In my last article, we had a lengthy discussion about wash-day. One of the tips I gave for a successful wash day was to Pre-Poo. The technique has come under harsh criticism by some naturals because they argue that it doesn’t make sense to Pre-poo. They cite that nowadays we have gentler natural hair friendly shampoos therefore we don’t need to protect our hair before. I partly agree and I also disagree; however, I shall delve into the nitty-gritty of pre-pooing to further the discussion.

As a reminder, Pre-poo is a fusion of “words”. Pre is a prefix meaning before and Poo is short for shampoo. It is a hair treatment undertaken before shampooing to prevent the hair from being over stripped by the cleansing action of shampoo. It initially began when there weren’t many natural friendly shampoo products. So the natural hair community began to apply oils on their hair before washing it to safeguard the hair.

Image of SheaMoisture coconuit oil, a comb, conditioner on a blue towel

Coconut oil: Natural hair’s best friend


How do you know that your hair is in need of a pre-poo? I’ll share three instances when you should consider applying the technique:

  • When your hair is feeling dry

Dryness of your hair is an indication that you are lacking moisture and that you may need to nourish your hair.

  • Before washing your hair

If you want to have your hair feeling moisturized after your wash, pre-pooing is a good step to consider because it will prevent your hair from over drying.

  • Before clarifying your hair

Clarifying is when you wash your hair with the aim of getting it squeaky clean to get rid of excess product build up. Pre-pooing is necessary because a clarifying shampoo might be super harsh on your hair.


Oils are best to use when you want to Pre-poo because not only are they natural but they are loaded with nutrients that enrich the hair follicles. There are three oils in particular that are extremely awesome in pre-pooing especially because they are able to penetrate the hair strands making them have an ability to moisturise and nourish the hair strand.

  • Avocado oil
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil

These three oils also double up as super oils for the moisturizing hot oil treatments. I personally refer to my Pre-poo treatment as my hot oil treatment.

Image of Ruth's oil pre poo alongside a black afro comb, hand gloves conditioner all on a blue towel

To Pre-poo or not to pre-poo by Ruth Nyakedondo


I’ll share some simple steps that will help you Pre-poo your hair effectively:

  • Section your dry hair into four (or small sections)
  • Spritz your hair with water or your spray bottle mix
  • Smooth the water into your strands using the praying hands method
  • Spray water to dampness and not soaking wet. This is so that the treatment can be effective
  • Slightly warm the oil in a warm water bath for a few minutes then apply oil to your hair and scalp
  • Repeat the steps on the rest of your hair
  • Cover with a plastic cap and let it sit for about an hour or overnight.


I did a little experiment with some sulphate free shampoos. My findings were that while some were gentle others were not. Which really goes to explain that perhaps pre-pooing is still an critical step in caring for our natural hair. You could choose to look at it as I do, that Pre-poo is a good excuse to squeeze in a hot oil treatment. If you do it as a preventive measure, you will be successful in trying to avoid over stripping your hair.

Do you Pre-poo? Which oils do you use? Have you found pre-pooing helpful for your hair? Let us know in the comments section below:

This article first appeared on Just Her Kenya on 15th September 2017

Ruth Nyakebondo

Ruth is an architectural student by profession as well as a lifestyle blogger. She is excited about natural hair, skin and nutritional health. She shares her passion with readers on the Just Her Kenya website.

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