Do you pre poo? What is pre poo? It sounds silly (or rather, stinky) but it’s really an application of a beneficial substance before you shampoo or otherwise cleanse your hair. So pre shampoo became pre poo.
Now, why on earth would you want to apply something to your dirty hair that’s filled with product and natural oils before cleansing? Well, it turns out there is a myriad of reasons, all of which I swear by. I have been applying a pre-poo treatment to my hair even before I went natural.
I stumbled upon this ingenious technique that offered me shiny, slick relaxed hair without weighing it down with hair sheen and oil sprays when it was dry and I’ve been a believer ever since. Let’s look a little at the benefits of pre-pooing and why you should absolutely incorporate this technique into your natural hair care routine.
In this post you'll find:
What is Pre Poo
Like we established before, a pre-poo is something you apply to your hair before shampooing or cleansing your hair. This can be an oil, a butter, a store-bought product or something organic like bananas, aloe vera, eggs and mayonnaise, depending on what your hair needs at the time of shampooing.
I’ll help you to determine exactly what to use to pre poo your hair by helping you figure out what your hair needs down below so keep reading! But for now, let’s look at how a pre-poo works.
How a Pre Poo Treatment Works
One of the reasons you will want to pre poo is to protect your hair through the wash cycle. As you wet your hair, it expands and contracts as it dries. This process is rough on your hair follicle and can cause damage and weariness over time.
A pre poo will moisturize your hair follicle from the inside in order to help protect it from the fatigue of a full day wash cycle. Especially us naturals that wet our hair so often on wash day from detangling to styling, this step is crucial to ending your wash day with soft, manageable and moisturized hair.
Another reason you may want to prepoo your hair is to protect it from losing moisture during the wash cycle. Shampoo, conditioners and even apple cider rinses can strip your hair and scalp of the moisture it needs and conditioning after shampoo doesn’t always replenish all the moisture.
You can combat this moisture loss by pre-pooing, deep conditioning after shampooing, or both! If your hair is really dry and damaged, it may be beneficial to do this using different ingredients, like an oil or honey pre-poo and a butter-based deep conditioner. Most of us only need one or the other every week or so.
How to Pre Poo Hair
So we’ve established that the main reason to pre-poo hair is to protect it from moisture loss and fatigue throughout the wash cycle. In order to do this, you will want to choose a pre-poo that will penetrate your hair follicle, even with a week’s worth of product and oils on your hair shaft and scalp.
There are several things you can use to pre-poo your hair:
Olive Oil Pre Poo
One of my favourite oils to use as a pre-poo is extra virgin olive oil as it is one of a few natural oils that won’t simply sit on top of your hair follicle as a coating but will actually penetrate your hair and moisturize it from the inside. This is the way I used to get my relaxed hair to have a high glossy sheen while still maintaining softness and bounce after a wash day without spraying it down with hair spray. I pre-pooed with extra virgin olive oil!
Olive oil isn’t the only choice here, it’s just my favourite. Some other oils that can be used to pre-poo hair are:
Coconut oil can also be used but I stay far away from coconut oil as it leads to breakouts for me.
Shea Butter Pre Poo
A shea butter pre-poo can be used to help strengthen your hair shaft, filling in breaks and knicks to help prevent breakage and damage during the wash cycle. If you have colour-treated or otherwise damaged hair, you may want to use a shea butter prepoo to help your hair rebuild itself and encourage growth.
You may also use mango butter, cocoa butter and hempseed butter if you wish. Try my DIY whipped shea butter for your prepoo as it incorporates both oils and butters for an awesome, amazing pre-poo treatment.
Aloe Vera Pre Poo
An aloe vera pre-poo is perhaps my favourite type of pre-poo hair treatment because of the amazing benefits I have experienced from incorporating this miracle plant to my beauty routine.
Aloe vera is anti-fungal and antimicrobial which will help with any scalp issues you have, so it’s great to incorporate it before you cleanse your hair to help break up and rid your scalp and roots of any dandruff and product gunk. If you have an itchy scalp, you definitely want to use aloe vera to pre-poo your hair or as a deep conditioner, especially since it is amazing at adding moisture to your hair.
The aloe vera plant is also air-purifying and very hard to kill so I encourage you to get yourself a plant so you can use it regularly on your skin and in your hair, while adding style and function to your space. Because it’s so popular of a plant now, you can get it at many health food stores, farmer’s markets and even on Amazon.
Aloe Vera Pre Poo Treatment
Watch my video below for help on processing the aloe vera plant to use its gel in your hair. You don’t have to use all these ingredients to pre poo, this is the main recipe for my Aloe Vera Hair Mask deep conditioning treatment. To prepoo, you can simply process and blend the Aloe Vera plant as shown below or you can add avocado, honey or olive oil for added benefits.
How long should you pre poo?
You can pre-poo your hair for anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight if you wish. If you’re using a penetrating oil or butter, you will want to give it at least 30 minutes to an hour to penetrate your hair follicle.
Aloe vera gel is water based and will start working almost immediately, but you still want to give it at least 15 minutes to really soak in your hair and start to work its magic.
An overnight prepoo is really only necessary if your hair is super tangled and you want help to soften it up and detangle it the next day or if it’s really dry and damaged.
Let’s look at ome different types of prepoos for different hair conditions.
Protein Pre-Poo Treatment
If your hair is weak, brittle and breaking easily, it may need some protein to strengthen it up. This is where you’ll really need to intimately know our hair because these symptoms can also simply be from a lack of moisture. However, I can know when my hair is just really weak as it’s not responding well to my deep conditions or my pre-poos. That’s when I may use a protein pre-poo on my hair to give it some strength and resilience.
A protein pre-poo treatment can be made using an egg, mayonnaise or store-bought keratin treatment.
Pre Poo for Hair Growth
If you’re trying to grow your hair, pre-pooing with a mixture of Jamaican Black Castor Oil infused with rosemary essential oil can be really helpful. These properties are proven to stimulate the scalp and help with hair growth. Really massage that oil into your hair for a few minutes then allow it to sit in your hair for a minimum of 15 minutes to really penetrate your hair. This might be one of those prepoo treatments you want to leave in overnight for maximum penetration.
Other oils that are helpful for hair growth are peppermint essential oil and basil oil. Butter-based pre-poos are also realyl beneficial to helping your hair to stretnghten and grow.
Great Pre Shampoo Storebought Pre Poo Products
If you can’t get your hands on aloe vera or just prefer to have something prepackaged and immediately available for use, perhaps you’ll like these highly rated pre-shampoo products on Amazon.
I can’t personally vouch for any of these pre-poo products as I love my aloe vera but the ingredients list on these three are amazing and therefore why they made the cut for me to suggest them to you.
African Pride Moisture Miracle Aloe & Coconut Water Pre-Shampoo lists aloe vera as its second ingredient among a whole host of other amazing ingredients that are all beneficial to natural hair. I’d definitely use this product as a pre-poo for my hair. Its naturally formulated without any sulfates, parabens or harsh ingredients that will negatively affect the hair.
Dr. Miracle’s Strong & Healthy Detangling Pre-Shampoo Treatment also looks amazing and has rave reviews on Amazon. The ingredients listed here include Coconut Water, Marshmallow Root and Aloe Vera, all geared towards moisturizing your hair, strengthening and providing great slip for detangling and cleansing your hair.
Burt’s Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment is a small power house that uses a base of avocado butter along with avocado oil, olive oil and almond oil to lock in moisture before your wash day routine.
Will you be pre-pooing to help keep your natural hair moisturized? Here’s a full post on all the ways you can keep your hair moisturized and shiny as a natural hair gal.