Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Different Baby, Different 'Fro

So far, this blog has focused on my little girl, who is almost three. But, she has a brother who is 8 months, and until we reach that magic one year mark, yes, we are dealing with hair--and he has a LOT of it! Two reasons it's tougher with the boy: #1 different hair. Thought I could just do what I did with baby #1 and it would be the same. Not so. The boy's hair is much curlier and more prone to dryness. #2 He's tender-headed! And he comes by that honestly, thanks to dear old mom. It would be great if you could just let the hair be, but sadly, when it gets as long as his, you have to do something so your child doesn't look like Baby Buckwheat.

Given that his hair is more tightly curled and dry, it might be first nature to think "heavier products." Nope. It's still baby hair, which means it is fine, and more to the point, still sparse in some areas, so heavy products only serve to clump the little fine strands together and make your fro-baby look like he or she has more bald spots! So, we stick to the lighter products in the "It's a Curl" line.

Now, I've always said that the Peek-a-Boo shampoo seemed a bit drying (perhaps due to its tear-free formula, that's my unscientific guess), but the conditioner always made up for it with G's hair. Can't say that here. The shampoo is a little too drying for his hair. We only use it for extreme situations (throw-up in his hair--happening less often these days, food in his hair--happens all the time) but for day to day, we may just give it a good water rinse or conditioner wash his hair. For those unfamiliar with the term (and yes, most are self-explanatory) conditioner washing is using conditioner only to wash the hair, using the properties of the conditioner that allow it to adhere to the hair as well as to rinse out to adhere to and rinse out the dirt. This works well for the boy (but did not work for the girl, or for me, either).

He's outgrown cradle cap, but for the few times I noticed flakes, with a good oiling with the coconut oil and a good wash with the Peek-a-Boo shampoo (and a screaming bout with combing with a fine-tooth comb), he has stayed pretty flake free. It's also good to do a little coconut oil pre-treating before you shampoo or conditioner wash from time to time.

After shampooing, we also use the Itsy Bitsy Spirals moisturizer and the Ring Around the Curlies leave-in on his wet hair. Now, a note on the tender-headedness: Combing is not an option. The boy just cries and cries in a way his sister never did. What does work really great (to my great surprise) is a Denman brush. I'd bought this for my daughter to help smooth and define her curls. It can also detangle without the use of a comb, which is a great time saver. Denman is actually the name of the company and they have several brushes. The one I am referring to is the "Classic Styling Brush." I use a small 5-row brush on the fro-babies, but adults and people with longer hair can use the larger sizes. For some reason, I just get minimal whimpering when I use this brush (as opposed to the long and loud wails from combing). So, if your angel is tender-headed, this might be something to try.

Detangling with a Denman is a little different from detangling with a comb. Number one, it's faster. Five rows of "teeth" as opposed to one. The bristles of a Denman are plastic and resemble comb teeth more than bristles. Because of this it's important that you don't "rake through the hair," as you will likely cause damage--if it's even possible to get the brush through the hair this way. With a Denman, it is even more important to start at the bottom. Take the section of hair and hold it close to the end. Start with a Denman-sized (width) of hair and and tap it a few times with the Denman to loosen tangles. Then pull the brush through. It should glide through leaving the hair very smooth. If it catches, repeat the tapping and pull through again. Repeat this process all the way up to the scalp in small sections. It sounds tedious but it goes very fast. It also seems to be less painful, at least according to my son.

The added benefit is that after using the Denman, the curls are better defined and less frizzy and "all over the place." This is true for both of my fro-babies. I have to say, that for a while, I was not doing a great job conditioning the boys hair. Because of this, his hair was consistently dry, very hard to comb, and rough. When I finally realized this was due to my poor hair care (yes, my gender bias is showing) I began moisturizing his hair on a regular basis. What a difference! Yes, his curl pattern is much tighter than my daughters, but it's HIS curl pattern and it only emerged after I started taking better care of his hair. Now my littlest fro-baby is a little curly fro-baby.


Howardhijabi said...

:-) Co-washing was a good move. But in-case you wanted to use shampoo at some point maybe you could change your line. Here is a list I made of hair lines made for kids http://redefiningbeautyreflections.blogspot.com/2010/01/our-hair-care-wish-listreview.html Most of them are natural and made for curly haired babies. I really like Karen's Body Beautiful's baby products right now.

KG said...

Thanks! I always appreciate product recs. I will definitely take a look. I've become so enamored of the boy's hair, I don't want to cut it on his first birthday anymore. I'm diggin' his afro! I will definitely try a new shampoo.