Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Big Haircare Dilemma

Well I'm off cruising in the morning and I can't stand to leave without a post. Have a good week and enjoy my latest rants.

Every time I see a post on the adoption board about haircare I immediately cringe. I know that it is going to be something, for the lack of a better word, "interesting." I mean just because you are adopting a black child does not mean the haircare product you purchase must have the name Africa in it, be purchased in the motherland, or say specifically for black hair. (FYI...Most of my friends use products like Sebastian, Enjoy, KMS, etc on their hair). Your kids are just kids. They don't need a whole lot of stuff in their hair anyway...the more you put in their hair the more dependent you are making it on the products and they are way to young for that. As one of my friends says, just let their hair do what it is going to do. No matter how much stuff you put their hair is never going to be straight so get over it. The names of some of these products: WTF... Africa Hair, Mizura, Loc Butter? I don't even put that stuff in my head. People don't believe the hype! I also read that someone was so upset about Carol's Daughter products because they liked using them on their daughter but they were so expensive. I'm not going to knock another sister's products, they are good but yes they are expensive, there are other products on the market...USE THEM!

Side bar...this same woman said she only bathed her kid once a week because she thought her daughter's skin got too dry (she moisturized twice a week only)because the products were too expensive. Lady use another less expensive product, give your kid a bath and moisturize her daily are you kidding me? Whatever happened to good 'ole Vaseline? Johnson & Johnson makes some great products. I still use some of their products on my skin and I'm as soft as a baby's ...well you know. Sighhh

Growing up my mother used Johnson & Johnson No More Tangles on my hair and it worked just fine (and I could sit on my hair). I know that dealing with ethnic hair is a challenge for some of you. I see the fear in your faces when you talk about hair care and I see the end result on your child's head. We don't want them to look crazy but please don't go to the extreme. Don't put multiple products on their hair. They don't need gels, freeze and shine, moouse, cremes and all of that stuff. It doesn't have to be some imported product from Africa (or so it says). Different kids need different things.

Finally, while I respect the views many of the adoptive mothers have provided on the big hair care dilemma I would advise if you are just very stumped find a good black hair salon to get the 411, if you don't have a good girlfriend to tell you the truth about which products to use or not to use. Oh and one more thing...let the baby's hair grow! I know she looks cute to you with short hair but in our community we have a love affair with hair (at least while they are kids) so let it grow, let it grow.

Following is a poem that I found about nappy hair. I love my nappy hair and I'm proud! :-)

Nappy-Headed by Latasha Williams

I came to this world with nappy hair
And when I was too young to really care
I loved to twirl each curl in my hand
And appreciate the texture of every strand.
But when I got older I was told
That the straightest hair was just like gold.
My hair got ironed with a metal comb
And the smell of burning grease made me moan.
I got a relaxer to run from the smoke,
But the pain of my overcooked scalp was no joke.
I even tried a Jheri curl to give myself a break
But being a target of jokes made my heart ache.
Oh, the day I turned my back on chemicals and heat,
I felt so free - oh, what a treat!
I trimmed off what was left of the damaged mess
And saw in the mirror what I thought was success.
But society said I had lost my mind
And that I would run back to tradition in time.
I got the strangest looks everywhere
And even loved ones frowned at my nappy hair.
I can't get a black brother to take me out for a meal
Since my hair lacks European appeal.
But when I look at my origin,
The continent of Africa, where my ancestors had been
And the beauty of the people who live there,
I saw nothing wrong with my nappy hair.
God gave me this hair
So I should not be ashamed
It is part of who I am
Ain't nothin' wrong with it, I exclaimed.
So I will wear my Afro, my twists and my coils!
I will not allow my confidence to be soiled.
Even if my hair is locked and dreaded,
I am proud of being nappy-headed.


Rebecca said...

I know! I'm amazed at how obsessed people are with the subject. When I was looking at books on Amazon about adoption, there was a book specifically devoted to fixing your African American child's hair. A whole book? Honestly, I barely know how to fix my own hair! Maybe someone should write a book for me on that :)

Have fun on your cruise!!

chou-chou said...

Love this post!

Have a great great time on your cruise... take pictures so we can all live vicariously through you. :-)

Anonymous said...

WOW. As a "white mom" of a biracial son (bio) and a soon to be Ethiopian daughter, I am quite offended by this. Maybe you don't MEAN to, but your tone is very anti-white and demeaning. Honestly. I might agree with you about the mom who moisturized her child less due to the expense, but in general...your tone was so rude. There is lots of info out there about vaseline, for example. Just because it worked for you doesn't mean you have to put others down for not using it. I have seen plenty of WHITE and BLACK parents who don't care well for their child's hair. So please don't try to make it such an "us" vs. "them" attitude.

Just trying to give you another perspective

Jocelyn said...

I will not lie, I bought some books on braiding because I am braid challenged:-) I will also tell you that I had a woman who is African American tell me last week to just perm her hair because that will be the only way that it will be tamed. She then said that really no matter what I do it won't matter because African's have bad hair....I almost slapped her but violence is not the answer:-) I just said NOOOOOOO!! Are you proud of me?? I hope so!

Oh yeah, do I really have to give her a bath more then once a week?? hee hee...people are DUMB!!

haze said...

LOL!! I chuckled all the way through this post. It's so true. Products are marketed to take people's money all the time. I agree, keep it simple, especially while they are young. And that mother not bathing her child more than 1X per week! Disgusting!! And lazy!

I love your hair. Tami. I currently have braids in as I grow my hair out and then I plan to go natural for the first time since I was very small. gulp! I just don't want my daughter to go through the same hair-loathing crap that I did. That poem is great!

Tasha said...

My favorite hair product has the weirdest name: Queen Helene Hair Cholesterol.

Stinks to high hell but it works as an awesome conditioner.

By the way, in case you were wondering, I have lucious and awe-inspiring strawberry blonde hair.

Tracey said...

Preach, girl preach! I don't think peopel realize the message they ae sending their African children,especially the girls, when they put so much stuff in their hair. They are using all those products to try to get the hair to do something it doesn't want to do. That tells the child that something about her hair has to be "fixed." I had one mother tell me she didn't know what to do because even after using all the products, her son's hair was still frizzy, and that wouldn't be cute when he grew up. WTF!?
OTOH, I know some white moms of black kids who are doing their best to keep their daughters' hair helathy, and they get nasty remarks from some black women that the hair doesn't look cute enough. So, I do feel for them.
My biggest issue with hair right now is the appropriation factor. Some white adoptive parents think they have learned all there is to know about black haircare on some yahoo group, and thent hey don't want to hear from actual black women about it. They say, "well, my daughter's hair isn't like the typical African American hair," and dismiss what we have to say. Well, my Ethiopian daughter and I have exactly the same hair texture (when mine is in its natural state), so I don't what they are talking about. I guess it is a symptom of the ethiopian/ not AA delusion.

Anonymous said...

I think in your world....there is probably very little that while people can do right. You would find fault if white people didn't help their african american children find products and strategies for their hair and skin. And you find fault when they do. Why don't you help them understand?
I think you are anti-white. I am guessing you probably don't want white people to adopt black children. That's how you come across!

The Quinn Girls said...

Love it, love it, love it. My plan has been to let my girls' hair go natural for as long as they will let me. I'll let them decide when they are ready for braids and fancy products. Hopefully it will be a long time. I'm with Rebecca, it's a great day if I get a brush through my own hair adding two more heads is not going to be pretty. What are we teaching our little ones by having them endure products, perming and braiding?

Anonymous said...

Some folks seem a tad bit sensitive to me. Eggshells anyone? When it comes to our hair we say what needs to be said. Here's a tip, it's a blog, it's free speech. Deal with it.


Malia'sMama said...

I was just washing my baby's hair and throwing a little vaseline in, but now that it's growing longer, I did by a product. Something, or other "pudding", and I must say it IS awesome. I have frizzy-ish hair (European) and could never get it to look good for more than a day without re-washing and styling, but with this stuff (yes, i am stealing Mal's :)it CURLS. So, I guess it's buyer beware- some products worth it, some not.
I was feeling badly for NOT wanting to go all braidy, bauble-y, cutesy on my daughter, just soft and natural as much as possible, with headbands, and simple clips, but your post has set my mind at ease. :)

Ted and Jill said...

Thank you so much for the honest post! We are adopting two children from ET (one being a girl for sure/no referral yet) and I have been concerned with her haircare. I am not going to buy her "african" products but just focus on extra hydrating and moisturizing products...heck, I need that for my own hair so I can handle that! Thanks, and I don't take offense to your blog...I enjoy the honest advice from a black woman to a white woman! Thanks again! God bless on your journey.

The Elliott Family said...

I think it is so funny that people who criticize are always "Anonymous". If you aren't willing to put your name behind it, then I don't listen.

I am a white mama of an Ethiopian beauty who sure as hell will listen to someone who has an opinion about something they happen to have a few years experience with.

Anonymous is another word for c-h-i-c-k-e-n.


Amy said...

I loved this post! Thanks so much for saying all of this! This makes me feel like I am doing just fine by not freaking out about Silas hair. I am so excited to grow his hair grow out and just see what it does...I am pretty sure it is going to be super cute. :)

Ted and Lori said...

When I first read this post a while back, it cracked me up. We had kids of all different races stay in our home since my parents did foster-parenting, and my mom always just put baby-oil on the African American kids' hair, and it was always super-soft (and clean...hello? once a week baths?). I do agree with Jocelyn though--I'm going to need help if I do braids. :)

She is... said...

Hair obsession and circumcision! The two most talked about subjects when adopting from Ethiopia.

kristine said...

OK this made me laugh out loud.
And then I read the comments.


Full disclosure....

I bathe Quinn once a week.
Not in summer though. Then it's every other day.
I bathe every day.
but I stink if I don't.

I also condition mostly his hair and wash very little. I lot of curly haired white and black people do this now and I think it's better. Conditioner actually cleans in most cases.

Until baseball season and actual dirt and sweat.

I use carols daughters because we don't use 'commercial' stuff. very bad for everyone.
Full disclosure.
It's not that expensive.

Hell a coffee now aways is four dollars.

Plus I love the smell.
and I love that it's local (for me.)

So I'm that white clueless mom.

And this still made me laugh.

because it's funny people!!!!

BTW you should see Quinn's grown out mohawk!!!! Awful!!! I know I would feel differently if he was a girl. I'm sexist that way. I'm not proud or being funny when I say that. Just honest. It's his hair, he's in first grade and he's a boy - grown out mohawk - yuck - but ok. We don't get many comments perhaps because his skin and his hair are in good condition - but also because he has - what is known of in the black community - good hair. it's curls in ringlets without me doing much.

so that's the lazy white mom's answer to this very funny post.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

'I see the fear in your faces when you talk about hair care and I see the end result on your child's head.'

Okay, that made me laugh out loud - guilty. I do have fear, because I am horrible at doing my white daughters' hair, and my own hair, so the thought of a different texture etc gives me hives.

This post actually calms my fears. I'd already decided I will look for sweet looking black lady at the Walgreens and hope she takes pity on me and fills me in. There is a lady in my bible study now that I already have my eye on.

If that doesn't work, I need your cell number, mkay?