By Carol Oyola:

My daughter’s hair has been the centre of attention this week, following new photos that I posted on my Facebook profile. Here I am thinking how people would ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at my beautiful bump pictures. Yet they chose to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at her hair! No, I’m not being jealous *folds hands and walks away*

Image by Carol Oyola

Pussycat Hair do and a smile to boot. Image by Carol Oyola

I must admit though that her hair IS beautiful. She has curls for days and a full head of hair. Though it was not always like this – it’s taken a lot of nurturing and growth. I really don’t know how long it is – (the natural hair community would call this ‘length check’) – whether it’s neck or bra-strap length. But it is quite long – not bra strap length though.

Many have asked “What do you do to your daughter’s hair?” Sincerely, whatever I do to mine, I do to hers. Though I’ve noticed our hair types are completely different and it’s been, and still is, a learning process on how to take care of her hair.

This is what a typical wash day routine looks like – which happens once every two weeks (Beware: I’ll do tonnes of shout outs to local brands which are not paid ads):

  • Pre-poo with hot oil treatment [Binti Naturals] for an hour (this step is dependent on her mood or my patience levels).
  • Shampoo with a natural shampoo bar [Shea by Asal]. This is because her hair is full of sand, grit or dust from school.
  • Co-wash with a conditioner that doesn’t have sulphates or silicones such as Suave Naturals, Alberto Balsam which can easily be found in local supermarkets and are affordable.
  • At this co-wash stage, I can choose to detangle with the conditioner in her hair but this is usually a fight. So depends with her mood!
  • Rinse and pat with a t-shirt but leave the hair damp.
  • Part the hair in four sections and use the LOC (liquid-oil-cream) method in each section: apply a leave-in conditioner, follow up with extra virgin coconut oil [Kentaste], then seal with shea butter [Sheth Naturals]. As I work each section I finger detangle since her hair tangles in a second.
  • I then do matutas (three strand plaits) in each section or just fluff it out, put a hairband and let it fro!

I do this in the morning when she’s fresh and active though it does take hours since she doesn’t like to be tied down in one spot (which toddler does anyway!). After washing, I like to put her favourite cartoons to that they distract her while I oil her hair.

I also use Black Castor Oil [Ruzena Naturals] for her scalp and only deep condition if she’s in a really good mood and we have ALL day! I put her in protective styles such as cornrows or mini twists in between wash sessions to avoid tangles or messed up bed hair.

Image by Carol Oyola

Little Lady dressed to the nines. Image by Carol Oyola

I tried silk scarves at night but they always come off so I don’t bother. It’s never that serious me thinks. However, I moisturize daily before school using the LOC method.

YouTube University has also helped a lot in learning how to care for her hair – as well as talking to other mums who have children with natural hair. So feel free to read and ask others as you explore your child’s hair.

The most important tip of all is teaching how to love and appreciate her hair for what it is. I keep reassuring her every day that she has beautiful hair and hope that one day she will appreciate curls and kinks for what they are!

This article was first published on the writers’ blog Kenyan Mama Tales

Featured Image Courtesy of Carol Oyola photographed by Leon Muli

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