When we first met Pearl at 13 months old, she had less hair than most little boys with a buzz. In an orphanage of over 30 children, doing hair was a luxury of time and attention they simply couldn't afford for her. Thus, as tends to happen to many African orphans, her sweet little head was shaved time and again.
Our first six weeks together (in her country) was mostly devoted to establishing our relationships as a newly reinvented family and just dealing with the governments as we tried to get us all home.
I had carried over some good lotion and took it as my personal mission to keep her beautiful skin shiny at.all.times. Easy enough. Eucerin is the magic word. Her hair, though, well...I just didn't have a clue. I certainly don't know everything there is to know, but have tried to continue learning over the past two and a half years.
It has helped that there wasn't much of it. With almost three years of growth we have about four inches stretched, and Pearl and I are both quite content with the fact that God is giving us just the right amount of hair that we can currently handle.
Our washing and conditioning routine is something that has evolved more than any other step in the haircare process. In Africa, I was washing it every day and with the same shampoo I was using on the rest of us.
Tsk tsk. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm. Not.Good.At.All.
Quickly after we came home, I started using some better shampoo formulated to safely cleanse her hair without stripping its natural oils. I also backed waaaaay off on frequency of washings.
Nowadays, here's how it goes (on a normal week):
-Sunday through Friday we just add moisturizers, creams, and curl enhancers and style it for the day...usually just fluffed up with a cute widdle headband. We like those curls big and loose and proud.
-Saturday night we wash and condition. She takes a bath like normal, but then lays on the counter as I wash her hair in the kitchen sink. Why?
a) The hand sprayer helps get all the product out for truly clean hair,
b) Her bath water (with its soap residue) does more harm than good for her curls, and
c) It's just a sweet time together.
So we wash and rinse once, sometimes twice, then apply conditioner. She gets an awesome shower cap to cover her head while we let it sit for a bit, and then we do a few rinses until it's squeaky clean. Some mamas like to do what's called a co-wash...that means conditioner only, with water. I've tried that on Pearl and it doesn't work for us. We use so many products during the week that we have to get it cleaned out at least once.
This is our favorite shampoo/conditioner combination, though I do favor the Miss Jessie's shampoo best of all.