Well, I'm finally going to do it. I'm finally going to blog about my boyz' hair. I have held off on this for a long time for two reasons: 1) for me, this is a supremely personal and intimate topic, and 2) I really hate to take the risk of being perceived as a white mother who thinks she's all that because she does her kids' hair herself [or thinks she's an expert on black hair because she has some experience with two black kids' heads]. For goodness sake!-- Black women (and men!) have been doing black hair forever! And maintaining two kids' hair by no means makes me an expert! Pleeeaaaase!!! However, I have to say... that since I started this blog in October questions about K & O's hair have been streaming in non-stop. And when we're out and about in the world their hair is by far the biggest subject that people approach us about, question us about, and talk with us about. Hair, hair, hair. All hair, all the time. Since we got the boys in January '05 black hair has become a major (and I do mean MAJOR) part of my life. And doing their hair has become a major (and I do mean MAJOR) part of my identity as a mom to black boys. So, at the risk of exposing my children and myself too much, and at the risk of having some people out there think I'm a white-girl-who-thinks-too-much-of-herself... Here goes.
I am going to put it out there. My primary motivating factor is this: It turns out that quite a number of white folks who have adopted (or are in the process of adopting, or are thinking about adopting) black kids read our blog. Some of these people would like to loc their kids' hair and need help, support, advice, information. And I want to support those people and their kids. There are lots of resources out there on the web (just type "dreadlocks" into google and start browsing!!!), so by no means take this post as any kind of expert advice. I'm just a white woman who has learned to do dreadlocks! Having given all those caveats... Here we go!
Katie, Dawnz, and all the rest of you who have emailed me, anonymously contacted me, and posted comments about the boys' hair on our blog... This one's for you! :)
We had received photos of the boys starting from when they were age two weeks. It was always striking in the photos how -- even at age 2 weeks -- they already both had very full heads of very nappy hair. I had some experience doing black hair because of the six years we helped care for our special kid-friend in Boston, Maria. And I knew enough about black culture to know how important hair-care is, and how many black people (all over the world!) think that cutting a boy's hair before he's one or two is bad luck. I knew that I was going to want to keep Kyle and Owen's hair long at least until their first birthday. And I knew it was going to be a big undertaking.
When we first got the boys their hair was in bad shape. In their eight months of life their hair hadn't ever been cut, but hadn't been well cared for either. It was very dry and brittle. Some of it was breaking off or falling out in places. There were chunks of bald spaces on their scalps. And the back half of Owen's head was entirely bald. The hair they did have was very long (did I mention, it had never been cut?!?!). Our first job was to revitalize their hair and get it healthy.
In the first year we had the boys, I think we probably tried just about every hair conditioning product out there! (not really, but we tried a lot of them!!) We never really settled on one that we absolutely adored. I started braiding their hair, doing knots on their hair, and doing twists on their hair. I never perfected the art of cornrows. But I had a wonderful student -- Jessica Brown -- who was a gifted braider! Other than me, she's the only person outside of Haiti who's ever braided the boys' hair. She braided it twice. I absolutely loved how the boys looked with cornrows!
- Shampoo & condition about once per week using Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo (click here), and Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Treatment (click here). [Even if the boys have more baths we normally only wash their hair at most once per week.]
- Carol's Daughter Some of Marguerite's Magic Cream Hairdress (click here) on damp hair after bath (even if hair has not been washed during that bath).
- Carol's Daughter Khoret Amen Hair Oil (click here) every 2-3 nights, on dry hair, before bed [this is especially important for Owen, whose hair has always been much more dry and brittle than Kyle's].
- Each morning before starting their day, we either spray on Carol's Daughter Tui Jojoba & Shea Butter Hair Sheen (click here), or smooth on Carol's Daughter Hair Balm (click here) to K & O's locs.
- As of now (fall, 2007) we can confidently say that both boys' hair is finally fully 100% dredded [Owen's hair, just because of its texture, took quite a bit longer to fully loc up]. Because their hair is completely dredded now, we are currently only fully re-twisting about once every 6-8 weeks or so at most. We sometimes do a little "touch up twisting" in-between just to polish up their locs (maybe only once ever 2-3 weeks or so). For real re-twisting and for our "touch ups" we use Carol's Daughter Loc Butter (click here).
- Skin--- after each bath K & O get lathered up, heavy duty, with Queen Helene Cocoa Butter Body Oil (click here). We also sometimes use Queen Helene Cocoa Butter Creme (click here) between baths. We use Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment (click here) every single night, without fail, on faces and hands before bed.
*** November 23, 2007 we finally trimmed the boys' hair for the very first time. Click here for post about that.
*** December 7, 2008 we trimmed the boys' hair for the second time. Click here for post about that.
As of spring 2009~~ Re: hair -- At this point we're using Aveda shampoos and conditioners for washing and conditioning. We wash and condition 1 time per week (maybe 2, at the most, and only if necessary). We're using only Carol's Daughter products for loc care... one of the hair oils (like Khoret Amen Hair Oil) after washing and conditioning; the spray on Tui Jojoba & Shea Butter Hair Sheen almost every morning; and the Loc Butter for re-twisting/loc maintenance (which we're doing about once every 2-3 months at this point). Re: skin -- still exactly the same as 'November 2007' above.
*** August 23, 2009 we trimmed the boys' hair for the third time. Click here.