First, I would suggest reading as much info as you can get your hands on about curly hair in general! (www.naturallycurly.com, the Curly Girl book, www.beadsbraidsbeyond.blogspot.com, www.happygirlhair.com, and more!!) That will undoubtedly lead you to learning about co-washing and what they call "no -poo" hair care! Both of which I intend to write more about in separate posts! But for now, suffice it to say that for curly hair - forgo the shampoo!
Not exactly what you thought I'd say when you asked about products, right? But shampoo is SO overrated! :) Even for us straight haired folk, it's usually not necessary. And with curls, the added abrasiveness of most shampoos just really hinders hair "health".
Often, shampoos contain SLS, sodium laurel sulfate. This is a foaming agent and it is just TERRIBLE for hair! But check your ingredients labels - it's probably close to the top of the list. Even on products marketed for curly hair!
"Not only does it [SLS] act as a penetration enhancer (allowing other potentially toxic ingredients to slip into your bloodstream), but according to the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Reviews”, research studies on SLS have shown links to...
- Irritation of skin and eyes
- Organ toxicity
- Development / reproductive toxicity
- Neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, ecotoxicological, and biochemical or cellular changes
- Possible mutations and cancer"
Water really does a good job of getting you clean - even without soap. After all, sweat is water-soluable! and conditioner alone (co-wash) can provide all the "cleansing" properties you need. Or you can forgo both and use baking soda and apple cidar vinegar instead of shampoo and conditioner! (shall I mention how Cheap that is?! Love it!)
As for other products, I try not to use many. Ingredients are such a touchy subject! (see these posts for more info) But my favorite thing use right now for curly hair is Organic, Unrefined Shea Butter. I apply it to wet hair each day and it helps the hair retain moisture to stay soft and non-frizzy! Other natural oils can be used the same way. (However, for hair like your daughter's, Olivia, and my little Q - many oils can be way too heavy too fast leaving the hair looking greasy all day. I've found shea butter to be the best so far!)
I also enjoy using coconut oil and organic virgin olive oil as a "pre-poo" treatment. I drench Q's hair in water and oils and let it soak it up! Overnight is nice (use a sleep cap if you want to keep the oils off the pillowcase) and then wash it out in the morning. :) It leaves the hair SO nice and soft and frizz-free! (I do use a mild shampoo or baking soda to get the oils out, but you could keep experimenting with co-washes and find what works.)
I hope this is a start! I'm just now getting interested (and as Q's getting older) in trying various "commercial products". You can read my first review HERE and browse this post on SHAMPOO in general, also visit the PRODUCTS page for more info on what I've been finding so far. (I am VERY picky when it comes to ingredients!)
As always, I advise checking all ingredients in any product you want to use against THIS list of things to avoid, as well as researching them at the cosmeticsdatabase.com - where they test for toxicity levels and potential hazards in cosmetics and hair products. Tweet