Here is some info I put together when I was asked and so I thought I would also share it here with other soon to be adoptive parents.
When hair is very short (a few inches):
You will not need much for hair care while their hair is short. My daily routine when Tensae's hair was very short was just to spritz it with a combination of water and oil in a spray bottle (1 part oil to ten parts water, use a natural oil like pure olive oil or almond oil or you can buy a oil mix in the AA hair section). Then comb it with a soft bristle brush to smooth it out. If there are tangles use a comb, but buy the widest tooth comb you can find or it will hurt and pull at their hair. Avoid anything with gel or petroleum on the scalp because it clogs their pores and can cause problems. If the scalp is dry then rub a few drops of oil directly onto the scalp every few days but you do not want to overdue the oil thing either. Only wash their hair one time a week because it will dry it out otherwise.
Our current routine now that her hair is longer (8 inches +):
Once a week we comb it out and wash it. The routine consists of:
taking out any pony puffs, twists, or braids.
I rub oil on her scalp and into the dry ends
Wet her hair and apply a conditioning shampoo
Gently massage and rinse
Then I apply a detangling solution
Using a WIDE tooth comb and holding the hair at the scalp to avoid pulling I gently comb out the tangles (we still get tears often)
Then apply a high quality conditioner and let it sit for 5 minutes or so under a towel
Rinse and then take two strands in sections and twist together to avoid the hair tangling again
Some mom's find it easier to braid if they have blowdryed the hair but I prefer to work with it when it is very wet so I do not dry
Rub oil on scalp again and rub in
Use a hair lotion (leave in conditioner) and comb in using a bristle brush
Then use a hair styling creme to put in pony puffs, twists, braids, etc
If I leave it out natural then every morning I spray with a oil/water combo, put in hair conditioner and picked it out into a puff
* Every night she sleeps with a silk hair scarf so as to preserve the hair style and reduce frizzing
* MUST wear a swim cap when swimming as chlorine frys her hair immediately, I also spray on a swimmers spray conditioner onto her hair under the swim cap
* I would recommend buying a book to learn about styles, there are many on Amazon.com
* Some AA haircare books recommend combing the hair out when it is dry but this did not work for us, we had more breakage when it was dry and way fewer tears if I comb it out when wet and full of detangling solution
* Stay away from products that contain mineral oil and/or petroleum as much as possible
*Stay away from thick pomades in the AA hair section, I could not get the stuff washed out of my daughters hair and it made it nearly impossible to comb out
* Everyone seems to have their favorite hair care products, I think it is trial and error to find out what works for your child's hair
My favorite products:
Shampoo: Pantene for Ethnic Hair (comes in a brown bottle)
Biosilk Therapy Shampoo
Detangling Solution: Biologe Detangling Solution
(This is a miracle worker, I buy the largest bottle)
Conditioner: Infusium 23 conditioning conditioner
(We love it!, Also buy the larges bottle)
Leave in Conditioner: Carol's Daughter Hair Butter
Carol's Daughter Hair Milk
(works good for natural all curly style)
Styling Products: Carol's Daughter Loc Butter
(My favorite, smells great, does not make hair sticky or hard to undo)
The key with skin care for skin more pigmentation is to keep the skin heavily conditioned. Diet also makes a big difference. I use lotion that contains shea butter. Probably the best on the market is Lubriderm lotion with Shea Butter but it is expensive. I also use a bath wash that contains shea butter but during dry spells I use the Erythromycin soap free wash that is found in the face skin care section. If the skin becomes dry it will look ashy instead of glowing. Be careful of scabs, do not let them pick because skin is more likely to scar. If a scab comes off the skin will be light so keep it heavily moisturized and out of the sun until the pigmentation returns. If it scars the pigmentation will come back lighter or darker then the surrounding skin depending on the depth of the injury. Suntan lotion is a must because yes even dark skin can burn, tan and dry out. My daughter's skin tans in the summer even when I use a 40+ suntan lotion. If all the skin is irritated put oatmeal and milk in the bathtub for a soothing bath soak.
All this hard work pays off, my daughter is strikingly beautiful and I often receives comments on how healthy her hair looks. While she sometimes refers to wanting hair like her classmates, hair that is long and straight, these comments are less now and she is starting to tell me how she wants her hair done (twists, puffs or braids). I am committed to maintaining natural hair for her and then when she is old enough I will let her choose is she wants to straighten. No matter what the most important lesson is that she is proud of herself no matter if she has a bad hair day!