Happy 2013, readers!
I've written about hair off and on in the past, mostly because Black hair is a big deal.
Currently, we have a good hair routine in place that I'd like to share with you. And in my book due out this month, I'll share even more hair and skin adventures, tips, and resources, including my favorite hair blog (where I wrote a guest post in 2012).
Washing & Rinsing: We wash the girls' hair about every three weeks with Kinky Curly's Come Clean Shampoo which we get at Target. Alternatively, I also co-wash (conditioner wash) their hair with Trader Joe's Tea Tree Conditioner (which is about 3x the price on Amazon as it is in-store, but if you don't have a TJ's near you, you might have to purchase it online). We rinse the girls hair about every week and a half with a mix of 2T of apple cider vinegar and 8 oz of water (this removes product build-up)---as recommended by CHVC blog.
De-tangling and Moisturizing: I created a mix of oils (olive, jojoba, vitamin E) and aloe vera juice (which you can drink, by the way, to relieve constipation) in a spray bottle to dampen the girls' hair. Then I moisturize with my own mix of shea butter, coconut oil, and almond essential oil (our scent of choice) to their hair. It also helps their hair stay nice and shiny! I get the jojoba and vitamin E oil from Trader Joe's, the shea butter from a local beauty supply store, the coconut oil from Wal-Mart, the olive oil from Aldi, and the almond essential oil from Rainbow Meadow.
Product Organization: I purchased a shower caddy in clearance at Kohl's (meant for college students to haul their bath products to and from their dorm showers) which works perfectly for us! It's made of durable plastic, so it can easily be cleaned and can carry the weight of many products. This is where we keep their detangling and rattail combs, rubber bands (sorted by bright colors and dark brown), clippers (for removing rubber bands), clips (to hold excess hair while styling), etc. I love that this item has a handle! Plus, I can keep the caddy beside me as I style, and because it doesn't have holes in the bottom, if a product should leak or spill, there's no mess on my furniture.
Accessory Organization: We sort the girls' barrettes by type and size in recycled applesauce and jelly jars. Because they are clear, I can send the girls to get the correct jar while I'm in the middle of styling. :) Bows and headbands go on our homemade hair organizer which is simply a canvas with chosen fabric stapled over it snugly and ribbon-of-choice stapled over the fabric. This looks beautiful and can be hung up or can lean against a wall in a closet.
Styling: My go-to style that has dramatically impacted Miss E's hair growth is two-strand twisting. Baby E has fine, shiny, long and non-kinky hair, so it doesn't hold twist styles. I'm still trying to figure out what works best for her. We still love rocking 'fros occasionally!
Skin: Miss E has eczema, so we struggle to keep her skin healthy. #1 rule: find out what causes the eczema and eliminate it or decrease it. For Miss E, it's milk. #2: short, lukewarm baths that occur 1-2 times a week in the winter. #3: healthy diet. #4: moisturize. After much trial and error, we use Avalon Organics Aloe Lotion purchased from Vitacost online. I add a few drops of almond essential oil for scent. In the tub, the girls wash with our babysitter's homemade peppermint soap which contains no crappy ingredients.
Overall, my philosophy is this: your skin is your biggest organ, and it's porous. Why put things on it, which your body essentially absorbs and "digests," that are known to cause cancer? When we think about how many products so many Black children are laden with, due to their specialized skin and hair needs, isn't it important to make sure they are "digesting" healthy products?