Tag Archives: pre-poo

Coconut Milk Pre-Poo

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A couple of weeks ago, I was fudging around on YouTube and came across this two part series on using coconut milk as a hair treatment. I was immediately intrigued for two reasons. First, I love me some coconut oil! DON’T NOBODY better say nothin’ bad about COCONUT OIL. ‘Cuz that’s when Bonita goes OFF!! *teehee* Second, the YouTuber’s hair is RIDIC!! I mean, long as all get out and so healthy looking without a broken strand visible to the naked eye (whereas I have a ton from a rough, dry winter :()!! Now, I know her hair is not curly, kinky, or coily. However, I have always believed that we can learn things from a variety of sources and different textures/ethnicities as so many of the practices that promote healthy hair are the same, regardless of race/texture/hair type (i.e. moisture, protein, protection). And, given the benefits of coconut oil (did you see this recent article on CurlyNikki about the amazing penetrating capabilities of coconut oil?!?!?) and how great it works for me, I figured coconut milk (which has coconut oil in it) might be just as awesome.

via BeautyKLove

Part I: Extracting Coconut Milk

Part II: Applying Coconut Milk

Now, though I love the IDEA of using fresh coconut milk, #aintnobodygottimeforthat.  *LOL* So, I broke out  a can of coconut milk that I had in the cabinet. I had picked up a couple of cans a long time ago for a post-wash avocado/coconut milk/honey DC that didn’t work out too well (made my hair hard). But, I was ready to give this new use of it a go! However, first, I decided to research a little more to see if I could find naturals who had used coconut milk with success. And, I just so happened to come across these posts by my virtual curlfriend, Petra/Emily CottonTop: Coconut Milk Deep Condition and Results – Coconut Milk Pre-Poo.  In these posts, Petra shares a pre-poo recipe:

The recipe
Coconut Milk  – 4 tablespoons
Honey -2 tablespoon
3 of Your Favorite oils – 1 tablespoon each

… and her awesome results. I was sold!

So, I whipped up a batch of coconut-milk with Vatika Oil and EVOO, using only two tablespoons of oil instead of three. I heated the mix and applied to my dry dirty hair. Then I donned a plastic cap and my thermal heat turban for about an hour. I will say that the application process was messy and a bit sticky. But, my wash process went very smoothly and my hair felt stronger, moisturized and my twists were so plump, juicy and shiny!

So, this past weekend, I made a coconut milk pre-poo again with the leftovers from the prior week. This time, I added some Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose conditioner (I was hoping that it would thicken the mix, but it didn’t really) and applied and massaged plain, warmed coconut milk into my scalp too. Though the application process was still a little messy (I think I’ll use a small dye applicator bottle in the future), I had great results again. So, I’m really thinking this will become a staple in my regimen!! I will keep an eye on my hair to make certain that the coconut milk doesn’t begin to make it feel hard or brittle (due to the protein content). If it does, I will reduce the frequency of the treatment.

Finally, I don’t use much coconut milk for the treatment and it only keeps in the fridge for about two weeks it seems. So, I was worried about spoilage and wasting it. Fortunately for me, I discovered that it can be frozen into ice cubes to form convenient “serving sizes” for future use!!!

coconutmilkicecubes

So yeah, all engines are a go!! Coconut milk pre-poo treatments are my new boo!! Time will tell if it results in strands as long, seemingly perfectly uniform in length, and unbroken as that YouTuber!! One can only hope ;)!!

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Do you use coconut milk in your regimen? If so, what’s your recipe and process? How often do you use it? What benefits to you see from using it?

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Weekend Hair: Hair Rehab and Recovery

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I’ve been keeping it pretty simple with hair lately. As you know, given daily morning work-outs, I’ve been wearing my hair in a bun. Well, between the henna/indigo residue from the prior week, the sweat from exercising and the “containment” of the bun … my hair was smelling all kinds of funky by Saturday morning!! Pee-you!! LOL!

Anywho, after my morning kettlebell work-out, I hopped in the shower … no pre-poo, no twists, no nothing, and got to work.

Wash Day Routine (Saturday)

  • Shampooed with diluted Shea Moisture Raw Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo (I have to say, I don’t feel like this gets my scalp/hair really clean. After working up quite a lather and rinsing, my hair still had a henna smell to it. So, I had to repeat.). Rinsed.
  • Finger detangled with diluted Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (went great again). Rinsed.
  • Massaged scalp with a mix of JBCO and jojoba oil.
  • Deep conditioned with a mix of Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment (ran out) and MyHoneyChild Olive You DC with honey, VCO, EVOO and JBCO (approx. 30 min. w/heat turban and 1 hour with no heat – because I had to run out).
  • Cooled and sealed with Aubrey Green Tea Cream Rinse and rinsed with cold water.
  • Applied modified Kimmaytube leave-in (1 tbsp Kinky Curly Knot Today; 1 tbsp Aloe Vera Juice; 1/2 tsp JBCO; 1/2 tsp EVOO; 1/2 tsp jojoba oil).
  • Twisted hair into 8 chunky twists.
  • Applied a mix of Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel and shea butter to roots.
  • Tied hair down with a scarf.
  • Removed scarf and released twists while my hair was still a bit damp.
  • Allowed hair to air dry without disturbing too much.
  • Fluffed hair once fully air dried.

Re-Style to Stretch (Sunday)

Working section by section for 12 sections – three in each quadrant:

  • Applied coconut oil whip to length of hair.
  • Applied Eco Styler Olive Oil gel to roots.
  • Braided length of hair.
  • Dampened hands with water and ran down length of braids to lightly wet.
  • Set the ends of top two twists on both sides of my head with grey perm rods.
  • Released after about 2 hours and fluffed.

And, of course … I’ll be going back to the bun for the week ;).

Too bad it won't look this nice today!!

Too bad that it won’t look this nice today!!

My hair seems to be recuperating nicely now. For a minute there, it was not looking good. The kimmaytube leave-in, stretching my hair and keeping it bunned have definitely improved my sitch-ee-ay-shun!! So, I’ll be sticking with that routine for the forseeable future. I’m hoping that it’ll help me see some nice length retention too!!

Alright, lata gatas!!

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Have you had to initiate Hair Rehab this winter? If so, what have you been doing to get your hair into recovery and back on point?

What a Tangled Web: Detangling Tips

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I’ve mentioned a few times that I have been experiencing some pretty beastly detangling sessions in the last month or two. I mean, whether dry or wet, I’ve been battling matted, snarled, knotted hair like a mug!! Well, these shower skirmishes have required me to pull out ALL of my detangling big guns and invent a new one!! But before I list my tips, I wanted to share a link to a great article published on CurlyNikki last June: Tips on Detangling the Worst Knots.

Now, that article espouses the use of a wide-tooth comb to remove tangles, and that’s great for many. However, I’ve found my fine strands fare much better with finger detangling. So, that is something I think you have to judge for yourself.

So, without further ado, here are a few techniques that I’ve found help me tackle terrible tangles ;).

  1. If I’m dry detangling to pre-poo, it helps to look in a mirror as I see the tangle before I even get to it. This allows me to gently start releasing it, rather than potentially breaking hair by haphazardly combing through “blind” and encountering the resistance when I hit the knot.
  2. I pull apart the hair at my roots horizontally first, rather than combing down vertically. This creates space to loosens shed hair and allows me to start untangling hairs that are twined together.
  3. When I encounter a “matted” knot,” I gently try to remove the strands from the core of the knot. If my hair is wet with conditioner, I massage the knot with my fingers to loosen it. Then, I slide the knot UP to loosen it, rather than DOWN. For me, I find that down seems to tighten most knots, where sliding it up loosens it so that I can gently remove the strands from the central knot.
  4. If I have a knot that is not super tight and/or, I’ve been able to loosen it enough so that I can tell that it’s not a hard knot, I use a pin to widen the opening so that I can slide the strands out. I do this for single strand knots that haven’t completely closed too. This is tricky in that the knot has to be a little loose. If it’s tight, I don’t bother as I believe that the safety pin will end up poking and damaging the strand, which means that it’ll eventually knot again, break or split. So, again, I reserve this for knots that have a little “space” with which to work.
  5. When the above fails to completely eliminate a knot, that’s when I break out the scissors. But, usually, this is a shed strand knotted towards the very end of a strand securely attached to my scalp.

NEW AND IMPROVED DETANGLING TRICK!!

Okay, now I mentioned that I had to invent a new technique to deal with the nasty knots of late. Last weekend, I decided to try something that I’d never tried in the past for detangling:

  • I diluted my slippery conditioner in a dye applicator bottle with water before applying it.

Joy in the morning y’all. The tangles just MELTED out of my hair. I didn’t run out of hot water before I got halfway through my head, I didn’t have one knot or badly matted section to work out. I didn’t have to do most of steps 1-4 above. I didn’t dry detangle or look in the mirror. I didn’t need a pin or scissors once!! I just gently separated the hair at my roots horizontally to loosen it and remove some shed hair, then gently finger-combed working up from my ends to my roots. And, I did this again today with the same results!! I think this works under the same principle as the Shower Stream. I don’t know why I never thought of this before! I dilute shampoo to give it more slip. I dilute conditioner to apply over my DC. So, why not dilute conditioner to detangle?!?! I won’t make that mistake again!!

Now, I’ll give this caveat. I have started wearing my stretched hair bunned all week. And, I’ve been using my modified kimmaytube leave-in, which is really keeping my hair moisturized. So, I think all of these things combined are giving my hair some much needed TLC and helping prevent bad tangles in the first place. That being said, I could still FEEL the knots slide out when I applied the diluted conditioner (Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, of course ;)). So, if your detangling sessions are turning into dreaded events and nothing is working, you might want to give this a try. You might even get your conditioner to go further!! What have you got to lose, right?

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How do you make detangling on wash day easy, peasy, lemon squeezey?

Split End Prevention: Pre-Pooing, Protein and Pruning

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Source: Tamullar (Long Hair Community)

Did you know that there were this many kinds of split ends?!? Pretty nasty, right? Well, I can attest to the validity of this chart. Because, about 2 1/2 years ago, I saw just about every split end on it (except the white spots) in my own head of hair. It was bad y’all. I mean, baaaaaddddd! That’s when I took to carrying around purse scissors … so that I could take split ends to task at a moment’s notice, any time, any place (seriously, I was out of control)!!

2011 NYC Curly Nikki Meet-Up: Told ya!

But now, in 2013, the split ends are few and far in between and have been for quite a while. Let’s put it out there. I have fine strands. So, I I’ll probably always get split ends no matter how protective I am of my hair/ends (unlike my compatriots with strong, thick-strands ;)). But, now I generally only see the vanilla variety, single “split” end … and they tend to be far rarer and very small. No more nasty “feathers,” “trees,” “double Ys,” “incomplete splits” (I call those “needle hole splits!”), “ETCETERA, ETCETERA.” (“The King and I?!?” Anyone, anyone? Okay, moving along.)

Anywho, as I was writing Fairytale v. Blunt Ends and discussing whether uneven, thinner ends can be healthy, I thought about my own hair. Although I have “fairytale” ends, when I examine my strands, they are mostly un-split and healthy in appearance. So, I thought about the techniques and products that I’ve incorporated into my regimen that are probably the most responsible for that. I came up with three things that I think help me keep splits under control:

  • Pre-pooing: Applying coconut oil, or a form of it (in my case Vatika Oil), to hair for an hour to overnight prior to washing reduces/prevents hygral fatigue and protein erosion that generally occur when washing hair. (For more on hygral fatigue, see this informative NaturallyCurly.com article).
  • Protein treatments/reconstructors: Protein treatments help to “patch” cracked, chipped or missing cuticle in damaged hair and “gaps” in porous hair. Protein, when used correctly, temporarily shores hair up against environmental and mechanical damage. (For more on protein, check out the great 2 part protein series on Natural Haven, which starts here.)
  • Pruning: Trim split and knotted ends that have already occurred to prevent collateral damage to healthy adjacent strands and as a prophylactic measure to prevent a cycle of breakage. You see, nothing can permanently fix/repair split ends. So, once you have them, you have to cut them off to get rid of them. There is a myth that, if left unchecked, split ends will travel all the way to the root of the hair. Yeah, have you ever seen that? I know that I haven’t (see above about having almost every split on the chart). What does happen is that a weakened, split hair will typically break somewhere around the split and leave a new split (because the hair doesn’t break off clean/blunt). So the new split forms and may spread until it also breaks. Then another split is left behind and so on and so on. Therefore, cutting off split ends periodically, through search and destroys (my method of choice) and/or periodic trims as needed (once every few months, twice a year or yearly, all depends on your hair), helps prevent a cycle of splits and breakage. (Tip: Make certain trimming scissors are created for that purpose, are sharp and are used for hair only or you can cause more harm than good!)

Ultimately, a lot of things contributed to a reduction in damage and split ends: weekly deep conditioning, gentle detangling, protective styling, etc. However, I think that incorporating pre-pooing, protein and pruning into my regimen are largely responsible for the significant reduction I’ve seen in split ends. And, a reduction in split ends and breakage has allowed me to retain length and grow my hair the longest it has ever been in my life. Don’t get me wrong, it ain’t perfect, but it seems to get better and better all of the time:).

1/9/13 length check (back1)

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Is your hair prone to split ends? What do you do to prevent/reduce splits?

Home Sweet Home!!

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Finally home in a warm house, with hot water, cable and internet after 13 days with no power!!! 13 DAYS!!!! That was out of control. But, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to my friends Anthony (Sci-5 FOREVER!!) and Jackie who took us in for the week, kept us warm, gave us internet and cable and fed me too much ;).! They were sooooo AWESOME!!

Anywho, now that we are back in the house, I was finally able to pre-poo this 2 week old hair so that I can wash it and officially begin the #hairscapadesbunchallenge!! Knowing myself well enough though, I’ll probably be rocking a pre-poo bun tomorrow ;D!!

 

Moisturized Hair: It Starts on Wash Day

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When I’m in the guise of my alter ego, “Hairscapades” ;), I often receive or read cries for help that go something like this:

“Can someone please recommend a good moisturizer? My hair is always so dry!!”

I came across just such a question this past weekend on CurlyNikki’s Facebook page and I did my best to answer it. As I wrote the response, I realized that my answer to this frequent query might be helpful to other … so this post was “born.”

Now, here are a couple of disclaimers before we get started. One, my hair is a mix of regular and high porosity strands, you may need to modify some of these steps if your hair is under-porous. Two, my suggestions here are for hair that is really in need of moisture. It is not for hair that is over-moisturized and in need of protein to help it retain hydration. For more on dry, brittle hair that may be a result of over-conditioning caused by regular co-washing, overnight baggying, protein avoidance, etc., check out my posts: Moisture and Protein: Finding the Balance and Can I Over-Condition?

6 Steps to Building Sustained Moisture

Okay, now back to the question at hand. When, I see inquiries like the one above, I rarely make product recommendations for “daily” moisturizers. This is because, I think building sustained moisture starts on wash day. I think the importance of this day can sometimes be underestimated. Therefore, the advice I offer is related to techniques (and the products) that I have found successful in hydrating hair so that it will sustain the moisture level between wash days. This is not to say that a moisturizer will not be needed between wash sessions. However, by building hydration levels on wash day, re-moisturizing sessions during the week may be more effective and required less frequently.

So, here we go. These are the steps that I take to hydrate my hair and seal in all that “moisturiffic” goodness;).

“Naked” hair (left); hair with leave-in (right)

1.  Start with a pre-poo (on dry hair) prior to shampooing. Coat hair with a penetrating oil, like coconut, olive, avocado or Vatika (coconut oil base), which has the ability to enter the hair shaft and reach the cortex to moisturize the hair from the inside out. Leave oil on hair under a plastic baggie for a minimum of one hour up to overnight (heat optional).

What I Use: Right now, I’m loving Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose (moisturizing) or GPB Conditioner (protein) mixed with Vatika oil as a pre-poo. I alternate moisture and protein as needed.

2.  Wash with a non-stripping, sulfate free shampoo.

What I Use: DevaCare No Poo (diluted with water in a dye bottle for easier application and slip).

3.  If necessary, apply a moisturizing, cheapie conditioner to thoroughly detangle hair.

What I Use: Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (HE HH). Best detangler I’ve found for my hair so far.

4.  Deep condition (DC) for 15 minutes to an hour with heat. Then, this is key, COOL and SEAL. Cooling and sealing was a game-changer for me. The short of it is that you remove the heat source and allow the DC to cool in your hair for 10-15 minutes. Then, you dilute a regular daily conditioner in cool/cold water and apply it directly over the DC prior to rinsing everything out with cold water. For more details on this technique, check out my post: Deep Conditioning Tricks … Cool & Seal.

What I Use: I’m really feeling Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm to deep condition right now (the Sally’s GVP version is good too). But, I’m also a fan of Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Moisturizing Conditioner, JessiCurl Weekly Deep Treatment, Shea Moisture Raw Shea Deep Treatment Mask and Carol’s Daughter Tui Hair Smoothie. I use HE HH or Aussie Moist as my “sealing” conditioner.

5.  After rinsing the deep conditioner, apply a leave-in conditioner thoroughly to wet or damp hair.

What I Use: I’ve been getting really good results with Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner as a leave-in. But, I also often rely on a modified Kimmaytube leave-in recipe (2 tbsp Kinky Curly Knot Today, 2 tbsp aloe vera juice – whole leaf, 1 tsp of oil [mix of EVOO, JBCO and jojoba oil]).

6.  Seal in the water, leave-in conditioner and any stylers/moisturizers used with an oil, butter or oil/butter blend.

What I Use: JBCO/EVOO mix.

Doing these things on wash day enables my hair to hold onto moisture throughout the week and between wash sessions. Oh, and if my hair is feeling a little dry a few days into the week, I simply apply a moisturizer (with water as the first ingredient) and re-seal with an oil. Happy hair!!

So, if  you are struggling with dehydrated hair, maybe some or all of these steps will help you!! Good luck!!

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How do you build and lock-in moisture on wash day?

Shrinkage & Return of the Pre-Poo Big Bun

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This is just a random short post to share a couple of pics I posted on my Facebook page. The above pic was before I was about to pre-poo. I pulled a piece of hair and was tickled about how much longer my hair is than it looks, even with a stretched style. Shrinkage is really an amazing thing. I love it for the fullness and poppin’ curls it gives me … but not so much when I continuously encounter pain in the butt matted hair and tangles at my neck on wash day though. But, I’m getting better at dealing with that as I know that I need to SPREAD the hair first to loosen the knots and shed hairs. THEN, I can work the hair down and out without causing a knot to form and/or tighten to the point where my only option is to cut the offending snarl. I HATE when I have to do that and it was occurring more often due to wearing loose styles. So, I needed to modify my approach to finger detangling on dry and wet hair.

Anywho, after taking this impromptu pic, I pre-pooed with my new Holy Grail mix of Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose (HSR) conditioner and Vatika oil. My hair was a tangled rat’s nest and I really had to work it in and gradually work through my hair in sections until it was detangled enough to put into my normal 6 twists. I donned my heat cap, but then I didn’t have enough time to wash my hair before I had to get ready to meet my buddies for lunch!! So, big banana clip bun to the rescue!!

Didn’t need to use gel or anything!! Just brushed it lightly, secured it into a “ponytail” with the banana clip and then wrapped and pinned in a matter of minutes. Whew!! What a life saver!!

Oh, and here is the Sci-Five (4 founding members and 1 reserve ;))! We finally got to wear the tee-shirts Anthony designed and gave us for Christmas all at the same time!! We had so much fun as Anthony and I lambasted bad Dark Knight Rises (my review is here if you missed it last week.).

The Sci-Five: Anthony, me, Megan, Fabio and Fernando

And now, I need to get back to cleaning this house (still had the suitcases out from my Playa del Carmen vacation and family reunion weekend roadtrip! *smh*)!! I’m actually excited as I thought this would be an all day job, but think I’ll be done by 2 pm at the latest (would have been earlier if I hadn’t stopped to write this post! *lol*). That means, I might actually be able to wash my hair before midnight! Yeah … ‘cuz I did absolutely nothing after lunch yesterday. So, the pre-poo is still “marinating ;).”

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What have you been up to this weekend?