A few commenters have asked me about Lucy's hair care routine and how I keep those beautiful curls beautiful.
First, thanks for the compliments it is nice to hear. I am no expert and have taken a lot of advice I have received seriously plus have taken the lead of my child which means "do hair as little as possible".
I have 3 main "styles" that work for us because they are easy and can be completed in less then a short movie.
First, I rarely wash her hair with shampoo. Usually I soak it in the tub and load it with conditioner and comb it out while she lays on her back in the tub. This gets the grit and food out but doesn't dry out her hair as much. Last night I did wash it. When I condition or wash it I don't use any special expensive products. I once bought a bottle of Carol's Daughter rosemary shampoo, and it worked well, leaving her hair soft but now I just use my shampoo or a baby shampoo. I usually use whatever conditioner I use in my own hair.
my main styles as you can see from photos are:
1. box braids or twists (this look lasts about a week, and it cute like dreads)
2. two pony tail puffs
3. four section pony tails with braids
here is how I usually work the styles:
Day one: remove style and wash or condition her hair and divide it into two pony tail puffs (or pig tails)
Day two: divide the pig tails into 4 sections and braid the ends
Day three or four (depending on time and how the 4 section style looks), divide each of the four sections into 4-6 small box braids and leave this style until it starts unravelling (about 4-6 days) then comb out wash and repeat the steps
Doing her hair this way saves the "combing out" step because usually it stays pretty combed out when it's divided, and it's this step that Lucy hates the most.
When I do her hair I use a spray bottle containing water mixed with some oil. Usually I use olive oil but sometimes I use virgin coconut oil or jojoba oil. Its usually about 6 parts water to 1 part oil. This provides detangling and conditioning. When I leave her hair in the pony tail puffs I usually add some Carol's Daughter mimosa hair honey or hair milk to the curls to condition and protect them. When the hair is in braids I usually just rely on the spritzing of the oil/water mix to provide the protective conditioning.
During hair time I keep her in her youth chair and let her watch a movie and eat snacks. I choose my snacks carefully as when she gets irritated with the hair process she usually sticks her hands in her hair and schmears them all around (nice... ). When she says something hurts (even if I know it's not hurting her) I try to respect her and shift my hands so she "feels better", I don't want her to associate her hair with being problematic or painful. Sometimes we do fight, and she'll have a hard time "recovering" from a pull, so there are times when I yell (just being honest) OHHH and warming the oil/water mix has greatly decreased her hair time complaints, I usually just use warm water to make the mix or if I am reusing old stuff I put it in the microwave for a little bit.
Although it took a novel to write all of this, I do want to say that "hair" is not a huge issue in our house. I mean, we don't spend a lot of time on it or a lot of money on it. I try to keep her looking good and not disheveled but we do leave the house with messy hair if we don't have time to do it. The hair care routine for Lucy is no more time consuming or difficult then the coffee making/drinking routine I go through every morning ... it's just part of what I do to take care of Lucy every day. That being said, if I let it go for too long it DOES become an issue and becomes a painful event for her and this is why we've incorporated it into our routine.
Thanks again for all of your positive comments. I was worried about hair care when I started the process and worried about being respectful to her culture and worried about being judged by others ... these days I am worried about Lucy and not causing her pain and keeping her healthy and happy, I am more worried about being judged by my parenting (loosing my patience) in public then I am about how her hair looks.