I have three kids, three beautiful kids, three beautiful kids with a lot of hair! I have taken better care of their hair than my own but I haven’t done their gorgeous curls justice. Now that I am on this healthy hair journey for myself, I know that I need to make sure I look after their hair properly because they are too young to do it themselves. It’s frustrating though that they don’t have hair like mine (coarse afro) or their Dad (wavy European type hair) which would mean I could just replicate what either of us does on ourselves on them. But no, they have to have some crazy, coily hybrid that is as foreign to me as having noodles for breakfast. That is a thing in some countries.
So what do I need to know? Well I need to know everything. The fact they have hair unlike mine is made worse as they have different hair to each other which is compounded by my daughter having at least 3 hair types on her little head, well it’s not that little, in fact her head is quite big for a 4 year old and so is the hair that sits on top. I need to know what’s the best way to wash it, what do I need to put in it, what should the bedtime routine be, how often should I trim, what shouldn’t I be doing and the list goes on and on and on and on…
The kids routine at the mo is pretty simple. I use Palmer’s Co-Wash because it claims it can be used as a detangler, shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, deep conditioner and leave-in. All in one product. And although I think it is doing a great job at cleaning the hair, can one product really do all that? I don’t think so. But it does work pretty well as a cleansing co-wash. After washing I spend a few hours detangling their clean, moisturised hair pretty much strand by strand or at least it feels like it’s that tedious. Then throw their hair into some braids or twists and voila! We’re good for about 3 days. I use some variation of The LOC Method everyday and spritz at night. I don’t even want to get into what I did or didn’t do before I started thinking about hair pretty much day and night but I think this routine is a good starting point for something better on this ever evolving journey of learning.
Michelle Thames of Happily Ever Natural in a Naturally Curly article provides a 5 step plan for wash day. Five steps sound like a reasonable amount to me. You see some people’s regimens and the list goes on and on and on, then they detangle for hours, air dry and then the list carries on and on and on some more, deep condition blah blah blah. I want quick and easy because even though my youngest needs very little maintenance now, when the time comes that his baby hair says good bye and his big boy hair says hello, those 5 steps between 3 children start to multiply quite a lot.
First step is to pre-poo. I haven’t been pre-pooing my kid’s hair, I didn’t think I needed to. Pre-pooing is coating the strands in an oil to protect the hairs moisture levels during the washing process or at least, that’s what I understand it to be. Michelle suggests Grapeseed Oil which I actually quite liked for me as a sealant before I ran out but wouldn’t have thought to use it solo for this step. The only thing I query about pre-pooing with kids is doing it the night before like she suggests. Wouldn’t the oil go all over the pillow or maybe I am using too much oil? When I pre-poo my own hair I saturate it with oil and there is no way I could sleep without a plastic cap and destroy my sheets every week. I can’t put a plastic cap on my kids over night for obvious reasons and more importantly, I think they would just take it off within five minutes. I know you can pre-poo for at least half an hour before washing which may be a better alternative. So we will give that a try.
She also suggests that you detangle before washing. I’ve read that some people detangle their hair in sections and then twist the knot free section, then untwist, wash and re-twist. Aargh!
Jenell Stewart leaves detangling for wash days only (she has a great YouTube channel for her daughter, Elle P Stewart) and I had actually started doing that the last few weeks before I found her advice, turns out I’m starting to think like the greats now! But what I’ve been doing is detangling damp hair on wash days AFTER washing, then putting the hair in protective styles, plaits, twists, braids, whatever and really limiting the time the hair is out and free during the week.
I know it’s sad to hide it away but the fro still does get released from time to time. It makes my life easier if it periodically goes into hiding. The other option is to detangle when the kids are in the bath with loads of conditioner or the Co-Wash product. But the bath gets cold, the kids get bored and irritable and I lose my last nerve. I would love it if I could do it quickly at bath time but it just ain’t gonna happen anytime soon with these kids.
Now even though, the Alpha Mom website says brushes are a no-no, and I mostly agree, I am considering investing in a Denman brush because it’s all the rage but mostly because my big sister suggested it and as a little sister I will obey my elder. But really, I’ve heard they are really good for hair like ours. I tend to do a very thorough finger detangle and I think after that would be when the brush comes out just to catch those last few sneaky knots I’ve missed before the hair is all tucked away. Also, there is something very therapeutic and relaxing about brushing through hair with very little, to no tangles in, maybe more for me than my tender headed little people. I would probably also use the brush when I take out the protective style for the mid-week refresh because the hair should still be mostly unknotted and it should help from a time perspective. Lots to think about for now so I’ll mull it all over until part 2.
Let’s keep growing together.
xx Lee xx
Comments welcome below. What are your kid’s hair Do’s and Definitely-Do-Nots?