Almost every time I do something with my hair, people tell me I look different. It’s like I have many faces, and I think I’d missed that- playing with my looks. I felt like looking different and I felt my fro could do with some protective styling (pretty convenient as I’m currently out of coconut oil, going to town to find some tomorrow) so I decided to go get my hair did. The first few days after are usually really weird for me. I have trouble getting used to my new face (except it’s braids or bangs) and this time was no different. I felt really odd but I’m used to my face now. I feel like a Shanell, or Sheneneh or Malika. Don’t ask.
Protective styling is great because all that combing and styling is manipulation, and it could take its toll on your lovely strands. However, during the time that the hair is hidden, especially under a weave, you might not be able to moisturise or nourish it with oils, all that good stuff- which is why I decided to pamper my hair a little before putting it under. P.S. Too much of everything is bad, and protective styling could be bad sometimes I guess. July through November, my hair was hidden away, and when I took out a weave to wash my hair in preparation for braids, CLUMPS OF MY HAIR WERE FALLING OUT! Not breaking o. Weirdest thing ever! I was so so sad but I just had to get my braids done. So my friends, protective style if you please, but don’t neglect your hair completely. I don’t want your hair falling out. Thank you 🙂
Ugh. When I’m watching a Natural Hair video, I hate it when there’s a lot of talking before the main thing (Internet isn’t unlimited in these parts, and it isn’t always fast) but look at me now, right? Rambling so much before my points! Well, this is my hair journal right? Shey I should be allowed to ramble a little?
I got my hair done last Saturday so on Friday, I wanted to give my hair some pampering as I won’t really be able to moisturise or anything, during the time it’s hidden away. In my head, I had this long spa treatment kind of wash day planned, but to be honest, the only special thing in the mix was a little thing that I had not tried before- pre-pooing.
Have you ever shampooed your hair and for some reason did not condition after? I haven’t, but that’s a recipe for disaster sha. One of the many things I’ve learnt since I started my hair journey is that conditioner is your friend!
When you shampoo your hair (or use a clarifying cleanse), you’re really really really cleaning it. The shampoo is washing away product build-up and dirt and all the bad stuff, but it’s also stripping your hair of its oils and moisture so you’re cleaning, yes, but unintentionally doing more than is necessary for your hair.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is an ingredient I’m sure you’ll find in any regular shampoo in your neighbourhood supermarket. It is a lather producing agent also present in detergent, toothpaste and many other personal hygiene items and cleaning agents. Though it’s great with oils and grease, you don’t really need it. Let me put it this way- it’s like washing Ankara with detergent. Soap yes, but too strong for the thing you’re washing. So, it’s in your best interest to avoid SLS, sulfates in general, as much as possible. It might probably interest you to know after reading this paragraph, that the SLS chemical originates from coconuts.
So having broken down the process you’ve probably known your whole life, we could talk about pre-pooing now.
Pre-poo is Natural hair talk for the treatment you give your hair before you shampoo. It has been shown that giving your hair some super moisture, or nourishing with oils before you shampoo, could protect it from the resultant loss of oils and stuff you’d typically have to deal with after shampooing.
I had heard/read about a few pre-poo treatments, and I decided to try a hot oil treatment.
No biggie. It’s just you heating up your oil and massaging your scalp with it and getting some on your hair, paying attention to your ends. Then you leave the oil on your hair for as long as you’d like. Some people do a few hours, some do it overnight, or if you don’t have the time, you could wear a plastic cap and sit under a hooded drier for forty, forty five minutes. It’s just as effective. Then you go ahead and shampoo.
I don’t own any regular shampoo- yes, avoiding SLS- my product for this at the moment is the Aloe + Coconut Shampoo Bar, from Natural Nigerian. It’s 100% natural, she makes this and other yummy goodies and this bar can actually be used from head to toe. So as it is SLS free and all, I was wondering if pre-pooing was actually necessary but before I put you through my process, the answer was YES. Apparently, SLS isn’t the only thing that could strip your hair of its moisture and oils. Clarifying in general does that. So as a naturalista, you shouldn’t clarify unless you really have to- say once a month, or every two weeks. And be sure to pre-poo first and of course, condition after.
– AND- black soap (traditional African black soap) is a great substitute for shampoo. It’s usually in brown, golden-brown chunks, not very nice looking. Dudu osun is native soap yes, but I’ve read a few bad reviews- or who knows? It might work for you.
Okay. My pre-poo.
I had really little coconut oil left, but an unopened bottle of Goya Extra Virgin Olive Oil, so I did a bit of googling and saw one or two blog posts about pre-pooing with olive oil. When you pre-poo, you pour enough oil to go round your hair in a cup or bowl, and heat it. Putting it for a minute or two in a microwave is fine, but I’m not allowed a microwave here. I am allowed a kettle though, so what I did was boil some water, pour it in a bowl, and place the little bottle of EVOO in the bowl of hot water. This got it heated real nice. So I did the necessary- massaged my scalp, put on my strands, paying particular attention to the ends.
I was feeling too lazy to go down to the salon, so I left the oil in for about four hours.
Then I cleansed/shampooed with a chunk of my Aloe + Coconut bar. P.S. I started out rubbing the little chunk over my wet hair but I realised real quick that it was a silly thing to do because my hair kept sticking to it, breaking a bit sef. So I got a hair free chunk of the soap and put a little water in a bowl and melted it with my hand, pressing it together- like trying to make the soap one with the water. I poured the soapy water on my head and it worked so much better- it lathered (my third time shampooing, imagine and I only just figured out how to use my soap) and there was no sticking or breaking.
Hair all clarified and cleansed, it was REALLY dry. I was like OH. What would have happened then if I hadn’t pre-pooed? Wait. Was the pre-pooing even effective?
I stepped out and put a generous amount of the Aubrey Organics Moisturising Conditioner into my hair and left it in for about ten minutes. This Conditioner is supposed to be a wonder product, that’s why I made it a part of my special wash day, but to be honest, I’ve had it for three months plus and I prefer my Suave Naturals conditioner that I got at SPAR for a sixth of the price of the wonder Conditioner. PLUS the supposedly sweet natural scent of the Aubrey Organics conditioner is a little annoying. Not bad, but if it were any stronger, it’d be what we know in these parts as “Mallam’s perfume.”
Yeah so I conditioned now, and my hair was still dry. I mean, after one week of wonderful softness, I was so aware that my hair felt dry. Hmm. So I put in some of the Cantu Creamy Hair Lotion when the hair was damp, and sealed with coconut oil, and went to bed wearing my satin bonnet. I still woke up to dry hair. I had shampooed and conditioned two times before but then my hair felt normal to me. After the luxury of soft hair I experienced all day the week before, I knew my hair was dry.
Funny how my good intentions didn’t give me the results I wanted. Well, isn’t that life? I thought everything through and there are two things I’m going to do differently next time-
- go under the drier to steam when I pre-poo
- pre-poo with coconut oil instead. Coconut oil is one of the best oils for natural hair because scientists say it is the closest to sebum, the substance naturally produced by our scalp. For this reason, it is easily absorbed, and is able to work from the inside. Jojoba oil is another great light oil but coconut I hear is the business, and it’s also much easily accessible. The blogs I read about pre-pooing with olive oil didn’t tell me their results. I also read something about 14 hours being the magic number for pre-pooing with coconut oil. But it’s possible that Olive oil needs much more time to work and a little more heat could be necessary and more effective with both oils. I’ll be trying a hot oil pre-poo with coconut oil next time sha and let you guys know how far. This should be something so simple but all the she said, she said is getting me a little confused now, so I’ll keep reading and trying till I find what works for me. Possibilities, possibilities!
I went to the salon later in the day sha. I made sure to moisturise and seal my dry (ish) hair with Creamy Hair Lotion and the last of my coconut oil before the lady did the cornrows.
One thing worth noting- my scalp usually itches like crazy when it’s blocked by a weave. BUT I haven’t had the urge to itch this week. So I could say my scalp is healthier now, yes? 😀
Let’s try something new with hair or in life, or both before the next post, okay guys?
Bye for now,