The pre-shampoo treatment is an oil treatment you apply several hours before clarifying to protect and soften the hair, however, it is not intended to be used with every wash. For a pre-shampoo treatment, apply a moisturizing oil to the damaged (porous) regions of your hair 2-4 hours before washing (or longer if you prefer to do it overnight).
Moisturizing Oil Recommendations
- Coconut oil
- Fractionated Coconut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Babassu oil
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Palm Kernel oil
Be sure to clarify after you use a pre-shampoo oil. This may seem counterintuitive but by allowing several hours for the oil to absorb, your hair will absorb the oil it needs, and clarifying will help remove excess.
Why do a pre-shampoo treatment?
Before cleansing your hair with a clarifying wash, applying a moisturizing oil will help fill in gaps in the cuticle layer, reducing possible damage from the stripping of the cleansers.
The oil helps prevent the porous regions of your hair from swelling from the intake of water. Hair swelling makes the hair weak and prone to breakage. Pre-shampoo can also help add shine, detangle hair when you wash, soften coarse, wiry hair (ex. gray hair), protect hair from hard water, and improve high elasticity.
To determine how often you should do a pre-shampoo treatment, consider how often you clarify. The more often you clarify, the more often you may want to do this treatment. More coarse hair tends to need this treatment more frequently, while fine hair may rarely find this treatment beneficial. Lastly, those with low porosity hair may only want to use this treatment occasionally or only on the ends of hair with higher porosity.
The pre-shampoo step can also be used before swimming to protect the hair from absorbing too much chlorine or saltwater. The oil will help keep the epicuticle layer filled, reducing the loss of water soluble proteins.
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Basit, Abdul, et al. “Health Improvement of Human Hair and Their Reshaping Using
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