Tomorrow is Ella’s picture day which means that tonight, I’ll be putting her outfit together and tackling her hair. I say “tackling” because Ella has a ton of hair! Her natural curls are long, thick, and beautiful but a lot of work. I’m no hair expert but after years of taking care of Ella’s hair, I’ve found a routine that works for us.
The process I use has changed over the years so I’ll share which products worked best at different stages of Ella’s hair growth. And for convenience, I’ve linked everything on the liketoknow.it app or you can find everything in one place on my new Amazon storefront!
Shampoos & Conditioners
I used this shampoo when Ella was younger because it could detangle hair and it was gentle. She wasn’t the most cooperative back then so it didn’t hurt her when some inevitably got in her eyes. For weekly use, I use this shampoo and conditioner set and it works really well. Super hydrating and you don’t have to use a ton of product. I use this shampoo and conditioner when I’m doing a deeper clean of her hair about once a month.
Leave-In Conditioners & Detangling Sprays
Ella’s hair has pretty much always been thick and curly. When her hair just became long enough for a ponytail, I used this detangling spray. I would suggest this for shorter, looser curls.
Once Ella’s curls got tighter, more like ringlets, I switched to this spray and it worked wonders. Definitely worth it. Now that her hair is longer and heavier, making her curls more wavy, I switch between this detangling spray (seriously so good for tangles!) and this leave-in conditioner.
I only use the leave-in conditioner on nights when I’m braiding Ella’s hair without washing it first (a little goes a long way with this one too).
Brushes & Hair Accessories
I used to just put Ella’s hair in a bun before bed but that was never a great solution. It’s much better to braid it. I use this brush to detangle it, this brush to smooth it out before braiding it. And then I tie off the braid with these elastic hair ties. I do pigtails most often because I can keep them in longer than just one braid. There are some nights when I braid Ella’s hair without washing it first but since it’s so much easier to comb through when it’s wet, I use this spray bottle to get it wet before applying a detangling spray or leave-in conditioner.
My number one tip for managing curly or natural hair is to stay on top of it. Like I said, I’ve been washing and detangling Ella’s hair about once a week and that has made the process so much easier. Fewer tangles means fewer complaints and healthier hair. I never leave it out at night so a bun is better than nothing but I really suggest braiding it or even covering the hair.
Another tip I have is to try to make the hair care routine a fun, bonding time. Ella and I have made a game out of it– the tangles are the bad guy and the brush (which she used to hate) is there to get them out of her head. Ella calls the especially difficult parts the “queen tangles” and we find a way to laugh about it.
I never want her to hate her hair or wish it was different so I remind her all the time how beautiful it is and how lucky she is. And if for some reason her hair got really tangled (like when I had our baby and stopped taking care of it for weeks, oops), I always stay a little longer with her at bedtime just so that our last interaction isn’t a sad one. Taking care of curly hair can be a lot of work but it’s so worth it!