Does pre-poo perplex you? Minimize the stress on your tresses.

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To pre-poo is to perform a restorative treatment on your hair prior to shampooing and keep stress on your hair shaft at bay.

Typical treatments include:

  • oil-based,
  • protein-based, or
  • just plain moisture-enhancing.

Knowing what your hair is lacking prior to wash day will set you on the right path to optimal hair health as you fortify and replenish what is missing.

Assess your tresses.

If your hair is lacking moisture, it will feel dry and brittle. When extended, or elasticity is tested, it will snap off rather than snap back to its original shape.

If your hair is in need of protein, Essence states it will appear limp and dull. Some even say it will have a mushy feel to it. That is the direct result of a moisture/protein imbalance.

Lock moisture in with an oil-based pre poo.

If you’re still pro poo, you’re a perfect candidate for pre-poo. Synthetic shampoos strip the hair and scalp of any natural oils (sebum) generated by the hair follicle. The result of this cleansing can leave your hair feeling dry and thirsty.

As curly-cues, our hair is naturally dry. Since gravity drives sebum down the hair shaft, the bends in our curls make that travel impossible without our purposeful intervention.

A pre-poo oil treatment allows you to coat the full length of your hair and provide a temporary shield of defense against drying. The oil coats your hair to lock in moisture and prevents direct access to the cortex, where natural moisture resides.

Try to think of it like wearing a raincoat during a monsoon. It won’t completely lock out the water but it will keep you more dry than if you hadn’t worn one at all.

If we apply that logic to a pre-poo oil treatment, it will prevent shampoo from completely penetrating your hair shaft and stripping away all natural moisture from your hair. There are a number of different natural oils recommended:

Although there are benefits to the application of any of these oil products, extra virgin coconut oil is said to have the most affinity to the chemical makeup of our hair. Because of this, coconut oil will have an easier time penetrating the cuticle and getting to the cortex where it can do its best work.

Give your keratin a kick with a protein-based pre poo.

Based on the symptoms outlined above, if you think you’re short on protein you need to pre-poo with your keratin in mind.

A couple of good natural choices for a protein boost include:

  • Raw egg wash, especially since egg yolks are high in protein and fat. You can find detailed instructions on how to apply an egg wash here. It also identifies which parts of the egg are best for different hair types
  • Beer, specifically the wheat, malt or hops leftover after the liquid has evaporated is high in protein. Woman’s Day has a recipe you can try.

Pre poo to enhance moisture.

Although oil treatments fall into the moisture-enhancing category, most oil’s don’t actually deposit moisture. They work with your hair’s natural moisture production and lock it in so that it doesn’t get lost or washed away.

The moisture-enhancement we look at here involves using products that will inject moisture into the mix. Some natural products you can use to build moisture-enhancing masks at home include:

Which pre poo is for you?

Depending on your pre-poo needs, your process for application will vary.

If your hair is in the healthy spectrum, your pre-poo intention is likely to maintain the balance you fought so hard to achieve. You’re going to want to use an oil pre-poo that locks in your current moisture. You can perform a heated oil application 30 minutes at the beginning of your hair wash day routine.

If your hair falls into the dry end of the scale, you’ll want to enhance your moisture content. Coconut oil does double duty in enhancing the moisture you have while protecting the protein.

You can also refer to any of the natural hair treatments listed above, particularly an avocado mask. Avocado is said to have an oil chemistry that most closely resembles the oils our skin naturally produces. That implies it will be easy to absorb. Follow the directions associated with the hair treatment you select.

If your hair feels overly mushy and limp, you’re probably in the over-moisturized category and require protein to restore balance to the hair shaft. Applying a raw egg wash or beer treatment will give you the boost your hair is craving.

Pre poo positives.

Inserting a pre-poo stage into your hair care routine will ultimately help you to reclaim control of your mane. The benefits include:

  • A conscious diagnosis of your hair health. It’s easy to fall into a rut with our hair and do the same thing from one wash day to the next. Putting pre-poo on your calendar will remind you to take a good look at how your hair is actually responding to your care.
  • Increased manageability. Since you’re actively restoring what’s lacking in your hair, the improved balance will make your hair more pliable.
  • Less breakage or improved strength and resilience. Adding moisture makes black hair more elastic and less prone to breakage, especially when it is done in moderation. You want to be careful not to over-moisturize and throw your balance out of whack.

Use restraint with your pre poo potions.

The one caution all pre-poo’ers need to keep in mind is balance. Balanced moisture and protein is the key to the healthiest, most responsive hair. One way to keep equilibrium at the forefront of your mind is to mark your pre-poos on your calendar. This way you will have a visual reference to what and when your last treatment was.

Co-washers and no poo’ers can pre poo too.

If you’re a co-washer or no poo’er , you’re not excluded from the pre-poo phase. Make your choice of pre-poo dependent on the cleansing method you are currently using.

You’ll want to be diligent as you assess the current state of your hair health. Remember that co-washers and no poos tend to have milder cleansing agents so some of the pre-poo options may not be necessary for your wash day routine.

There’s a particular no poo’er on who appears to advocate supplementing her baking soda and apple cider vinegar routine with a number of pre-poo treatments.

Rather than applying them right before her no poo wash, she tends to follow a wash day routine that cycles through a variety of treatments.

Remember to be attentive to subtle changes in your hair. In all cases, we need to do what works best for our personal hair care needs.

Have you ever tried a pre-poo? How has adding that step to your wash day routine improved your hair health? In the comments below, give us a rundown on your most effective pre-poo treatments.

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