In my last post, I talked about styling my daughter’s tightly coiled hair without trying to straighten it out. I started out using a moisturizer of distilled water mixed with aloe vera juice, and sealing it in with coconut oil. After doing a little more research, I went to Whole Foods and grabbed a bottle of vegetable glycerin to add to the concoction. For those of you who are not familiar with this wonder-substance, vegetable glycerin is a humectant. That means it basically sucks in the moisture from the environment and holds on to it. A lot of moisturizers contain this as an ingredient, and with good reason. I started adding a drop of it to my facial moisturizer and it works wonders on my face, which had been really dry lately. Thing Two, who has some really bad eczema patches, got a dose of it this morning mixed in with the lotion I use on his rough places. Normally, his face and elbows still have a bit of an ashy appearance even after applying lotion, but that ashy look went away immediately with the addition of vegetable glycerin.
But my point wasn’t to talk to you about how awesome this stuff is for your face. It worked wonders for Thing One’s hair. I added a few tablespoons to the spray bottle I had the aloe vera juice and water in, and I could really tell the difference in the way it felt. I noticed that the coconut oil wasn’t sufficient as a sealant, though. Coconut oil is one of the few oils that actually has the ability to penetrate the cortex of the hair. That’s not a bad thing, I just wanted something with more of a “sealing” property. Then I thought about the huge tub of raw shea butter that my dad gave to me on his most recent visit to Orlando. Now I have used shea butter on Thing One’s hair before with less than impressive results. But this time, I melted a few tablespoons down and added an equal amount of coconut oil to it. After cooling, it didn’t solidify the way I expected it to. That was fine, because it was much easier to work with than raw shea butter.
After washing and conditioning my daughter’s hair with sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, I detangled it with a wide tooth comb and parted it into four sections.
Each section was blow dried on a cool setting. Still working in sections, I began parting with a rat tail comb to start braiding. Each section of hair to be braided was first spritzed with my aloe vera concoction so that it was damp. Then I used a generous (but not overly generous) amount of the shea butter and coconut oil mixture. I noticed that her hair was softer than it had ever been with any other product I used on her hair. Not only was it soft, but it even had some sheen to it. I never even realized that was possible!
This time, the flat twists were neater than I had been able to get them the first and second times around, hence the addition of photography. I am so in love with flat twists, that I might just kick cornrows to the curb altogether.
As I said before, I am still new to natural hair care. There is a lot that I am learning, and I am having a lot of fun along the way. It fills my heart with happiness when I see Thing One look at herself in the mirror and actually smile in response to her new hair styles. No more wishing that her hair grew down instead of out!
I am thinking of adding rosewater in place of the distilled water next time around. I’ll keep you posted!