Monday, September 30, 2013

Baby Shampoo/Hair Care for Curly-Haired Babies

Shampoo has been a legitimate concern of ours since the day Pickle was born.  Here is her on her first day of life:

(Yes, those would be locks of hair on my newborn.)

She had enough hair for a mohawk for her very first in-the-hospital bath (we didn't think to get photos). 

We sort of had guessed that it was going to be that way - I had been born with enough hair for a ponytail, and had been experiencing insane amounts of heartburn throughout the pregnancy (which actually isn't just an old wives' tale!).  Hence, we had stocked up ahead of time on baby shampoos.  We received quite a bit as shower gifts, which was nice so that we could try different kinds.

We, of course, received Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo, because this is America and it is what pretty much every child ever had slathered on their head.  Pickle was born in 2010, before they removed formaldehyde from the list of ingredients in 2012 (LINK) - so I was a little wary of using it.  I knew it wasn't the kind of formaldehyde that was a carcinogen, but I still wanted to be as natural as humanly possible with the agents going on her skin - in particular because she's had very sensitive skin since she was born.  So, to be honest, we skipped Johnson & Johnson and all of the store-brand knock-offs of it.

Next we tried Burt's Bees shampoo/conditioner (LINK).  It was good, and smelled great, and was really great on the curly hair that Pickle was already starting to sprout around 4 months or so, since it was free of parabens, phtalates, sulfates, and other damaging products.  However, there was still sodium benzoate.  This is also a carcinogen in some cases.  And I know that it's not like Pickle was drinking this, but I just wanted to find something as natural for her hair as possible.

We ended up with Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash (LINK):

This shampoo has just nothing bad in it.  Hence, it left Pickle's hair incredibly soft, and smelled great.  It's about $10 for 5.3 oz, so it's definitely pricier than most baby shampoo, but that's because of the high level of quality in it.  

Now we had the issue of how to detangle and tame her hair after the bath.  Which was a bigger project than you might think.  I don't know a ton of 9-month-olds who had hair like this:

Like any small child, she would freak if I accidentally pulled her hair (a normal reaction, I'd think) - and unfortunately, this was harder to avoid than it might be with a child with less and/or straighter hair.  And, for the same reasons as I listed previously, I wasn't all that wild about using the Johnson and Johnson Detangler.

I had been using a product called Matrix Biolage Smoothing Shine Milk (LINK) for some time.  It does have Dimethicone in it, which some people avoid - but the reasons that they avoid it aren't really for safety, but because it coats hair a bit when you apply it.  This is actually exactly what we needed for Pickle, something to coat it and make it easier to comb, so I applied it to her hair directly after a bath, before combing.  It works great as a detangler, helps with frizzies, and additionally makes hair shiny.  It's got a few more chemicals in it than I am comfortable with, especially since it's in spray form, so we put a towel around her face before I apply it.

So then we had to worry a touch about hair gel.  Which is ridiculous with a child under 1 year old, but her hair just turns into a giant ball of frizz if we don't.  I have been begrudgingly using some gel that I already had, but I am very curious about this product from Poofy Organics:  Spray gel is much easier on an active now-preschooler than pomades and regular gel, and I feel like this one may be a good fit.  If we get it, I'll report back.

So, this is all fairly specific information for babies with a lot of curly hair, but it's been pretty useful info for us over the past three years.