In this blog post, I will share everything you need to know about pre-pooing. You may have already heard of it, but not sure what products, ingredients and treatments are best to use. Or you might not have heard of it before and are wondering if it would suit your hair.

FYI - If you struggle with knots and tangles, pre-pooing is an essential step on wash day

 What is a Pre-Poo?

Pre-poo is short for pre-shampoo. It’s a protective moisturising treatment you apply to your hair and scalp before you cleanse or ‘shampoo’ it.

Who is it for?

You will benefit the most if you are blessed with Type 3 or 4 hair. This hair type experiences more shrinkage and tends to be more dry. Or if it takes you thirty minutes or more to detangle your hair on wash day. Then incorporating a pre-poo into your wash day routine is going to be a time-saving game-changer!

What is it made of?

A pre-poo can be anything from an oil or hair mask to a deep conditioner.


When using oils, it’s better to use hair-penetrating oils such as babassu and coconut. These will protect both the outer and inner layers of the hair. And also, provide extra moisture to the hair both during and after shampooing.

However, you can’t use just any oils, because not all oils are the same. You need to make sure you use a penetrating oil for pre-pooing, and not a sealing oil.

Allowing it to remain on your hair overnight helps the nourishing oils to penetrate each of your strands for a maximum level of TLC. If you decide to do it overnight, braid your hair in a jumbo braid or in large twists to prevent knots. Cover your hair with a plastic cap and layer a scarf or bonnet over your head. This will keep the treatment from trickling onto your bed sheets as you sleep

Water-based deep conditioners

If you use a water-based deep conditioner, you should use less product than when using it as a mask to deep condition. I prefer to apply anything water based 30-60 minutes before I wash my hair.

You can lightly mist your hair with some warm water before applying the deep conditioner, in order to activate the slip capabilities of the product. The aim is not to wet the hair completely, but to dampen to hydrate.

Caution: Also keep in mind that you can only leave a pre-poo in overnight if you’re using an oil. It’s not recommended to leave a water-based conditioner or hair mask on overnight as a pre-poo. This is because it can quickly and easily lead to hygral fatigue, which can cause damage to the cuticle. And unfortunately, it often can take weeks, if not months to recover from.

After you have let the pre-poo sit in your hair for some time, you can then unravel the jumbo braid/twists, shampoo, condition, and rinse your hair to avoid any product build-up or residue in your hair.

And finally, you can style your hair as desired.

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