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          Essential Treatments

          Often I see posts inquiring about hot oil treatments, their uses, the method of application and removal. More often than not people complain of oily residue, limp hair, dullness, and no results from the most gratifying treatment we can give dry, chemically treated hair. This goes for any hair that is chemically treated, whether to "relax" it or "curl" it. To an extent both types of hair get frizzy, dry, and appear undesireable.

          In the beginning...

          Determine your hair type.
          I don't mean get a hair chart and see what someone else says about your hair, but what YOU know about YOUR OWN hair. Use the charts, the books, the videos, and possibly infomercials as a reference but not your bible. Ask yourself: Is it fine? Is it coarse? Where is it breaking? How is it breaking? Is it greasy (this can happen on occassion to chemically treated hair)? What is it that I want to acoomplish?
          You don't have the same kind of hair condition throughout your head and so you must be open to variances and finding a comfortable middle ground.
          Next, find out about the traditional hot oils. There are a couple of staples that people use. Here they are, but you are not limited to just these:
            Olive Oil (some individuals are allergic to this oil - please use care and try to use the regular version and not the virgin oil)
            Avocado Oil (rich in vitamin E)
            Coconut Oil (extremely moisturizing)
            Peanut Oil (a little of everything and cheap)

          Everyone has a favorite and you will find out which one is best for you. As always, exercise caution and don't take my word or someone elses without doing your own research. Someone may recommend you to use an oil that they like and works for them, yet you may not see the same results or like the feel or smell of it. Don't be discouraged. This is all part of the adventure of hair care.

          Manos a la obra...let's do this..

          Very well, you know your hair, you know what you are aiming for (MOISTURIZING/HEALING/CONDITIONING), and you have your oil in hand. Now what? You have all this hair! How much do you need to use? How do you put it on? HOW IN THE WORLD are you going to get it out? Smile.
          Everyone has a different approach. Here is mine:
          You will need - cotton balls, tupperware bowl with lid, a comb, hair clips, plastic cap, and a towel.
          Regardless of how much hair I have, I start with 1/2 cup of oil. When I first started this routine I added nothing to it. Just oil. I pour what I am going to use into a small tupperware bowl that has a fitting lid.

          I start with detangled hair parted into four sections. Similar to the partings done when prepping for a relaxer. Make sure that each section is free of tangles. This will make it easy later.
          Dip a cotton ball in the oil and be sure to saturate it well. Apply it to the root of you hair in the first section. Squeeze the cotton ball as you do the application. At this time, don't worry about the length of your hair, this too will be coated by the time you are finished. Pay attention to the hair within the section you are working. You want it coated. You will notice as you go that you will be saturating the rest of your hair as well as you handle each section. This is what you want.

          When you have coated all of your roots you should still have plenty of oil to apply to the rest of hair. Don't just pour the oil on your head. Put it in the palm of your hands and work it into the hair. Don't twist, toss, or tossle the hair. Part it, lift it, move it around so you are not just coating the hairs on top. Use your hands and not a comb or brush to part. My friend called me Pikachu when she saw me doing this because I had four makeshift tails coming out the side of my head. Smile!

          Now, you have saturated your hair. GREAT JOB! Cover your hair with the plastic cap and submerge the towel in hot tap water. Squeeze out as much water as possible and wrap it around your head. Some people like to sit under the dryer at this time. It's up to you. 30 minutes under the dryer is fine. I am not that patient and still to sit. When I do a treatment I leave it on for a few hours while I do stuff around the house, in the yard, or homework project number 89,000. This is your time to decide what you want to do. Enjoy it regardless.

          Out of the dryer into the frying pan....

          Maybe not exactly the frying pan...this is the critical moment in hot oil treatments. THE REMOVAL. DUM DE DE DUM!!!!! Somehow the net doesn't give that sound the same effect I want it to have. Anyhow...
          You will need: a mild shampoo (trust me, you'll know how mild your shampoo is after this), and water (duh).

          Remove the towel, the cap and look at yourself. Measure about a nickle to a quarter size amount of shampoo and start at one section of your head. You are going to concentrate on putting this shampoo on your scalp and root area. Again, the rest of the hair will come later. You want to work this into the area you concentrated so much into oiling. You are probably wondering...did she forget to say "wet the hair"? No, I did not. You are now going to SLOWWWWLY add water to your hair. Slowly and little amounts until you see a lather. When you see a lather you will know that the shampoo has broken the oil. Think of the old Joy Detergent commercials. When they dropped the detergent into the greasy water and the grease pulled away. Ok, same concept but not such a harsh product. Your MILD shampoo will be lifting the oil and making a small lather. Continue doing this throughout while you SEE what is going on. When you have done this to your entire scalp you are ready to do the rest of the hair. Just like the application of the oil you have been wetting the rest of the hair with your hands and the shampoo. All you will need is a little more water and a little more shampoo. Do this one final time and massage your hair. Don't be rough. Then...it's into the shower for full rinsing with warm to luke warm water.

          What you should feel...
          When you rinse your hair you should not feel like your hair was stripped of all the great oil or oils you just put in it. If your hair feels "squeaky clean" and you did everything the way I was telling you ...you may have a realllllly harsh shampoo with strong detergents (SLS/ lauryl sulfates) or you might have used a really light oil for conditioning (jojoba). Don't fear, both things can be changed to accomodate you. Remember, this is YOUR hair treatment for YOUR hair type. So, guess what? It can't be wrong if you reach the results YOU want. However, I would really look into the shampoo because it may actually be too strong and stripping more than the oils you added.
          Your hair should feel "thick" but not sticky. If you feel stickyness, another nickel sized amount of shampoo in the area that you feel said stickyness would not hurt. Don't shampoo your entire head if only one section feels this way. Continue with your conditioner and final rinse if you use one.

          And the winner is...

          Set and style your hair as normal. You may not see your results in the setting or drying but you soon will. Your hair should look shiny but not greasy once dry. It should be manageable. It should be soft but not limp and weighed down (this is a sign of pour washing or rinsing and residual oils still present). It should be something people compliment you about. It should even appear darker because of the moisturizing aiding in the reflection of light. IT SHOULD BE YOUR PRIDE AND JOY AFTER ALL THAT HARD WORK!

          I say Potato - you say Po-tah-toh...

          Where do I come up with these sayings? Everyone is different and here are some variances I have read as to the application of a hot oil treatment:
            - apply oil with a color dispenser that has a pointed end so as to cover the roots
            - heat the oil prior to application
            - use gloves so as to not grease your hands
            - shampoo with a massage glove so as to aid circulation and the treatment
            - wash and rinse the oil with cold water (90%cold, 10% hot) so as to help seal the cuticle AND increase shine (thank you Marbell)

          These are some things others have found beneficial for them. Try them and see if they work for you. If you have one to share ...please email me.

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