Thursday, 10 October 2013

Tots R Us: Claire is a Curly Girl!

My daughter Claire was born with a head full of gorgeous dark curls, and she has been a natural curly girl since birth – not a drop of shampoo on this child’s head!  

Claire is now 2 years old, and it has alwaybeen really important to me to care for her curlskeep them natural, and teach her to love them from an early age.  

Claire’s hair gets lots of attention everywhere we go.  She gets mostly compliments, though we do get the occasional loaded question, “Why don’t you plait her hair?”  But while some wonder why we haven’t gone the “traditional” route with Claire’s hair, most people gush about how much they love her curls.  

I can’t tell you how often adults find an excuse to touch Claire’s hair.  It’s usually an, “Oops, sorry honey, didn't mean to bump into you,” followed by a generous tousling of Claire’s curls.  This doesn't seem to bother her, though I wonder if one day she might get fed up with strangers touching her hair all the time!

My own adventure with loving my naturally curly hair started in 2006 when I read Lorraine Massey’s Curly Girl.  I threw out my comb and shampoo, and never looked back.  The most recent edition of Lorraine’s book has two great sections I've used for caring for Claire’s curls: Curly Kids and Multi-curl-tural Hair.  Both have given me great tips on caring for Claire’s mixed-race locks.  Claire has “corkscrew” curls that are much tighter than my own, though our hair care regimens are largely the same.  

Claire’s daily hair care ritual consists of rinsing, conditioning and detangling.   I leave in all of the conditioner used in Claire’s hair each day, so the first step is to do a good rinse to get out yesterday’s product.  Once we've rinsed, I use copious amounts of conditioner in her hair to ease the detangling process.  We use Deva Curl’s One Condition, which we bring by the suitcase-full from the US.  I usually put a palm-full of conditioner into her hair, smoothing it down the outer layer.  Next I take most of her hair and put it into a ponytail on top of her head, leaving a couple of inches of hair down in the back.  I detangle her hair with my fingers, section by section from nape to crown, using lots of extra conditioner.  Once I finish detangling her whole head, I run my fingers down her hair from crown to tips, smoothing it out and separating the curls, and scrunching out any excess water.  She goes to bed with a wet head, and wakes up with a head full of curly-Qs.  

Once per week, I also cleanse Claire’s with a sulfate-free cleanser.  We use Deva Curl’s No-Poo.  On cleansing day, I rinse Claire’s hair with warm water, and apply a handful of No-Poo to Claire’s hair.  I try to work the cleanser in directly at the scalp, massaging with my fingertips.  I pull as much of the cleanser through her hair as I can, to remove any conditioner build-up, then I rinse again with warm water.  The cleanser doesn't have much slip, so it’s nearly impossible to detangle completely and pull the cleanser through her corkscrew curls, so after rinsing always follow up with a good dose of conditioner and detangling.  

Around Claire’s first birthday, I went through a phase of trying out cute afro-puff pigtails in her hair.  But it was short-lived, since I really had to use a comb to get the style to work.  I HATE using a comb on Claire’s hair!  I find combs cause lots of breakage, and pull out tons of hair.  So Claire pretty much wears her hair down every day, though she’ll occasionally request a small barrette or hair clip.  

Much to my husband’s chagrin, I cut Claire’s hair on a regular basis.  Her hair is actually quite long – probably 7 or 8 inches if you pull a curl out to its full length.  But no matter how long her hair gets, it always springs back to about 2 inches of supercurl.  I find that the hair at the back of Claire’s head tends to get quite tangled, and suffers from the dreaded fairy-knots – tiny knots at the end of an individual strand of hair.  So when detangling gets too painful (it is not Claire’s favourite part of the day), I grab the shears and go to work.  I cut her hair dry, curl by curl.  I try to cut a centimetre or less from each curl, working my way around her head.  I cut the hair at the nape of her neck rather short, and let the back fall in a stacked bob.  I think it looks cute and feminine, and makes the bath time routine so much easier.  And, given the high spring factor of her hair, hubby usually doesn't even notice it’s been cut!

As a curly mom of a curly kid, my biggest fear is that one day Claire will want to straighten her beautiful curls.  I want Claire to see her hair for what it is: beautiful, unique, and part of who she is.  Her curls are an extension of her funny, charming, sassy personality, and I want her to work them for all they’re worth!  


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Very sweet I want to bump into those curls by mistake :-)