for African skin, so we went with it and it has worked great! This is what we use:
 
The kids put it on every square inch of their skin – even their faces – every morning. That usually lasts them the whole day. Very rarely, but sometimes they have to reapply on knees, elbows, and dry “ashy” spots a second time in the day...but that is hardly ever.  We go swimming quite often too, and that does a number on our Ghana kids’ skin. After swimming sessions they use pure Vaseline petroleum jelly to moisturize.  I know it sounds sticky but their skin absorbs it like the desert does rain!

So that’s that! I hope to post more updates as things change in the hair department. I’ll leave you with what it looks like to paint 30 fingers and 30 toes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whew!
 


 

7 comments:

jacidvm said...

Have you tried the Olive Oil Organic brand shampoo or conditioner for Jayla or the girls? I have very coarse, curly hair and my stylist recommended it, and it works great!!! I alternate between that and a salon brand for ethnic hair, but I like it best. People always wonder why I use ethnic shampoo, but it works so much better! Easily found at walmart and target, too! :)

Renee said...

I had to chuckle at this post...it's almost identical to Amber's girlies' morning routine! Water spray bottle, spray in conditioner...braid hair at night so they don't wake up with frizz! They have very dry skin just like their mama and I'm thinking she should try that Vaseline line of body lotion! Your girlies are adorable.

Ryan & Lisa said...

I appreciate these tips as our little man is about to be 8 months old and keeping him moisturized has been challenging! We use the same olive oil hair lotion and I've been using Olive Oil Creamy Aloe Shampoo that seems to work great as well!

Shonya said...

Their hair is gorgeous! You can use the coconut oil on their skin as well--it works great!

So glad you're being proactive in learning how to care for their hair and skin and using natural products. It won't be long and you'll be able to put their hair in coils! :)

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