Thursday, November 18, 2010

Good Hair

Well, while some of my friends have been literally writing novels this month, I have blinked twice and realized I haven't blogged at ALL. Crazy!

And, actually, November has been fairly crazy. Lots of work and lots of school has meant that my usual blogging times (naps, after baby bedtime) have been booked solid. I should be writing a paper right this minute, but I wanted to check in and verify my continuing existence with the interwebs.

I will save deep thoughts about all I have been learning for later, however, in favor of discussing J's hair. She is starting to get a nice bit of hair, and yesterday I had my first real go at styling it. But let's back up. First I should chronicle what I have been doing for her hair.

When J was brand new we simple put baby oil in her hair every time she had a bath. This was primarily for her scalp, to help take care of cradle cap and keep her scalp moisturized. You might remember she had some nice male pattern baldness going on back then, and her hair was fairly straight and wispy:

By the time she was three months old the very top had really filled in, she had rubbed a nice bald spot in the back, and her hair was curly, curly, curly on the top and sides. The hair in the back was still baby-wispy where it wasn't rubbed away. She was rocking a nice natural mohawk, but her hair needed more than just an oil now and then. After reading a good review on a blog I bought some Original Sprout leave-in conditioner and miracle detangler, which I used as a moisturizing spray. Using the leave-in I could give some control to her curls, as in the picture below, but they never lasted more than an hour or so.
Most of the time it looked like this:

The Original Sprout routine worked really well for us right until she was around 10-11 months old. That product is fairly light, and as her hair filled in more and more I started to notice that it looked more frizzy than curly by the end of the day. She was also developing some nice wings in the back, which I thought were pretty adorable. At this point we could do little clips and bows, but I felt like the product wasn't doing enough for her hair anymore, and it certainly didn't provide enough oomph for styling.

So a couple weeks before J's birthday I took her up to Seattle's premiere salon for natural African-American hair for a product consultation. There I learned that J's multi-textured hair needed more moisture than it was getting, and her scalp as well. So we picked up some Curly Q moisturizer/detangler and Curly Q Custard Hair Cream. I still have half a bottle of the OS leave-in, so will stick with that for now.

So J's current hair routine is as follows:
Shampoo: once every one to two weeks as needed. (Never needs more than that.)
Leave-in conditioner: every time her hair is wet - she takes a bath every 1-2 days, although we don't always use soap, so as to avoid overdrying her skin.
Moisturizer/detangler: this product is for when her hair is dry. I use it to get some moisture on her head so we can comb out and detangle before the cream.
Hair Cream: this goes on every night and morning after combing out.

The difference in J's hair is striking. Her curls coil up and stay soft and moisturized all day. I also trimmed up her sides, though it pained me to say goodbye to her wings. She still has more hair on top, and is pretty sparse in back where her bald spot used to be, but I love the soft, shiny, healthy look of her hair now!
And, since I was feeling brave and accomplished, I tried to really style her yesterday for the first time. I thought bantu knots would be the quickest and easiest thing to experiment with. Voila - styled baby!!
They are fairly messy, and some turned out as just defined ringlets instead of knots, but I thought the overall effect was adorable.
You can see that her hair that isn't in ringlets or knots curls up on its own, once moisturized.
She loves it! Of course I will get better at this as time goes on. And while J is used to me combing out her hair twice a day and applying product this stretched her sitting-still abilities to their limit. I might try it again today - it doesn't overnight well - and see if I can't start early with building up her tolerance for getting her hair styled. All in all it felt momentous - this is the first step in a lifelong adventure for both of us in hairstyles and styling!


  1. She looks so adorable.

  2. The knots look amazing. You did a fantastic job. You might not be ready to put rubber bands in her hair but that's what I've started doing with Isabel's when I do these since her hair is not coarse enough to hold the style through nap and night time. That way I can easily just fix a few that are loose and she's ready to go.

    With the exception that Belle has more hair from the beginning it sounds like J's is following a similar, but faster, transformation as Belle's did.

    Been looking for something new, might try the cream you linked.

  3. I use the curly q products on my girls' hair. Also, you might want to try the Mixed Chicks products. They smell scrumptous!

  4. I love it! Way to go, Mama! She looks beautiful.

  5. She's adorable! I love the curly twists. Great job.
    Satin pillow cases also help with the rubbing off of the hair. The cotton pillow cases often aids to breaking off of the hair, particularly, ethnic hair.

  6. She is precious!
    We found that the African American ladies in the nearest small city were absolutely sweet and helpful about all of us with adopted black kiddos. They welcomed us (and our hair issues) with open arms. I hope you had a great experience too.
    Now, there's a teen in town (adopted from Liberia) who can braid like nobody's business. She has quite a clientele of families here with adopted curly headed kiddos.
    My husband likes to keep our boys' hair short... although 4 and 5 yr olds are sporting mohawks right now... sigh LOL

  7. Very cute Alissa!!! Great Job! J looks adorable!! Can't wait to try some of the products you mentioned on Isabella's hair! (and you know how much hair Isa has :)
    I'm also equally impressed you trimmed her hair, that is definately a big step mamma (I feel your pain, the thought of Isa's first hair cut makes me misty eyed :)

  8. Cute style! I'm so glad to have you and Debbie leading the way for me! I'm using the Original Sprout deep conditioner and leave-in now, and I bought some of the Curlz baby line (It's a Curl) but I didn't immediately love the smell. I will keep the Curly Q in mind as Baby C's hair gets longer.

  9. PS I think that picture of J in the tutu is the cutest ever!

  10. I love her hair how you styled it!! Looks adorable! And way to go you! I'm impressed. Nick likes putting stuff in Dom's hair and I just make him look greasy and the hair doesn't do what Nick wants it to we stay away from any products whatsoever. :) I can't even style my own hair! You rock!