I’m going to follow up my last controversial post with an even more controversial post: What to do with my daughter’s hair.
I’m only being slightly sarcastic. For reasons I do not understand, hair is extremely important to Black Americans, so much so that when Angelina Jolie and her daughters Shiloh and Zahara all went out looking like they had just woken up from a nap, Angelina was eviscerated for how unkempt Zahara’s hair was.
Hair has always been a thorny issue for me. As a child, I once went so long without brushing my hair that one day, my third grade teacher cut it during recess. I didn’t know how to pull my hair into a ponytail until junior high school and I didn’t know how to simply pull it back into a barrette until my senior year of high school. In my defense, these were the 80s and early 90s, when BIG HAIR was in. You had to make sure you got the right height. I don’t have any of my really BIG HAIR photos on my computer, but here’s one to give you an idea:
That’s me with my best friend, who once said, “Robyn, I wish my hair had no body like yours.” Oddly, I didn’t take it as an insult.
Jackson’s hair is very thick and curly. It’s a bit coarse, but not as coarse as many Black Americans’ hair tends to be. His birthmother has gorgeous wavy hair, and his is very much like hers, only curlier. It doesn’t need any special care, which is good, because he’s refusing to get a hair cut these days. He’s going to end up with a very big head of very big hair himself soon.
Cassie’s hair is very different. Now, it might change when she’s about one year old. Jackson’s did; his hair used to be fine and straight, believe it or not. Around the time he turned one, it got thick and curly. Right now, Cassie’s hair is very fine and very curly. She also has a bald spot right around the back of her head. It’s kind of like a reverse monk-style cut. You know, where monks would only have hair in one band around their heads, Cassie doesn’t have hair there, but does on the top and bottom.
My sister, who did my hair all throughout childhood and is finally studying to be a cosmetologist, checked with her black schoolmates and said that I should not be washing Cassie’s hair very often. This is a common theme in black hair care. However, if we don’t wash Cassie’s hair every other day, then it attracts lint, gets very kinky and occasionally matted, and looks greasy. We can’t comb it after two days of non-washing, because her hair will break.
When we wash it, we use California Baby shampoo (old style, before they changed the formula) and calendula conditioner. (The conditioner formula doesn’t seem to have changed, thank goodness.) You can leave the conditioner in or rinse it. At this stage, we’re rinsing, since I’m not real keen on leaving stuff in her hair when she’s so little and likely to ingest it. Also, I think it would weigh down her hair, which looks quite cute when left to its own devices for a day or two.
It also looks nice in headbands and hair bows.
(bow from Banana Laine Boutique)
Her hair isn’t that long on top. It’s getting long on the bottom, and it’s not as curly. I’m waiting for that bald patch to grow in, then maybe I can try some styles. Cassie’s birthmother’s hair is very fine, and she says it doesn’t hold braids. So, we’ll see what happens.
Any suggestions for what I can do are much appreciated. Also, if there are articles or books on why hair care is so important to Black Americans, I’d very much like to read them.