Happy New Year
There's a fresh feeling in the air this year. Fresh start. For you, your health, your hair, your life. It's not too late to start. Even if you dropped the ball last year, 2020 is the time to start taking care of yourself, your beautiful hair who else is going to love you more than you do.
I hope I'm not the only one who feels this way. I'm just buzzing... anticipating.... What has this year got to offer? Let us start the year with some extra loving care as close to natural as can be. No SLS, Sulphates or Parabens.
What is a pre-poo?
When you wash your hair with shampoo especially if you use products that contain the 3 listed above, they can strip your natural hair of its natural hair oils, especially afro & curly hair textures that are already predisposed to lose moisture due to the curl pattern and how the cuticles are layed on the surface of the hair shaft.
A pre-shampoo is put on the hair before the hair is shampoo. To add more nutrients and moisturizing agents to reduce the stripping of the hair's natural oils during the shampoo process. Some curlies use a mixture of conditioners and oils for their prewash, you can try it and see if it works better for your curly hair but I personally recommend oils as conditioners contain a lot of water and sometimes can add to product buildup.
Another reason to pre-poo is hygral fatigue - hair damage as a result of your hair shaft expanding and contracting when the hair is wet and then dries. The repeated expansion and contracting of the wet hair shaft and dry hair especially if the hair does not dry properly could have lasting and damaging effects. This will tend to happen more with high porosity hair that tends to absorb and lose moisture easily. Using penetrating oils that go into the cuticles can greatly reduce cuticular damage by reducing the expansion of hair wet. Pre-poo can help due to hydrophobicity of the oil (the physical property of a molecule (known as a hydrophobe) source Wikipedia that is seemingly repelled from a mass of water) so the hair cuticle doesn't expand as much when wet.
How to pre-poo
Get your pre-poo treatment ready. A pre-shampoo can be added the night before your shampoo or just before your hair wash on your wash day. You can do a hot oil treatment as you pre-poo just before washing. I don't recommend a hot oil treatment be done the day before.
To turn your pre-poo oil into a hot oil treatment, put your oil in a container with a nozzle dispenser, and place in a tub of very warm water but not boiling water (you don't want it hot so it doesn't scald your scalp) And apply to dry hair and scalp.
The best natural oils for pre-shampoo
Here are some natural oils that will keep your hair and scalp feeling fresh and replenished.
They can be used on their own or as a mixture. They can be used as pre-poo (before shampoo), on relaxed, transitioning and natural afro-textured and curly hair. The oils recommended here are penetrating oils. It's not restricted to this list. As you know all afro curly hair are not the same irrespective of seemingly similar curl patterns and textures but I believe some oils do better as hair sealants but whatever works for you. That you have to learn over time.
Natural Cold Pressed Coconut oil or Organic Fractionated Coconut oil is a good option as its a penetrating oil and reduces damage that can cause hygral fatigue. It can be used on its own on low porosity and high porosity hair
Cold Pressed Avocado oil is rich in oleic acid and one of the oils that can deeply penetrate the hair shaft and moisturizes it. It's not heavy and won't sit on the hair shaft. It strengthens the hair and moisturizes the scalp, great for sensitive scalps as it can penetrate the skin promoting scalp health and preventing hair loss
Virgin Grapeseed oil this is another oil that can penetrate the hair and won't weigh it down, It is rich in fatty acids that penetrate the hair shaft and antioxidants that help prevent cell damage in turn protecting against hair loss
Pure Baobab Oil is one of the few natural oils that contain omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids and vitamins that are readily absorbed into the hair shaft. It's great for all air types but especially for the coly hair textures as the polyunsaturated fatty acids help with slip making a good detangler as it adds slip and hence a great detangler in your pre-poo treatment.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a light oil that moisturizes the hair and prevents scalp irritation which in turn can help reduce dandruff. Its also a very light oil might be suitable for looser curls as well as coily hair
These are my first 5 oils to use as a pre-shampoo treatment individually or mixed. To find your ideal mix, and what works perfectly for your hair give them a try and see what works. Let me know your results are in the comments. There will be more blog posts about oils, active ingredients and also methods to help you understand and manage afro-textured curly hair. We will deep dive into protective hairstyles, tips and tricks to make your journey as a curly or a curly or afro-textured hair professional easier. Become a styledbygege site member to get notified when new blog post and new videos drop.