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Heat exposure, chemical treatments, coloring, and poor grooming techniques can all lead to dry, damaged, or brittle hair. In such situations, shampooing and conditioning might not be enough to revive your locks. You might need to incorporate “pre-pooing” into your routine.

Pre-poo is an abbreviation of the term “pre-shampoo.” It’s a step that some people aren’t familiar with, yet it can do wonders for restoring hair health.

Keep reading to learn more about pre-pooing, including benefits, DIY recipes, and how to get started.

Depending on the length and texture of your hair, shampooing and conditioning can be a workout in itself. Incorporating a pre-shampoo routine might seem like more work — but it’s worth the extra effort.

Pre-pooing is the process of applying a treatment to your hair before the actual shampoo process. The treatment provides your hair with a protective layer. This is helpful because shampooing can strip moisture from the hair. And applying a conditioner after shampooing isn’t always enough to restore lost moisture.

People with certain hair textures might be more familiar with pre-pooing, such as those who have curly or kinky hair. But the truth is, anyone can benefit from pre-shampooing. This treatment can have a restorative effect on dry, tangled, and damaged hair.

Benefits of pre-shampooing include:

  • adds extra moisture to dry locks
  • promotes softer, vibrant hair
  • makes it easier to detangle hair
  • boosts the effectiveness of conditioner, resulting in stronger locks and less breakage

The process of pre-shampooing is simple and doesn’t take too much time. Since it occurs before shampooing and conditioning, you’ll apply the pre-poo product to dry hair. This allows the product to coat your strands and lock in moisture before you wet your hair.

Divide and conquer

To make it easier, apply the pre-poo to hair in sections. Divide your hair into four to eight sections depending on length and thickness. This makes it easier to distribute the product evenly over your strands. Coat your hair with the product from roots to ends.

Detangle the tangles

Once you’ve applied the product to each section, use a wide tooth comb to carefully detangle each section.

Soak it in

As a general rule of thumb, leave the pre-poo product on your hair for at least 30 minutes before shampooing. Of course, the longer you pre-poo, the better.

If you prefer, pre-poo earlier in the day, and wash your hair several hours later. Or, do an overnight pre-poo. This involves applying the protective product on your hair at night, wrapping your hair with a scarf, and washing in the morning.

The longer you leave the pre-poo product on your strands, the softer and shinier your hair will be.

Wash, condition, and rinse thoroughly

Once you’ve finished pre-pooing, wash and condition your hair as normal. Be sure to rinse your hair thoroughly to avoid product residue.

There are no hard and fast rules regarding the type of pre-shampoo product to use. Some people use oils like olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil. Others prefer aloe vera, mango butter, and even regular conditioner, either alone or combined with an oil.

Regardless of the product, you can pre-poo as often as needed based on the overall condition of your hair.

Although your choice of pre-poo is based on preference, some products are better for certain hair types. You can pre-poo before every shampoo or once or twice a week.

Pre-poo oils

Pre-pooing with oils is effective if you’re looking to add extra moisture to curly or straight hair.

Oils help repair dryness and damage caused by heat, chemicals, or coloring. And since oils don’t easily rinse away after shampooing, much of the oil will remain on your hair after washing, giving you a huge moisture boost.

Pre-poo oils include:

  • coconut oil
  • avocado oil
  • almond oil
  • argan oil

Pre-poo aloe vera gel

Pre-pooing with aloe vera gel is another option for dry strands since it increases moisture, too. Aloe vera is also helpful if you’re struggling with dandruff. Not only can aloe vera reduce inflammation and itchiness caused by dandruff, its antifungal properties can help prevent dandruff.

Pre-poo butters

Hair butters like shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter, and hempseed butter help strengthen the hair shaft and prevent hair breakage caused by heat, coloring, or chemical treatments.

These pre-poo products can also rebuild damaged hair follicles, promoting hair growth and fullness. Along with strengthening hair, these butters provide a moisture boost for shinier, softer hair.

You can make your own pre-poo using ingredients in your kitchen. Here are two of our favorites.

1. Banana pre-poo

Bananas contain potassium, which can stop hair loss. They also contain natural oils to soften and moisturize hair. This pre-poo recipe can help stop frizz, and repair split ends and other hair damage.


  1. To get started, mash or blend 1 ripe banana.
  2. Combine the banana with 2 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil.
  3. Mix well and apply the banana pre-poo to pre-divided sections of hair.
  4. Allow the pre-poo to sit on your hair for at least 30 minutes before washing and conditioning.
  5. Complete this treatment 1 to 3 times a week.

2. Egg pre-poo

The eggs in this pre-poo recipe can act as a protein treatment to strengthen weak, brittle, or damaged hair. Protein prevents hair breakage, repairs damage, and strengthens strands.


  1. To get started, beat 1 to 3 eggs, depending on the length of your hair and how much pre-poo you’ll need to cover it.
  2. Combine the eggs with 1 tbsp. of honey and 2 tbsp. of olive oil.
  3. Section your hair and evenly distribute the mixture over your strands.
  4. Allow the pre-poo to sit on your hair for at least 30 minutes before washing and shampooing.
  5. Complete this treatment at least once a week.

If you don’t have time to make your own pre-poo products, here’s a look at three over-the-counter (OTC) products you can try:

1. Kiehl’s Rice and Wheat Volumizing Conditioning Rinse

This product is infused with pure honey, jojoba seed, and rice bran for healthier, softer, and thicker hair. It’s great for detangling and reviving lifeless hair. You can also use this product to repair dry hair, frizziness, and split ends.

Apply the product to hair for at least 30 minutes, and then shampoo and re-condition as normal. Use daily, if needed.

Shop for Kiehl’s Rice and Wheat Volumizing Conditioning Rinse online.

2. DevaCurl Wash Day Wonder

This product is another option for straight or curly hair that’s dry or tangles easily after washing. It’s formulated with ingredients like wheat and soy to restore moisture and hydration, leaving your hair shinier and softer.

Apply to hair before shampooing. Use daily, if needed.

Shop for DevaCurl Wash Day Wonder online.

3. Burt’s Bee Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment

This pre-wash treatment contains olive oil, almond oil, rosemary, and avocado oil. These oils help to moisturize and hydrate severely damaged hair, possibly due to color treatments, heat damage, or chemical treatments. The oils also help lock in moisture, resulting in shinier, more vibrant hair.

Allow the product to sit on your hair for 5 to 20 minutes before washing and conditioning. Use once a week.

Shop for Burt’s Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment online.

Healthy hair starts with a good hair care routine, which not only includes shampooing and conditioning, but also pre-poo or pre-shampoo treatments.

Whether you’re trying to repair dry hair, overprocessed hair, or brittle and broken hair, applying a protective treatment before shampooing can result in stronger, softer strands.