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What is a Pre Poo?


Pre - Poo or Pre Shampoo Treatments

'Pre-pooing' (or applying a pre shampoo treatment to your hair) is 'conditioning' your hair prior to a shampoo using an oil or a conditioner, protecting your hair from the harsh shampooing process. It provides a barrier between the hair and the harsh detergents in the shampoo, and is absorbed into the hair shaft. Helps keep in moisture, helps in detangling hair and makes it softer and smoother. 

We use shampoo to ensure our hair and scalp are clean, as a clean healthy scalp is more conducive to proper hair growth. Shampoo with wash away the dirt and grime from our everyday lives. However most mainstream shampoos contain harsh ingredients foe example sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate. This is fine for people with naturally oily hair but for those of us with naturally dry hair which is more sensitive, we can experience dry scalp issues. A pre-shampoo oil treatment will protect your hair from being overly cleansed and being too clean.

Applying oil to your hair before washing  can help with detangling before washing it. This is a great time to detangle and your hair will thank you for it. Dry hair breaks less easily than when har is wet. Getting out of the shower without detangling can result i lots of knot, so it is best to detangle before you shampoo. Also during conditioning there will be a little oil left over  in your hair  which will help with any detangling at this stage.

After shampooing it may be  a good idea to towel dry hair before conditioning. The hair is full of water and the conditioner therefore may not be as effective. Main stream conditioners for dry hair are usually made with either natural or synthetic oils. Oils are attracted to each other. The oils left over from your pre-poo will help the oils in your conditioner stay on the hair and take effect. Over cleansing your hair with a harsh SLS shampoo can remove the small amount of natural oils our hair already has. The important oils from your conditioner will most likely be rinsed away and not provide any benefit.


How to do a "Pre Poo" with an Oil

Step 1: Divide your hair into 4-6 sections.

Step 2: Apply a coating of your preferred oil to each section. Use your fingers to separate the hair and apply to as many strands as you can.

Step 3: Cover your hair with a plastic cap to keep the oil from dripping down your face and neck.

Step 4: Leave the oil on your hair for 30 mins - 1 hour. You can leave in longer but this is entirely down to the time you have. Some keep om overnight.

Step 5: Finger comb hair before washing. This removes tangles and knots.

Try different oils. Coconut, Avocado and Olive Oil are popular. Many swear by Jamaican Black Castor Oil. Your choice of oil is down to personal preference. See what works best for you. Some go for an oil that doesn't smell or for a light oil.


Hora, RM, Ruffenachm, F.(2005) Inner Beauty: Discover Natural Beauty and Well-Being with the Traditions of Ayurveda. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books; : 72-73.

Keis, K., Persaud, D., Kamath, Y., & Rele, A.(2005) Investigation of penetration abilities of various oils into human hair fibers. Journal Cosmetic Science 56(5), 283-295.

Rele, A., & Mohile, R. (2003) Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. Journal Cosmetic Science 54(2), 175-192.



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