Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hair's the Thing

At the adoptive families' gathering a dad watching Anna said to me, "Her hair's cute. Is it easy to do?"

"No!" I laughed. "Not for me!" Then I noted that it is getting easier for me, and the difficulty has everything to do with my general girly beauty incompetence and much less to do with her hair. Her hair's not bad—I'm bad at hair.

Anna just had soft baby hair when she came home, and then a lot of that fell out, then grew back in and gradually got thicker and curlier. It was amazing watching the straight baby hair start to curl up away from her head and then spiral. One of those changes you can kind of watch happen and yet it sneaks up on you until one day you look back at old photos and realize how much she's changed.

So she didn't have enough hair for me to start doing anything with (besides spray and comb) until spring, and then her parts took me for . . . ev . . . errrrr to make and still looked drunk and disorderly as often as not. But I tried to keep practicing so she'd get used to me doing her hair, even though I could still get away with leaving it loose.

By June I was getting better and tried dividing it into more sections (though it was still too short in back for this to stay—wow, she has a lot more hair now):

Then I was able to try making teeny tiny braids and finishing them with snaps:

I have to say that although I usually don't do beads, I love that if I want to, I can easily change the whole look of her hair with different styles and snaps and beads. I had fun with it on the 4th of July. Voila, fully accessorized patriotism!

(Okay, not fully accessorized: no flag pin.)

Anna definitely has hair that's the exact opposite of mine. I think it's pretty high on the scale of thick and curly. And it grows up/out. Don't get me wrongI love her loose curls, especially right after a bath when they are incredible tight spirals (I will try to get a picture soon). But they don't stay defined well for too long, and now her hair is so long and thick that if I don't put at least some of it in puffs or braids, combing it out becomes difficult enough to well exceed a 19-month-old's attention span. And I need to save as much of that attention span as possible for getting the ponytails sectioned off before she starts, in an apparent attempt at humor, shaking her head no no no no no no no. You try doing that to your hairstylist sometime and see how well she does.

But my braiding is getting better and it's getting easier with a little more length to grab. My parts go a lot faster and are straighter. I can even get a couple days out of a style before redoing it, or just keep the parts and redo the puffs or braids.

So I'm partly just noting my progress and partly surveying for tips here: How are the rest of you who are new to handling this kind of hair doing? Those of you whose girls rock the cool headbands, what kind works best and how do you get your kid to leave it on (for the love of pete!)? Any product you'd recommend that might help me be able to leave Anna's free? Is Carol's Daughter all it's cracked up to be, for this kind of hair? What product? (And can you get Brad to come over and give me a demo?)


The Six of Us said...

Wow, I am IMPRESSED! Great job!

When we adopt a daughter, I might have to take lessons from YOU!

habeshachild said...


I tried Carol's Daughter, but didn't love the scents, which were pretty overpowering. Curly Qs is great - and the smells are much nicer.

Now I have some rookie questions for you:

How/when do you do her hair? Right after bath? What time of day? Where and how do you sit her? How do you keep her still while you work on her hair?

Jenny said...

My first comment was eaten, so I'm trying again. Seriously, that looks great. Really great! Girl hair scares me! I may have to fly to Oregon for a lesson if needed in the future. I'm amazed you can get it so straight considering toddlers don't sit still for more than 1.5 seconds at a time!

The Apicella Family said...

Gwen the hair stylist - who'd have thunk? She's beautiful. Are you heading to Calvin in Sept for our 10 yr? I think we are. BTW - we're expecting again, March, surprise! Farah

Crystal said...

Looks like you are doing a great job and I know it isn't a easy!

I'm a big fan of Carol's daughter. It seems like I tried a million products before I found CD. It does get expensive, but it has been worth it. I use the hair balm, hair butter and hair milk. The hair milk creates soft spiral curls and I found the smell isn't as strong as the hair butter or hair balm.

paige said...

I've been using Carol's Daughter, but I think I'll be switching to Curly Qs--the smell is strong, and really, when I realized that the ingredients of the Tui oil were: corn oil and fragrance (17.00 for an 8 oz bottle) I realized that there were probably better and cheaper options available. I am VERY impressed with your parts and Anna's cute dos---Meklit's mop is running away from me!

Oh, and the headband thing--Astrid M will wear one occasionally, but she plays with it a lot, so I need to keep some back-up leave in conditioner with me for touch ups or she is a frizzy mess within a few hours. Definitely not my favorite style. It seems so easy until I realize how much of the day I've spent angsting about her hair.

WMW said...

Thanks for the encouragement, gang. I think I will try some Curly Qs.

Porter, I'll answer your rookie questions in another post and we can all compare notices on that stuff too.