Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Caring for your Masala child's hair

Children with mixed ethnic backgrounds often require different beauty routines - especially when it comes to hair care. Since we are trying to grow Maya's hair long, we have been consciously trying out products that gently wash and soften her hair.

Doing "the hair" has kind of become a big deal in our household - especially when you have a girl! It is all about proper brushes, detangling spray, hair clips, bows, elastics, products...our second bathroom has become a full service hair salon! Not to mention, diva husband-ji is also growing out his hair and is obsessed with having it either straight or in a super hot man-bun!

It occurred to me a while ago that the majority of products out there - especially hair products - are geared towards blond, blue eyed, straight-haired white babies. Like the Gerber baby. There are very few products out there that are geared towards curly haired people, or even wavy haired people. A lot of the products that say they moisturize are actually not at all moisturizing.

So, I went online to research. However the articles online are geared towards Black/white babies (the most common interracial mix) and not any Indian or even Asian mixes. Asian hair is completely different than African hair. Indian hair is completely different than Asian hair. A Masala baby's hair texture is much different than any other mix.

With my own daughter, her hair is fine and curly. It needs a very gentle moisture, and I only wash it twice a week to preserve this. One of the two times that I wash it, I will either use a deep conditioner like pure coconut oil (pre-shampoo); or a store-bought conditioner after the shampoo, and then some oil on the ends which I let air dry. And all week long, I will use a moisturizing detangling spray before I do her hair every day. Our "head bath" days are usually Wednesdays and Sundays, and it requires a bit of a procession.

I have tried a variety of products on her hair, so I know what has really worked for her texture. And it is even better if the products are something that we all can use. Husband-ji, Maya, and I have completely different hair textures, so it is a miracle if we can get something that we can all use!

Here are my reviews of what we've tried so far:

This one is my favorite, and all 3 of us use it. It has a heavenly scent that smells like a coconut cookie, transforming our shower to somewhere tropical. It is very gentle and moisturizing. You don't have to use a lot and it works up into a great lather. After months of daily use, we still haven't finished the bottle!
*I also love their Desert Essence Coconut Hair Defrizzer & Heat Protector, which I use as a detangler.

Weleda Calendula Baby Shampoo and Body Wash
When Maya was born, my midwives recommended Weleda's Calendula line for babies and I got hooked. I have used this one for years - it is hypoallergenic and great for sensitive skin. As she has gotten older and her hair has become more dry, I have noticed that it doesn't dry it out. The only thing about this product is that the smell is very strong - it's not for everyone. I would tend to use it after swimming or getting dirty, because the smell is highly pungent - which might be a good thing!

Mustela Bebe Dermo-Cleansing
This is another product that I've used all the way back from my pregnancy with Maya - my friend swore by their stretch mark cream (Mustela Stretch Marks Double Action), and at my baby shower someone gifted me a bunch of Mustela products which I still continue to use on Maya. This product is very gentle and safe to use on any skin irritations. I love the sweet floral scent to it - it is almost perfumed!

Alaffia - Beautiful Curls - Curl Enhancing Shampoo
This is a product I found while trying to scour the shops for something that was specifically for curly haired people. I was very impressed by this shampoo, as it did what it was supposed to do. It cleaned the hair without stripping it, and many times I even skipped the conditioner afterwards. It made my daughter's curls nice and shapely the next day.
*I also love the Alaffia - Beautiful Curls - Curl Nurturing Leave-In Detangler for Babies

Aveeno Gentle Conditioning Baby Shampoo
Some people swear by Aveeno, but for us this was a very basic product which did not moisturize at all. The only positive about this product was the nice warm smell, but that was it. Not impressed!

Johnson's Natural Baby Shampoo
I purchased this product mainly because the labeling was appealing, being "natural" and all. Unfortunately it stunk like chlorine or some other weird chemicals that are sold as the "natural" scent (WTF...) This shampoo was also very drying and very watery. I would only use this if I was desperate and it was the last thing in my cabinet and there was a snowstorm and we couldn't get out to buy proper shampoo.

Weleda Oat Replenishing Conditioner
I love most of the Weleda line, but I wasn't a fan of this. It was too moisturizing and extremely thick. It does not glide over the wet hair nicely and it is so thick that you can hardly squirt it out of the bottle. I love the scent, but the texture is a fail.
This is a great bedtime bubble bath for the family that gently cleans and has a beautiful relaxing scent. The whole jar lasts forever, with the pump control. I have tried it on the hair, but it is too drying - but it is perfect as a bubble bath staple.

Moroccan Oil Hydrating Shampoo
This one is a big hit with the whole family - especially my inlaws. Not to mention I dragged it all the way to India for my cousin-sisters as they loved it too. It's no surprise that it worked wonderfully on Maya's hair too. It is very gentle and it has a great lather, so it lasts a long time. My only gripe is that it's not tear-free...but I still love it.
*I also love the Moroccanoil Oil Treatment Hair Oil with Pump and sometimes I run it through the hair after towel drying. It works wonders on both curly hair and my straight hair too!

I'm sure I will have more reviews in the future, so stay tuned!


Dear readers, do you have any recommendations for curly haired individuals?
What is your masala baby's hair texture like?



  1. Alexandra, I have hair just like Maya's. Try diluting the shampoo a bit and adding some coconut milk to it when you wash Maya's hair. It will moisturise and condition it while shampooing. Works for me. I don't use shampoo. I mix coconut milk with Dr. Bronner's lavender Castile soap (1 part soap, 1 part coconut milk, 1 part water) and use it up within a couple of weeks, then make a new batch. I sometimes add a tsp of coconut or olive oil to the mix. No conditioner needed. Don't use peppermint castille soap, it strips hair oils and can be a bit too strong.

    Also, as a leave in conditioner while swimming or a general conditioner, try mixing one part pure aloe vera gel with one part vegetable glycerin. Is much gentler on the hair and scalp than chemical conditioners.

  2. In our family I am the one with the crazy hair. I grew up with limp thin straight hair that were always dry at the tip but always super oily at the root. Then after giving birth my hair changed a lot, it is now thicker but also a mix of wavy and curly. Surprisingly it is still oily at the root and super dry at the tip.

    I tried everything including coconut oil. In fact the shocking thing is that coconut oil, the trusted regimen for dry frizzy hair is a fail of epic proportion on my hair. If I use it my hair soaks it and the root gets super sticky and it won't wash off and the root looks like oily straw. It takes 6-7 shampoo to get the hair looking somewhat normal again and if I don't get it all off the oil will make the dust and pollution stick and my scalp will itch like mad.

    Over the year and through a bazillion trial and errors I found that in India the only shampoo that works with my hair is Clairol's herbal essence, either the one for extra shine or the one for extra dry hair. tHey had a formulation for curly hair in the past but I haven't seen it in a while :-(

    Ishita has surprisingly a good hair quality, soft, silky manageable hair

    1. Have you tried any Himalayan brand hair care? Is it good?
      Mine changed texture after childbirth as well...

  3. I used Mustela body and hair for baby T. until recently. Then last time we went to the UK, I bought a "Baby Sensitive Moisturising head to toe wash" by Boots. I find it is more moisterising than Mustela. In India I have to use oil too for her hair, hiding from hubby who distrusts most beauty products.

    I agree Weleda products have a strong smell, not very pleasant. I'll check if the Desert Essence brand is available over here, it looks very nice.

    The concern I have about hair is that I would like to cut baby T's fringe, as she takes off everything we put in her hair... but hubby is adamant that her first haircut (rather a hairshave) should be made in the family temple in India... Did you do this ?


    1. Hmmmmmm we opted out of it and the family did not push it. Basically they will shave the child's whole head with a razor and devote the hair "to god". Only the same temple will turn around and sell the hair to American wig markets. It is the richest temple in the world (Tirupathi)....

      P.S. I love Boots products! I wish they were available here!

  4. Coconut oil is used all over South India for hair

  5. Maya's hair is gorgeous!! Been a curly hair girl myself (hair 3A) I love talking about curly hair products and our endless search for the perfect combination of products. By looking at Maya's hair she looks like a 2A which is the first of the wavy/curly hair categories so it should not be too difficult to find a good easy routine for her.

    One advise is not to make her feel like her hair is this big chore. Growing up ,my mom used to spend hours on my hair and did everything to straighten my hair because in PR back then, straight hair was what everyone desired making having curly hair seemed like a curse. It gave me such a huge complex growing up. Indians are the same with having perfect straight hair. Just a friendly comment :)

    Have you tried co-washing or cleansing conditioners. They are a Godsend for wavy/curly as they work as a shampoo without the harsh ingredients that so often most shampoos have. You use it like a shampoo (it will not lather as much) and leave it for a couple of minutes and rinse. I usually shampoo and condition on Sundays and co-wash everyday the other days. I also use DermOrganics leave in treatment everyday. As soon as I rinse the conditioner or co-wash off I squeeze a little bit of treatment and run it through my soaked hair. I then used the turbie twist or wrap in a microfiber towel so the water gets absorbed. I never wring or scrub my hair with a towel after washing as it will create breakage and frizz. I then apply a styling product and add a climate control leave serum mixed together and use a wide tooth comb to detangle the hair and distribute the products. My hair is very curly so I never use a brush as it can break the shaft of curly hair like mine.

    Here are a couple of lines and products that I recommend for curly hair and of course, not all curly hair is the same so not all will work for everyone:

    Shampoo and Conditioners - Mill Creek Organics Keratin Shampoo and Conditioner, L'Oreal Oleo Therapy Oil Infused Shampoo and Conditioner, Maple Holistic Winter Blend Shampoo and Silk18 Conditioner

    Co-washes - Biolage Line of Cleansing Conditioners, As I Am Co Wash

    Styling Products - Biolage Curl Defining Elixir, Jonathan HydraCurls, Bed Head Foxy Curls, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

    Serums - Biosilk and KMS Tame Frizz Oil

    Oils and Treatment Masks - you can make your own oil treatment by adding tea tree oil (great for my hair) or rose oil (great for Maya's hair) to a carrier oil like Jojoba or Sweet Almond. L'Oreal Oleo Hair Mask is fantastic

    I think DevaCurl products are terrible as well as Ouidad's (this two lines are gear for curly hair).

    Sorry for the long post but as you can see, I love talking about curly hair and hope this helps.

    Mille B

    1. excellent advice Millie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3

  6. @Alexandra

    This is a video about a preparing home made natural hair shampoo. I think this should be of help to you.

  7. Hehehehe. I loved your comment on Diva Husbandji
    It's really nice to see that a man likes to take care of himself :)
    My hubby doesnt prep much while going out. I am the diva in our relationship.

    1. Ha ha! He spends more time on his hair and beard than I do on my makeup!

  8. I used to have straight hair in India and now my hair has turned curly over the past few years, most likely due to the climate and high humidity here. Due to this, my skin and hair has become oily and curly band I am not sure how it will be once I move out. I have noticed that there are products for total curly hair or for straight hair but nothing specifically for wavy hairs like Indian hair.

    I personally use Acure shampoos and tiger shikakai powder which are gentle and seem to work fine. Another shampoo I liked was babo botanicals calendula shampoo.My friend tried Alba Botanica, Drink it Up Coconut Milk Shampoo and said it was good too.

  9. So this website has a ton of great advice:

    Here is information on figuring out what type of curls you have

    That site also has a shop based in Austin, Texas but if they do not ship to Canada or if it is too pricey use it as a guide. They only sell products for curly hair which is a blessing cause growing up with a mom who had wavy/straight hair (curls came from dad and other generations) I often rocked a lampshade. I embraced my curls when I got older and now have long healthy very curly hair! This is the shop:

    I use the following products in various rotations and a lot of these lines, such as JessiCurls, have kids lines:
    • (styling product – use a little and run through your hair upside down with your hands folded like your praying if that makes sense)

    • (daily conditioner)

    • (leave in conditioner)

    • (shampoo once a week only! – I co-wash aka wash with conditioner every other day to every 3 days max)

    • (daily conditioner)

    • (deep conditioner – a little once a week – I wear my turban and let it sit for 30 minutes minimum)

    • (deep conditioner – I buy one or the other)

    • (my hair gel)

    • (this is my deep conditioning turban – it has been alive over 4 years)

    • (I use these towels to dry my hair it is not needed but they last a while and don’t create frizz or you can use a plain t-shirt)

    Hope this helps!

  10. Oh, your baby is so cute! Sorry for the weird comment but awwwww


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