I really do love me a good hot oil treatment. By coating my strands in rich, nutrient-packed liquid gold and letting the warm oils soak in, I'm ensuring my hair stays as strong and healthy as possible. I like to heat up a blend of coconut oil, grapeseed oil, castor oil, and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and sit with the mixture in my hair for thirty minutes to an hour. I rinse it out afterwards and either shampoo or co-wash.
That was my weekly routine until about two months ago when I got box braids. Knowing how messy hot oil treatments can be even on short hair, I asked one of my hairdressers what she thought about continuing the treatments with the extensions in. She stated, "I wouldn't recommend it." I figured this made sense because the oils would probably be wasted slipping down the length of the extensions rather than focusing on my hair. So when it came time for me to do my regular hot oil treatment, I skipped it and instead went straight to co-washing.
I did this for about two weeks, but then I noticed my scalp was starting to dry out. It was flaking without the boost of nutrients and moisture from the oils. Even regular spritzing couldn't alleviate the problem. Despite getting professional advice against doing a hot oil treatment I couldn't ignore what my body was telling me, so I gave it a shot. I did tweak some things, though. First, I used much less castor oil than usual. This is because castor oil is incredibly thick and I was worried it might be hard to wash out of the braids. To make up the difference, I added a little more grapeseed oil and EVOO; they're not as viscous. When applying the oils, I focused more on my scalp and first inch of hair. This allowed any excess oil to travel down to the ends of my natural hair without bogging down my braids.
Unsurprisingly, I noticed relief within a few days. My scalp retained more moisture after co-washing and soon the flakes were gone. I'm glad I figured out a way to continue my hot oil treatments while protective styling, otherwise I'd probably have to take down my box braids after only a couple of weeks!
How do you switch up your regimen when protective styling? Share in a comment below!
Like a fine evening gown, kinky hair neither requires nor can handle frequent washing. Most naturalistas recommend cleansing no more than once a week, and some go as long as four weeks between washes! Personally, I need to at least co-wash my hair every seven days otherwise the itching drives me bonkers. It must be a combination of product slowly building up coupled with the gradual drying of my scalp, because by the end of the week all I can do is fantasize about what new oil mixture I'll use in my deep conditioning treatment. But what if there was a way to extend time between washes?
I've been researching ingredients to figure out what can combat the effects of product build-up and dryness, and it turns out there are quite a few. The best part is they're all natural, so you don't have to feel bad using them as often as you like - or even eating them if you dare! So without further ado, here are the top six scalp refreshing ingredients that you can add to your spritzes, deep conditioners, and salads.
I should mention that an oily scalp can still be considered clean. That's because your scalp needs a certain level of moisture in order to be healthy and facilitate hair growth. A clean scalp has just the right amount of nutrients to encourage growth without being so oily or full of product build-up that it starts to get itchy or flaky.
How do you keep your scalp clean between washes? Share your tips in a comment below!
I'm a huge fan of DIYs and homemade products. Below is a formula that will assist in the post-wash detangling process and to keep my hair moisturized and temptingly soft long after it dries.
If you have oilier hair, skip the jojoba and olive oil. That way you'll get the moisture without weighing down your strands or overwhelming your scalp.
THE FUN PART
If your coconut oil is solid, warm it up in the microwave or in a hot water bath until it liquifies. Combine all ingredients in a squeezable bottle or a bottle with a pump so that you can easily apply the mixture to your hands. Give the bottle a rigorous shake until all the ingredients have blended together. Because this mixture is fairly oily, a little will go a long way. If you have a TWA (teeny weeny afro), you can probably get away with a penny-sized squeeze for each section of your hair. For longer hair or large sections, use up two bottle pumps.
I wasn't able to finish the whole bottle, so I stored the remainder in my bathroom cupboard. It's important to keep essential oils away from sunlight so they don't lose their helpful properties. Because there's aloe vera juice in the mix, I'm also going to try to finish up the bottle within the next couple of weeks so it doesn't go bad. Nobody wants a stinky bathroom!
What's your favorite DIY hair product recipe? Tell us in a comment below!