Monday, August 18, 2014

My Boys with Braids Matter to Me

This is not related to hair. But this is related to my boys. In the light of events over the past week, and events that occur all to frequently, I posted these on my other blog. I thought it would be appropriate to share the links here. These are my opinions and feelings as a White transracial adoptive mom to Black boys.

An Open Letter to my White Friends and Family

But I'm Not a Racist

Feel free to share these links with your family and friends.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Conditioning Oil

In my last post, I talked about some hair issues we had. We have also been dealing with skin issues. Both of the boys have eczema presenting in slightly different ways. The dry air and lack of sunlight on their skin during the winter are likely part of the problem. I did notice, however, that Scholar's skin tends to get worse after having a bath. It could be a number of things - the conditioner we use, the chemicals in the water or the cleaners used in the tub. To try to help his skin, we are eliminating the possible irritants that we can. We cannot do much about the water unless we get a water filter, but we can stop using the conditioner and the cleaners to see if either of them are the problem. For a few weeks we will not be using any products in the bath to see if that helps. We already do not use soap since we have seen that cause skin irritation. Now we are dropping the conditioner, at least for a short while.

So, what do I do with the boys' hair if I cannot use conditioner?
I made my own with oils that are not likely to irritate the skin. I used oils that we have used many times before, so I am fairly certain that they will not cause irritation.

I was surprised how well the oils worked for the boys' hair. (I decided to not use any products in the bath at all, not even on Explorer's hair, until we can determine what is causing Scholar's skin to react.) When I gave them a bath, I got their hair wet, used the ACV rinse, rinsed it out and then used the oils before detangling. Detangling was easier than I thought it would be and their hair is very moisturized. After bath we added the Babycakes hair and body butter as we normally do to their hair.

To make the conditioning oil, I combined some of my favorite oils, ones that have seemed to work well on the boys' hair.

Conditioning Oil Recipe

3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp jojoba oil
1 Tbsp Jamaican black castor oil
1 tsp sweet almond oil
1 tsp argan oil

I got this amazing bottle from
Mountain Rose Herbs!

I mixed these oils together and stored them in a glass bottle. I applied the oil mixture to the hair just as I would a conditioner, before detangling, but did not rinse it out afterward. I also use this oil mixture combined with water and aloe for the daily spritz. About 3 oz filtered water, 3 oz aloe with about a tablespoon of oil makes a great daily refreshing spritz.

So far, this is working out great. The boys had two baths with free hair that needed to be detangled and one bath with their hair in cornrows since using this oil conditioner. There was no noticeable skin irritation after either bath. I will continue to use this for the next few baths and then try their conditioner again and hope it does not cause irritation.

What homemade products do you use for hair? Share in the comments!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Good Products Are Not Always the Right Products

I have been MIA for a while here. First we were getting through Christmas and then we were dealing with some hair issues. I took a little break to try to get back on track and here I am!

I was so excited a little while ago about Scholar's baby bald spot finally growing in. Then, he had a section or hair break off on the top of his head at the front from having eczema on his scalp. Both areas were growing in well, as well as his edges which had broken off at some point months ago. Then I tried a new conditioner. I loved it at first. It seemed to make the boys' hair softer and help to retain moisture longer. After using it for a while I noticed that the spots that had been growing in were no longer long enough to braid into the cornrows. The hair had actually gotten shorter.

Good Products Are Not Always the Right Products for Everyone's Hair

I was perplexed, but tried to keep the hair moisturized and healthy. It kept getting worse and the hair just would not get longer. I read somewhere that someone had had problems with the Shea Moisture line of products causing their hair to break off. That was the conditioner I had switched to! I immediately stopped using that conditioner on the boys' hair and within a few weeks, the growth in the trouble areas was noticeable. For some reason that conditioner does not agree with Scholar's hair. I did not notice any problems with Explorer's hair, in fact, it seemed to be very good for his hair. I use the shampoo on my own hair and absolutely love it! I do not think it is a bad product, just not right for Scholar's hair for some reason. Since switching back to Aubrey Organic GPB conditioner for both boys (it is easier to use the same products, if possible), Scholar's hair is growing back and is much healthier.

I wanted to help his hair grow better, so I started using Jamaican black castor oil on the short areas that need to grow in. I have read that this is a very good oil to help those thin areas and is good for growth. But a big bottle of oil and two toddlers just do not mix. I am constantly worried that they will spill it while I am trying to use it and it seemed a bit awkward to try to apply to wiggling little boys. I decided to make a wax out of it to prevent spilling and to make it easier to apply.

Jamaican Black Castor Oil Hair Wax

To make the wax, I used 1/2 cup Jamaican black castor oil and 1 tablespoon of beeswax granules. I mixed about half of the oil with the granules in an 8 oz mason jar and microwaved it for 30 seconds at a time until the beeswax was completely melted.

Then I poured in the rest of the oil and quickly mixed it together with a bamboo skewer while it began to set up. The JBCO wax is soft, but not runny. It is very easy to apply and hard to make a mess with it. The boys have tried putting their fingers into it and could make a huge mess if I let them, but so far we have not had a mess with this wax. I am excited to see if it will actually help the hair to grow in faster. At the least, it keeps the hair moisturized and makes it softer. I have been using it on the damaged spots every morning and night. I apply a small amount to the scalp and gently massage it into the skin.

Have you found any natural solutions for damaged hair? Please share in the comments!