Here's a hot little tip for ya: Pre-poo treatments—aka those moisturizing and clarifying formulas you work along your scalp and through your hair before you shampoo—are pretty freakin' genius for getting soft, shiny-as-hell hair. According to Jasmine "Jazzee” Santiago, a New York City-based hairstylist and texture expert, pre-poos are great for hydrating, clarifying, and protecting your curls and coils before you kick off your styling routine—and they're super easy to use too.
So if you've been thinking about adding a pre-poo to your haircare lineup and you're not quite sure where to start (or you're looking for ways to level-up your current pre-poo routine), you've officially come to the right place. Ahead, Santiago weighs in on everything you need to know about pre-poos, including the best ones to buy rn, a DIY recipe that works, and a few hacks for getting the most out of your treatment.
What is a pre-poo?
Pre-poos are treatments that go on your hair and scalp before you cleanse and condition. They come in a million varieties—think: masks, oils, scrubs, DIYs—and they can do everything from detangling and moisturizing to clarifying and soothing. The main goal of a pre-poo? Keeping your hair protected and hydrated during your cleansing routine, leaving your texture shinier and softer.
What are the best types of pre-poo treatments?
According to Santiago, there isn't really a one-size-fits-all when it comes to pre-poos. "You first have to think about why you're doing a pre-poo," she says. "Do you want to add moisture to your hair? Do you want to clarify or detox your scalp? You need to figure out your goal before you find the best treatment." In general, you can think of pre-poos as three separate categories: oils, masks/conditioners, and clarifying treatments. Here's when you'll want to look to each:
If the purpose of your pre-poo is to add moisture to your hair, you can't go wrong with an oil treatment. Any hydrating oil will do the trick here, but coconut, argan, olive, and castor are all great options for moisturizing, soothing, and protecting your hair from drying out during the cleansing process. You've got two options when it comes to application: Santiago says you can add a couple drops of oil to your favorite conditioner and smooth it through damp hair or you can massage a teeny bit directly on your scalp and dry hair.
You can leave your oil pre-poo in your hair anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours—and it's never a bad idea to spend 15 minutes or so of your treatment sitting under a bonnet dryer for extra moisture. As long as you follow with a gentle co-wash, conditioner, and the rest of your styling routine, you can't really mess it up. Look towards these bbs if you need some product inspo: