Warning: This is a hair post.
There really just isn't a whole lot of easy-to-follow explanation online about doing ethnic hair. And there isn't a lot of photography documenting different styles either. Broadcasting Sunda's hairstyles is definitely not the purpose of this blog. But I thought that maybe if I posted some pictures and explanation, it might help someone else who is searching for something before they lose their mind.
Here's some simple steps, taken from what I've learned so far. (Which, admittedly, isn't a whole lot. But it's something.)
1.) Buy a moisturizing shampoo/conditioner specifically meant for "ethnic" hair (which is the "correct" term, by the way.)
2.) Use the shampoo/conditioner as often as you absolutely need to. Keep in mind that need means that the hair is DIRTY. If the hair is not visibly dirty, wash it about once a week.
3.) When washing, rub the shampoo into the scalp and then work through the hair, gently pulling the hair outward to loosen and stretch it. (Makes it easier to comb.)
4.) During the times when you're not washing the hair, wet it thoroughly before attempting to comb.
5.) To comb, seperate the wet hair into 4-8 sections. The more sections, the easier it is to comb.
6.) When you're ready to work with an individual section, make sure it is wet enough (you can use a detangler meant for "ethnic" hair, or just a spray bottle filled with water and a couple drops of conditioner.)
7.) Work some "grease" through the individual section. I use "Indian Hemp Oil." I don't know how popular this product is. But it works for us.
8.) Start combing. I actually start at the root and comb outward until you hit tangles. Then hold onto the hair from the scalp and get out the tangles from the end.
9.) Repeat until there are no more tangles. (Good Luck!)
Easiest Hair Style:
-While hair is wet part it into EIGHT sections (a part down the middle and three down the head.)
-Use small rubber bands (in the hair section at the dollar store) to section off the hair.
-One at a time, work through the sections until they are combed.
-When you finish combing each individual section, tie it back in with the rubber band.
This will at least keep it sectioned off enough to keep it from matting up when they sleep.
This is the most important thing I've learned about Sunda's hair:
NEVER LET HER GO TO SLEEP WITH "FREE" HAIR.
It is a mess. And it just makes it harder to comb. Which involves tears. And fights. You don't want that.
After you figure out how to get it cleaned, combed, and healthy, you can do just about anything. And it all becomes pretty self explanatory from there.
Here's what I did to Sunda's hair tonight:
I separated it into three big sections and combed each section. Then, I braided each section about 1/3 of the way in and attached the braid with a rubber band. I gathered the rest of the hair in that section and tied it with a decorative hair tie. TA DA!!!
As you can probably imagine, the hairstyle is not the difficult part. It's the getting them to sit still part that is unbelievable. I'd love for someone to help ME out with that one.