Friday, October 3, 2008

Hair Washing

To shampoo daily, or not to shampoo daily: that is the question when you have a fro-baby, whose hair tends to be a little drier. And I’m not sure there’s a right answer. Some babies (especially as they get older) have oily hair and not washing it every day could be a bad thing both hygienically and aesthetically. Others may have drier hair that really needs the natural oils to stay healthy. Georgia had a mean case of cradle cap just a few days after coming home from the hospital (you know, just to complicate things), so I was on the case. To the internet!

I found that, although it looks like dry skin, cradle cap is actually the result of excess oil, which causes the flakes of skin that naturally shed as a part of the skin’s self-renewal process, to adhere to the scalp.

I was told in a baby care class for new moms to shampoo often and to use a fine-toothed comb to loosen the flakes. But despite all that straight hair Georgia had initially, I knew I had a fro-baby on my hands, and that her hair would eventually dry out if I shampooed as often as the flakes appeared (which was about every other day). I read on a few websites that it helps to apply oil (different varieties were recommended) to help loosen the flakes—yeah right. More like, unleash the hounds! It was crazy! I had to shampoo her hair three and four time to get out the flakes and the oil I put in! At any rate, this method finally worked. Here are some of my trial and error shampoos/hair washes, and my anecdotal results:

Shampoos/Hair and Body Washes:

Johnson’s Head to Toe Bodywash – This really is my favorite: Pros – Great, subtle, smell, washes out excess oil (from baby’s scalp) without drying out the hair itself. Widely available, not too costly. Cons – Not fragrance free, so may irritate some babies with sensitive skin (this is what they used on all the newborns in the hospital where she was born, so it’s probably more gentle than most of what’s out there). Will have varying effects on the appearance of the hair. Georgia’s hair is usually a little wild the day after we wash with this (probably due to the lack of oil—even though it does not feel “dry”) but the next day her hair looks great.

Aquaphor Hair and Body Wash – This is definitely #2: Pros – Fragrance free, gentle, no reactions. Works up a nice lather on the hair. Does not dry out hair at all. Cons –Well, it’s fragrance-free! It’s not an unpleasant smell, but… (I like a little “fresh” scent, I can’t help it). Doesn’t get out all the oil, but could be a plus if baby’s hair tends to be dry.

Johnson’s Baby Shampoo – Not for Fro-babies: Pros – Widely available, has that classic scent. Removes thick oils (see below) Cons: Removes ALL the oil. Dries out baby’s hair a LOT. Needed a few days to recover. She did smell great, though…

Aveeno Hair and Body Wash – Pass: This one is really marketed toward babies with sensitive skin, but Georgia reacted to this one! Pros: I actually just didn’t like this one, so I really can’t say. BUT in all fairness, I tried this because it was touted on many a website as a cure for infant acne and cradle cap. Turns out Georgia had infant eczema, so who knows, maybe it might work for you! Cons – Weird scent, didn’t smell like “baby” to me. Fairly gentle on the hair, but still a little too drying for my preferences.

Cetaphil Daily Cleansing Lotion – Missed the mark: Pros – Soft, lotiony texture, good for dry skin. Cleans without stripping or drying out. Cons – better as a skin cleanser than shampoo, even though it has some of the same surfactant (cleaning) ingredients as shampoo. Didn’t help Georgia’s eczema, which was why we bought it, and didn’t have great results on her hair.

Coming Soon…Noodle and Boo!

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