Thursday, July 18, 2013

African Curls Summer Hair Care

We are, happily, vacationing at the beach for the rest of this month! Hooray! Sun, sand, grandparents, ice cream, swimming, boating, biking! The kids are having a blast. (And so am I, to be honest.)
Before we left New York I asked our babysitter and Lily's teacher for advice on styling her hair for the beach. (Both of these amazingly patient women are African-American and have beautiful hair.)  They recommended box braids, which are easy to wash and style and will stay in for at least (fingers crossed) two weeks. As an added bonus, Lily's teacher finished off the tiny braids I'd started just a few days before we left.

Little Miss cuteness, looking all grown up with her long braids
This is how I've been caring for Lily's braids since we arrived, with some success. Every morning I spritz her head with water and apply some conditioner to the braids. Then I coat her part lines, especially on the top of her head, with oil (coconut or jojoba). The oil protects her skin from drying out and getting sunburnt. I also coat the braids with some oil or moisturizer. Then I put the braids up in some kind of bun or french braid to keep them out of her face and away from the sand/grass/dirt that she loves to get messy in!
Lily calls this her "princess hair" You can see the braids are getting a bit fuzzy, but are still holding up.

For added protection for a long day at the beach, I have Lily wear swim caps. First a cloth cap to protect her braids, and then a waterproof rubber cap to keep out the sand and salt water.  Lily is like a little fish, and loves to swim for hours. She wears the same cloth/rubber cap combination whenever we are in a chlorinated pool. For lake swimming we leave the caps off, as the fresh mineral water is not  damaging to her hair. 

Making a sand castle...

At the end of each day I rinse out her hair, and coat it again with conditioner, moisturizers and oils. I put her hair up in a high ponytail and cover it with a sleep cap at night.  She always pulls the cap off sometime in the night, which is probably why her braids are getting so fuzzy so fast. Ah, well.

So far I think we've struck a good balance between protecting her beautiful curls and letting her have fun and be the free spirited child she is.  She and I both learned the hard way how difficult it is to get sand out of curly hair, so we are on the same team about keeping sand out this time!

I hope everyone is enjoying these days of summer.... wherever you are!

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