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What Exactly Is ‘Pre-Poo’ and Does Your Natural Hair Need It?

Hair care used to be so simple. Shampoo, conditioner, a couple of styling products, and you’re good to go. Now that natural hair care is a precise and sophisticated science, extra steps like “pre-pooing” are common. If you’re unsure whether you need to pre-poo your hair, how to pre-poo your hair, or what “pre-poo” even means – you’ve come to the right place.

Pre-poo is short for pre-shampoo. To pre-poo your hair, you apply nourishing products before you apply shampoo.

Do I need to pre-poo my hair?

Pre-pooing can seriously improve the texture and health of your hair. If you do it on a regular basis, your hair will become noticeably softer and stronger. However, it’s not necessary to pre-poo every single time you wash your hair.

Think of pre-pooing as a way to take your hair from “normal” to “wow.”

How does pre-pooing benefit the hair?

There are two main reasons that people pre-poo.

  1. Extra moisture. Shampoos are often quite drying, and they can strip your hair of its natural oils. Pre-pooing prevents that by providing an extra layer of protection.
  2. Detangling. Another benefit of pre-pooing is that it provides an easy opportunity to comb out all those tangles and knots and remove shed hair. When you wash your hair afterward, it’ll take much, much less time.
How do I pre-poo? What should I use to pre-poo?

You can go two ways: DIY or store-bought. Either way, a good pre-poo has moisturizing, natural ingredients, such as:

  • Natural oils, such as olive, coconut, or jojoba.
  • Aloe vera gel or juice – the more raw, the better.
  • Honey.
  • Essential oils.
  • Protein – if your hair needs extra protein, a pre-poo is a great time to add it to your routine.

You can use your favorite deep conditioner or masque as a pre-poo, too.

If you’d like to buy a store-bought pre-poo, try the Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Pre-Shampoo Treatment. If you’d like to make your own, a simple combo of olive oil and all-natural aloe vera gel will do wonders.

Whatever you use, make sure to apply evenly from root to tip.

When should I pre-poo?

It’s best to let the pre-poo soak into your hair overnight. However, not all of us plan that far ahead! Even if you only apply pre-poo 15 minutes before washing your hair, you’ll still see some benefits.


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