A pre poo for low porosity hair may sound excessive because it works better for people with high porosity hair.
But there are situations when the pre poo method can benefit hair with low porosity and actually save you time on wash days!
If you have fine hair:
Deep conditioning after washing may leave your curls feeling over-moisturized, weighed down, and lacking in definition. You can switch the deep conditioning part before your shampoo instead.
If you have dry scalp:
Pre pooing can prevent shampoo from stripping your scalp.
If you have super dry ends:
Applying oil before washing can help seal your fraying ends to keep them nice and tidy.
At the end of the day, it’s all about experimenting and figuring out what works best for your hair and scalp.
What Is the Pre Poo Method?
Pre poo means pre-shampoo. It’s a simple method of applying oil, conditioner, or a combination of both to the hair and scalp to prevent shampoos from stripping out natural moisture.
When you coat your hair before washing, instead of stripping away natural oils, the shampoo will wash away the extra oil coating.
So what’s the point of using shampoo then if it’s not reaching the scalp or hair?
Let me explain …
Have you ever heard of the oil cleansing method?
Oils are excellent at unclogging dirt and buildup from the scalp and hair.
In fact, it is the most popular skin and hair cleansing method used in K-Beauty (Korean Beauty).
By allowing oil to do all the heavy lifting and cleansing in a natural way, you only have to use shampoo to emulsify the oil and rinse it out rather than lathering the surfactants and sulfates for a longer time to cleanse your hair.
The problem is, shampoos contain much more than surfactants and sulfates. They also have other chemicals that add superficial gloss to the hair.
They cleanse, but they also take out a lot from both the hair and scalp leaving both dry, which prompts the scalp to pump out more sebum to rebalance itself.
It’s kind of a vicious cycle of:
Washing – Scalp gets greasy too fast – Needs washing again.
This is where the pre poo treatment helps to maintain a healthy balance.
When you apply oil before shampooing, it’s essentially unclogging dirt and buildup while also nourishing the hair and scalp.
Then the shampoo just ends up washing the extra oil layer, which serves as a protective barrier for your scalp and hair.
In short: Pre pooing is a beneficial treatment to maintain healthy hair and scalp.
But since everyone’s hair is different, it may work differently based on how the cuticle layer responds to the treatment.
Pre Poo for Low For Porosity Hair (Tight Cuticles)
Low porosity hair is resistant to moisturizing products, including oils, because of its tight cuticles that lay flat.
For that reason, most people who have this hair condition experience buildup and product overload.
So this begs the question:Will a pre shampoo routine actually work, or will it just create more buildup?
There are different variations of low porosity hair.
Some people may have thicker hair, some more delicate hair, some may have hair that tangles easily, and some people may experience dryer scalps.
While pre poo treatments may not work well for all, for some, it may just be the perfect preparation for their wash day routine.
When to Pre Poo Low Porosity Hair
So let’s have a look at when pre-pooing works best on low porosity hair.
You have Fine/Thin Hair
Fine hair gets knots and tangles very quickly. On top of that, it’s fragile like glass. As soon as you take a brush to it, you know you’ll end up with some breakage.
A pre-poo oiling routine can help you mitigate hair breakage by adding slip and conditioning to your hair before hitting your shampoo.
Your Scalp is Dry
If your scalp feels dry all the time, shampooing will only make it worse.
Try oil-cleansing your scalp to avoid depending on shampoos as much.
You can leave a pre-poo oil for longer before your wash to ensure the skin layer is well moisturized and protected before cleansing.
I highly recommend Jojoba oil as it has similar properties to natural scalp sebum.
Just apply it to your scalp and cover it with a shower cap. Leave it for about an hour before jumping in the shower.
Your Hair Tangles Badly
If your hair tangles badly after washing and you experience a lot of breakages, pre pooing can help by adding extra slip to your hair to make it easy to detangle when wet.
Look for pre poo detanglers. These oils are excellent at softening the hair to prevent knots and tangles.
You Have Dry Split Ends That Are Overdue a Trim
Split ends, like breakouts and spots, are one of the unavoidable beauty certainties in life. If not trimmed regularly, they can splice towards the middle of your hair, causing longer splits and tangles.
If you don’t have time to go for regular trims, the best thing to do is seal them. At least smoothing them over will make them look tidy and prevent further splitting.
So yeah, this is one way you can use the pre-poo treatment to seal those scraggly ends before manipulating your hair with shampoo and a brush.
It definitely helps.
You Experience Too Much Frizz After Washing
Another problem with frequent shampooing a lot of people struggle with is frizz.
Frizz directly results from moisture imbalance that happens from using shampoos and drying the hair after a shower.
To prevent frizz after showering, boost your hair with extra moisture beforehand.
The extra pre poo oiling treatment can help calm frizz and give thick, coarse, and unruly hair a smoother look.
You Want to Save Time
Believe it or not, this pre-shower routine can help you save a lot of time on wash days.
Most people with natural hair actually pre-poo their hair to avoid deep conditioning after their shower and make light work of the detangling and drying process.
Less frizz, fewer knots, faster hair drying time, no need to moisturize again – the shower prep work will definitely save you a lot of time.
Benefits of Pre-Poo For Low-Porosity Hair
A most important benefit of a pre poo treatment is to shield your hair and scalp from the dehydrating effects of shampoo chemicals.
By doing this, it also opens up a lot more benefits which you wouldn’t think is directly related, but they are:
So here are some of the related benefits:
It Helps maintain Scalp and Hair pH Balance
The pH balance is crucial for maintaining a healthy scalp, which also helps your hair stay healthy and beautiful.
The pH level for hair and scalp should be in the range of 3.5 – 5.5 (acidic).
However, most shampoos have an average pH of 5 – 6.5 due to the mix of chemicals, ingredients, and preservatives added to their formulations.
Therefore, every time you wash your hair, depending on the pH of your shampoo, the pH can go higher.
This is why your hair may feel rough and frizzy after washing because a high pH shampoo (alkaline) will lift the cuticles.
When you pre-poo, you effectively safeguard the pH by layering your scalp and hair with pH-friendly oils. For example, Jojoba oil is in the range of 4 – 5.5.
It Boosts Moisture
Lower porosity hair needs all the moisture it can get.
It doesn’t matter if it’s via a pre-shampoo regimen or post-shampoo deep conditioning. Any moisturizing routine is welcome.
How and when you use it is your choice.
So keep this method in mind when you want to switch things up a little.
It Makes Your Hair Feel Soft
Better moisture quality means softer and smoother hair.
I have to admit, every time I do an overnight pre-poo with a plastic cap on, the next day after washing, my hair feels LUSH!
I simply cannot stop touching and feeling it.
It Helps Protect Damaged Hair
Sometimes you may feel like your hair needs recovery because you’ve been overdoing it on the styling front.
Color treatments, too much heat styling, relaxing treatments can all add up to damage the hair.
If you think your hair needs a little TLC, doing an oil mask before using shampoo will at least stop your hair from getting worse.
Plus, oils are ultra-nourishing. Although they won’t repair hair damage, they can help make the hair feel softer and more manageable.
It Helps With Detangling
Detangle your hair with ease after every shower.
When your hair is soft and has slip, your hairbrush glides without getting stuck.
This is the beauty of the pre-poo method. It preps your hair nicely for detangling.
In fact, for me, it works even better than the average drugstore conditioner.
It Promotes Hair Growth
Fewer tangles, less breakage, sealed ends, and balanced pH all add up to help your hair and scalp maintain a healthy balance.
When your scalp is in good health, it naturally promotes better follicular activity, encouraging growth from the roots.
Moreover, this method also seals your damaged ends to ensure your hair doesn’t break, which encourages length retention.
Pre-poo is essential to your hair care routine when you’re striving for growth and maintaining more lengths.
How to make low porosity hair grow faster
Best Products For Pre Pooing
We’ve concocted all sorts of oils, deep conditioners, herbs, and essential oils to do our pre-poo experiments.
And there are the ones we absolutely love:
Pre Poo Oils For Low Porosity Hair
You’ve most likely heard that heavy oils are not ideal for low porosity curly hair because they can’t penetrate the hair cuticles.
That is correct.
However, the above oils would be used as a pre-poo so they would get washed away regardless. It means that even low porosity hair types can get away using heavy oil such as castor oil to pre-poo.
Pre Poo Conditioners
Do not limit yourself strictly to oils when you decide to pre-poo. Conditioners are also effective at protecting your hair before you shampoo.
Here are some of the conditioners I recommend:
Oil Or Conditioner For Pre Poo?
Oil tends to be more effective. Conditioner is often more than 50% water which means it would not be as effective as using oil to pre-poo.
Another method of action could be mixing both 1 part conditioner and 1 part oil. Add a splash of essential oil or herbs to make it more fun.
Pre Poo Shampoos
The first thing you will want to do with any shampoo is going straight to the ingredients list.
Keep your eyes peeled for damaging ingredients such as sulfates, silicone, paraben, formaldehyde, and triclosan.
Here are the shampoos I recommend:
How To Pre Poo
Section And Apply
To thoroughly saturate every strand with the treatment solution, section off your dry hair and work the pre-poo into each part until it is fully coated.
Taking a wide-tooth comb, work out the tangles in each section after applying the pre-poo. Work from the ends to the roots to avoid damage and make the process easier.
Detangling saves you from post-shower brushing and also ensures evenly distributed treatment.
Let It Sit
Leaving the pre-poo treatment in for at least 30 minutes is a good rule to follow, but if you want heightened results and protection, you could keep it on longer.
For the best results, you can apply on the morning of your wash day and let it sit until the afternoon or whenever you plan on washing.
Rinsing thoroughly, get the shampoo, and work in the length of your hair, followed by a moisturizing conditioner.
How Often To Pre Poo
That is up to you. Some may feel the need before every wash or once a month.
It depends on how your hair feels and looks.
For low porosity hair types, a weekly or bi-weekly pre-poo treatment will provide the best results.
DIY Pre Poo Recipes
Make a dupe in your kitchen for free. Pre poo is one treatment that you can quickly whip up with very few ingredients.
Here are some diy recipes you can try:
Olive Oil and Egg Yolk Pre Poo
- 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of wheat germ oil
- 5 drops of lavender essential oil
- 1 egg yolk
- Whisk the egg yolk in a bowl until it begins to froth
- Add the olive oil and wheat germ oil and whisk again until combined
- Apply to your hair
Coconut Oil and Coconut Milk Pre Pooing Treatment
- Pour a generous amount of coconut oil into a bowl and place in a bigger one of water for about 10 minutes
- Slowly add in coconut milk and stir until smooth
- Add vitamin E oil and stir once more
- Add to spray bottle and apply thoroughly to the hair
This recipe is excellent for people with dry natural hair as it significantly boosts moisture.
Aloe Vera and Coconut Oil Pre Poo
- 4 tablespoons of aloe vera gel
- 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon of argan oil
- 5 drops of vitamin E oil
- 5 drops of lavender essential oil
- Start with a big plastic bowl
- Whisk together the aloe vera, coconut oil, and argan oil
- Mix thoroughly until it becomes smooth and creamy
- Add the vitamin E and Lavender Oil
- Mix again
- Apply the mixture to your hair
- Make sure you coat the ends too
Recipes Credit: HealthyNaturalHairProducts.com
When To Avoid The Pre Poo Treatment
If Your Hair Feels more greasy and weighed down
If you notice that your hair feels weighed down and greasy after a few washes with the pre-poo routine, that can be an indicator that your hair is not liking it.
Perhaps you should take it easy and do it once every 2 weeks to see how your hair responds and then take it from there.
On Co-Wash Days
Don’t do the pre-poo treatment on days you’ve planned to co-wash.
Co-washing combined with pre-shampoo is a lot of product for your hair to cope with. So never mix the two. It’s one or the other.
There are multiple benefits to pre-pooing low porosity hair on your wash day.
The treatment is easy to do, and you can add your own twist to it.
There is no right way or wrong way about doing it.
You can choose any oil, deep conditioner mask, add essential oil or herbs. Use your own initiative to make a routine that works for your hair and scalp.
You can also apply the moisturizing oil overnight if you plan to wash your hair in the morning. Just make sure to cover your hair with a plastic cap to avoid messing up your pillow.
The most important thing to remember is:
Don’t let shampoos disrupt the natural oils balance of your hair and scalp.
Kayla is a self-proclaimed skincare and haircare junkie who loves testing out new products and writing about her experiences. Her bathroom shelves are always overflowing with beauty products. You name it - it's there.