My son was born with a full head of dark hair, complete with blonde highlights, he was gorgeous. I wasn’t expecting to have to deal with hair so early on, and so I followed convention and washed it every day. As a result his hair displayed a permanently greasy sheen! This couldn’t be natural, right?It was my son who taught me that is less is more when it comes to hair care. At around 8 months he went through a phase where he refused (REFUSED!) to have his hair washed. At the risk of looking like the world’s worst mother when everyone saw how dirty his hair was, I let it be. To my surprise his hair did not look dirty at all; in fact it was in the best condition of his life! His naturally curly hair flourished into gorgeous blonde ringlets, which I can’t bear to cut.
By avoiding all shampoos with harsh ingredients like sulphates you are automatically saving your toddler from an onslaught of chemicals. Avoiding conditioners with silicones that coat the hair shaft and block moisture from being absorbed will mean the hair will be naturally healthier. Shampoo strips your hair of its natural oils and thereby creates a vicious circle as the hair tries to compensate by producing more oil. Without this stripping, you will find that your toddlers’ hair will not be greasy at all.
If the idea of not washing your toddlers’ hair sounds a little too hippie, then make sure all the products you do use are sulphate, parabens and silicone free. Try to limit hair washing to once a week or longer; to allow the hairs’ natural oils to balance out.
If you are looking for a very low maintenance way for your toddler’s hair to look fantastic with no tears, then stop using products altogether. What I do use is coconut oil, and lots of it. Around once a week I slather on coconut oil to the hair and scalp and leave it in overnight; in the summer I find I do not even need to rinse it as my son will invariably run through a sprinkler or go for a swim the next day anyway. In winter, the hair is dryer and most of the coconut oil is absorbed and a rinse with raw apple cider vinegar or a nettle infusion gets rid of any excess oil.
Coconut oil has a particular affinity towards hair protein because of its lauric acid profile, and unlike other oils that just coat the hair; coconut oil is absorbed and binds to the hair protein. This helps the hair retain moisture and reinforces its fibers.
Coconut oil is naturally anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial keeping your toddler’s scalp and hair in the best health and will clear up any dandruff and cradle cap in no time. My son does have a small patch of cradle cap and coconut oil helps loosen up the flakes allowing them to be gently sloughed away with the next rinse.
So, the next time your toddler point blank refuses to wash his hair, perhaps he has a point? Is it really necessary? Slather on a good amount of coconut oil instead!
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Christine is a single, work-at-home mom to her beautiful son, Jesse. She lives in South Africa and is passionate about bringing up her son as naturally as possible. Christine blogs at African Babies Don’t Cry where she often writes about natural nutrition and toddler health. She keeps busy by volunteering for the Natural Parents Network, being an avid gardener and a healer in training. You can also find her on Facebook or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.