When we decided we were going to go the trans-racial adoption route I knew one challenge I was going to face with an african.-american child was caring for their hair. For those who are not aware, Black hair is VERY different that White hair. Not only in texture and styles, but the way you care for it as well. When I was getting my cosmetology license my school offered an ethnic hair course and like an idiot I did not take it. Boy do I regret that now!
I’m obsessed with caring for Muppet’s hair. In Black culture, hair is a big deal and I want her to feel pride about the beauty of her hair and not hatred for its maintenance. I love natural hair on black women. It is so beautiful and full. They can pull off styles that no white woman ever could. I want Muppet to embrace that and not beg me to straighten and relax her hair.
For a lot of adoptive moms with black children there is a hair care bible. It is http://www.chocolatehairvanillacare.com. It is written by a white adoptive mother and a black daughter who live in San Diego. She has turned caring for her daughter’s hair into an art form and spreads her knowledge to the rest of us who are just learning the ropes. It has been extremely helpful to me although every child has different hair and what may work for one may not work for another.
Here is our current hair routine:
Wash with shampoo once a month. Yep, you read that right, we only shampoo once a month. The reason is because ethnic hair is naturally more dry and needs extra moisture. Shampoo strips the hair of moisture. So we only do it once a month in order to cleanse the hair of any product build up. When we shampoo we use Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo.
We do what is called a co-wash twice a week. A co-wash is washing the hair with a conditioner only. This gently cleans the hair as well as adds some moisture back in. We are currently using Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner.
When the conditioner is in her hair I use I wide tooth comb to detangle the curls. I never use a comb on her hair while it was dry as her hair is very fragile and that would cause damage. After each shampoo or co-wash (which usually happens at night) I spray in a curl activating moisture oil to help hold the moisture in her hair over night. We are currently using SCurl oil.
In the morning when she gets dressed I spritz her hair with a water bottle. Then I sue a mixture of 2 styling products: Raw Shea Butter Extra-Moisture Detangler and Shea Moisture Styling Milk.
I mix the two together in my hands and spread it liberally through her hair. I use my fingers to detangle the curls as best as I can as detangling with a comb too often can cause damage. Her hair usually looks a bit wild this way but it’s still pretty cute.
This is her hair finger detangled:
You can see, especially on top where it is longer, that the curls aren’t as uniform and defined. Her hair on top is about 8 inches stretched, on the sides and back it is about 4 inches stretched. Much longer than it looks when it is dry.
In this picture her hair was detangled with a comb so the curls are much more defined and neat.
She is developing a tough head and is usually really good about letting me take my time to care for her hair correctly.
I’m really looking forward to learning how to add different protective styles into her hair as it gets longer as well. Protective styles are meant to last for a week or more drastically cutting down the time you spend each day caring for the hair. I’ve tried a few styles but they never last more than a day as she is still too young to realize she is not supposed to pull at her hair and drag her head around in her crib.
This picture has her hair in braided knots on the top with small puffs on the sides:
This one is 4 puffs. Two in the front, two in the back:
Here are a few experiments with braids:
If you can’t tell this has become a major part of my life. And I love it. I love when someone comments that her hair is so soft and beautiful. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. I hope that as she grows, Muppet learns with me how to care for her hair and that she feel good about how it looks. It is so important to me that she has confidence in herself. Hopefully we are on the right track for now.