Now Reading
PRE-POOing DOs and DONTs

PRE-POOing DOs and DONTs

What is pre-pooing, and should you do it?

A pre-poo or pre-shampoo refers to adding moisture to the hair and scalp before washing to protect the hair strands during cleansing and to aid in detangling. 

You can use different hair products as a pre-poo, including hair masks, conditioners, oils, aloe vera gel, or DIYs. Penetrating oils such as coconut oil are the most effective. Naturally curly or coily hair needs moisture to remain hydrated, healthy, and strong. Yet, too much moisture can lead to hygral fatigue. Since the process of water swelling and deswelling of the hair is one of the causes of hair damage by hygral fatigue, pre-pooing with penetrating oils may provide better protection. The oil is absorbed into the hair strands keeping the amount of water that can enter (and swell the hair) to a minimum. The right pre-poo can also leave the hair shiny and soft. 

Pre-Poo DOs

Pre-poo if you have dry, damaged, or high porosity hair – the pre-poo acts as a protective barrier

Pre-poo if it takes you thirty minutes or more to detangle your hair on wash day

Pre-poo if the hair has been in a protective style for several days

Pre-poo in winter when the air is extra dry and curls need more moisture

Use penetrating oils, such as fractionated coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, or babassu oil, to penetrate the hair for better protection

Apply the pre-poo on dry hair in sections

Saturate the ends to keep them moisturized and healthy

Pre-poo for a few hours or overnight (minimum of 30 minutes)

Massage the oil on the scalp, preferably with a soft scalp massager

Clarify once or twice a month to remove oil (and other) build-up from the hair and scalp

Use a pre-poo for transitioning and naturally dry hair

Pre-poo to repair dry, over-processed, or brittle and broken hair

Pre-poo if you use sulfate-containing shampoos

Pre-Poo DONTs

Do not pre-poo with oils if you have healthy, low porosity hair; instead, use a detangler or conditioner with great slip 

Do not apply heat if you have high porosity or damaged hair; the cuticles are not tight, so the oil can easily penetrate the hair

Do not pre-poo with a conditioner if your hair is prone to hygral fatigue

Do not pre-poo with sealing oils such as jojoba oil, argan oil, castor oil, and mineral oil or butter such as cocoa butter and shea butter.  These compounds do not penetrate the hair shaft but instead sit on top of the hair, where they are unlikely to protect against hygral fatigue

Do not pre-poo if you only co-wash your hair; the co-wash provides sufficient moisture

Do not pre-poo with oils if you have naturally oily or greasy hair

Do not pre-poo if you have healthy, wavy hair

Resources We Find Useful:

Quantitative measurement of the penetration of coconut oil into human hair using radiolabeled coconut oil, Gode, V., et al.,  J. Cosmet. Sci. 63.1 (2012): 27-31.


absolutely everything curly logo
Absolutely Everything Curly

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Scroll To Top