Q: We are adopting a four month old female from Africa and a three year old female from Africa very soon, but we have no
experience with African hair. How often do we wash their hair and what do we do in between washes? Thank you.
A: Well, I’ve said before and will say again that people – as a whole – tend to over-shampoo their hair. Hair should be shampooed when
it is needed, but most of us get into the habit or mode of thinking that because a hair product is listed as being “gentle enough to use
every day” we should be using it every single day.
In your case, you will be dealing with hair types with which you are completely unfamiliar.
African-ethnic hair is coarser than Caucasian hair, and it is also more fragile. Caucasian scalps generally produce and distribute more
sebum than African-ethnic scalps and therefore the hair needs to be moisturized and conditioned regularly to keep it healthy.
Most experts recommend shampooing the hair of African-ethnic individuals 1-2 times per week (unless
circumstances require more frequent cleaning). However, conditioning the hair should be done daily. Rinse the hair with warm water,
apply conditioner and gently work it through the hair with your fingers, then rinse the hair clear with cool water. Using the conditioner will help keep the hair manageable.
If you need extra help afterward, you can use a leave-in conditioner spray, or spray oil, but be
sure to use one with natural fruit oils as opposed to petroleum-based products or silicone-based ingredients.