Growing your hair? How to pre-poo to strengthen up those strands

If you’re not familiar with the term “pre-poo” you might just raise an eyebrow when you hear it! This (unfortunately named) hair care method can be a secret weapon if you’re trying to grow your hair. Or if it’s feeling very dry. Or if you’ve been changing the colour a lot want healthy hair again.

The best thing is that the no-poo method is really easy to do.

For anyone who really struggles with knotty hair, learning how to pre-poo can save you some time in the shower, which in turn, saves some water. This is because most of the detangling happens before you even get it in. 

(And we all know that saving water is important because it’s essential to our life on earth! Each minute of showering uses about 9.5 litres, so showering for 5 minutes or less is a good way to save water.)

So what is pre-pooing?

Remember doing VO5 Hot Oil treatments with mum as a kid? That is a kind of pre-poo. Those do come in little plastic single-shot tubes, but thankfully there are now more sustainable ways to pre-poo that don’t involve single use plastics. 

Pre-poo means applying some kind of hair treatment right before you shampoo it. Usually a hair oil or a conditioner of some kind. You can use your plastic free hair care products of choice to do it the eco friendly way.

Why a pre-poo is good for your hair

If your hair is very dry or you feel it looks dull, a pre-poo will do you good. And if you have hair that’s damaged and prone to breakage... absolutely yes! The 'slip' that an oil or conditioner will add to hair makes detangling a whole lot easier, which protects weaker hair when it’s being combed.

The pre-poo method will protect your hair before a wash. While shampooing wet hair isn't overly damaging, the act of washing your hair does cause the cuticle and hair shaft to expand and contract as the water makes it swell. The pre-poo method minimises friction and keeps the cuticle smoother. The hair then appears shiner and feels softer afterwards. 

What to use when you pre-poo to keep your hair healthy

There are basically three things you could use when you pre-poo – hair oil, a conditioner or aloe vera gel.

Aloe vera gel is great for hair types that don’t get on well with oils. It’s a brilliant moisturiser for hair. It’s also anti fungal and antimicrobial so it’s great for sorting out scalp issues (which is why it’s in all of our sulphate free shampoos). You can usually get aloe vera gel in health food shops, or you can actually use the plant itself if you want to do it plastic free. Just cut off a leaf and scrape the gel out.

For anyone with a dry or itchy scalp, you can’t go wrong with our Pre-shampoo Treatment Oil. It has a blend of plant oils that are nourishing to the scalp and hair, including argan oil, olive oil, coconut oil, pomegranate seed oil. And a specially formulated herbal blend of essential oils including clary sage, bay, ylang ylang and lavender that are calming on the scalp and promote healthy hair.

If you have very sensitive skin, you would be better off using our Natural Beauty Oil as it very hair friendly but also is fragrance free, which means it has less potential allergens.  

Oils are great at smoothing and protecting the hair, and will seal it to maintain moisture levels but they do not add any moisture into the hair.

If you have very dry hair and would like to add moisture, use a conditioner. Our award-winning refillable Treatment Conditioner is perfect for pre-poo for all hair types. It has wheat protein in which helps smooth damaged cuticles and is the ‘strongest’ of our range of conditioners. Although it is a heavy conditioner, when applied properly to the hair as a pre-poo treatment it is suitable for all hair types (including very fine hair) as it is left in to work it’s moisturising magic and then any residue is washed away afterwards.

How to pre-poo correctly by applying the products properly

Divide your hair into four sections by parting it all the way down the middle from front to nape, then from the top of your head to your ears. If you have particularly thick hair, divide and clip it into more sections. 

Dampen each section with a mist of water. This is where empty Hairy Jayne hair perfume bottles come in very handy as they can be repurposed as misters. 

Apply your chosen product to dampened sections as the product will seal some of the moisture in. Cover well with product from root to tip. If using a oil, you can apply it to the scalp, too.

Detangle the hair in each section as you go along. Use your fingers or a wide-tooth Detangling Comb. Cover your hair with a shower cap or Hair Towel and leave it in your hair for 20-30 minutes. This is how long it takes to soak in and penetrate under the cuticle.

Top tip: you can even pre-poo overnight by applying the product, wrapping your hair and going to bed if that fits in better with your daily routine. 

Whenever you’re ready, rinse with warm water and shampoo and condition as you normally would do.

It’s a win-win for all hair types

So now you know how to pre-poo but there are no hard and fast rules about which hair type should use which product or how often to do it. There’s no real danger of overdoing it and weighing your hair down as any residual gel, oil or conditioner is washed out of your hair afterwards.

The result will always be stronger, shinier and softer hair with less breakage. 

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