If you’re a regular visitor of this blog you’re probably familiar with my love affair with deep conditioning (I mean I wrote a 70+ page guide about it!!), but what you may not be aware of, though I mention it several times in this blog, is that pre-pooing is also another regular hair care practice of mine. I’ve been doing it ever since I started my natural hair journey back in 2013 when I slowly transitioned from relaxed to naturally curly hair over 2,5 years (Yes, I am a patience girl. 😉 ). Because I believe pre-pooing can have such a big positive impact in your curly hair health I wanna share a few pre-poo treatments you can use and make a part of your hair routine.
Though pre-proo treatments have been a part of the natural hair community lexicon, probably since its inception, it is only recently that a visible number of hair product companies started addressing this market niche.
Up until now, people were left to do DIY concoctions in their kitchens and bathrooms mixing up their favourite ingredients. The most common pre-poos you’ll hear about are made out of oil, conditioner and oil-conditioner mixtures and you can read more about it in this post.
The main purpose of this hair care practice began as a way to protect dry-prone curly hair from regular hair shampoos made with drying surfactants (e.g. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Ammonium Laureth Ether Sulphate and Sodium Xylenesulfonate) which, in the absence of mild shampoo alternatives, made naturally curly hair even drier.
Though mild sulphate free shampoos are now easy to find in any shop, doing a pre-poo treatment brings other benefits that still make it a regular practice in many people’s natural hair regimens. It not only protects against drying shampoos but it can help with manipulation and detangling, adding hair shine, strengthening the hair, reducing hair breakage and preventing hygral fatigue (No clue what that is?! Make sure you read this post girl!).
How To Pre-Poo
As the name hints at, pre-poos are done before shampooing your hair and they should be left on the hair for a period of time to work their magic. The amount of time you leave it on will depend on what product you’re using, but generally, a store-bought product will need 20 minutes to an hour of your time. If you don’t have that much time add some heat to your treatment by seating under a hooded dryer, using a thermal cap or even a warm towel.
On the other hand, if you decide on doing an oil pre-poo how long you’ll have to let it ‘bake’ on your hair will depend on your oil(s) of choice. Some oils will take several hours to penetrate the hair cuticle, where they are more beneficial, and most won’t even be able to do this. So you need to be careful about what oil you choose for your treatment, but I’ll talk more about this below. 😉
Okay, lets jump right into what you’re looking for – your pre-proo treatments. 😀
1| PHILIP KINGSLEY The Elasticizer
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Dimethyl PABA, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cetrimonium Chloride, Amodimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hydrolyzed Elastin, Trideceth-12, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid.
You may be surprised to know, but this little treatment was first designed for Audrey Hepburn. It has quite a few years but its formula is an award-winning one and, according to them, still a favourite among celebrities like Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet. Regardless of this, if it’s still around and winning prizes after so many advancements in hair care, it is definitely worth checking out!
Olive oil, castor oil and glycerin are among its key ingredients and they will help give moisture and nutrition to your hair. However, the main ingredient seems to be hydrolysed elastin, which is derived from a natural ingredient (elastin). When broken down into small pieces able to penetrate the hair (hydrolysed) it will not only help to keep the hair moisturised but will also improve elasticity (more bounce), strength (less breakage) and shine.
Yes, the formula does have a silicone (Amodimethicone) but this is one that any good sulphate free shampoo will easily be able to remove. So make sure you’re not co-washing when you use this treatment. Anyway, this treatment is suited to all hair textures, but you also have the Intensive version for hair that is in more desperate need of help.
Price: starts at £19 (75 ml)
2| TREPADORA Miracle Maca Moisture Balm
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Plukenetia Volubilis (Inca Inchi) Oil*, Cetyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Astrocaryum Murumuru (Murumuru) Seed Butter, Garcinia Indica (Kokum) Seed Butter, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Lepidium Meyenii (Maca) Root Extract, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Parfum (Fragrance)**, (Pro-Vitamin B5) Panthenol, Saccharide Isomerate, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil,Benzyl Alcohol, Avena Strigosa Seed (Black Oat) Extract, Squalane,Polysorbate-60, Sorbitan Isostearate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil,Lecithin, Salicylic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Maltodextrin, Silica,Arginine, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Citrate,Glycerin, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Limonene***, Linalool***, Eugenol***. * certified organic ** from natural essential oils *** potential allergens from natural essential oils
This product actually comes from a vegan British brand that is scoring major points with me. I love their Papaya Slip Taming Potion and their Smoothie, which by the way have been shortlisted for the Hair Awards 2019. As for this Maca Moisture Balm, it can be used both as a pre-shampoo treatment or as curl reviver after styling and I know we all love a double-duty product, right? 😉
I haven’t bought this product yet, but Trepadora Curl Therapy has this wonderful habit of sending its client product samples and in one of my purchases I was sent a few samples of this product which I intend to try very soon. They ship worldwide. 🙂
Price: £19 (200ml)
3| BOUCLEME Intensive Moisture Treatment
Ingredients: Aqua, Cetearyl Alcohol, Coco Caprylate, Glycerin (Vegetable), Brassicyl Isoleucinate Esylate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Seed Oil, Trichilia Emetica (Mafura) Seed Butter, Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Prickly Pear) Seed Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Bran Extract, *Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Leaf Oil, *Rosa Centifolia (Rose Absolute) Flower Oil, *Pelargonium Roseum (Rose Geranium) Leaf Oil, *Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil, *Elettaria Cardamomum (Cardamom) Seed Oil *Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil, *Michelia Alba (Magnolia) Flower Oil, *Juniperus Virginiana (Cedarwood) Wood Oil, *Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Red) Peel Oil, *Cymbopogon Martini (Palmarosa) Leaf Oil, *Coriandrum Sativum (Coriander) Seed Oil, *Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Styrax Tonkinensis (Benzoin) Resin Extract, Phenyl Ethyl Alcohol (Natural), Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey, Tocopherol, Sorbic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Brassica Alcohol, Distearoylethyl Dimonium Chloride, Diheptyl Succinate, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Cetearyl Nonanoate, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Pentylene Glycol, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Hydroxyacetophenone, **Linalool, **Geraniol, **Citronellol, **Limonene, *natural pure essential oils **potential allergens
I know it’s another British brand again, but we’re making good stuff here guys! This treatment is the winner of Marie Claire’s hair awards 2019. If you’re not in the UK you may not have heard of this brand, but it’s worth checking it out as they also ship to Europe and the US.
Like the previous hair product, this intensive moisture treatment can be used in three ways: a pre-shampoo treatment, a mask and a leave-in. It is packed full of oils and butter to help with moisture, breakage and growth issues and it also has amino and fatty acids from wheat bran to help improve hair elasticity, manageability and smoothness.
Price: £26 (250ml)
4| GARNIER Ultimate Blends Hair Food
Ingredients: Aqua / Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Isopropyl Myristate, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Glycine Soja Oil / Soybean Oil, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil / Sunflower Seed Oil, Carica Papaya Fruit Extract / Papaya Fruit Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Cocos Nucifera Oil / Coconut Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Hydroxypropyl Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Tartaric Acid, Cetyl Esters, Potassium Sorbate, Salicylic Acid, Caramel, Linalool, Geraniol, Limonene, Parfum /, Fragrance.
Okay, so on my way to Boots to buy some allergy medication I came across this hair mask and after checking its ingredients were okay, I bought as it had such a good limited-time price (£3.49). I know you might be thinking ‘Mónica, this is a hair mask, not a pre-poo!’, but like other products on this list, this is a 3-in-1 mask.
I’ve only used it once as a mask but it can be used a pre-poo and leave-in as well. Price should never be the choice criteria for a product and with this product, you also have the fact that its formula is simple and has known-slash-recognisable ingredients, it’s a vegan product made with 98% natural ingredients and it has no silicones, parabens or artificial colourants. Yes, it seems mainstream brands are putting more thought and effort into their products.
My verdict on this product is not out yet since I only used it once (I’ll let you know in a future post), but I do believe it’s a product worth trying if you’re on a budget and want a multipurpose hair product. Please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts the on this product if you had a few more tries at it than I have. 🙂
Price: Currently £3.49/Normally £6.99 (390 ml)
5| Coconut Oil
Vegetable oil is the cheapest solution you have to do a pre-poo and out of all the oils available to do a pre-poo extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil are my oils of choice because they are penetrating oils.
It’s important you choose a penetrating oil, not a sealing one, because it penetrates the cuticle layer of the hair to help with elasticity and moisture and to reduce breakage, split ends and hygral fatigue. If the oil you choose is a sealing oil it will just sit on the hair shaft and do little more than help with manipulation, detangling and shine.
Coconut oil is the perfect choice for a pre-poo because it brings your hair all the benefits already mentioned in this post and it is also proven to reduce protein loss (that which our hair is made of) when used as a pre-wash and post-wash treatment. I like to apply it on dry, sit under my hooded dryer for 20-30 minutes and then shampoo my hair. You can also leave it overnight if you have time or for an hour and then proceed to shampoo (I do it twice).
If you’re not keen on coconut oil or you’re allergic to it you can always use extra virgin olive oil, it can also penetrate the hair shaft but it will take longer to do it. Therefore, just leave it overnight and maybe apply some heat. Read this post for more tips on how to make your pre-poo more effective.
I basically use Coconut oil to Pre-poo and add Olive oil to my deep conditioner and these two has been a lifesaver!
I basically use Coconut oil to Pre-poo and add Olive oil to my deep conditioner and these two have been a lifesaver!
What do you think about African Pride Pre Poo? I see it on Youtube videos…
I love coconut oil for a pre-poo too. I don’t know much about the African Pride Pre Poo, but the important thing to do is to look at the ingredient list. Make sure the ingredients, preferably natural, will benefit your hair like aloe, glycerin, vegetable oils and butter and stay away from products with ingredients that create another layer film around the hair like polyquats, acrylates and similar. Hope this helps.
Hello, Monica. I have a question. Will refined oil be less effective in protection against hygral fatigue than cold pressed, or does it matter? Since I’m just going to wash it out I didn’t want to use my good oil. Also, is there a way to make my shampoo less drying,, and more detangling?? Should I add oil, and if so, should it be a penetrating or sealing oil? Thanks in advance.
Hello Lina! The best oils for a pre-poo, in my opinion, are extra virgin olive oil and unrefined coconut oil. The difference in both is that olive oil will need an excess of 12 hours (I study I looked into pointed to 24 hours) to penetrate the hair shaft and set in between the hair cuticles to help prevent hygral fatigue. Coconut oil will take a couple of hours, so doing overnight is a great option. However, if you want to speed up this process you can just apply the oil and sit under a dryer for 20 minutes (especially for coconut oil). I personally use coconut oil as it is the best at preventing hygral fatigue.
When it comes to your shampoo, it has to do with what shampoo are you using. What ingredients does it have? how often are you using it? Please don’t add oil to it, just choose a better one, one suited to your hair needs. Shampoos aren’t meant to help with detangling, that is the job of your conditioner. Some shampoos, depending on the formulation, will have more conditioning ingredients that will lend more manageability to your hair, however, I find they tend to be less cleansing. Read more here about shampoos.
I hope my answer will provide you with some guidance for more help you can always book a private Shed & Rescue consultation with me.