Learning about African hair and skin

When I got married to my African husband and the children started coming, I had to face some new challenges. My hair is totally straight, I wash it and comb it, finish. Well, that does not work with my babies. The boys are still an easier ride because their hair is short, so for a while I coped. But then came the little princess and naturally she wants long hair.

 

A lot of times we are accused that we do not take good care of the hair of our mixed children….and in many cases that is really the sad truth. I have talked to some Afroeuropean grown-up women and most of them complained that their mothers did not know what to do about the hair. So when my daughter’s hair grew to a certain length when the usual drogerie products did not work well any more, i started reading about the topic.

I found a group in Facebook, it is called Lockenkopfe ,where I gathered a lot of information about hair care. For me it is very important that we do not use any harmful chemicals, and unfortunately most of the products in the African shops here are full of them. I looked for natural ones. I started with Shea Moisture products and I really loved them. Later I found out that Garnier also has some shampoos and hair foods that are not harmful and they are really good. I simply buy them in Bipa. I use Garnier Fructis Banana Shampoo for the kids and then I apply Hair food, my favourites are the Aloe Vera and the Macadamia.

First I wash the hair with the shampoo, then I apply a lot of hair food (it helps with the combing very well) and comb the hair while she is standing in the bathtub. After that I wash the hair food off, she comes out, I comb the hair again and apply some hair food, but now just some less quantity, which I will leave in the hair. The product defines her curls and makes the hair very soft and she loves the fragrance too. She always goes around after our bathroom “seance” and everybody must smell her hair, she is super proud of it. 

The other issue we face is the skin care. Their skin tends to get dry easily and looks “ashy”. I found out that shea butter is a very good cream for the skin. I love that smoky smell! We call it okwuma, my husband taught us the igbo name for the cream. The only problem I have with the cream is that – especially in winter-, it is hard.

So I usually put the bottle on the top of the radiator, I wait until it melts, then I pour it in a bigger jar and pour some oil into it. There is no exact recipe, I use them ca 50-50 or 40-60%. My mother-in-law brought us a lot of shea butter when she visited us, but later I had to look for sources here. This is how I discovered cocoa butter also, my boys love the smell very much. I usually buy the creams from Adinkra Moringa, and today I bought one jar from Sawashea. I have already melted it and mixed it with the Adinkra Moringa Cocoa Butter and some Kneipp Mandelblumenöl. I can not wait to use my “concoction” in the evening!