Thursday, September 29, 2011

An answer to a frequently asked question(s).

Her hair.  Is it hard?  How long does it take?  What do you different?  Lots of people are curious.  And I very much understand the curiosity.  It seems like a secret club to lots of people.  It's really not though.  But, I thought I would give you a quick run through of what a typical hair week looks like for us, and some products we use.  Feel free to leave questions in the comments and I will do my best to answer.

Our hair week typically starts on Saturday.  At some point on Saturday, Abigail takes a bath, and we wash her hair.  This means we: wash her scalp really well with a moisturizing shampoo (herbal essence hello hydration is what we use).  Rinse completely.  I then put a deep conditioner in by sectioning off a small piece of hair, putting conditioner in  and combing that section with a wide tooth comb.  I do this until all of her hair has conditioner on it, and then usually add a little more conditioner by massaging it close the the scalp.  I put a shower cap on her head and leave it on for anywhere from 5-15 minutes (this depends on her tolerance level).  (I am in the process of switching deep conditioners so I don't have a recommendation for this yet.)  I then take the cap off and rinse all of the conditioner out.  Some people are done with their hair at this point.  However Abigail's hair type is a 4c-and is extremely dry.  So after I have rinsed the deep conditioner out I then take some regular daily conditioner (I use Bee Lovely's moisturizing daily conditioner) and section her hair once again.  I add a small amount to each section and comb it through and then braid the section after it's been combed through.  I do not rinse the conditioner out.  I know this probably sounds crazy to some of you.  As a white woman my hair would look a frightful mess if I didn't rinse my conditioner out.  But Abigail's hair NEEDS this for me to be able to comb it out, and so that it stays well moisturized.
After bath we hang out on the couch surrounded in product, brushes, and with something kiddy for Abigail to watch.  I, one section at a time, unbraid her hair and brush through it.  I use a tangle teezer and starting at the ends brush lightly to make certain their are no tangles or snags.  I slowly move up her hair (still brushing from top to bottom) until it's all untangled.  I then add a generous amount of moisturizer to the ends of her hair (I use Deja's Hair Milk-also Bee Mine brand).  I use another moisturizer (luscious balanced cream moisturizer-Bee Mine) by putting some in my hands, rubbing them together and rubbing it on the section of hair from top to bottom.  After it's all been applied, I do another quick brush through to make sure all of her hair got product on it.  IF I am going to do a style I leave the section down.  If she's going to bed right away I just rebraid each section (I try not to let her sleep on her hair when it's down, and she always wears a silk cap over her hair at bedtime).
So, after all sections are combed and moisturized, there are two things that can happen.  If I send her to bed with the braids, I can style it the next day or let her wear it free (in an Afro).  Either way, I will have to rebrush and remoisturize her hair starting at the taking each section out and brushing it. If she wears it in an Afro I usually add some Bee Mine curly butter, after the original mouisturizer, because hair left down dries out more (and is more prone to damage).
If I am styling it (whether it be the same night or the next morning) the products depend on the style.  If I am doing a style I'm planning on leaving in for the whole week (or more) I just use the same protocol as above, do parts with the end of a rat tail comb, and get to work braiding twisting and so on.  If I put rubber bands in her hair (which I rarely do anymore) I always put them in olive oil first to keep them from breaking her hair.  If I am doing a style that will become another style-mainly twist that I will take out and let her wear as a twist out-I use either the Bee Mine curly butter before twisting or Queen Helene's Royal Curl.
So once the styling is done the daily upkeep is adding the Hair milk to her ends every day, and spritzing it with a moisturizer (I use Bee Mine Juicy Moisturizing daily spritz).  If I am doing a twist out, when I take the twist down, I still just spray it daily with the spray.  If I take a whole style down and redo it mid-week, I generally spray it with my own spray mixture I make containing aloe vera, glycerin, extra virgin olive oil, conditioner (the Bee Mine daily one I use) and water.  I then do the same moisture routine as above and style.
My daughter does bathe more than once a week.  And because she is three, and she gets dirty, I do generally have to wash mid-week.  If I do though, I will often wash with the style still in, and I do what's called a co-wash.  This just means I wash her hair with conditioner.  (I just use the Bee Mine daily one for this as well.)  If her hair is down we wash with the conditioner, rinse, and then do the leave in again.  If it's styled we wash with the conditioner and do a gentle rinse so some of the conditioner is left behind.
 The other hair related things we try to do are keep a silk scarf over the back of her car seat. The constant friction on her hair dries it out and causes it to break. We also try to put one over the stroller if she is in it for very long. However, she still rolls on the couch, floor, grass, and all sorts of other stuff and there's nothing I can do about it (unless I made her live in a silk cap or we covered everything we owned in silk).

This is it for styling. So to answer the bigger questions, is it hard? -I don't think so. It is way more work than my 'wash with generic products and go' style, but it's not hard by any means. How long does it take. There's not straight answer to this. Washing on weekends, around forty five minutes probably. Brushing it out and moisturizing it, around forty five minutes. Styling it (this definitely depends on the style) can be fifteen minutes to my longest one ever being five hours (broken up over a couple of days).
Abigail very much loves having her hair done. She asks me to brush it and braid it sometimes. It's a precious time to me to sit with a little girl on my lap and enjoy every minute of bonding her hair brings. She does generally watch television while I do her hair. We don't own a television, and so she watches very little over all. So Netflix and our computer have been a wonderful blessing in all of this. Sometimes Papa reads her books while I do her hair, and sometimes I just sit and talk to her while I do it.
The key to having styles that look good is knowing how to part well. I can do lines and zigzags, circles and hearts, and everything in between. I did know how to braid, french-braid (cornrow) and twist before I became a mama so that helped. I have also learned a lot of things from asking questions and the oh so wonderful You Tube. Any style I want to learn to do is available with a video tutorial. I was determined to know how to do my daughter's hair myself, and to be able to do really fun and cute stuff, so I have become quite knowledgeable over the past three years. I enjoy getting to share what I know, and learning more as I go.

 Some hair through the years pictures.
She was born with a full head of loose curls.
 It has transformed into beautiful tight curls that we love!

Her first bow at two days old.

Looking super cute in a headband.

Length at a couple of months old.

Some deep conditioning in the beginning.

First pigtails at about three weeks old.

My first time beading.

I got much better.
Abigail with some two strand twist.

Beads in the style.

 Not clear but about mid-back length.

Free Hair.

Twist out.

Lacing with ribbon.

In love with my daughter's hair,


  1. I was just speaking to a black woman I work with about how great of a job you do with her hair! I really loved the afro on Sunday!

  2. My personal favorite is the twist out!