Dear Nia B,
My daughter's hair has been chemically relaxed since she was five years old. I regret the decision of relaxing her hair. As a result, I am now attempting to resolve the damage done. I have recently decided to allow her hair to be natural and teaching her to better appreciate what you were blessed to have, "Beautiful Hair". She has not had a relaxer since October 2011. The problem we are facing is extreme dryness and difficulty combing the hair due to the massive amount of new growth. I decided to have her hair braided while going through the entire transition of allowing the relaxer to grow-out. I was always told to avoid petroleum based oils. I am looking for pure coconut oil to assist with keeping her scalp moisturized while she has braids. I have went to every beauty supply in Northwest Indiana and only to find coconut oils to have petroleum as their main ingredient. Where can I find a pure refined cold pressed coconut oil? I don't want her hair follicles to be clogged by petroleum based products.
The dryness your daughter is experiencing is common for hair that is in the process of transitioning back to its natural state. What I would recommend is that you are moisturizing and sealing her hair whenever you feel it's dry. Also, it is important when combing her hair that you're using a detangling conditioner - or some sort of conditioner on her hair to help soften the new growth; this will make detangling easier and help reduce breakage. Also, be sure you're using a wide tooth comb or detangling brush that will not pull and/or break her hair; you want to ensure you're being very gentle as you detangle. This may mean you need to take smaller sections and always start detangling from the bottom of her hair towards the top and not the reverse. It may also be helpful for you to hold the section you're combing/brushing in your free hand while you detangle, as this will help ease the pressure being placed on the hair.
Dealing with two textures of hair is a challenge for most transitioners, and choosing hairstyles that make it easy to get through the process is ideal. Choosing to place your daughter's hair in a protective style such as braids is a good idea as she continues to transition. One great moisturizing spray that I have used and feel would be great to use on your daughter's hair and scalp (especially while it's in braids) is Oyin Handmade's Juices and Berries. There are other scents, but this one is my favorite. I'm not saying this is the only moisturizing spray that you can use; there are several on the market, but I've used this one - especially with braids/twists with great results!
To receive all the essential qualities and properties of coconut oil, I would suggest you purchase one that is organic, unrefined, extra virgin and cold pressed. Whole Foods sells it and if you're unable to go there, any health/natural food store - or even the Vitamin Shoppe may sell it. If none of those are options, you can always purchase online. As always, remember to have patience and continue to encourage and support your daughter as she transitions!
Xs and Os