What is a Pre-Poo and Pre-Poo Benefits for Natural Hair

If you’ve been through the Natural Hair Acronyms post, you would have probably seen the word pre-poo.

Another phrase for pre-poo is pre-shampoo or pre-wash. Even though it’s popular in the natural hair care world, should you pre-poo your hair?

Is pre-pooing necessary for healthy hair? Are there any benefits to pre-pooing natural hair?

I will answer these questions and more in this two-part series about pre-pooing.

It’s important to be informed about treatments before you decide if applying them to your hair is necessary.

Pre-Poo Benefits for Natural Hair

What’s a Pre-Poo?

A pre-poo is a treatment applied to the hair before shampooing and deep conditioning.

This pre-poo treatment is usually in the form of oils and conditioners. It can also be a mix of the two and herbs and powders can be added as well. 

There are also commercial pre-poos available from many of the companies that manufacture products for natural hair care.

Pre-Poo Benefits

If you’re shampooing the pre-poo out of your hair a short while later, what’s the point of a pre-poo then?

Well, there are actually many benefits to pre-pooing natural hair. 

1. Pre-Poo Aids in Moisture Retention

Natural hair loves moisture. Pre-pooing helps restore lost moisture to very dry hair.

If your hair just won’t play nice in dry or windy weather, a pre-poo might help make a big difference.

2. Pre-Poo Prevents Dry Hair

Shampoos tend to strip the hair including sulphate free ones even though they’re much gentler.

Including a pre-poo in your regimen protects the hair’s natural oils from the stripping effects of the shampoo.

3. Easier to Detangle Hair

A good pre-poo session can make it easier to detangle your hair before shampooing and after deep conditioning.

Applying the pre-poo earlier in the process will help you to work out the knots as well as prevent breakage later on in the process.

4. Softer Hair

Depending on the combination of products you use, pre-pooing over a few sessions can lead to softer and easier-to-style hair.

For my best DIY pre-poo recipes, check out 5 DIY Pre-poo Recipes for Dry Hair.

5. Improves Texture and Feel of Hair

Regular pre-poo sessions improve the texture and feel of hair. It also leads to shinier hair depending on the combination of products you use.

6. Great Way to Get Rid of Conditioners

Stashed up dozens of conditioners and they’re about to expire or you don’t know what to do with them?

Using them as a pre-poo treatment is an ideal way to get rid of them faster so you don’t waste your money.

Though pre-pooing adds an extra layer to your wash day, if you have chronically dry hair, you may want to consider including it in your regimen.

Related Content: Is Co-Washing Good for Natural Hair?

How to Pre-Poo Natural Hair

  • Gather all the ingredients for your pre-poo and mix in a plastic bowl or applicator bottle if in liquid form.
  • Fill a spray bottle with water and lightly dampen your hair then section it into at least 4 sections but more if you prefer.
  • Apply the pre-poo treatment to each section and work through with your fingers gently removing any loose hair and knots then twist and pin up that section.
  • Once complete, cover your hair with a disposable cap or clingfilm and leave it on till it’s time to shampoo.
  • Rinse out the pre-poo treatment before shampooing your hair.

How Long to Pre-Poo Natural Hair?

A good pre-poo session should last at least one hour. However, it can go up to a few hours if you have the time.

Some people even keep it overnight. However, this depends on the product combination. Some conditioners may cause itching if you live it for too long.

For overnight pre-pooing, I prefer using oils instead and a combination of oils and conditioners for a few hours session.

Is a Pre-Poo Necessary?

It is not mandatory to pre-poo before shampooing and deep conditioning. Your hair won’t fall off your head if you choose to opt out of pre-pooing.

However, if you have very dry hair and nothing else is working, this may be good to try out.

A pre-poo session is also very good after taking down extensions.

I share a good oil mix recipe for this in Ultimate Oil Mix for Detangling after Taking Out Extensions.

I highly recommend pre-pooing after taking down extensions. It will make detangling so much easier.

Pre-Poo for Hair Growth

Pre-pooing is great for helping natural hair retain moisture and natural hair needs moisture to thrive.

Dry hair leads to breakage and hair loss but with moistured hair, your hair will thrive and promote more moisture retention and less breakage.

Once the ends of your hair are maintained and prevented from breaking off, the length will start to show.

Do You Wet Your Hair Before Pre-Poo?

You don’t have to wet your hair before pre-pooing but lightly dampening with a water-filled spray bottle will make application easier.

You can also use other products to dampen beside water or a mix of water and something else. I share these products in my best five pre-poo recipes.

Is Pre-Poo the Same as Deep Conditioning?

Nope. Pre-poo is treatment before shampooing to prevent stripping of natural oils.

Deep conditioning is a treatment to balance out the hair after shampooing and put back moisture into the hair.

Deep conditioning enhances what the pre-pooing has done.

What Can Be Used as a Pre-Poo?

You can use an appropriate oil or a conditioner as a pre-poo treatment.

You can also use a combination of the two and some other goodies for your pre-poo treatment.

I will be sharing my best five pre-poo recipes in the next article. Even the dryest hair will love these recipes!

Which Oil is Best for a Pre-Poo?

The most common natural oils used for pre-pooing include coconut oil, olive oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, and castor oil.

Which Conditioner is Best for a Pre-Poo?

You can use pretty much any type of light conditioner you have on hand as a pre-poo.

You can also dilute the conditioner before application. Some common light conditioners include:-

Do not pre-poo with a deep conditioner. This is overkill and a waste of money since you will be deep conditioning later on anyway.

How Often Should You Pre-Poo?

You can pre-poo anytime you plan to shampoo your hair. Remember, shampooing should be kept to a minimum.

If you don’t shampoo as much but still want to get the benefits of a pre-poo, a co-wash is a better option.

You don’t need to pre-poo before a co-wash. This will cause product build-up and require a clarifying shampoo to rectify.

Is Pre-Poo Good for Low Porosity Hair?

Low porosity hair has a hard time letting moisture get into the hair so you should use products that will help raise the cuticle.

While a pe-poo won’t necessarily raise the cuticles on low porosity hair, it can help with softness and detangling.

For best benefits, apply heat for 5 – 10 minutes before rinsing out the pre-poo

Alternatively, you can apply in the morning, pin-up and wear a headwrap for the rest of the day allowing your body heat to work on the pre-poo treatment. 

Is Pre-Poo Good for High Porosity Hair?

High porosity hair has a hard time retaining moisture. A pre-poo treatment is fantastic for high porosity hair.

A pre-poo treatment on high porosity hair helps promote moisture retention.

Unsure if your hair is low porosity or high porosity? Read What is Hair Porosity and How Can You Tell Your Porosity Level?

Related Content

Can You Pre-Poo Relaxed Hair?

You should pre-poo relaxed hair. A relaxer has broken down the structure of the hair strands.

By applying a pre-poo treatment, you can keep your relaxed hair healthier between treatments.

Can You Pre-Poo with a Natural Butter?

While this is not the first thing I would reach for as a pre-poo, I do see an instance where using shea butter, mango butter or similar would work as a pre-poo if heat is applied before shampooing.

I would need to experiment a bit to be certain of this. I will include a recipe I think will work in this case in my next article. 

If you have any more questions about pre-pooing natural hair, ask in the comments section.

In the next article, I will share my best pre-poo recipes including one I use to promote hair growth, recommended pre-poo routines from YouTube, and tips for getting the best out of your pre-poo recipes and wash day.

Basic pre poo recipe for natural hair

Basic Pre-poo Recipe for Natural Hair

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This is a simple and basic pre-poo recipe for natural hair. It's quick and easy to put together. You can then adapt with different products if you prefer.


  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons of sweet almond oil
  • 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
  • 2 teaspoons of vitamin E oil
  • 5 drops of lavender essential


  • Applicator bottle
  • Spray bottle
  • Disposable cap or cling film
  • 8 oz amber bottle


  1. Ope the amber bottle and add in all the oils.
  2. Close and shake.
  3. When you're ready to use, pour the oil you need into the applicator bottle.
  4. Fill the spray bottle with water and lightly dampen your hair then section into at least 4 parts but more if you prefer.
  5. Apply the pre-poo treatment to each section and work through with your fingers gently removing any loose hair and knots then twist and pin-up that section.
  6. Once complete, cover your hair with a disposable cap or clingfilm and leave it on till it’s time to shampoo.
  7. Rinse out the pre-poo treatment before shampooing your hair.

Basic pre poo recipe for natural hair

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