The Natural Hair Movement has been gaining momentum in the UK for a number of years, with Mintel reporting a 26% decline in sales of hair relaxers and an increase in sales of products formulated for natural hair. More and More women are choosing to embrace their curls.
However, caring for afro-textured hair in its natural form, can be, let’s face it, a daunting challenge. There are literally thousands of blogs and YouTube channels dedicated to guiding you through the many processes and products available, navigating through all that information can be a overwhelming, time consuming and expensive.
But there is one essential step in maintaining the health of your natural hair that shouldn’t be skipped. Pre-pooing should be incorporated into your weekly routine regardless of the hairstyle, product or process you decided to choose. Many of you may already have your pre-poo routine down but for those of you who are new to the natural hair game we asked Tumi Soyinka, Group Product Manager at L’Oréal to share with us her Pre-poo regimen.
“The term itself is hardly an attractive one but I wouldn’t let that put you off. To pre-poo. Verb. Means to treat your hair prior to shampooing. It has become yet another extension to my weekly haircare ritual. I’ve been wearing my hair in it’s natural texture for 9 months now and through research, advice, trial and error, I am starting to find routine that works for me”.
“The main reason one pre-poos, is to help protect the hair from the stripping effect certain cleansing agents can have on our curls and helps in retaining moisture within the strand by using nutrient packed oils. The best hydrator is water, if you are not using water to hydrate your hair, make sure your daily moisturiser has water as its main ingredient”.
“If we don’t seal our tresses well after exposing our hair to water, it evaporates from the cuticle, leaving hair feeling dry. This is where the oils come in, they can act as great sealants, keeping hair moisturised for longer by creating a protective barrier around the hair, making it more difficult for water to escape”.
“Shampoos by nature remove the natural oils secreted from the sebum as well as product build up from the scalp and hair. That, combined with the friction generated from washing hair can leave it feeling thirsty, tangled and generally unhappy. Enter your delicious cocktail of coil saviours here. Some use conditioners or DIY mixtures containing a variety of food products (bananas, avocados, yoghurts, honey – you name it) but I like to keep it simple”.
I use a blend of warm oils. The best ones are rich and deeply nourishing, my favourites are virgin coconut oil as I find it helps detangle my hair really well and Mizani’s Supreme Oil hair treatment; in a world where we are all short of time, the Supreme Oil hair treatment is a great go-to as it contains a blend of 8 naturally-derived oils, including Argan oil which is known for its nourishing properties and ability to soften the feel of the hair.
I mix a generous amount of these together in a mini bottle and place it in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes to warm the oils gently.
I then work the blend into my hair in sections, concentrating on the areas where my hair is colour-treated (which happens to be the ends, the oldest part of the hair strand), I’ll wear a plastic cap and allow the treatment to do its thing for up to an hour whilst I catch up on my favourite shows…or household activities. If I feel my hair needs additional love, I’ll add a dollop or two of my home-made shea butter whip.
Using my favourite shampoo of the moment, Pureology’s Hydrate system. This brand is 100% vegan and for those concerned about them, contains no sulphates. I wash out my pre-poo mix and follow up with a conditioner, again, from Pureology Hydrate range, it has an anti-fade complex which keeps my hair colour from fading.
Dry/style as per normal.The above steps will sound very similar to a hot oil treatment and essentially, it is. You can use hot oils as your pre-poo treatment but a pre-poo treatment doesn’t have to be a hot oil treatment.
“Honestly, the whole process is a serious pamper fest. Just make sure you’re in no rush to go anywhere. When I first heard of pre-pooing, I believed it was just another new thing to do; another hair fad. However, having tried and tested it I have found this additional ritual highly beneficial for my hair. I don’t think my fingers have ever glided through my coils as easily as they do now. It does add an extra hour to my regime so it’s definitely not a ‘wash and go’ treatment but I make time and schedule it into my weekends or evenings as the results are definitely worth it”.
By Abisoye Odugbesan