Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Somewhere trapped inside of me is a hair stylist dieing to get out. Every once in awhile I free her. Because of this I was over-the-moon excited to get my hands on Jamesy's curls. I researched for months (a researcher, data-hunter also is trapped inside of me!) and months every thing I could find on caring for Ethiopian/African hair and skin. It was overwhelming at times. I cannot even believe the amount of products on the market for African hair and skin! Oh my! I finally narrowed the product down to something that fit within our budget and was not filled with scary, nasty chemicals.
Hair is a very important part of Ethiopian culture, and from what I understand many other African cultures as well. Because my son is Ethiopian and we want to honor his heritage and his culture I want to do the best that I can to take care of his hair properly. Plus his curls are just luscious, and it is really fun making them look their best! I am hoping this post can be used as a research for other Mommies adopting beautiful children from Ethiopia, other African countries, or even African American Babies here in the states.
One thing I have learned is that all Ethiopian or African hair is not equal. So what works for my Jamesy may not work for your child. Jamesy has soft tight curls on top getting looser towards the back bottom of his head. His curls are not as kinky as some and his hair is not as coarse as some either. We are currently using most of his products from a line from Curls by Sisters Smith. I have been very pleased with all of the products we have used. The products are homemade and not a lot of money was poured into the packaging of them. It looks as if it is made out of someones kitchen, but I am just fine by that. I rather prefer it. This is the hair and skin routine that I have been using on Jamesy for going on four weeks now, and I am loving the results.
Cowashing: Every other night Jamesy gets a bath and we cowash his hair. This means that we do not shampoo. Instead we used conditioner only. I am currently using Yes to Carrots Pampering Hair Conditioner . This is not from the product line that I mentioned above, and this is pricey. BUT I felt confident with the ingredients and Jamesy is the only one using this conditioner, so it should last a very long time. I have been thrilled with it. Jamesy's curls are so silky feeling after his condition. If you are cowashing be sure to really massage the scalp to release oils. Every two weeks I wash Jamesy's hair with shampoo (I just use whatever Scotty uses which is Aveeno Baby right now.). I then use the Yes to Carrots as a leave-in conditioner. It works beautifully!
Oiling Scalp: People of African lineage can tend to be prone to dry scalps which can lead to fungus infections. This is one of the reasons we cowash rather than shampoo. After Jamesy's bath we also rub a liberal amount of pure coconut oil into his scalp to keep it moisturized. This can be found at your local supermarket in the cooking oils section. Be sure it is 100% pure. It will be a solid in cooler temperatures, but can be softened to an oil in your hand or microwave. I just scoop a chunk into my hand and rub it between my palms until it is softened. This is also great on skin - I use it on Scotty's eczema with success.
Hair Pudding: After Jamesy's scalp is oiled we apply a liberal amount of the wet set hair pudding from the line mentioned above. We use the brown sugar scent, and Jamesy smells so yummy all day long! I simply scoop a glob of the pudding into my hand and warm it between my palms and then apply it as if I were shampooing his head. I then comb through his curls with the Tangle Teezer hairbrush which my daughter and I also love! I wish I had known about that when Cadi's hair was down to her bottom. The brush does not pull at all, and it feels so good on the scalp! Well worth the investment for no tears with brushing any of my children's hair!
Quick Fix Spritz: In the morning I liberally spritz Jamesy's hair with the Quick Fix Spritz also from the line mentioned above and also in the brown sugar scent. Then I finger comb his curls into place, and for the most part they last all day! Sometimes after nap I spritz him again.
I am also using the body butter on Jamesy in brown sugar scent. I butter him up morning and night. It makes his skin look so silky, and he smells dreamy. This may seem like a lot of work, but it really is not. It has actually been very beneficial for my bonding and attachment time with Jamesy. He loves being massaged with the butter each day, and he looks forward to having his hair "spritzed".
I am sure our hair care routine will evolve, but this has been a great starting place and I am loving the results so far! If you have an tried and true tips please share!
PS Tomorrow is Jamesy's first appointment with a pediatric opthamologist. I am praying for answers and help, and I am nervous.