We're talking hair again! Welcome to all my new friends (especially you transracial mamas), and please feel free to ask or send me any questions you have about this whole hair thing. By no means am I an expert on ethnic hair care...I'm just sharing here what I've learned over the past few years as Pearl's hair has gradually grown in.
First, I'll say this once more, simply because I believe it so deeply...there is no greater step in learning your child's hair than fully loving it.
I've written just a little about the variety products, of which there is absolutely no end in sight. If we stacked up just the moisturizing options one on top of the other, I do believe we could climb up around the moon...and maybe even back.
In this post I want to share a little about the basic tools that pretty much every head of ethnic hair requires. Though there is still a generous array available, this step in the haircare process is pretty simple.
These are the three basic combs that are used in the care of my Pearl's sweet curls. The wide-toothed comb on the left is for detangling and is by far our most commonly used tool. Pearl's hair is still pretty short, so this detangler is sufficient in the mornings when we are fluffing out her curls. We also keep an extra in the car to use for a quick re-style if we are out and about (especially if she has been using the headphones in the van).
The purple comb in the middle is also for detangling, and I have to use this one at times when I am working to section Pearl's hair off for styling.
The black comb on the right is our rat tail comb, and it is an absolute must for styling. The sharp end helps me to draw straight lines in Pearl's head to get everything as straight as possible. That tip also comes in handy when I am pulling out any braids or other tightly-pulled style.
Though there are several other types of ethnic hair tools (bristle brushes, picks, etc.), I have found these three to be the best investment regarding our time and money.
These butterfly clips (available at Target, Walmart, Sally, Amazon, etc.) are used to help hold back sections of your child's hair as you are moisturizing, detangling, drying (if you do that), and styling. We are starting to use these more and more as Pearl's hair grows in. My mama friends of color all say that with longer hair, sectioning it off with these clips is absolutely essential to the prep and styling process.
There are two types of caps you need to maintain your child's hair (this is for girls or boys with longer hair only). The first is a plastic cap, which is used during the conditioning process to help lock in the moisture to your child's hair. In our washing routine, Pearl usually gets her hair washed, with shampoo, then we apply conditioner, then we put on a plastic cap and let it set for abut 30 minutes, then we rinse. These are super cheap from Sally's, or you could just use (and re-use) the ones you can get in hotel rooms.
The other essential cap is the satin sleep cap, which you can also find at Target, Sally's, or Amazon (for usually around $5). This is also only for kids with longer hair, as it helps prevent breakage. We put Pearl's on before she goes to bed, but she also has a fabulous peacock satin pillowcase as a backup in case her cap slips off in the night.
Some moms have told me they have their daughters put their satin cap on anytime they are at home to protect whatever style they have in. We don't ever think to do that, but generally speaking our only styles right now are puffs or a loose Afro with a head band.
Hair elastics are, surprisingly, one of the most controversial tools used for ethnic hair. Some mamas insist that only these cloth-style elastics are acceptable, as all other kids break the hair. Other mamas insist these aren't sufficient to contain their child's curls, and that the plastic or rubber band elastics must be used to hold the style together. I typically use this kind on Pearl's puffs, although anytime her hair has been braided I have noticed that the thinner, rubber band style elastics are always used to keep the ends together.
There are so many more tools available for ethnic hair, but I would call those mentioned here the basics.
Any mamas out there with tool tips (or any other ethnic hair care wisdom) to share?