I haven't figured out how to manage the twist-out, yet (taking the twists out and separating the hair so that she can wear it down as a style), but I'm working towards it.
This is a blurry photo, but you get the idea:
I am so thankful for video tutorials on caring for natural hair. Last night I searched for natural hair blogs and found this article that features seventeen women who blog or post videos on youtube about caring for their hair. I searched some of the women by name and ended up watching several videos. I'm such a visual learner that I LOVE being able to watch a video that teaches me how to do it! Mark even watched a few with me. It is seriously UNREAL the amount of time it takes to care for natural hair. If you ever see a black woman with natural hair you should compliment her, because- wow-- the WORK.
This is my general routine with Adelia's hair, five years in:
1. WASH: approximately once a month, using a natural coconut shampoo that I ordered a long time ago from Cornrows & Co.
2. CONDITION: Lather on leave-in conditioner after washing (lately I've been using Giovanni). We're talking lots of conditioner, fingering it through her hair, when wet.
3. TOWEL DRY: Scrunching up the ends of her hair with the towel- not scrubbing the towel on her head to dry. The water naturally runs down her curls and drips off the ends, so I just scrunch those repeatedly.
4. SECTIONING: I didn't know which step to put first: detangling or sectioning. I have to detangle it somewhat- mostly with my fingers- before I section it out (with a rat-tail comb), and then I clip each section and work on detangling the individual sections.
5. DETANGLING: This (and sectioning, above) is everyone's least favorite step. Ouch. It hurts Adelia, and it takes forever to detangle and comb out those tight curls. I use a deep conditioning mix of Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Vitamin E oil and Olive oil. Recipe here.
6. STYLE: Lately, I alternate between smallish twists like in the photo above (for one month) and then I'll wash, etc (steps 1-5, above) and for the next month, style with bigger, fewer sections: banded at her head and twisted out (fatter twists). I style a couple hours at a time, over a period of days. (Before ending Day 1: I'll keep the sections by putting in fat twists or braids. On Day 2 (which may, in fact, be three days later) I spritz it with water and add more conditioner and detangle it all over again before styling.)
7. TRIM: Prior to washing the next time around, I trim the ends of her hair while they're still in twists. (Often just cutting off the rubber band at the end of the twist and the hair with it.)
What I do not do is moisturize her hair on a daily or even weekly basis. I should really do this. But I forget. Every once in awhile, mid-month, I may rub some jojoba on her scalp or the ends of her hair.
If you're an adoptive mom and have tips on doing your daughters hair, please share. I love learning more about how to care for Adelia's hair!