Newborn hair care:
In the newborn stages the hair care is very simple. Items you will need;
1. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) - is loaded with antioxidants which can help keep a healthy scalp, a natural conditioner, fights of fungi and bacteria and improves blood circulation.
2. Coconut oil - coconut oil is able to penetrate to the natural structure of our hair which helps retain its natural moisture and protein fibers. It is an anti fungal oil which helps to balance and maintain a healthy scalp, ridding dandruff.
3. Jojoba oil - Jojoba oil is the only oil that matches the sebum that our skin/scalp naturally produces. It is said to have anti bacterial properties, which can help soothe the scalp and help in dry scalp.
4. Water bottle
5. Water for your water bottle
All of these oils can be used as sealants. A sealant is an oil that will keep moisture in your hair (when using a moisturizer, i.e, water), it seals it in. When one does not use a sealant the hair can become dry again very quickly.
From the age of 0-6 months you should not use a shampoo to wash your child's hair regardless if it is gentle or not. Shampoo's takes the moisture out, you want to keep all the moisture in. The first few weeks you shouldn't even touch your baby's hair. The most you would want to do is keep a small bottle of jojoba around so that everyday or so you can massage your baby's scalp with it. Rub a small amount onto your finger tips and gently massage the oil directly to your baby scalp, one can begin to do this after a few days of your child being born, this will help also in cradle cap. Massaging the scalp keeps the blood circulation. Around the time you give your baby their first bath is a good time to just run water through it gently massaging your baby's scalp. Once your baby is out of the tub you can rub your favorite oil through the hair and scalp, and this will help seal in the moisture.
Once the baby reaches a month you can begin doing oil washes. I would suggest doing them as often as you take your baby a bath. To do an oil rinse you will prepare your mixture or you can just use one oil. A good mixture is combining coconut oil with jojoba oil. Your baby has a small head so a teaspoon of each should suffice. Mix these two together and before you put your baby in the tub apply this mixture to the scalp and hair. Leave it in for about 5 minutes prior to bath time. Once your baby is in the tub you can run warn water in their hair not rinsing the oil out but just giving it some moisture so that you can begin to gently rub their scalp and running your fingers through their hair. Once you have cleaned the scalp and hair good you should rinse everything out. Once the baby is out you can seal in the moisture again using your favorite oil, EVOO, coconut oil, or jojoba oil. This method can be done anytime you take your baby a bath. Twice daily (day and night) you should spray your baby hair with warm water and again seal in the moisture with your favorite oil. Sealing in the moisture is very important because if you don't everything you just put in your hair is pointless because it is not sealed and will not moisturize your hair effectively. A good sealant is always needed.
6 months - 1 year
The parent can start introducing a gentle shampoo. Your baby is becoming more active, crawling and rolling around on the floor, so a mild shampoo can be added into your baby's regimen. A mild shampoo is one that does not have any harsh cleansers in it, no sulfates or parabens. You should purchase an all natural shampoo and conditioner. I would suggest using a mild shampoo once a month, using only a small amount. The weeks you don't use a shampoo the steps mentioned above should still be performed, an oil wash can be used all the way up into adulthood. Once you have a good washing you should immediately apply a good conditioner. Coconut oil mixed with EVOO is a good mixture to put together. This is a great all natural conditioner that you can make. This can be left in.
1 year - 2 year
You should by now have a good routine down. once a week or every 2 weeks you should be washing your child's hair, depending on how active your child is. If your child is one to like to play in dirt and roll around on the floor, you should wash once a week, this is to prevent any scalp infections. If you know that your child has been playing in dirt at daycare you may want to wash your child's hair that day, this is to prevent ring worm or any other fungus. Using coconut oil regularly should also help in preventing any fungal activity. Including in your regimen should add a deep conditioner. This will help add in moisture, and you can cover their hair with a plastic cap as you do your own.
At this time you are starting to notice a texture change in your child's hair. Noticing this change can help you start to know what products work and do not work in your baby's hair. If you find that your baby's hair is on the more coily/dry side you may want to use heavier oils/butters for sealing.
During this time the L.O.C method can be introduced. L.O.C stands for
L - Liquid, which can be water or a leave in conditioner
O - Oil, which can be any of the oils mentioned above
C - Crème, which is mainly a butter
The L.O.C method or technique helps you to retain more moisture. You add your liquid which can be water or a leave in conditioner, then follow this with adding an oil, and then using your favorite butter.. Doing these steps will make sure that your child's hair has all the moisture that they need and will help the moisture stay in for a couple days before having to reapply moisture.
EverButter Lovely Curl can be used as your leave-in for your Liquid, and the Genesis or Buttermint Smoothie can be used as your Crème, which ever one you prefer.
Heavy Butters and oils;
Shea butter - Plentiful portions of Vitamins A, E, and F are contained in the butter. Vitamin A keeps skin resilient and smooth, and gives it a healthy glow. Vitamin E helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin F, also known as the omega fatty acid, moisturizes from the inside out aids in healing acne, and helps dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema. (Essence tree holistic life site)
Cocoa butter - Cocoa butter is a light weight butter that is a good conditioner and it will not clog pores.
Castor oil - Fatty acids and Vitamin E of castor oil aid in hair growth. When applied on hair and scalp, castor oil stimulates hair growth, charges up blood circulation and frees the scalp of any bacterial and fungal infections and dandruff. ( Medindia.net)
Suggestion is using these oils/butters just for the hair and not the scalp due to clogging of the skin.
You can probably start incorporating a style for your baby's hair. Try to refrain from putting your child's hair in ponytails using rubber bands and barrettes. These items will pull and tug on your child's hair. Putting your child's hair in ponytails will cause tension on the scalp resulting in hair coming out and breakage. Putting nice loose cornrows or plaits in your baby's hair is a good style and if you want to spruce your baby hair up, put a nice headband on them.
All of the oils and butter mentioned should be raw/ unrefined cold pressed products. This is to get all the nutrients for the product.
2 year - the rest of their childhood
At this point you should be washing once a week, deep conditioning once a week, moisturizing and sealing. You should have an arsenal of go to products such as; mild shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner, deep conditioner, oil, and butter. There is one more thing that you can begin doing and that is clarifying your baby's hair. A good natural one is 1 cup of water to 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse. How to do this is rinse your baby's hair thoroughly with water then mix together 1 cup of water and 1 tbsp. of ACV. Slowly pour this into your child's hair slowly avoiding the eyes and face. Run your fingers through their hair and scrub scalp to get rid of all product build up. After the rinse you can proceed to wash and condition as normal. This rinse can be done every 6-8 weeks, every 4 weeks for an older child. This will help get your child's pH back and make her hair nice shiny and bouncy.
Your child hair is growing and you may want to start doing more intricate styles, but keep in mind that over manipulation can cause hair breakage. Your child is young so a simple nice hair style will suffice. Leave the fancy styles for a special occasion. 4 plaits or large size cornrows is a good week hairstyle. Small cornrows with beads are indeed cute but the beads and rubber bands holding the beads on is putting tension on your baby girls hair which will cause it to break off and that is less growth. If you wash your child's hair once a week putting in small braids will only lead to more work for you at the end of the week. Plus you should be doing a midweek moisture treatment to your child's hair, and this includes taking down the braids, spraying them with water adding your favorite oil then butter and re braiding them.
From when they are born to adult age you should get in the habit of finger detangling. To finger detangle you should have on hand your leave in conditioner, a water bottle and fingers. Part the hair in four or more sections depending on how thick your child hair is after you have washed it. Apply leave in to each section, if your child hair is starting to become dry spray some water on it to moisten it back up. Start detangling from the end working your way up. Once fully detangled apply your oil and butter and braid the hair. Do this for each section of hair. Finger detangling helps the hair to retain the length. When using tools it can snag on the hair causing it to snap off and that can lead to split ends. Slip in conditioners are very important because it makes detangling much easier.
You should buy a good pair of hair shears to clip your child's hair. Dead ends are useless. A good rule of thumb is to clip every 6 months. One can clip as often as needed but not clipping the whole head of hair, just spot clipping when needed.
This should get you started on a healthy hair journey for your child. You can always free style it as you see fit, this is not a guide but just something to help get one started. Take what you need and make it your own.
Tell us your regimen for your child...
Happy hair journey!