Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How to Get Sand out of Curly Hair

I really am no expert on African hair. But, I pride myself in taking good care of Lily's hair and keeping it healthy and beautiful.

Then, she does something like this...

Yes, that is an entire bucket of sand on her head.

to her freshly washed, beautifully braided hair.

What her hair looked like the day before. 
I may have freaked out. A LOT. The thing is, African hair is beautiful and healthy and easy to manage when it is taken care of properly.  There are wonderful things about curly African hair: all the cool styles it will hold, and the beautiful texture it has. But, there are things that African hair doesn't do well, and one is handle rough treatment, lots of washing, or getting dirty. One of the biggest reason to keep long curly hair in braids is to keep it from getting dirty and damaged. 

I've spent HOURS studying videos and websites to learn about the best products and styles and the methods. Lily and I spent one hour doing the above cornrow style Saturday night. So, a bucket of sand in the head (on Sunday afternoon!) is a really, really big problem. If I get sand in my own (wavy) hair, I just shake it out. 

It's been three days now, and we still haven't got all the sand out of Lily's hair. 

so hard to see the sand, but see all those little white dots?
 My three year old's hair is super thick and super curly, as well as dry and delicate. If I comb it without any oil or conditioner, it will just break off. If I use any shampoo at all, it breaks.  Just trying to brush the sand out with my hands damaged her hair.  Since her hair was in braids, the sand got down into the layers of hair, and wedged itself inside the braids as well as against her scalp and inside her tight curls.

So, here is what we did:

1. We used a garden hose with a gentle spray to wash some of the sand off the top layer of hair.

2. I coated the ends of her braids in conditioner and then rinsed her hair in plain water in the bathtub.

3. I gently took apart her braids, coated her hair in more conditioner, and then we rinsed her head again. I had her lay on her back in the water and gently shook her hair to try and loosen the sand from her curls.

4. Then I applied lots of conditioner and hair cream, and combed it out. I was still finding little clumps of sand, but by this time it was past bedtime. She could really use another rinse out. So up in a simple puff ponytail it all went.

This is her head after the first rinse. There was lots of sand hiding inside those braids!

My advice for parents of toddlers with curly hair: Keep calm. Have patience. And stay away from sandboxes!

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