You may have read or heard about ‘pre-pooing’ (yet another dubiously named term from the curly community) and wondered what it is/what it does. It’s basically just an abbreviation for pre-shampoo – it’s a conditioning treatment you do on dry hair before you wash it.
Most often an oil is used but you can also use conditioner or a homemade treatment with ingredients such as honey or yogurt. A pre-poo is designed to protect and moisturise your hair during the washing process so that you get the least amount of damage from the manipulation your hair goes through during washing/styling. The benefits of Pre-pooing are as follows:
Pre-poo’s help with the detangling process. It’s much harder to detangle once your hair is washed and it’s been moved around your head causing more tangles. You hair is also much weaker when it is wet and therefore more breakage happens when de-tangling washed hair. Applying a pre-poo and letting it sink into your hair makes it far easier to de-tangle and as a result you get less breakage.
The ends of your hair are very fragile and prone to breaking. Doing a pre-poo helps to protect your hair whilst detangling, washing and styling.
Curly and natural hair is very dry and needs extra moisture. Doing a pre-poo not only helps to restore moisture but it also helps moisture to be retained during washing.
Pre-poo’s help to nourish your scalp and the roots of your hair making your hair healthy and strong.
Pre-poo’s also help to prevent the natural oils in your hair being stripped during the washing process. This can help your conditioner to be more effective as it needs those oils to stick too so that it can work its magic.
What To Use For Your Pre-Poo
Oils that work well as pre-poo’s include:
– Coconut Oil
– Grape seed Oil
– Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– Apricot Kernel Oil
– Jojoba Oil
– Wheat germ Oil
You can use any carrier* oil that you choose and you might need to play around with it a bit to find out which you prefer. Some people like to use a mixture of oils – it’s really up to you and finding out what works best for your hair.
* You can read about what a carrier oil is here.
A conditioner which is water based works best as it’s much easier to spread through your hair and it absorbs quickly into the hair shaft. If you’re not sure if it’s a water based conditioner look at the ingredients – one of the top ones should be water.
- Divide your hair into sections, most people find that 4 or 6 work well depending on the amount of hair.
- Apply the oil or conditioner from root to tip but make sure the ends are well coated. Use your fingers to gently de-tangle your hair until all sections are coated and de-tangled.
- Twist the sections up and then put a plastic shower cap over the hair and let it sit for 30 mins. You can leave it on for much longer and add gentle heat too if you want better penetration. Again you can experiment with what works best.
- Wash and condition your hair as you normally would. This can be with a sulphate free shampoo, a normal shampoo (if that’s what your using and find it’s best for you) or by doing a co-wash.
How regularly you do this depends on your hair. Some curlies do this every time they wash their hair while others do it every couple of weeks. With most things it’s about finding what works best for your hair and time.
If you’re still unsure here is a video showing you the steps: