Good Rainy Tuesday if you’re in the Northeast this morning!
I’m thinking swimming lessons at the outdoor pool will be a no-go today.
But that’s not what this is really about. Let me get back on track.
A couple of years ago, when my kids were a year and three years old, I was dealing with lots of stress. Staying home with two whiny (I mean, wonderful!) toddlers with postpartum anxiety issues left me slightly unstable.
One night, during that difficult time, I went to the bathroom and did a quick turn to view the back of my previously luxurious bottom-of-shoulder-blade length cascading ringlets. I was mortified. I hadn’t been taking care of myself, and it showed. Oh, my stars, did it show!
Now, it’s been years since I adopted the motto “business in the front, party in the back.” To me, as it pertains to hair, that always meant that if the front of my hair was presentable, I was all good. I can’t see the back of my head anyway, so why sweat the small stuff.
Only this wasn’t the small stuff. This was a big chunk of wanna-be dread lock that couldn’t be ignored. And the front was totally normal-looking. I knew then that it was time to take matters into my own hands.
I grabbed the scissors, googled some Halle Berry pictures, and…
Yes, I most certainly did. I cut off a foot of hair! Completely on a whim. I got some shea butter and honey and gelled that puppy right up. It actually looked pretty good for a spur of the moment thing.
For as smart as I know that I am, though, I must have been wearing my I-can’t-see-two-months-into-the-future cap. Heavier-than-normal makeup and big earrings looked great with the new ‘do for a month or so. But growing out a short, short pixie is just not easy with frizzy, curly, do-what-it-wants-to-do hair. It was a hard few months filled with a lot of bad hair days/weeks.
But now I’m on the other side of it. I’ve tried not washing with anything besides castille soap. Too drying. I’ve tried various brands from the natural food stores locally. They weighed my hair down in some parts and other parts were dry, dry, dry. Tried baking soda concoctions, ACV (apple cider vinegar) concoctions. Nothing was working.
Somewhere during this search for a hair care product that would work to make my hair look the way it did before kids, I decided that I want to grow my hair very long like it was in high school (lower back length, which, for curly hair, means near waist length).
I’m old-school with a touch of lame, so I never realized this was even a thing. Well, I’ve been schooled. Boy, oh, boy, have I been schooled. It is a thing. Quite a big thing, actually. Surfing the ‘net taught me that I’m on what’s called a “hair journey.” So I needed a routine that would set me sailing to the finish line of this here (no, really, I do want to say here, here) journey.
About a month ago, I had a bad hair week – I wash once a week, so if it’s bad, it stays bad until next washday! – and decided that enough was enough. I was strolling through Costco and saw a knock-off version of Nexxus Moisture Therappe Conditioner. It was labeled paraben free, vegan, gluten free, and a few other “frees” that sounded like it might work for Ms. Allergic To Everything. I opened the cap to take a sniff and felt the need to do a quick hand check to make sure I had my Lobelia Inflata (natural asthma relief, in case anyone is looking for alternatives to inhaled steroids) in my purse. I forgot how strong synthetic fragrance can be!
But I’m no quitter. And I’m on a freaking hair journey. So I marched on up to the register and bought that smelly bottle of what I hoped to be hair gold.
Fast forward to that evening. I washed my hair and was a little wheezy with the fragrance in the shower, but I figured once I rinsed it out that I’d be okay. I let it dry naturally before I went to bed. It looked amazing! (At this point I’m thinking about how ridiculous it was for me to break up with synthetics in the first place! I could have been looking fly all this time. Ha, ha!)
I went to bed fully anticipating beautiful, moisturized, and conditioned hair in the morning. Instead, when I faced the mirror upon waking, I was greeted with a face full of hives where my hair had touched my face. Seriously?! My DNA is trying to sabotage my “hair journey.” (I guess I need to get with it and stop using quotes on that term now?)
Now I was back in a place that was all too familiar. Our kids have food allergies; I have food allergies; the kids and I have unknown reactions to various chemicals in soaps, lotions, etc. Definitely makes life interesting. I am ALWAYS having to figure it out and make something that works for us.
Good thing DIY and I get along so well!
So with all that back story, I am going to stop bumping my gums and get to what I have found to be the best pre-shampoo treatment for both my frizzy, curly, and some places kinky hair as well as for my daughter’s near waist length, thin, slightly wavy, fly-away hair.
For us, this stuff rocks! (Is that too ’90s, or do people besides me still actually use that term?)
Let’s get to it. First I’ll list the ingredients and the methods, and then I’ll share what we use for our co-wash and conditioner in case anyone’s looking for some natural hair care recommendations.
DIY AVOCADO-HONEY MOISTURIZING PRE-POO ———————————————————————————————————————
You will need the following to make this recipe and use it on your hair:
A double boiling set up (a bowl or pot that goes inside another bowl or pot that is filled with water)
A mixing utensil
A measuring spoon
4 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons honey
5 drops of Rosemary essential oil (optional)
A wide-tooth comb (or you can use your fingers)
A shower cap (or plastic bag if that’s what’s on hand)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Heating time: 5 minutes
Conditioning time in hair: at least 30 minutes
To start, you’ll want to get your double-boiler set up ready. (You can also just throw everything together and microwave, if you like.)
Basically, that’s a pan filled with water halfway, with another, smaller pan inside that is filled with your ingredients.
Measure out your ingredients and turn on your stove top to low-medium heat.
Make sure you’re mixing pretty consistently for those three to five minutes it takes for your oil and honey to melt together nicely.
Once you’re mixture is nicely combined, you can remove it from heat.
After it’s cooled down but still warm, you can apply this directly to dry hair. It’s thick and sludgy, but actually feels good. Apply everywhere, concentrating on your dry, damaged areas. Massage your scalp, too.
You can use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to gently detangle and spread the mixture over all areas of your hair. Once you’re confident that you’ve got all of your hair saturated, bag it up!
Put a shower cap or a plastic bag over all of your hair and let it sit for a minimum of 30 minutes. (I have very dry hair naturally and usually leave on for a couple hours, for reference.)
*This amount is good for most people for a single use. If you have very short hair, you may be able to get two uses out of this.*
After your time is up, remove your bag/cap and continue on with your normal shampoo and conditioner routine. You may need to wash twice to remove the excess honey.
(We use this co-wash and this conditioner, though I’m not sure you’d look at my hair and feel the need to inquire on my hair care practices! As I said, I wash four times a month and it’s usually at night, so my good hair hours — yes, sadly, it’s only hours — are usually from 10:00 p.m., after the kids go to sleep, to 11:30 p.m. when I hit the sack! Ha!)
That being said, here’s A.S.’s beautifully moisturized hair after using this awesome DIY pre-poo, our co-wash, and our deep conditioner (linked above):