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Ask CurlyNikki: What Is 'Pineappling' and How Does It Affect My Hair?

CurlyNikki explains how to pineapple your hair at night and wake up with fresh curls.
Ask CurlyNikki: What Is ‘Pineappling’ and How Does It Affect My Hair?
Nasim Saleh/Maria Katre Osler

Calling all naturalistas: Do you have urgent tress questions? If so, you’re in luck. Every Thursday, natural hair blogger extraordinaire CurlyNikki will be solving your curly hair conundrums! Submit your questions by emailing them to BeautyEditors@essence.com.

READER QUESTION: Nikki, what is a “pineapple” and how does it affect my hair?

CURLYNIKKI’S RESPONSE: A pineapple is quick nighttime styling method to preserve my sexy tonight, so that my curls will let me be great tomorrow.

Here’s a quick rundown of pineapple do’s and don’ts.

What do you use to gather your hair?
A satin scrunchy or a brand new (no patience for the stretched out ones) Goody Ouchless Ponytail Holder… whichever I come across first.

How do you do it?
I gather all of my hair at the top of my head in a high, but very loose pony tail, pulling my hair through the holder only once. I sleep on a satin pillowcase. In the morning, I remove the pony tail holder to reveal my #MargeSimpson and spend the next 5 minutes coaxing my hair back down… gently, with my fingers and a little head shaking. #CurlsPreserved

I don’t do this every night. Other nights I just sleep with it out, sweeping my hair (on the side I’m laying on) over the top of my satin pillow so that I don’t smoosh the curls. I like this ‘out’ routine as well, as it usually results in shrinkier, poofier results. I guess it just depends on my mood.

At any rate, a pineapple done right should yield curl definition with less frizz, lots of volume and improved hangtime.

For me, I’ve learned: damp hair + pineapple = hair stretched all the way the hell out

I only pineapple DRY hair. I don’t apply any products before hand… sometimes an oil, but never anything ‘wet’. Also, I’ve learned that I can’t let my impatience get the best of me and attempt to pineapple even *just* barely damp, freshly washed and styled hair, ’cause it always goes limp and frizzy. I don’t stress over any curls that refuse to stay pineappled and occasionally I’ll intentionally leave the curls above my ears out because they’re prone to being pulled straight.

What do you use in the morning to revive or moisturize your hair?
I usually reach for Ouidad’s Mongongo Oil. It doesn’t moisturize, but it lubricates and protects the strands and keeps them pliable and shiny. I squirt some into my hands and smooth it on the crown and then down the length, one side at a time, using my hands like a flat iron. Any light oil or serum should suffice, though.

This routine generally keeps the moisture from wash day locked in and when things start getting haystack-y, I know it’s time to wash and style again. I’m doing my hair once a week these days… sometimes twice, but no more than that.

If I had a rough night, or some of my curls are stretched out or flattened, I’ll lightly spritz with a refresher spray (Fuzzy Duck is my fav right now ’cause it’s not oily or heavy), focusing on the ends. This causes a bit of shrinkage, but the good kind because it exaggerates the shape of my cut. Adding lotions, creams or gels to my dry or lightly dampened WDTM&G equals frizzy, droopy, white flaky tragedy.

Nikki Walton, founder of CurlyNikki.com, is a successful psychotherapist and creator of the most credible online source about natural hair care, maintenance and decoding the psychological ties between black women and their hair. She’s the author of the forthcoming book, Better Than Good Hair.