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Curly Nikki

Hair Tip of The Day

By January 27th, 202111 Comments

My ‘stinky’ post from yesterday got me thinking…

A year or so ago, I noticed a rank smell coming from my diluted conditioner. Often times, I’d add water to my co-wash conditioner because the thinned out version added more slip and thus eased detangling. Also, adding water to expensive conditioners usually helps me to stretch them too- clever right? I quickly came to the realization that something was growing in there, and figured that I’d be better off applying the concentrated conditioner and adding water subsequently by running my head under the shower head. This saved me money, and even more important, saved me from piling bacteria onto my curls.

After searching around on the hair boards, I came across this invaluable information from none other than Tonya McKay of NaturallyCurly.com,

“Products purchased off the shelf have been very carefully formulated and pretty exhaustively tested in laboratories by microbiologists in order to ensure that the correct amount of preservative is present in order to prevent growth of fungi, mold, and bacteria (sounds yummy, huh?). These antimicrobial compounds also act as antioxidants, protecting the chemical stability of the product. The optimal level of preservative per unit volume is calculated and used in order to be just sufficient for that particular bottle in ordinary use conditions for a specific period of time. It is important to not use too much preservative because preservatives themselves can be harmful to humans or cause allergic reactions. Therefore, there is not typically an excess of preservative in most products.

For this reason, when a product is diluted with water (especially tap water) and placed into a non-sterile container (which is most typical in any household), the preservative level is reduced by as much as 100 times or more. This diluted product is then often stored in the hot and damp conditions of a bathroom. These conditions are perfect for the breeding of all sorts of living entities that just love to live in water and eat organic molecules (such as those found in your conditioner).”

This applies to you kitchen-ticians too! Homemade spritzes are very popular on the hair boards, and can be incredibly beneficial. If you’re a mixtress, please heed this warning, and make sure you’re adding preservatives to your concoctions, and/or keeping them refrigerated. Tonya McKay suggests the following:

  • Make up a small amount of solution daily or every other day.
  • Make up enough solution to last for one week and store it in the refrigerator when not in use.
  • Make up enough solution to use for 1-2 weeks and add either natural or synthetic preservative drops to it in an amount specified in the literature.

When whipping up your mix, she directs us to use boiling water, clean hands, and a sterilized container. You can purchase grapefruit seed extract (a popular natural preservative) from many health food stores. Even your properly preserved mixtures should be placed in the fridge for safe storage. To read more from this article, click HERE.

I’ve never truly given this much thought. I’ve diluted my share of conditioners, creamy leave-ins and liquid leave-ins. I had no idea that such measures needed to be taken. So my dear mixtresses, please be careful and take precautions when whipping up that homemade Greg Juice 😉

Later Gators,
Nik

Is it Friday yet? Geez….

11 Comments

  • Unknown says:

    wow..this is some good information! I’ll have to be more cognizant of when I’m making my concoctions and how long I’m keeping them…

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    JC, when you get a chance, can you shoot me an email at nikki@curlynikki.com?!

  • Anonymous says:

    Curlynikki, your site is always soooooooo informative. I too am a mixtress as I feel that many products are way overpriced. I use a variety of natural preservatives including vitamin E oil and essential oils such as Rosemary EO. Medline has tons of articles on the use of natural preservatives. Certain oils such as coconut oil also have antimicrobial properties. I also refrigerate my homeade products and make small batches at a time. Also, JC keep educating us, very much appreciated.

  • Anonymous says:

    LolFlowerChild, as long as that stuff stays in the drain!

    The most scientific answer I can give is quite vague. Yes if you mix product A with product B then you have changed the chemical formulation. How have you changed it? I can’t tell you unless I test it in triplicate, atleast 4 different times and in the same conditions. But this is ofcourse not the answer you are looking for.

    The best answer I can give is that the fastest growing bacteria multiply every 15-20 minutes. As an example – E.coli – which ideally should not be on your hands or hair products/tools. Most other bacteria take several hours to days multiply.

    Therefore if you mix the product and use it immediately, you will probably not have had sufficient time to build up an army. If you keep it for several days then you are giving any bacteria/fungi food, water and the warmth to begin to reproduce in the numbers needed to cause infection.

    Natakue – Vitamin E oil (only the d isoform found in natural Vit E) and Grapeseed Extract have been proposed as preservatives but the research unfortunately is quite new

  • Anonymous says:

    LolFlowerChild, as long as that stuff stays in the drain!

    The most scientific answer I can give is quite vague. Yes if you mix product A with product B then you have changed the chemical formulation. How have you changed it? I can’t tell you unless I test it in triplicate, atleast 4 different times and in the same conditions. But this is ofcourse not the answer you are looking for.

    The best answer I can give is that the fastest growing bacteria multiply every 15-20 minutes. As an example – E.coli – which ideally should not be on your hands or hair products/tools. Most other bacteria take several hours to days multiply.

    Therefore if you mix the product and use it immediately, you will probably not have had sufficient time to build up an army. If you keep it for several days then you are giving any bacteria/fungi food, water and the warmth to begin to reproduce in the numbers needed to cause infection.

    Natakue – Vitamin E oil (only the d isoform found in natural Vit E) and Grapeseed Extract have been proposed as preservatives but the research unfortunately is quite new.

  • AlongCameStacey says:

    Back when I didn’t know anything about things needing to be preserved and reached for my 2 week old bottle of “cocowater” it had green things in it. I flushed it down the drain but I’m sure there’s still something living in the pipes now. Lol

    I wonder if this holds true when you mix two products with preservatives. I assumed that the preservatives already present in my infusium and my african royale would preserve the mix but what if I changed the chemical formulation and caused the preservatives not to work anymore?!?! Lol. Now I’m rambling.

    But seriously what do you think?

  • Laquita says:

    Great post – The Herbarie has preservatives and descriptions of how/what to use them in http://www.theherbarie.com/Preservatives-Antioxidants-&-Chelating-Agents-c-15.html

  • MrsJones says:

    Yep – this is NOOOO Joke! We all have to be careful!!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I’ve always wondered the same thing and came across this vid yesterday:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THSkQLyDQ5Q

    I’m going to try and follow some of her suggestions when mixing my potions, especially my shea;-)

  • Desiree says:

    This is so crazy – I just mixed conditioner and water THIS MORNING and then I read this post! When I go home for lunch I’m throwing it out! Thanks for saving me from stinky hair!! 🙂

  • Natakue says:

    isn’t vitamin e oil also a natural preservative? or at least it helps to extend the shelf life of some mixtures? i could’ve sworn i’d read that somewhere…

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