This post has been a long time coming–like three months long time coming [insert shame face here]. But since I’ve slightly altered my regimen from the first time I experimented with the pre-poo, I’m going to summarize my review of the initial product combination I tried and update what my actual pre-poo regimen is today.
What is a Pre-Poo?
Why, I’m glad you asked! Pre-pooing refers to the process of applying oils and/or conditioners to the hair before shampooing. If your hair is low porosity like mine and has a hard time allowing moisture in, a heat source can be used to help the oils and/or conditioners (sometimes a combination of both) penetrate the hair.
What Are the Benefits of Pre-pooing?
Well, as long as you don’t use a stripping shampoo post pre-poo, the process allows the hair to retain more moisture even after shampooing. Depending on your hair type, this may allow you to (1) skip a deep conditioner if you’re in a rush or just feeling lazy (though I wouldn’t recommend it), or (2) streamline the detangling phase of your wash day.
My First Pre-Poo Experience
My transitioning hair is difficult to detangle–mostly at the line of demarcation. I switched from a stripping shampoo to one without sulfates, parabens, silicones, etc. and it helped. But detangling still took a long time. So, I decided to try a pre-poo.
There are so many product combinations available online to concoct “the perfect pre-poo,” but I decided to keep it simple for this first go around. Since I like Shea Moisture products (no, I’m not being sponsored), I figured I’d start there. Here’s what I started out with:
- Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque
- Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner
- A rat tail comb
I decided on this line because it’s supposed to be beneficial for dry, damaged and transitioning hair. The line features shea butter, sea kelp, and argan oil.
Shea butter is an off-white or ivory-colored (sometimes yellow) fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. It is a triglyceride (which is just a fat) derived mainly from stearic acid and oleic acid (fatty acids that occur naturally in various animal and vegetable fats and oils). Shea butter also has anti-inflammatory, emollient and humectant properties, making it a super sealer. It is not really a moisturizer, as a lot of people assume. It has moisturizing properties because it both seals in moisture in the hair and attracts moisture to the hair shaft as a humectant. It’s also good for the skin and is edible (in it’s raw form).
Sea kelp is essentially seaweed that absorbs a host of nutrients and minerals around it from the water. Sea kelp supports the pituitary and the thyroid glands, which stimulate hair growth. It’s mineral-rich nature also has the ability to smooth the hair cuticle.
Argan oil gained a lot of popularity over the last couple of years. It is best known for its light moisturizing properties and immense shine. It has the ability to tame frizz and, if your hair is a looser curl pattern, act as a styling agent.
Using the rat tail comb, I sectioned my hair into six parts and applied about a tablespoon of each product (the masque and the conditioner) onto each section. As I applied the products, I lightly finger detangled the section of hair. This combination provided some slip, but it certainly wasn’t close to some silicone-infused conditioners that I’ve used in the past. On the upside, this line of products smells phenomenal!
After I saturated each section with the combo, I twisted the section, then rolled into into a small bantu knot.
As I mentioned earlier, my natural hair is low porosity, therefore, I need some form of heat for moisture to penetrate my hair. In trying to be “a good natural,” I wanted to avoid as much heat as much as possible (though, I don’t much subscribe to this line of thinking anymore), so I opted for body heat. I placed a plastic shower cap over my hair, wrapped it up in a towel and let the product work through my mane for about thirty minutes.
The results were fine, but for some reason, I wasn’t entirely impressed with the combination of products that I used. Yes, my hair was softer–I started on hair that I just took out of crochet braids, and the visual difference before I ever got my hair wet was obvious. However, my relaxed ends seemed to prefer the treatment more than my natural hair. Maybe it’s because that’s technically the damaged part of my hair? Either way, I expected better moisturizing for my natural hair. I suppose it did the job, but I was expecting…more? I don’t know.
My Updated Pre-Poo Regimen
After a few months of experimentation, it turns out that my hair just didn’t like the combination with the Restorative Conditioner. My hair also needs heat for penetration–not just body heat, actual heat. It just goes to show that the “rules of natural hair care” should be treated more like guidelines. So, I replaced the conditioner with unrefined, organic coconut oil and exchanged the towel for a soft bonnet hair dryer. The process otherwise remained the same and both parts of my hair feel the difference!
Do you pre-poo? Are you planning on trying it? I would love to hear about your experiences! Share below. 🙂