Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tutorial: DIY Deep Conditioner

Back in December, the girlies got head lice. I don't have any leads on the origin of the infestation, although I am pretty suspicious of these riding helmets.

Treating for head lice, while not super-fun, was actually not even remotely as bad as I'd feared it would be. We didn't even nit pick, and although I know that you're going to tell me that we did it all wrong if we didn't nit pick, we didn't.

We did use two doses of a CDC-recommended pesticide shampoo (because yes, I use poison on my babies), spaced nine days apart, to bomb the little bastards into the next century, and although that, combined with a dedicated focus on avoiding cross- or re-contamination, worked for us, man, did it do a number on my poor little kids' hair! Their hair was so dry afterwards, and Syd had the addition of an itchy, flaky scalp. I'd use it again if I had to, because it worked, but after a few weeks' time and the conclusive evidence that the head lice were all gone, the kiddos' hair definitely needed some rehabilitation.

Have you ever put olive oil on your hair? I still won't do it on my own kind-of dry hair, because I find the flashbacks to my junior high years, when my hair seemed to be greasy again a half-hour after I washed it (and I refuse to even recall the condition of my face), too painful, but I happily had Willow mix up the following recipe of one part olive oil, one part apple cider vinegar, and one part honey:

I was tempted to add a couple drops of a nice essential oil, lavender or tea tree or peppermint, but I'm too leery of putting essential oils directly on my children to actually do it, so instead I worked it through the kids' dry hair (it was REALLY messy, like crazy messy, and you know that I am not afraid of mess), let them read for a half-hour so that it could soak in--

--and then shampooed their hair.

Results: The treatment did work, although it wasn't ideal at the time. It took three separate shampoos to wash all of the oil out of their hair, and since I didn't want to wash their hair three times in a row, figuring that wouldn't be helpful to their dry skin and hair, I spaced the shampoos out over six days, just braiding their hair in between times and ignoring the fact that it was oily.

Now, however, their hair is perfectly glossy and smooth, doesn't feel dry to the touch, and Syd no longer has an itchy, flaky scalp. I'm trying to be more vigilant about putting leave-in conditioner into their hair after every bath to combat any more dryness before it begins.

I've heard that leave-in conditioner also has some prophylactic properties regarding head lice--the reasoning being that it's harder to get a grip on a hair strand with conditioner on it, I suppose? I'm also trying to insist that the girls shampoo their hair more frequently than they'd prefer, and to better supervise their hair brushing, because I think that I could have caught that head lice infestation earlier if I'd been more vigilant. I'm stopping short of treating their hair with essential oils, because those same oils are in all our cleaning supplies and our soap--they're getting a pretty good dose of tea tree oil every day even without me spraying it on their hair, I'm thinking, and I'm reluctant to add more directly onto their bodies. I'm insisting that each girl use her own hair brush, and not her sister's, but they still share towels--and a bed!--and half their clothes and all their playtime.

Eh, at least it's not pinworms again. Now THAT was gross!


Tina said...

I am never a fan of wearing a used helmet, even though I know they spray the helmets down with lysol between each use (Our instructor does it while we are chatting after the lesson). Before we sign up for more lessons, I think a riding helmet will be in order.

julie said...

Yeah, I've never heard that Lysol kills lice, and NOTHING kills nits, pretty much. Mind you, I don't have conclusive evidence that their lice came from there, but it's awfully coincidental. The goal is to do some serious money-saving between now and horseback-riding lessons next fall or spring (holy smokes, they're EXPENSIVE!!!), and a riding helmet for each girl is just going to have to be included in that expense.

PepperMilk said...

On the leave-in conditioner topic... V05 Hairdressing is AMAZING. It only takes the tiniest little dab, makes hair mega-shiny and it has zero alcohols in it (to make dry hair/scalps even drier).