In the previous blog we discussed the myriad of ways in which oil helps to nourish a healthy head of curly hair. Today we will discuss the 4 main ways in which to incorporate oil into your child’s hair care regimen, namely; the pre-shampoo Treatment, the hot oil treatment, the oil rinse and sealing with oil.
The Pre-Shampoo Treatment
This simple treatment is frequently dubbed “pre-poo” for short. Although some people use conditioners and clays as part of their pre-poo, for the purposes of this blog, I would say that really just one straight oil is all that is necessary when you are first starting out.
Basically the pre-poo consists of a singular oil, or combination of oils that help to nourish the hair and scalp prior to cleansing, and also helps to reduce friction between hair cuticles during the washing process. The reduction in friction will reduce both the “stripped hair” feeling and the amount of tangling that normally accompanies shampooing (particularly a clarifying shampoo.)
A pre-poo can be done on dry or damp/ wet hair.
To pre-poo the hair, all you have to do is saturate your child’s hair with your oil(s) of choice and allow it to sit on the hair and scalp for anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Obviously this will depend on the age of your child and their compliance level with walking around with “something” (usually a bandana in our household) or “stuff” in their hair. Be sure to take the time to do a scalp massage too as you rub the oil into the hair and scalp. The massaging action will help to loosen any dirt or flakes on the scalp and stimulate circulation (which helps with growth and general health of the hair.)
In our house, the head scarf serves the dual purpose of preventing excess oil from dripping down onto her face, (thus preventing a melt-down) and the complete smearing of our furniture, clothes, carpet or other flooring with oil ;) If your child is older than 3, you are probably eligible for the fancier hot oil treatment.
In a separate blog I will discuss various natural substances (some probably in your kitchen or bathroom right now) that you can add to your pre-poo to make it even more nourishing.
The Hot Oil Treatment
This is basically a pre-poo on wet or damp hair, with heat added. The advantages of this over the pre-poo is that;
a) It cuts down on time spent in the hair washing process, which for any child is a plus.
b) It really stimulates growth for those for whom it matters.
c) Helps to deliver any added nutrients like herbs and essential oils right into the roots of the follicles as the heat dilates blood vessels of the scalp, making them more open to receive said nutrients.
The disadvantage is that unless you have mad child training and disciplining skills, you should not even bother to attempt this on a child younger than 3 or 4.
To add the heat factor, all you really need to do is place a shower cap on their head. If you have a hooded hair drier, (you know the bonnet kind that sits up on your counter and you sit under it, that will cut this whole hot oil/ pre-poo business down to 20 minutes.)
If not, just wrapping a towel, turban style, over the shower cap will do. In a pinch you could also use a plastic baggy in lieu of the shower cap. In a super pinch you could just wring out a towel dunked in hot water and wrap that around your child’s head.
The idea is to allow the heat that is naturally generated from your child’s head to become trapped in a sort of micro-climate around the scalp and hair, allowing the oil treatment to penetrate faster and deeper into both.
Part 2 of this blog will cover oil rinsing and oil sealing.