All You Ever Wanted to Know About Pre-Pooing

If you haven’t yet heard of pre-pooing, get ready to learn about how much it can help your hair. Pre-poo benefits primarily include conditioning and protecting your hair, which includes making it softer and shinier. A pre-poo—which basically means a treatment that you do before you shampoo your hair—is easy enough to add into your hair-care routine, and we have all the answers to your questions about how to pre-poo like a pro.


What Does Pre-Poo Do for Your Hair?


The primary benefit of a pre-poo treatment is twofold. It moisturizes hair, which is especially important for extra dry or damaged hair, and it protects your strands from getting overly cleansed when shampooing. Hydrating products are commonly used to pre-poo. By letting the pre-poo treatment set on your strands before shampooing, you’ll get the pre-poo benefits of added moisture before a wash while protecting strands from being stripped of their natural oils.


What Do You Use to Pre-Poo Your Hair?


You can use a variety of pre-poo products. Natural choices include oils like coconut oil or argan oil, or you could use a deep conditioner. Oils and deep conditioners that easily penetrate the hair shaft while also sealing in moisture are ideal since protection from over-cleansing is a key reason to use a pre-poo treatment.


Our Hair Redemption Restorative Butter Masque is a terrific option because its plant-based butter blend not only hydrates hair but creates a protective layer before you shampoo by closing the cuticle so moisture is sealed in. While your shampoo will wash any excess conditioner or oil back out, you will have already shown your strands the moisturizing pre-poo love, so it’s fine.


The pre-poo products you use depend on your hair. Natural oils will work well on natural or curly hair. They’re strong enough to bring moisture to a coarser texture that’s naturally dry. For fine hair, though, try an argan oil or jojoba oil. These oils are a little lighter so they won’t weigh down fine strands.

Can You Pre-Poo with Conditioner?


You can definitely use your favorite conditioner as a pre-poo treatment. The benefit of pre-pooing with conditioner before shampooing is that you get the added benefits you love about your conditioner before shampooing. Deciding which conditioner to use comes down to the needs of your hair at that moment.

If you’re looking to add some reparative moisture, our Second Chance Repairing Conditioner for Dry or Damaged Hair is your go-to. If you’re looking to strengthen and add fullness and volume, a conditioner like our Wake Up Call Volumizing Conditioner will get the job done.


Bonus: If you have curly hair, or hair that easily tangles, pre-pooing with conditioner can be an extremely helpful way to get out any knots before shampooing, making lathering up a whole lot easier. 


Do You Pre-Poo on Wet or Dry Hair?


Whether you pre-poo on wet or dry hair depends on the type of pre-poo treatment you choose.

Oils tend to work better on dry hair while conditioners work best on tresses that are damp or lightly misted with water, which helps to raise the cuticle so the product absorbs more easily. This is an especially helpful step if you have low porosity hair.


How Do You Pre-Poo Your Hair?


Your pre-poo routine will look the same regardless of what pre-poo you use—oil, conditioner, deep conditioner or a mask. Apply it to your hair wherever you want it. For fine or thin hair, focus on the ends and avoid the roots. Let it sit on your strands for at least 30 minutes so it has time to work its magic. You could also do an overnight pre-poo. Either way, rinse out your pre-poo treatment before shampooing and conditioning your hair with your favorite products.


How Long Should You Pre-Poo Your Hair?


Leave your pre-poo treatment on for at least 30 minutes. Depending on your hair’s needs and thickness, you could also sleep with it in for maximum moisture.


You might find that soaking your hair in your pre-poo treatment and sleeping with a cap on will give you really hydrated, soft strands when you wash it out. You don’t need to do an overnight pre-poo treatment every time you wash your hair, but you can. Once a week may be enough depending on your hair type, but your hair will tell you what it needs.


How Do You Pre-Poo Thin Hair?


If you have thin, aging hair, only apply the pre-poo treatment at the mid-shaft to the ends. And avoid putting it on your scalp, because it can weigh down your strands.

When you apply too much product at your roots, it’ll sit too heavily on thinner strands. Even though you’re shampooing after the moisturizing pre-poo treatment, you still run the risk of weighing down your delicate tresses. By really focusing on your ends, you’re actually bringing moisture to where you probably need it most—our ends are often the driest!


A pre-poo routine is actually a great plan for women with fine or thin hair who want to deep condition but feel like it can be too much at times. By doing a deep condition as a pre-poo, you don’t have to worry about that. Use your favorite deep conditioner as a pre-poo treatment so that your shampoo can wash it back out after it’s done its job. After shampooing, skip the deep conditioner and use your go-to conditioner instead or one of our moisturizing butter masques just on the ends.


Can You Pre-Poo and Deep Condition?


You can pre-poo and deep condition if you feel like your hair really needs it and you don’t have thin hair. This isn’t recommended for fine hair.


Rather than having a pre-poo routine that includes a deep condition after cleansing, you could just use your deep conditioner as a pre-poo. It’ll moisturize your hair from the outset. Then you shampoo and condition as usual. However, if you have coarse, thick hair—and especially coarse, thick, curly hair—you could pre-poo with a natural oil, then shampoo, then deep condition. Allow your hair’s needs to determine how often you do this full pre-poo routine.


Does Pre-Pooing Benefit Your Scalp?


Pre-pooing isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment. Depending on the products you use, you can tailor the treatment to the needs of your hair and even your scalp. If your goal is to refresh or remove buildup from your scalp, a pre-poo scalp treatment is for you! While one of the primary motivations for pre-pooing is to lock in moisture in your strands and scalp, which also lessens the chance of breakage especially if you use a pre-poo treatment that also strengthens strands, some pre-pooing treatments focus on detoxifying.

Enter our New Dawn Activated Charcoal Scalp Cleanser. This pre-poo scalp treatment is powered by activated charcoal that’s designed to get any extra gunk off your scalp! Its unique massaging applicator brushes away excess oils, dirt and debris while unclogging pores, allowing your sulfate-free shampoo to really lather up!


Tell Us: Do you pre-poo your hair? Share your pre-poo routine in the comments below!


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