The pics are huge, sorry.
Okay, DD is triracial (AA/Hisp(Mex)/white) and I am white with straight-ass do-nothing-ever hair. Her hair length now is approximately:
*just-past-the-shoulders when allowed to air-dry and all springy-curly
*mid-shoulder-blade when brushed while dry (read: frizzy)
*to the small of her back when brushed straight while wet
I know logically what I'm supposed to do with her hair, but just can't do it. For example, brushing/combing her hair.
I know I'm not ever supposed to brush her hair dry, but I also can't spend upwards of an hour every single morning getting the tangles out. We have one of these brushes (DD prefers the soft side) that we use to smooth the surface hair back into a ponytail pretty much every morning. Am I destroying her hair?
When her hair is wet, I simply cannot comb it. Everyone says, use a wide-toothed comb, right? It does not work. It tugs and it hurts and it sucks. Usually what we do is this: at bathtime, with tons of conditioner gooped on and soaking in, I sit with her for over half an hour and using my fingers slowly separate out every single strand of hair from the knots they live in.
If I do this routine, and then just let her hair air-dry with a leave-in conditioner in it, it will look like this (styled with curl-rejuvenator stuff) or like this (unstyled, two years ago, and about 6 inches shorter). It will look like this for 3 hours, tops, until it starts to tangle up all over and dreadlock in the middle.
I admit to being a bad triracial-hair-doing-momma and using DP's brush to *gasp* yank the tangles out while her hair is dry, which completely frizzes her hair out to its full frizzy potential (which is damned cute, btw, but probably not the best for her hair) and leaves her looking like this (upside down, but it looks pretty much the same right-side up, anyway).
I am not skilled enough to do even relatively small braids or french braids or anything. I have tried to braid her hair back in four or five sections at the back of her head before bedtime. By morning, the ends of the braids have curled up and over the rubber bands, wormed their way into the braids proper, and begun to take root up near where the braids start at her scalp.
DD will not tolerate anything on her head at night (no scarves, covers, hats, wraps, anything). She also will not tolerate her hair down and loose, as it gets in her face all night and she can't stand it when her neck gets sweaty. We usually just pull it back in a ponytail - and end up cutting the ponytail holder out in the morning, because so many hairs curled around and under it that it's impossible to remove.
TOSS the brushes! Her hair shouldn't be brushed.
You can get a wide toothed comb and a comb with all different sized teeth (large to small).
First- in the bathtub- make sure that you're using shampoo & conditioner that are good for her hair (e.g. pantene contains wax, which is horrible for curls). I like the nature's gate hemp or the circle of friends. My favorite conditioner is the oyin (http://www.oyinhandmade.com). She or you can detangle in the tub without any fussing or pain.
Second, when she comes out of the tub, put something on it, e.g. coconut oil, and massage it through. Then comb it, and either put it up in a ponytail or a pigtail or braids or whatever you feel comfortable with, making sure to make your parts with the comb.
Beware that hair that is not braided will tangle quiclkly, and just about any braid will keep the hair separated and manageable.
Now, you only want to wash her hair 1-2 times a week.In the meantime, you can take it down, oil it or spray it up with greg juice or use a detangler or whatever (water, too). Comb it through well, and re "do" it.