Monae has kinky, 4b-ish hair, and her mom isn't really sure of how to care for it properly. She gets Dominican blow-outs once every month or two, and Monae got her last 'texturizer' about 6 months ago. When I was stying her hair on Thanksgiving, I was shocked to see how damaged and straight, her hair is, even after being washed. :( Her naturally kinky hair is now as straight as The Princess's, and it looks damaged, lifeless, and has absolutely no body or texture left in it. When I washed her hair, Monae was raving about how well her hair was 'laying' down, and how beautiful it is because it is so straight. Her mom has raised her thus far to believe that straight hair is better, and if her hair doesn't lay down, it isn't pretty.
So I spoke to her mom, and told her that if she promisedto lay off the heat and chemicals, I would style her hair on a regular basis and deal with the upkeep and maintenance that it requires. Honestly, my primary goal is to instill some confidence in this child, and teach her that her hair is beautiful exactly as it grows out of her head. She has about 6 months of new growth (and her hair grows FAST) and I would love for her to embrace her thick, coily, poofy locks once that texturizer grows out and I manage to convince her mom to do a BC.
On Friday, Monae was dropped off at my house, hair still in the style I did on her hair last week:
I think it held up pretty nicely, having been in there for a week and a day. :) So I took the braids out of her hair, and was left with this:
I just love that sweet face. (Please don't mind the horrible pictures. I really need a better camera. Flash on, Flash off.) (:
Honestly I am a bit on over my head with this. I have NEVER dealt with relaxed hair, and I am a bit intimidated by her natural hair texture. It is easy to see why some moms take the easy way out and just relax it, especially with the thickness of her hair. While I was washing it, it was a struggle just to make sure the shampoo reached her scalp. (I saw a tip online once to put the shampoo and conditioner in an applicator bottle that you would use for hair dye, so I will try that next week.) But I am determined to develop a better understanding of how to properly care for her hair, and t help her mom do the same.
So I washed Monae's hair, conditioned it, and rinsed about 70% of the conditioner out. Then I took a wide-toothed comb and tried to distribute the remaining conditioner through her hair as evenly as possible. Then I added It's Perfectly Natural's hair and body oil to seal in that moisture, and I added Bee Mine's hair butter on top of the oil. Looking for help on how to condition her hair, I followed the routine I saw here on Precious Curls-Celebrate Your Natural Hair. If you are looking for advice on how to properly moisturize your kinky hair, I suggest reading that article. It works on my 3C hair, too.
Then I braided. I applied some of Shea Moisture's Curl Enhancing Smoothie for additional hold, as needed. And I decided on a simple style that will last the week with grace. (Maybe even 2 weeks, if her mom gets er a sleeping cap, but we shall see.)
I think it came out nice, and we both had a LOT of fun. We talked, we watched Kung Fu Panda, (Anyone know why the Panda Bear's dad is a duck?) and took 3 breaks before it was all done. I LOVE braiding her hair, it is thicker than any of my girls, and because of it's texture, it hold styles very well. I am now on the lookout for cool braided styles to try on her hair, since box braids and twists are really out of the question because her ends are so straight, they just unravel immediately.
I hope you all enjoyed meeting my niece, you will be seeing much more of her and her hair in the weeks to come. If anyone has any advice and tips on how to deal with transitioning hair on a 5 year old, please, I am all ears Happy Sunday!