Written by: Stephanie Holm Owner of Snapaholics.com
The first time I met my daughter in Haiti, she had had her hair recently done by one of the nannies in teeny, cute piggyback braids. I really didn’t even have to think about her hair on that visit, just over a year ago now. I remember examining it, as I examined every little feature of her 2.5 year old self, absorbing the fact that this would soon be my DAUGHTER, my first and only child.
With all my nerves and worrying about the adoption paperwork, the political unrest and violence in Haiti, my daughter’s melancholy and silent disposition during that visit, and a hundred other new-mom-jitter-type things, how on earth I was going to learn to do her hair didn’t really creep into my repertoire of worries until maybe 6 months before she came home.
Thank goodness for the Adoption Hair & Skin Care Yahoo Group, devoted to adoptive moms with children of African descent. I joined this group and learned a wealth of things. The minutiae of daily hairdoings were gleefully and supportively discussed on this group. Barrell Beads or Square Beads? Store-bought products or Homemade? Recipes and recommendations abound, people commiserated & complained. I learned that I had a lot to learn about my little girl’s hair! Talk about different than caring for white hair!
I would LOVE to not have to wash my hair every day, but I would have a tough time not being able to just let my hair dry and be natural, or toss it up into a ponytail. I would never have to worry about it getting dry or tangling up, it’s pretty much straight and my scalp’s too oily for my liking. One thing that perked me right up was seeing all the photos of all the fun hairstyles that the moms did on their daughters. Beads, doodads, clips, ballies, braids….I have always been into beads, but now here was a necessity combined with plain old fun! I heard about these things called Hair Snaps, which no one could seem to get a hold of except for wholesale.
I started a little business called Snapaholics.com, selling 4 different kinds of snaps, which has since grown into a huge website of every snap I can find, beads, ballies, clips, bandanas, totes, beading tools, moisturizers and oils, styling aids, combs, and anything else I can think of that would fun and useful for these little angels. Even with all the information and support, all the different things that black hair needs seemed a little overwhelming to me. Conditioner, moisturizer, grease, oil, to ‘poo or not to ‘poo, leave in or rinse out, daily, weekly, monthly, butters, crèmes, pomades, gels, waxes……OH MY! Also which product to put on at what time? My head started to spin a little.
Then there were braids, twists, piggybacks, cornrows, plaits, locs (dredlocs, sisterlocs, braidlocs)…..I knew from my visit that my daughter had very thin and short hair on the back of her head, so looking down at my fat sausage fingers, I wondered how on earth I would ever learn to do these fancy beady snappy oily things with her hair! Then, in about July or so, one of the moms from our orphanage went for a visit and showed me a photo of my daughter listening to the talking photo frame I sent down for her. When I saw this – – I was sure that they probably were going to have to cut this matt out of her hair! I thought Holy Moly what am I in for???