20% off Africa Sleeps Organic Shea Lotions

Organic Shea Lotion offerb

Fall is here, and winter is on its way. Time to nourish that skin!

Africa Sleeps is our little family business, providing organic, natural hair and bodycare products for children of African heritage. Until November 22, 2014, you can use this coupon…

SHEABUTTER

…to order any of our luscious organic shea butter lotions at 20% off. What a deal! the lotions are made from Canadian botanicals, and fairtrade shea butter from Ghana. I don’t know how our daughters (or their daddy, for that matter!) would get through the winter without it!

Happy shopping!

Just do it! Learn to care for your Black kid’s hair

Reposted from AfricaSleeps.com

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Before we went to Ethiopia to pick up our daughters, I was determined to learn how to do their hair. I had ordered a curly haired mannequin head off of ebay, but never got to practice on it, since our adoption agency went bankrupt. Suddenly, on six hours notice, I was heading to Ethiopia for an indeterminate amount of time, with only a pick and a comb to rely on. Despite the best of my internet I ons, I was underprepared to tackle twin two and a half year old’s African hair.

Not a week had gone by after meeting my girls, that I realized I was going to have to learn to cornrow… And fast. Luckily, I shared a guest house with a lovely young mom from Ghana, who had worked for West African royalty as aesthetician. Saved! Merry plopped Spice down on the steps, and proceeded to explain to me the basics of braiding. Ten minutes later, Spice was crying and wanted to escape Aunty’s rough combing. But that ten minutes of instruction was crucial to my ability to care for my daughters’ hair.

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Not a day or two later, I did my first cornrowing. I started with one daughters, and the next day, did the second.

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I totally laugh looking back at these photos, because it really was quite horrible. My parts were messy, the hair wasn’t pulled straight… But you know, the girls thought it was awesome. “Konjo Sharuba!” They would cry, when seeing themselves I the mirror. Beautiful braids!

I also thought it was awesome! And the Ethiopians and other Africans I was living with congratulated me on my enthusiastic braiding. So I paraded those kids all over Addis, and after a week when their hair was falling out (really, they were the worst cornrows ever,) I started again.

I found that little micro styles were my friend. It got me used to working with their hair, and I actually got some cute results.

Then, on holiday a month or so later in a cabin in the Ethiopian forest, I tried cornrowing again… With beads! With no distraction except the roving baboons, the girls has shorter attention spans, and I found it very stressful. We took many breaks, until I finally had their hair “done.” I think it last another week, lol.

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We all start somewhere with hair… I started in Ethiopia. Thanks to a gracious hair mentor, support from the locals, and my blind enthusiastic pride, I learned to care for my daughters’ hair. If you are just beginning and are overwhelmed, take heart; if I can be an entirely adequate cornrower with that start, you can too!

I think it is all parents’ responsibility to care for their children’s hair. For transracial families with non-Black parents and children of African heritage, this is doubly important. Caring for your child’s hair and skin means cultural fluency for your children, and acceptance of your parenting by members of their birth culture. It’s not easy… But it’s important.

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You may not have a Ghanaian aesthetician at your disposal, but if you can read this blog, you have access to Youtube. Hair blogs such as Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care and adoption haircare Facebook groups are also wonderful resources. And don’t forget to connect with your local African, Caribbean, and Black communities for support!

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Most importantly, give yourself time and an occasional pat on the back as you fall into the hair groove. Cornrows, as Rome, are not always built in a day. Try try try, and make hair time as pleasant for yourself and your kids as possible. Congratulate yourself when something turns out, and when it doesn’t… Go swimming. Then no one will notice.

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Early summer protective cornrows

Africa Sleeps

I get a lot of questions about what I do for my girls’ hair in the summer.

In the heat of July and August, when they are swimming twice a day, I usually have false hair woven into teeny cornrows… It’s their one trip to the salon a year! It’s just the easiest way to deal with the swimming.

But for the early summer, our lake is still cold. There is just a little swimming and a lot of outside time, so I default to cornrows. First of all, they are my favourite of favourite way of protecting natural hair. We use Honey Almond Hair Balm when braiding each row, and it just nourishes their hair. Then as the weeks progress, we use some Pink Grapefruit Hair Oil in between the braids, just to keep their scalp nourished.

I say “we,” by the way, because I had a neighbour, a young Ethiopian lady, come and help me finish her hair. It’s been one of those weeks, and two sets of hands are better than one!

When the style is in, I tend to keep my girls’ hair in pigtails or buns, since they tend to drag their braids through glue, glitter, and whatever other craft they are up to. Here is a picture of my daughter on the first day of new cornrows… I have to admit that she has red glitter all over her head, at the time of this post. Just imagine the same thing, with lots of red sparkles!
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Traditional Cornrows for Sugar’s Spring Style

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From the whole lexicon of cornrowing and braiding in Ethiopia, my daughter Sugar decided that she wanted some classic Oromo cornrowing for her spring hairstyle. My only qualification was that it was pretty tight braids, since I didn’t want to have to do her hair until near the end of June. I’m timing it for summer camps, you see!

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braid-balmWe went through many of my braid pictures from Ethiopia, and we decided to do some classically divided cornrows.

I love this style, because you divide the hair in sections, but then work with the natural curvature of her head to product rows. You start at one of the sections, and then work perpendicularly to the other section. I use Honey Almond Braid Balm in each cornrow, to protect the hair and nourish her scalp. It also really helps my arthritic hands grip the hair.

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The only modern aspect of this style is finishing her braids in buns. Sugar is such an active kid, that this helps her from unraveling (and chewing on) her long braids.

Super cute, I think! And it should last for four – five weeks, no problem. As long as I can keep Sugar out of the pool….

Finally! We have large sleep caps that fit the fro!

I’m so excited to announce that our store, Africa Sleeps, now has huge sleep caps! These amazing caps have a series of elastics inside that ruche the fabric, and provide an enormous amountĀ of headroom for extensions, puffs and even big gorgeous fros!

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I’ve ordered just 100 as a trial, and they are already selling like bananas this morning. If you are interested in finding a cap for your child that stays on, looks fab, and fits free hair, check it out!

Thanks so much for supporting our family business!