Caring for Amelia’s curls has been one of the biggest learning curves in my motherhood journey; aside from all the normal parenting stuff that no one tells you about. I had no idea how to care for curls, let alone mixed girls which have a completely different texture and hair make up to caucasian hair.
I’ve always done what I thought was best for her hair, using curly shampoo and keeping it tied back so as to avoid too many knots and tangles but I’ve learnt more recently that there’s so much more to it than just putting it in a bobble.
So, I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learnt over the last few weeks and give you an idea of what we do now to look after her beautiful curls.
I’ve learnt that products are everything when it comes to mixed hair. I’m natural instinct with a child’s hair is less is best as I don’t want to damage her hair with chemicals and over use of products but her hair texture needs it. It needs moisture, it needs creams, it needs specialist products.
Here’s what we use:
- Cantu cleansing cream shampoo
- Cantu hydrating cream conditioner
- Cantu leave in conditioning cream
- Cantu coil calm detangling spray
- Cantu moisturising curl activator cream
- Shea Moisture black Jamaican caster oil hair mask
- Tangler Teaser The Ultimate Hairbrush (with a handle)
- Satin sleep cap for toddlers (I ordered a set of three from Amazon)
(I’ve not included any links to these as this isn’t an affiliate post in any way and you can shop around to find the best price. Some items are available on Amazon if you need quick delivery but I’ve also found that Superdrug has a lot of the range too)
Hair Care Routine
Just as important as what you put on hair is how often you do it. I didn’t realise for a long time that I was over washing Amelia’s hair. I was causing it to become drier and more likely to break because I was stripping it of the oils it needs by washing it too often.
I’m going to break this section down in to what we do daily, nightly, every bath, every 2 weeks.
Everyone morning I do Amelia’s hair, normally first thing because we go downstairs for breakfast but things have to be really desperate for us not to do it.
I start my spraying her hair with water (some people add leave in conditioner to the water but I haven’t tried this yet). Once her hair is wet I spray it with the Cantu coil calm detangler and taking very small sections I use my fingers to look for big knots and then use the Tangle Teaser brush to gentle comb through her hair.
Once all he sections are done (I tend to one half of her head first and then the other) I add the Cantu moisturising curl activator cream by rubbing it in my hands and then working it through her hair. It makes her hair look sleek and something white if there’s a lot of cream but I’ve found it all soaks in after a few minutes.
Then, tie back and style as desired. More on that later.
This is basically the same as the morning, if she’s been very active and her hair style is coming loose or there are lots of fly-aways at the front I will take it out and repeat the whole morning process.
If her hair still looks intact I just add additional Cantu moisturising curl activator cream and put her satin cap on.
Using a satin cap or satin pillowcase is one of the best things I’ve learnt recently. I didn’t realise that the cotton in her pillowcase was causing her hair to become coarse, dry and could cause it to break at the roots. Since we’ve started using the night cap her hair is almost as fresh as it was when she went to bed in the morning. This can mean the morning routine is very quick and easy or if I’m super lucky, we don’t need to do it all.
Amelia has normally 3 or 4 baths a week and whilst I will always wet her hair, I don’t shampoo it as this can cause more damage than good.
During her bath we wet her hair as soon as she gets in and then apply the Shea Moisture black Jamaican caster oil hair mask. This is recommended to be left on for 30 mins so whilst that’s on she washes herself and just plays in the water, asking every 30 seconds if it’s time to wash it off yet.
The Shea Moisture black Jamaican caster oil hair mask was suggested to me by so many people as it can help to repair hair and encourage hair growth.
Once we wash out the mask I add the Cantu leave in conditioning cream and she gets out of the bath.
Then it’s the daily routine as normal except her hair is already wet and we won’t need as much detangler as the leave in conditioner can help with the knots.
Every 2 weeks
This is where I add the shampoo and conditioner. According to all the websites and YouTube videos I’ve watched this is how often Amelia’s type of hair should be washed in the traditional sense.
On these days I might skip the hair mask because otherwise she’s in the bath for about 50 mins to an hour but if I don’t skip it I would do hair mask, shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner.
I used to have a couple of styles for Amelia’s hair; all up in a bobble, pig tails, half up with the back left loose or all of it left loose which was very rare because, tangles!
Turns out this wasn’t helping either; seeing a theme here? Mixed hair needs protection, especially during winter as it’s not best suited for our cold and wet weather.
I heard the term ‘protective styles’ a lot when looking online for help and ideas. These are things like braids and cornrows but I’m a long long way from being able to do anything like that. Most of the styles I’ve been practicing involve twists or simple box braids but even with my (very) limited staying skills I’ve noticed such a huge difference in her hair. It’s easier to comb, less tangles, soft and full of moisture.
Here are some of our go to styles that are quick and do the job, and Amelia likes them which is a big part of the battle sometimes.
We call these Anna plaits (we’re a little obsessed with Frozen in this house). For this one I just need to use a small elastic at the end but I find it doesn’t hold throughout the day very well and will need to be redone before bed.
The only difference this one is using the pink bobble but it makes the style last so much longer and this one normally doesn’t need a touch up before bed but it will put more pull on her roots than that ‘Anna’ style.
The photo above is with a plait but we do this one a lot with just twists too.
Twists, so simple and they’re just as effective as plaits I’ve found. To do a twist you just need to take a section of hair, split it in two and the twist it together.
In the photo above she has 3 twists in each ponytail and I love this look but sometimes she only wants one, on those days I make two twists in each ponytails and then twist those together to make one big one.
This is still just one twist in each ponytail but added the hair into the next ponytail and keep twisting. It looks really cool but I was all fingers and thumbs with this one so I haven’t tried it again since.
This one is just a twist in each ponytail, wrapped into a bun. This would be a great style for rainy days when you don’t want it to all turn to frizz in the rain.
I went a bit mad the other week and decided to try these box braids for the first time. They took hours because I’m not very good at them. Unfortunately the bobbles all snapped overnight and I had to take them out the next day so for the effort and time they took I was really annoyed not to get more out of them.
This one is a mermaid braid, my friend taught me how to do this on a barbie doll and then I tried it on Amelia’s hair. It was really simple to do and it lasted for 3 days which is the best longevity I’ve had for any hair style so far so we will definitely be doing these again.
This one was very popular, Amelia loved all the coloured bands and although there were no braids or twists it did keep her curls protected and easy to comb out. It also lasted for 2 days so I’m happy with that.
This is her hair today, we did this after her bath and it’s the first time I’ve tried my hand at any sort of pattern parting. I’ve seen loads of pics on instagram with zigzags and hearts and all different cuts but I thought I’d just play it safe the first time. I’ve twisted each section but it would also be really cute with regular braids or mermaid braids.
I’ve also been trying to apply the same methods to Taya’s hair to give her the best chance of strong, long healthy curls as she gets older. You may already be aware (I tell anyone who will listen) that Taya HATES having her hair combed. I’ve never seen anything like it, she will duck, smack, scratch, fling herself around. She’s even tried to step off the changing table in an attempt to get away from the comb, luckily I always keep my arms around her to prevent her from falling off but she’s come close a few times.
My goal with Taya’s hair is to do it without her hurting herself, to keep her curls protected and in a style I don’t have to do everyday since she clearly finds it very distressing.
I’ve managed to get her hair parted into four sections, with the help of milk and nursery rhymes on Amelia’s tablet and now that I’ve cut the parting, if I’m careful in the bath I can keep the sections fairly separate so we don’t have to do it all again.
I am loving her little bunches, using some of the moisturising cream on my fingers I wrapped each bunch around my finger to make the twists (most noticeable on the top right bunch) and it just sort of set like that when the cream dried. I think it’s so cute and I’m hoping I will be able to just spritz and cream them for a few days before we have to do them again.
That’s everything I can think of to share with you from what I’ve learnt recently and almost all of this was new to me but after just a couple of weeks I’ve seen such a great improvement in both girls curls so this will be our hair care routine for the foreseeable future.