Every once in awhile I take a reader’s question and answer it in an Ask Minimalist Beauty article. I figure this gives others the opportunity to chime in and also possibly benefit if you have a similar question. Below is Krista’s question that she asked in the article No More Chemical Hair Care–Part 4–Building A Regimen.
Hi, I have a 1 yr old daughter with very curly/frizzy hair. I have tried everything I have been told to do with her hair but nothing seems to help. The back and sides of her hair are the worst from laying on it. It’s very friable/breakable in the back especially. Not long enough to really braid and sometimes knots right up to her scalp. I don’t brush her hair when dry and was told to never use shampoo on her because young children don’t produce enough oil anyway. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to help her hair? Something a 1 yr old will tolerate?
Caring for an infant’s curly hair can be very simple and chemical-free. Keeping your child’s hair moisturized and protected is important. Here are some simple suggestions that I hope will help you.
Have your daughter sleep on a silk pillowcase as this will reduce friction on the sides and back of her hair. Cotton can rob moisture from the hair as well as create breakage from friction on fragile curly hair.
If you have used any commercial products on your little one’s hair, begin a new regimen with a gentle clarifier. I usually suggest clay washes for clarifying/cleansing hair with an acidic liquid. In this case using aloe vera with clay will be a much better option than apple cider vinegar for a little one as it is much gentler. Yet aloe vera still has a lower acidic pH to balance the alkaline pH of clay.
Try rhassoul clay or bentonite clay. Mix equal parts clay to aloe vera, then add more aloe vera if you like. Avoid using essential oils for a young child as they are too potent. You can add a humectant such as vegetable glycerin to this wash to help with retaining moisture in the hair. Clay washes also help detangle the hair.
The extract from mucilage herbs will help hydrate and detangle your daughter’s hair. Flaxseeds, aloe vera, and marshmallow root are all great examples of mucilage herbs. You can see how I create flaxseed gel here and how I extract the mucilage from marshmallow root here.
You can leave the gel from aloe vera, flaxseeds, and marshmallow root in the hair as it will help the hair retain moisture. You can also use natural carrier oils as a leave-in too. Natural oils such as hemp seed oil, wheat germ oil, or sunflower oil will penetrate and condition the hair since they are ceramide oils. They will also help with detangling. This simple recipe for a DIY Curl Conditioning Serum contains a humectant, oil, and mucilage herb so would be another great option as a hair leave-in.
If your daughter’s hair is long enough, try two strand twists all over to keep her hair as organized as possible. If not coiling her hair around your finger is also a great way to clump her curls which will help retain moisture and look nice as well. Very curly hair will hold twists and coils easily. Most curls prefer to clump together. It is usually harsh hair cleansers as well as using combs and brushes which disturb our natural curl pattern.
Finger combing allows curls to form as they would naturally while removing tangles. Using your fingers to detangle her hair will allow her curls to clump as they desire and reduce frizz versus seperating the curls by combing or brushing even when wet.
In the beginning you may want to fully hydrate your daughter’s hair by saturating it completely with water as much as possible. If her hair is absorbing water properly you can skip to just using the mucilage herb to detangle, and a natural oil/DIY serum to style while only use a clay wash every other wash or as needed.
Commercial hair care can build up on the hair and prevent water from penetrating the hair strands properly. Once all build up is removed, the hair absorbs water fully and dryness is no longer an issue. The purpose of the clay wash is to remove buildup so that the hair will absorb moisture from water better or for cleansing the hair. Clay washes do not need to be used for every wash though.
I have learned over the years that the less “products” I use on my hair, the better I am able to see the true health of my hair. I also don’t have a lot of buildup to wash off of my hair so water can penetrate my hair properly when I wash it. Best wishes and congratulations on your beautiful baby girl!
(Image by Dawn Michelle)