When nat­u­ral­is­tas begin cut­ting cor­ners reg­i­men-wise, typ­i­cal­ly the first thing to fall off is the pre-poo.

Take it from me — I’m a walk­ing exam­ple.

In the crunch to max­i­mize time by allo­cat­ing it to the parts of my wash day that “real­ly mat­ter”, I began neglect­ing my reg­u­lar pre-poo treat­ments. I would skip the pre-poo, and run straight into the show­er and pro­ceed to douse and detan­gle my hair with half a bot­tle of Aussie Moist (the big bot­tle). This worked for a while; until I got tired of buy­ing a new bot­tle of Aussie every week. I start­ed real­iz­ing that my hair wasn’t retain­ing as much mois­ture and would still feel a lit­tle parched even after deep con­di­tion­ing. After a lit­tle brain­storm­ing and eval­u­a­tion, I reached the con­clu­sion that my hair was feel­ing wack because I stopped pre-poo­ing.

So I start­ed back up — and my hair has been on point ever since.

Before I get into the rea­sons why you should pre-poo, let’s back­track a lit­tle and break it down:

Pre-Poo: A pre-sham­poo treat­ment con­sist­ing of  a water-based con­di­tion­er, oil, or DIY blend that is applied to the hair before wash­ing. Pre-poo treat­ments can sit on the hair any­where from 20 min­utes to overnight, depend­ing on the hair’s needs. Your pref­er­ences, hair type, and hair needs will dic­tate what ingre­di­ents or prod­ucts you pre-poo with.

Often times, not pre-poo­ing can be to blame for some of hair’s biggest prob­lems — break­age, dry­ness, brit­tle ends, rough-feel­ing hair, and uncon­trol­lable frizz. If your hair isn’t behav­ing or feel­ing quite like it used to, it may be time to incor­po­rate or re-incor­po­rate the pre-poo into your wash day reg­i­men. Here’s why:

Soft­en­ing and Easy Detan­gling

Dur­ing pre-poo treat­ments the hair soft­ens and becomes coat­ed, which allows for the strands to glide past each oth­er a lot eas­i­er. This in turn makes for eas­i­er detan­gling ses­sions, which not only makes the hair more smooth, it makes your wash day a breeze. Soft, detan­gled tress­es are eas­i­er to man­age dur­ing wash­ing and con­di­tion­ing.

Hydra­tion & Mois­ture Reten­tion Dur­ing Wash Process

In the sum­mer months, con­stant sun expo­sure, pool time, sea salt water breezes and oth­er ele­ments can zap the mois­ture from the hair. Pre-poo treat­ments (when done with oils, con­di­tion­ers, or DIY blends that pen­e­trate the hair) restore hydra­tion lev­els in the hair and help pre­vent mois­ture loss dur­ing wash­ing. The end result? Hair that doesn’t feel stripped after it has been cleaned.

Improved Styling 

Because pre-poo treat­ments help the hair hold on to more mois­ture, styles come out infi­nite­ly bet­ter than they would have oth­er­wise. Whether it be a twist-out or a wash and go, hair that main­tains prop­er mois­ture lev­els always comes out bet­ter. Wash and go’s are less frizzy, and kinks, curls and coils will clump togeth­er for improved def­i­n­i­tion. Twist-outs are plumper and braid­outs will be wavier. Even hair prepped for heat styling will have added pro­tec­tion against heat dam­age, thanks to the main­tained hydra­tion with­in the hair.

Longer Last­ing Strength & Mois­ture

Pre-poo treat­ments that pen­e­trate the hair improve strength by not only for­ti­fy­ing the hair with vit­a­mins and nutri­ents, but by improv­ing elas­tic­i­ty. Addi­tion­al­ly, pre-poo treat­ments aid in mois­ture reten­tion through­out wash day and beyond. Hair will be soft­er, shinier and stronger for longer.

Now that we’ve squared away the ben­e­fits of pre-poo­ing, I’ll share some of my favorite prod­ucts for pre-poo­ing:

  • Vir­gin Unre­fined Coconut Oil
  • Infu­sium 23 Pro-Vit­a­min B5 For­mu­la Leave-In Treat­ment
  • Dar­shana Nat­ur­al Indi­an Hair Oil
  • One n’ Only Argan Oil Restora­tive Mask
  • Pro­claim Argan Oil Intense Hydrat­ing Mask
  • Eva NYC Ther­a­py Ses­sion Hair Mask
  • Sprin­kle with Grace Salt­ed Caramel Deep Con­di­tion­ing Hair Mask
  • Gar­nier Fruc­tis Dam­age Eras­er Strength Recon­struct­ing But­ter
  • Kurlee Belle Banana Nut & Avo­ca­do Deep Treat­ment
    Depend­ing upon my hair’s needs, I rotate between oils and con­di­tion­ers. Right now, since the sun is out more and tem­per­a­tures are warm­ing up (while the air remains dry), I’m com­bin­ing the Infu­sium with con­di­tion­ers for dou­ble duty ben­e­fits.

    Last­ly, a few pre-poo tips:

  • Oil pre-poo treat­ments should sit for a min­i­mum of 30–45 min­utes, but work best when done overnight to allow enough time for full pen­e­tra­tion.
  • Kill two birds with one stone and use your pre-poo prod­uct to gen­tly detan­gle your hair.
  • Pre-poo with heat or steam for added con­di­tion­ing ben­e­fits when pos­si­ble.
  • Have fun! Okay, not real­ly, but you can get tons of things done while pre-poo­ing. I’m not above run­ning errands while pre-poo­ing under a beanie, or while writ­ing blog posts (like now).

    What’s your favorite prod­uct or recipe for pre-poo­ing?

    Christina Patrice

    Born, raised, and liv­ing in Los Ange­les, Christi­na is BGLH’s res­i­dent tran­si­tion­ing expert and prod­uct junkie. In addi­tion to lov­ing all things hair, she is a fit­ness novice and advo­cate of wear­ing san­dals year-round. For more infor­ma­tion on tran­si­tion­ing, nat­ur­al hair, and her own hair jour­ney, vis­it Or, if you like pic­tures fol­low Christi­na on Insta­gram @maneobjective.

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    37 Comments on "9 of the Best Products for Pre-Pooing Natural Hair"

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    Pass The Deutschy
    Great info, I live in Ger­many and it’s hard to get black hair prod­ucts so great to see Gar­nier list­ed as it’s eas­i­ly avail­able. Been on this site most of today and appre­ci­ate the bal­ance of infor­ma­tion here, not just pro­mot­ing prod­ucts specif­i­cal­ly for black hair but prod­ucts that are good full stop -mean­ing I can look after my hair with­out wor­ry­ing I can’t get some­thing spe­cif­ic, mak­ing my hair care rou­tine cheap­er. I’ll be rec­om­mend­ing this site to friends espe­cial­ly as here I have a lot of white friends with mixed chil­dren who ask me for advice. It’s nice… Read more »

    It’s an anti bac­te­r­i­al, cleans­es and stim­u­lates fol­li­cles, increas­es, cir­cu­la­tion to scalp, which all pro­mote healthy hair growth

    Naturally Mia

    Thanks Nic­ki. Help­ful to know. I also just read some­thing that said it helps to get rid of any dirt or fun­gus sham­poo­ing leaves behind.

    Camilla Mills

    Is it okay to add hon­ey and olive oil to my con­di­tion­er for a pre-poo??


    has any­one tried using coconut oil and olive oil togeth­er as a pre poo? If so, would you rec­om­mend it?

    Pass The Deutschy

    I would, OO is dry­ing but CO is mois­tur­is­ing so it will bal­ance out.

    Mitchell Matthew

    im actu­al­ly pre-poo­ing my hair right now. In my spray bot­tle which is a mix­ture of water, olive oil, coconut oil and some sweet almond oil. im also work­ing on mak­ing a mix­ture involv­ing shea moisture’s deep con­di­ti­tion­er


    Yesss!! I would def rec­om­mend coconut oil as a pre­poo. I haven’t tried olive oil as one but I’m pret­ty sure it is just as effec­tive bc both oils are pen­e­trat­ing oils, which means they will enter into the hair shaft vs “coat­ing”.


    Any rea­son why jamaican cas­tor oil is not list­ed here as a pre­ferred pre-poo? Used for my daugh­ter and noticed increased soft­ness. Not sure if there are any sug­ges­tions for the oily pil­low prob­lem. Would a show­er cap under her sleep cap be dis­cour­aged?

    Pass The Deutschy

    Cas­tor oil is da bomb so much bet­ter than olive oil for skin and hair.


    A show­er cap is a great idea!! Plus it would help lock in the heat when paired with a scarf or bon­net. Her hair prob­a­bly would be even more soft­er too!! :)


    I did my big chop 4 months ago and i use coconut oil and cas­tor oil for my pre-poo, i just leave it on over night and wash it off the next day.


    Have been pre poo­ing using dif­fer­ent oils for the last eight months. It is the bomb. My hair has nev­er been so soft


    Dar­shana Nat­ur­al Indi­an Hair Oil for my Pre Poo reg­i­men! Thank You!


    I cow­ash dai­ly in the sum­mer. Should I pre­poo before each cow­ash?


    I just use straight up coconut oil. Just rub and mas­sage mine in from root to tip, fin­ger detan­gle, sec­tion my hair off in 4 big twists, Then I just put a scarf on and go to bed that’s it. All I got­ta do the next day is sham­poo it out. So easy.

    sarah hayes
    I use coconut oil, but I can’t do overnight because the trapped mois­ture makes my psoriasis/seborhic der­mati­tis act up. I end up scratch­ing the entire night so I usu­al­ly do it for about half an hour to an hour. It is great for loos­en­ing the built up flakes. Plus it keeps the med­icat­ed sham­poos I use from strip­ping my hair. Pre­poos are a sta­ple in my hair care reg­i­men. I always detan­gle as I apply the coconut oil for my pre­poo and twist each sec­tion. I then wash and con­di­tion my hair while still in twists to save time and… Read more »

    Unre­fined hemp seed oil can help to get rid of pso­ri­a­sis. You can also ingest it! I use it and I feel so good! Do some research on it and see if you should have a go at it! :)

    Pass The Deutschy

    If you have aller­gies pos­si­bly look at switch­ing the coconut oil as it can flare up aller­gic skin, xx


    I vary my pre-poo based on if I’m using sham­poo or a cleans­ing con­di­tion­er.
    I always use ayurvedic oil with essen­tial oils on my scalp but I’ll use con­di­tion­er on my ends if I’m sham­poo­ing or just oil on my ends if co-cleans­ing.


    I’m not a pre-poo kind of girl but I might try it w/ Vir­gin Coconut oil just for the hell of it.


    I like to pre-poo with olive oil mixed with a few drops of pep­per­mint and rose­mary oil.

    Naturally Mia

    Why pep­per­mint oil?


    This is 6 months lat­er, but pep­per­mint oil can stim­u­late hair growth.


    My cur­rent (first and only, and LOVED) pre-poo is Carol’s Daugh­ter Olive Oil Infu­sion (Khoret Amen smooth­ie and oil). The smell is sooth­ing and warm­ing, my hair detan­gles effort­less­ly with the prod­uct in and even after rinsed/washed out, and it makes my hair sooo soft.


    Quick ques­tion: Where do peo­ple buy coconut oil? I live in Cana­da, btw, but I haven’t seen any in the gro­cery stores

    Naturally Mia

    Where in Cana­da do you live? I live in Toron­to and coconut oil is VERY easy to come across. Just about any­where from your local gro­cery store, health food store, drug store, depart­ment store (i.e. Wal­mart), etc. Just remem­ber to pick up Extra Vir­gin Coconut oil, ide­al­ly that is cold pressed and organ­ic.

    Michelle St.Hill

    I live in BC, Cana­da and have found at Coconut oil in ‘Pres­i­dent Choice’ affil­i­at­ed stores Super­Store, Loblaw, Sobeys, No Frills -, Health food stores and at Costco’s.
    It is usu­al­ly in a jar, not a bot­tle there­fore, not in the oil sec­tion of the super­mar­ket and will be sol­id at nor­mal room tem­per­a­ture, white in colour and when warm it turns to a more liq­uid form. Most Caribbean stores should also car­ry it. If all else fails, Google.
    Hope that helps.

    dapinkboot is the best for coconut oil! They sell 54 fl for $21.99!


    Thanks for all the sug­ges­tions!


    Usu­al­ly in the vit­a­min isle in drug­stores, vit­a­min shops or the good ole Ama­zon site.


    Whole food/organic food stores or in the Asian sec­tion of your local gro­cery stores. You may even try going direct­ly to an Asian super­mar­ket. If all else fails, order online.


    I live in Cana­da too. You can buy coconut oil at health food stores( ex S&H health food), bulk barn, West Indi­an stores, gro­cery stores ex No Frills, and hair store ex Beau­ty Sup­ply Ware­house. Hope this helps


    try any health­food stores, asian super­mar­ket or no frills. if not order them online…


    pre-poo­ing as we speak :3 don’t for­get avo­ca­do oil, espe­cial­ly if your skin or scalp is sen­si­tive to coconut oil


    The Vir­gin Coconut Oil is just awe­some!


    I can’t do the overnight thing so I usu­al­ly pre-poo with a mix­ture of oils for at least 2 hours. I have been doing it almost from the begin­ning of my nat­ur­al hair jour­ney.