What Is A Pre-Shampoo Treatment And Do I Need One?

We’ll take a wild guess and assume that washing your hair probably isn’t your favourite task. For that, we forgive you for initially rolling your eyes as we suggest yet another hair care step, but stay with us — it might just be the routine transformation you were looking for. Today we’re talking: pre-shampoo treatments. Although it might feel like an unnecessary addition to your scalp care routine, scalp experts would argue that pre-shampoo treatments can perform a job unlike any other step, transforming dull, dry, or damaged hair to longer, stronger, and cleaner feeling. Some of these treatments also work to exfoliate your skin, boosting circulation which can improve the overall health of your hair, making them well worth the effort. We’re going to break down everything you need to know about pre-shampoo treatments, plus compile the very best ones that will give you great hair, guaranteed. 

What is a pre-shampoo treatment?

A pre-shampoo treatment (also referred to as a pre-poo) is exactly what it says on the tin, a treatment that is applied to the hair before jumping into the shower to give your hair a good suds and rinse. They are ultra-potent to deliver an intensive boost in hydration, shine, or exfoliation. For a lot of people, pre-shampoos are easier than masks because you don’t have to faff around with getting in and out of the shower or leaning over the bath. 

You can find pre-shampoo treatments in various forms, including serums, tonics, masks, oils, scrubs, and sprays — you name it, there’s a pre-poo for you. 

What does a pre-shampoo treatment do?

It depends which treatment you opt for but the reason for using one is to essentially give your hair that extra boost of hydration or protection, which your regular shampoo and conditioner can’t give it. 

The main pre-shampoo treatments aim to do one of five things, though some products will give you a few benefits in one. These include: add hydration to dry ends, deep clean your scalp (ridding product build-up), bond-building for damaged strands, define coils and curls, and even to inject salon-worthy shine back into your colour. 

Do pre-shampoo treatments work for all hair types?

Let’s clear something up: there are few things in beauty you absolutely need. It’s more about whether you want to add it into your routine and see the benefits from it. Some hair types do, however, need more moisture than others; those with Afro hair have been pre-pooing long before it became trendy on TikTok, reaping the benefits of extra hydration. 

The best pre-shampoo treatments...

1. For heat-treated hair

Reverse heat damage with this nourishing serum, powered by healing natural ingredients including hydrating palmetto and tea tree to strengthen and hydrate your hair while preventing breakages. Say goodbye to split ends and hello to silky-soft strands.

2. For curly hair

Curls often need extra TLC to maintain moisture and keep them looking bouncy. Each ampoule of this hot oil treatment gives the ideal amount of the potent formula, which detangles and defines. 

3. For greasy hair

Greasy hair can be the result of many factors, including product build-up and excess oil production — and your regular shampoo might not be cutting it. That’s where this exfoliating scalp serum comes in, packed full of ingredients like salicylic acid to clear dead skin cells and reduce the appearance of dandruff. 

4. For dry hair

Perfect for hair craving a hydration hit, this milky hair and scalp serum is the way towards healthy looking, silky hair. Formulated with naturally moisturising ingredients including hyaluronic acid which works to hydrate your scalp and locks, this serum will put the days of dry, dull hair behind you.

5. For thinning hair

Often with thinning hair, it can seem counterintuitive to disrupt the scalp by giving it a good scrub, but this can actually stimulate growth. The trick is choosing the right products. This scrub is gentle enough not to cause damage, but powerful enough to expertly exfoliate and nourish the scalp, whilst adding bounce to your roots.  

Achieve hair that speaks volumes with this growth boosting pre-wash treatment, designed to revitalise the scalp and stimulate hair growth. Enriched with nourishing rosemary and thyme praised for their ability to lengthen hair and reduce hair loss, get ready for a healthy hair affair. 

6. For damaged hair

Damaged hair (from heat styling or colouring) needs some dedicated love to keep it looking and feeling its best. That’s where smart pre-wash hair and scalp treatments come in. Designed to add thickness to hair while promoting a healthy, nourished scalp, this rejuvenating oil helps to make every day a great hair day.

7. For an irritated scalp

It can seem near impossible to rid a dry, itchy, flaking scalp when you’ve tried every shampoo under the sun, but the results of applying a calming tonic might surprise you. Formulated with soothing oat extract and probiotics to calm inflammation, this serum works wonders. Plus, its handy nozzle means you can be precise with application. 

Add a touch of calm to your haircare routine with this tonic, designed to promote scalp health and inject hydration and balance into your hair. Powered by smoothing niacinamide and hydrating hyaluronic acid, this treatment will soothe and protect against dry and irritated skin, creating the perfect environment for healthy hair to flourish.

FYI: This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.