Since becoming a transracial adoptive family in the last few years, I have put many, many hours into learning to care for my children’s hair care needs and most recently have become the owner of Africa Sleeps, a black hair and skincare business. We have fallen into a great hair routine that has given us long, moisturized curls that allow my children to be incredibly proud of their hair! Here is a glimpse into our hair care routine.
With three girls with kinky hair, I choose to style my girls’ hair all at once. Generally styles last us about three weeks. I take a day, whether it’s a day off of school or a Saturday or a weeknight with nothing going on, and I tackle all of their hair at once.
First, I begin by washing and conditioning. I use Moisturizing Shampoo about once a month (once every other month for Anna, whose hair is very dry naturally). The shampoo helps cleanse the hair, but it also strips the oils out. We use this sulfate free shampoo because it’s gentler on the natural oils in the hair and helps moisturize it while it cleans. Otherwise, about every 2-3 weeks, I co-wash (wash using conditioner only) with the Moisturizing Conditioner. This helps cleanse the hair of dirt and previous product and add in moisture.
After a shampoo and/or co-wash, I use the Nourishing Conditioner or the Moisturizing Detangler and spread it through the hair. These products both will get into the hair, add necessary nutrients, and add “slip” so that the hair is easy to detangle. I then add Hair Oil to the hair to help seal in that nourishing moisture.
This is when I take out our previous style. I prefer to wash my kids’ hair with the styles in because it allows me to adequately wash their scalp and essentially clean the dirtiest areas the best. It also allows me to keep their hair detangled during the washing process, saving me time later.
As I take out braids or twists, I comb through each section with a wide tooth comb. It there’s an area that is tangled, or if it was in puffs, I detangle with my fingers first. I then band the sections and loosely twist those detangled sections so that their hair stays nicely detangled. Once their whole head is de-styled and detangled, I rub Hair Butter through my hands and then work it into their hair, concentrating especially on the ends of the hair where it is the driest. The hair butter is made primarily of shea butter and of natural oils. These moisturizing ingredients help the hair maintain its strength and help with growth. Then I usually put in some basic twists with terry cloth bands and let it dry overnight or during naptime. Sometimes, if time is short, I will put in simple twists with some cute clips on the bottom for a few days until I can get back to styling.
Once their hair is mostly dry, I begin styling. My absolute favorite styling product is Braid Balm. It’s what got me introduced to Africa Sleeps in the first place and it is amazing. It seals in all of that moisture that we’ve added to the hair and it also helps keep braids staying smooth and fuzz-free for longer. I choose a style (often I let them choose from previous pictures or pictures I find online) and then I part the style, separating the sections and clipping them or banding them. I then rub a little bit of Braid Balm between my fingers and apply it to the root of the hair and the ends. As I braid, the Braid Balm gets worked through the remainder of the hair. Again, I make sure to put some on the ends because they’re most prone to dryness and breakage.
Once a style is complete, I usually leave it alone for the most part. I do spray their heads with Hair Oil and/or rub in some hair butter every few days to add some of those natural oils back in, especially in the dry winter. I also may co-wash with the style in if it is summer and they’re sweaty or if they get something in their hair (yogurt and spaghetti sauce are usual culprits at our house). Additionally, my girls sleep with a sleep cap on their heads as well as a satin pillowcase to protect their hair from breakage and moisture loss.
While it may sound like a lot of steps and a lengthy process, it actually doesn’t take that long from start to finish. I can usually wash, de-style, and detangle in 2-3 hours. I then usually spend about another 2-3 hours styling. To me, 4-6 hours for three weeks of healthy, styled hair is worth it. It does require a lot of products to adequately moisturize and seal their hair, but the outcome is totally worth it!