The Marriage Ref

On August 16, 2011, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

Really? An interracial couple couldn’t agree on what to do with their daughter’s hair, so they went on national television to have entertainers tell them who is right and who is wrong. I’ve watched The Marriage Ref once or twice, and I don’t find it all that funny or enlightening. In this episode, which aired Monday, Aug. 14, the white father  wants his little girl to express herself, while the black mom wants her to look presentable.

If I had to take the matter seriously, I’d side with the mother. There’s nothing wrong with a child expressing herself, as long as that’s something she wants to do. Nothing in the clip leaves that impression. All the viewer learns is that the father simply doesn’t want to do hair, and that’s too bad.

Here’s the thing. These people aren’t serious. There is way too much acting and exaggerating in the clip, and the viewer later learns the father wants his daughter to be “discovered.” I think he and his wife are using the show to get their daughter on television. They got the exposure they wanted. I just wish it had not been at the expense of a child and her beautiful, natural hair.



Transracial Adoption

On November 23, 2009, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke
When I started Honeysmoke, I had no idea I would find — and meet — so many parents who are raising children from other parts of the world. What is heartening about the parents I have met is they are embracing everything about their children — especially their hair. I shared my observation with the Curl Whisperer, and she said she was glad parents were doing this. In the past — and I’ve had several hairdressers tell me this — many mothers threw up their hands until they couldn’t take it anymore, and mother and child would show up in a salon with a fully knotted mess. I think this post shows the complexity of the issue without making it a scary matter. Enjoy.

© Joyful Mom
We have been home with the girls exactly two years today. I vividly remember arriving at our airport late on a chilly night, exhausted, hungry, underdressed, and overwhelmed. And then we couldn’t find the car. I remember the feel of Little B’s recently shaved head against my palm as we wandered around the dark parking lot in the cold November evening. Just two years ago she was tiny enough for me to wear in an Ergo, carried in front. Now the girls are big kindergartners and we’ve come a long, long way.

Many HGH readers are adoptive moms on their own adoption journey, waiting for their children. Often, moms ask what they should bring for hair care when they travel to be united with their children. The great news, and short answer, is not much. While hair care is a footnote in the huge production of adoption travel, it’s only natural to think about it. It’s one of those few details within our control, right along with how many pull-ups to bring and what size shoes to pack.

We’ve talked about infant hair care before and the same goes for travel. A gentle cleanser, a soft brush, and a little oil is all that’s needed. For a very young infant with little hair, the brush and oil can probably wait until after homecoming. Even very young infants can have ringworm, so a topical medication would be a good thing to pack.

A little more might be required for older kids, or it might not. Many a mom, including me, has arrived to find her child’s head has been recently shaved. A recently shaved head will also be fine with gentle cleanser, a soft brush and a little oil. Kid’s heads are generally shaved to help control the fungus and lice that can flourish when a lot of children live together. It’s a good idea to bring an anti-fungal cream like Lotrimin. Ringworm on the scalp can be very tough to get rid of and all ringworm is contagious, so it’s important to talk to the doctor about it at that first appointment. Some families bring lice medication too. I’ve only run across a few families who needed it, but it’s not a bad idea to bring it.

Taking in the first view of the US

Most shaved heads are a surprise, so it’s wise to pack as though the child does have hair. Fortunately, it can be kept very simple. A conditioner that can be used to wash and/or as a leave-in, and a wide-toothed comb are the basics. A natural bristle brush can help remove little fuzzies, and if you have a girl, a few headbands or a barrette can make her feel very special. The tiny metal barrettes that close with a bend in the middle can work for almost any length hair. Some people chose to bring a shampoo as well, but unless you know you will have access to a tub or shower and a good water supply, I’d skip the shampoo. Bathing your toddler or preschooler when you have just met can be a challenge, so a full on shampooing and conditioning might be a bit much. I think I used a little baby wash on a wash cloth and some warm water to cleanse, but I could have used conditioner instead. Plain water will do the job for the short term too. A conditioner wash would probably be fine for a school age child. After cleansing, a bit more conditioner can be added for a leave-in.

I always think it’s a good idea to wait until getting settled in at home before buying and trying out lots of products. It’s really hard to know what a child’s hair texture is from a photo and once you are home, you can take your time to learn about your child’s hair texture and figure out the hair’s needs as it changes with a new diet and a new climate.

Infant Hair Care Packing List

a gentle cleanser (Cetaphil is mild, and can be wiped off without rinsing)
Lotrimin or other topical antifungal cream
baby brush
small amount of oil (jojoba, olive, or coconut)

Older Child Hair Care Packing List
conditioner (for use in cleansing and/or as a leave-in)
wide-toothed comb
Lotrimin or other topical antifungal cream
lice treatment
small amount of oil (jojoba, olive, or coconutfor use if the head has been shaved)
a gentle cleanser (Cetaphil is mild, and can be wiped off without rinsing)
natural bristle brush
hair accessories for girls

Those are the basics I recommend for a short trip of a week or two. If your trip is several weeks long and you are adopting an older child who will be in your care most of that time, you might add a shampoo, a moisturizing styling aid and a rat tail comb. Some parents have enough time to take older daughters to a braiding salon while in the child’s birth country. If that isn’t possible, a few simple puffs can be accomplished with a rat tail comb, a natural bristle brush and ponytail holders.

Wishing you and your little one a safe and happy journey!

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Meeting The Curl Whisperer

On November 18, 2009, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

curl whisperer cut

When I learned I would be in Florida on business, I made an appointment with the Curl Whisperer. I had been reading all about her advice on, and I wanted to see for myself whether she could tame my curls.

First, I showed her a picture of Simone and Nadia and told her about their hair. The Curl Whisperer recommended Aubrey Organics GPB for Nadia’s hair. It has protein in it and that will be great for her fine tresses. For Simone, she recommended Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose, which is protein free and more appropriate for thicker hair.

We then moved on to my hair. I was concerned about breakage and didn’t know what kind of porosity I had or whether I was protein sensitive. The Curl Whisperer said I simply needed a trim to help with breakage. That was good news. I had thought she would have to do a drastic cut. She said I had normal porosity and said my more coarse strands would not like any protein. Armed with that information, I can better choose products with the proper ingredients for my hair.

She gave me a dry trim, washed my hair, and rinsed it with cool water. My curls really liked the spa treatment and formed perfect little coils. She applied a little of Curl Junkie’s Curl Assurance Aloe Fix Hair Styling Gel and sent me on my way. I paid the Curl Whisperer and left a tip I hope conveyed I appreciated her curly advice. I wanted to buy her a plane ticket to my home, but it turns out she likes living in Florida. That’s okay. I will just add a trip to see her to my long list of excuses to visit Florida.


On November 10, 2009, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

Flexi-8When it comes to all things hair, I take the simplest route possible. I do not create intricate styles or use a lot of color. My hat is off to those who do. Beads, Braids and Beyond and Happy Girl Hair have this down to a science. I see the intricate styles they create and I am in awe.

I focus on the health of the hair, and I have found the Flexi-8 instantly adds a little style. It is a contraption that holds all of the hair comfortably. It is ideal for French twists and other up-dos, even the traditional ponytail. This hair tool is incredibly flexible so that you don’t hurt yourself or your hair using it on a regular basis. It also does not tear or pull at the hair like a scrunchy.

Flexis come in several sizes, and a few of them are designed for little girls. Simone has taken an interest in Tinkerbell, and there is one with blue wings and one with pink wings that I purchased for Simone and Nadia. Now these are on the pricey side — 13 bucks apiece — so I will reserve them for special occassions and other times I know they will return home.

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Routine Change

On November 5, 2009, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

coconut oil

We have added coconut oil to our daily hair routine. It is a light oil, gives a lot of shine, and tames the frizzies. It is also less expensive than Hair Milk and can be used by the girls and me. Nadia (pictured above) has very fine hair, and this oil is light enough to use every few days or so. I apply it to Simone’s hair daily, and it helps keep her hair smooth and tangle free. As for me, I use it to seal my hair after I moisturize it with a conditioner.

Coconut oil may be purchased at many natural food stores. Our coconut oil is infused with Ayurvedic herbs, and I buy it at a local Indian store for about $6.  If you go to your local Indian store, be sure to read the label and buy the pure coconut oil, not mineral oil. The latter just sits on the hair, while coconut oil is easily absorbed into the hair.  Check it out and tell me what you think.

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