Thursday, October 31, 2013

Healing Coconut Oil Lotion

Awhile ago I posted the recipe for my homemade lotion that I use for the boys. I like using this lotion in the summer because it does not melt easily. Having a lotion that turns to liquid in the summer is a very bad idea with two toddlers in the house. In reality, any kind of lotion is a bad idea with two toddlers, though it is necessary. (Yes, I had to clean up lotion from all over a bedroom. Not fun.)

In the winter months, when the temperature in the house is in the low 70s, I can use a lotion that has more coconut oil since it will not melt. The more coconut oil, the better, since we have had recurrent MRSA skin infections in the past. In fact, I sometimes use coconut oil by itself. Coconut oil has been working to prevent the infections and works well as a moisturizer, but I wanted to amp it up a little bit. So I added a few more ingredients to make it even better.

Tea tree oil helps boost the germ-fighting of this lotion. Use with caution, as swallowing tea tree oil can cause serious health problems. Also, using tea tree oil without mixing it properly with a carrier oil can cause skin irritation. Tea tree oil should be 5% or less of any mixture. This is just under half an ounce (0.4 ounces, to be more precise) of tea tree oil or less for every 8 ounces of carrier oil. In teaspoons, this is 2.5 teaspoons of tea tree oil for 8 ounces of carrier oil. This recipe uses much less, so should not cause irritation for most people. Tea tree oil is poisonous for animals in even small amounts (used internally or topically), so keep this away from your pets. Click the link to read more about tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is fine when used properly, but can be left out if you have concerns about using it.

Vitamin E and Jojoba oils are beneficial to the skin. These oils are safe to use on the skin full strength.

Argan oil helps the skin to heal. We have had good success with using argan oil to treat eczema even when other oils and lotions did not help. Argan oil can be used full strength on the skin.

Recipe for Healing Coconut Oil Lotion

12 ounces softened coconut oil
2 Tbsp olive oil (or sweet almond oil)
1 tsp jojoba oil
1/2 - 1 tsp vitamin E oil
1/2 - 1 tsp argan oil
1/4 - 1/2 tsp tea tree oil

Soften the coconut oil over gentle heat if necessary.
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.
Mixture can be whipped. I find it is easier to use if it is whipped, but works just as well if it is not.

We use this lotion once or twice a day, normally first thing in the morning and before bed.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Explorer's First Cornrows

I have been styling Scholar's hair for over a year, since just before he was a year old. I have done cornrows, box braids and coils. Until this week, I have never "done" anything with Explorer's hair. Of course, I take care of his hair, moisturize it, comb it, but I have never been able to style his hair.

Explorer's hair had no curl to it until he was 10 months old. At that point, it started to become wavy on the top. Over the last year, his hair has changed a lot. Now, he has coarse, wavy and straight hair on the top. The sides and back are soft and curly. His hair is still changing.

I can cornrow Scholar's hair even when it is only 2 inches long because it is so curly that it will hold even at that short length. I had to wait for Explorer's hair to grow out so that I could cornrow it and have a chance of it holding for more than a few hours. His hair is about 7 inches long now, so I gave it a try. I was not sure if it would stay in, or if he would leave it in, so I only did four rows (about half his hair) at first. When those survived the night, I decided to do the rest of his hair. He has been wearing the rows for 3 days and, though they are not as tidy as when I put them in, they are still in and holding very well.

I was concerned about how much the straight and wavy hair would pop out of the cornrows. Straight hair has a tendency to stick ... well ... straight out of the sides of braids. This has happened a little bit in some places, thus the less tidy look after a few days. Yet, overall, I have been impressed with how well they have held up.

The cornrows even survived bath day today. I made a conditioner rinse for his hair and then rinsed it out and used a mixture of oils to seal in the moisture. I did not want to agitate the hair at all because that could cause it to pop out even more. We successfully cleaned and conditioned his hair without causing the rows to come apart.

For the conditioner rinse, I mixed about a cup of warm water with the amount of conditioner I would normally use for his hair. I used Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner. I poured the mixture over his hair and gently patted it into his hair. After a few minutes, I rinsed it out.

After bath, while the hair was still wet, I sprayed it with a concoction of oils that I had made up to soothe an itchy scalp. It works to seal moisture into the hair, too.

4 Tbsp sweet almond oil
1/2 Tbsp vitamin E oil
4 tsp tea tree oil (stops itching and kills bacteria)
1 Tbsp aloe
10 drops lavender essential oil (soothes skin)

I put the oils and aloe in a spray bottle and shook it up to mix them all together. A little bit of this mixture goes a long way. A few sprays are enough for a whole head of hair.

So, now for pictures of Explorer's very first ever cornrows!

The first two rows

Look at all that hair!

Four rows complete.
You can notice a bit popping out at the side only a few minutes after completing the row.


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