September 11, 2020

What Does It Mean To Pre-Poo? The Basics Of Pre-Pooing Explained

If you’re interested in natural and CG haircare, then you’ve probably heard the term pre-poo (or prepoo). It may sound like another one of those strange CG terms that get used to describe CG-specific methods (squish to condish, anyone?), and that’s because it is. The concept of prepoo, just like many other CG-specific methods, came to be due to the fact that naturally curly hair is dryer than straight hair, and as a result requires much more care at practically every step. So what exactly is pre-poo, and why do curlies all over the world choose to adopt it as part of their curly routine? Keep reading for a short overview of what pre-poo is, why it’s done, and how you can do it yourself.

prepoo treatment

What Is A Pre-Poo?

Pre-poo is a step in your wash routine, rather than a particular product. As its name suggests, it is intended to protect your hair prior in preparation for a wash (pre-poo = pre shampoo). As all curlies know, wash day can be a bit rough on your curls, even if you choose a low- or no-poo (or co-wash) routine. Curlies have developed the prepoo method to combat the seemingly inevitable dryness that comes with wash day. So how does it work?  The idea behind pre-poo is to saturate your hair with moisture before you subject it to hot water, detergents, and surfactants that can strip away its natural moisture.

prepoo for natural hair

What Do You Use To Pre-Poo?

A pre-poo treatment can be done with any moisturizing product, which can be anything from your regular conditioner, to a hair mask, to a pre-poo with oil. The idea behind a prepoo treatment is to allow your hair to soak in as much nourishment and moisture as possible prior to washing, giving it a buffer of moisture before it is subjected to surfactants and detergents that can strip away a significant portion of its natural moisture. When selecting a pre-poo product, don’t be afraid to reach for heavier products, such as butters and oils. This is especially true if you’re pre-pooing natural hair, which often requires even more moisture than looser curl patterns and waves.

how to prepoo

How Do You Pre-Poo?

As mentioned before, pre-pooing is done before washing your hair, so plan your wash day in advance to allow for about an hour devoted to pre-pooing. Your pre-poo treatment product of choice should be applied to dry hair, and at least 30 minutes prior to washing to allow it to absorb into your hair. To encourage better product absorption, plop your hair in a warm microfiber towel, greenhouse your hair with a shower cap, or even use a deep conditioning heat cap if you have one. Let the prepoo product absorb into your hair for as long as you can, and then proceed to wash as usual.

prepoo explained

How Often Should You Pre-Poo?

Ideally, pre-pooing should be done ahead of every wash. Wash day is a lengthy and labor-intensive event for all curlies, and dedicating an extra hour or so just for a pre-poo might seem like a lot, but it will be well worth it in the end. Your hair will be healthier and shinier, and bounce back from its wash faster than it would without the help of a prepoo.


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