Traditional hot oil treatments are done after the hair has been washed and conditioned and it is an age old practice in hair care for women of all ethnicities. At times people even do hot oil treatments in place of deep conditioning. As stated in Part I: What is a prepoo, it is done on dry hair prior to shampooing. So why do we prepoo now instead of sticking with the way hot oil treatment have been traditionally done? Here is my reasoning – we all know oil and water do not mix. With that point in mind, my personal logic leads me to conclude that applying oils after shampooing and conditioning is not as effective because the oil will first begin to separate from the water on the hair. If it is being repelled by the water on the strand of the hair, the oil will not able to penetrate, absorb or even coat the hair as well as it would on dry hair. I also stated in the previous article that I prefer to use pure natural oils because oil mixtures seen in most African American beauty supply stores are not what they appear to be. For example, I’m sure anyone reading this has seen items labeled as vitamin E or jojoba oil in your local beauty supply store. If you have ever taken the time to read the ingredients, you will notice the majority of the product consists of things other than what its name implies – water, mineral oil, petroleum, and silicones. If you choose to use a premade oil mixture, be sure to check the ingredients to ensure you are actually treating your hair with natural oils that help nourish your tresses as opposed to just coating it with cheap ingredients.
As far as the specific benefits for the hair, there are several. When I am extending the amount of time between relaxer retouches (known as stretching), coconut oil definitely helps to alleviate tangles and stop breakage at the line of demarcation where my new unrelaxed hair meets the previously chemically straightened hair. [pullquote_right]coconut oil definitely helps to alleviate tangles and stop breakage at the line of demarcation[/pullquote_right] It makes my new growth extremely manageable and soft, while leaving my relaxed hair feeling almost as if it were just deep conditioned. After using direct heat my hair requires special care during the following wash and the EVCO provides extra conditioning. When my ends are feeling particularly dry and brittle I concentrate the oil on them and it immediately restores their suppleness. As I massage the oil into my scalp and hair, the oil also helps to nourish my nails – an added benefit. Also, even though I wash with a sulfate-free shampoo there are times my hair feels overly clean to me (squeaky clean) but I never have that problem when I do my prepoo first. As you have probably deduced already, different oils have different benefits for the hair and which oil is best depends on your hair’s particular needs and likes. Some women, like me, prepoo weekly while others only do it every once in a while on an as needed basis. Since making the prepoo a regular part of my weekly wash routine, I believe the condition of my hair improved drastically. You have to determine the best way to incorporate prepooing into your haircare regimen but the bottom line is that oil prepoos have many benefits and it is definitely worth exploring.