This is in response to Misty's question about the products I use for Zahana's hair and skin. I thought it might be useful to someone else too.
For Zahana's skin, I like to use pure coconut oil. I get it at Wal-mart in the pharmacy section, or you can find it at a health food store. I rub it on her face, arms, and legs once or twice a day. It seems to work better on her skin than lotion, which appears to not have been applied at all after 5 or 10 minutes.
For her hair, I use Motions shampoo and conditioner (also from Wal-mart.) People keep telling me not to wash her hair more than once every couple of weeks. I wash it about twice a week because the hairstyles I can give her don't usually last very long. And honestly, her hair seems softer and healthier when I wash it. When I finally took out the braids that had been in her hair for 2 weeks, her hair seemed to be coarser than ever. In general, her hair isn't brittle and her scalp isn't too dry - it actually looks pretty healthy to me and is growing well. I'm inclined to think this has as much to do with diet as with hair care techniques.
I've been trying some leave-in conditioner after she gets out of the tub. I can't say whether it's helping or not. It's kind of like trying to rub lotion into plastic. I'll probably try a different kind and see if it's any different.
Bronner Brothers Super Gro is the grease I use. Just rub little dabs into the scalp and comb it up through the hair. It works well, and I like it. To brighten her hair on days when I don't have to fix it, I've been spraying on Motions Oil Sheen and Conditioning Spray. It's OK, I guess. Better than nothing but not spectacular. The thing is, I'm cheap, and I don't like running around to different stores.
The friend who gave Zahana the cornrows suggested I apply Jam (a brand of hair grease) and wrap her hair at night to preserve the style longer. I tried, but Zahana will not leave her hair wrapped at night. She does fine with a head scarf during the day but can't stand it at night. Plus the Jam seemed no better at holding her hair down than regular grease, but that may be because it doesn't have time to stick before the scarf comes off.
So that's it. Still in the trial and error stage but doing well enough I think.