|My daughter, sporting the natural curls I always coveted.|
My daughter has my fine hair, but with quite a curl. Her ringlets can be gorgeous but as all moms know, babies spend a lot of time with their heads rubbing the backs of pillows, strollers, rugs, etc., and that means a lot of whacked-out hair. I started approaching moms on the playground and asked them about their curlicue routines. And though I got some advice overall, I was surprised to discover that most were still miffed, even if they had curls themselves as to what to do with the little mane, in an easy, manageable way.
The only case I heard of where the curls (and routine) were impeccable involved a mother conditioning her toddler daughter's hair every morning with Pantene. The kicker being that after detangling her hair with a comb, she would let the Pantene sit and set for five minutes under a shower cap before rinsing. The spirals, as a result: picture-perfect 24-7. But both my busy toddler and lifestyle demand a simpler routine.
After a few months of trial and error I figured out what worked: the bottom line being that we wash and condition only twice a week, with some minor maintenance in between. And with this the tangles are minor, and my daughter's hair is healthy and clean. And most importantly, we have more time to luxuriate in our lives.
Easy Curls 1-2-3:
1) Shampoo and Condition: Twice a week
My daughter's hair is on the dry side. As a rule, the curlier the hair, the less natural moisture it maintains. Oil from the scalp travels more easily down the straight hair's shaft than it does with curly hair. Early on, I was washing her hair on a daily basis. Then I realized it was frizzing, had way too much static, and was matting more as a result. Washing and conditioning twice a week provides the right amount of time saved as well as maintaining the right balance of natural oils.
For washing, we’ve been enjoying an organic, tearless, and moisturizing shampoo ($9) and conditioner ($10) by It’s a Curl. For wet-detangling, I let the conditioner sit in the hair for a minute or so while she plays in the tub. Then I take my fingers, or you can use a plastic needle brush like our Hello Kitty one ($5), and gently remove all the tangles before rinsing.
2) Dry Combing: 2-3 times a week
In between the washes it's important to provide some light maintenance to keep the knots at bay and the spirals bouncy. You will need a wide-toothed comb (try this one by Conair, $2) and a detangling product, or you can just opt for water in a spray bottle. We alternate between these detangling products: Fairy Tales Static Free Leave-in Detangling Spray ($9) and Johnson’s No More Tangles Leave-in Conditioner ($5), although I admit to preferring the slightly milder scent of the latter.
3) Styling: If you want, when you want!
For those days you want to amp up those corkscrews, try this Hair Milk ($12: 4 oz.) by Carol’s Daughter, which is safe for baby but designed for moms so you can both use it. And as a rule, don’t apply styling products to the roots, just toward the ends or you'll end up with greasy hair.