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Your Guide to Pre-Poo for Curly & Natural hair

Heat exposure, chemical treatments and coloring can lead to dry, damaged, or brittle hair.

Silkier, smoother, and healthier hair is just a pre-poo away. Whether you have curly, kinky, or straight hair, incorporating a pre-shampoo routine into your hair care regimen can make a significant difference.

Pre-poo is an abbreviation of the term “pre-shampoo.” It’s a step that some people aren’t familiar with, yet it can do wonders for restoring hair health.

Pre-pooing can do wonders for restoring hair health. Curious? Keep reading to learn more about pre-pooing and our step-by-step plan.

In our comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the what, why, and how of pre-pooing, along with the benefits, different types of pre-poo treatments, and tips for a successful pre-pooing experience.

In this article:

In this article:

What is pre-poo?

First things first. Pre-poo is short for pre-shampoo, meaning it is an extra step that comes before shampooing.

If your hair needs some extra care, deep conditioning might not be enough to revive your locks. You might benefit from incorporating “pre-pooing” into your curly hair care routine.

It is a method of applying a nourishing treatment to the hair before shampooing, that is on your hair for a period of time to work its magic.

The treatment also provides your hair with a protective layer. This is helpful because shampooing can strip moisture from the hair. And applying a conditioner after shampooing isn’t always enough to restore lost moisture.

Some people choose to pre-poo with an oil, others prefer a deep conditioner. These days, there are even specially formulated pre-poo products.

Pre-pooing your hair may sound like an unnecessary extra step, but it’s actually very good for your hair. Because after cleansing with a shampoo, hair can often feel a little too clean.

By using a pre-poo, your cuticles will already have some kind of barrier and so will prevent hair from becoming stripped of natural oils.

In addition, pre-pooing will help to moisturize your hair. The result after a pre-poo treatment will be soft, shiny curls without frizz!

The Benefits of Pre-poo for Curly Hair

Natural curls woman

So the pre-poo method probably is a different routine than you are used to.

But there are many advantages to pre-pooing:

  • Less frizz
  • Shiny hair
  • Less dry hair
  • A healthier scalp
  • More hair growth
  • Makes it easier to detangle hair
  • Less hair loss

Also read: How to use hyaluronic acid for longer and stronger curl

Pre-poo for natural hair

Pre-pooing for natural hair, specifically black, coily, or kinky textures, is a game-changer in the journey to maintain and enhance the health of your unique curls.
Natural hair tends to be more prone to dryness, breakage, and tangling, making pre-poo treatments a crucial step in restoring moisture and fortifying the hair shaft.

The process of applying a nourishing treatment before shampooing provides a protective shield, preventing excessive stripping of natural oils during cleansing.

By choosing pre-poo products tailored to the needs of natural hair, such as hydrating oils, nourishing masks, or even a heavier butter, curlies can experience a significant reduction in breakage, easier detangling, and an overall improvement in the manageability and luster of their beautiful curls.

Incorporating pre-pooing into your regular hair care routine is a simple yet effective way to embrace and celebrate the natural beauty of black, coily, or kinky hair.

Pre-poo for Wavy Hair

Wavy hair, Burnette

Pre-pooing is not exclusive to tight curls and coils; it’s a beneficial hair routine addition for wavy hair as well.

Wavy hair, in the 2A to 2C range, can experience frizz and lack volume without proper hydration.

Pre-poo treatments for wavy hair can include lightweight options such as lighter hair masks, leave-in conditioners, or light oils such as argan or almond oil.

These treatments add a boost of moisture, enhance your natural wave pattern, and contribute to smoother, more manageable waves.

Whether done once a week or as needed, pre-pooing for wavy hair is a fantastic way to maintain the integrity of your waves, providing that extra layer of protection and hydration that is essential for a healthy and vibrant wavy mane.

What Pre-poo Products are Suitable for Curly Hair?

Choosing the right hair products for your pre-poo routine is crucial to achieving the best results.

Various hair products can work well in this pre-shampoo stage, catering to different hair needs and textures.

For those seeking repair and protection, natural oils such as coconut, avocado, almond, and argan oil are excellent choices.

These oils deeply penetrate the hair shaft, providing hydration and aiding in the repair of dry or damaged strands.

Aloe vera gel is another great option, known for its moisturizing properties and effectiveness in soothing the scalp.

Hair butters like shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter, and hemp seed butter work wonders in strengthening the hair shaft, preventing breakage, and promoting overall hair health.

Pre-poo treatments can include deep conditioners, hair masks, or even a combination of conditioner and oil, offering a blend of hydration and nourishment.

There are even specially formulated pre-poo products on the market that are tailored entirely to giving you a nourishing pre-poo treatment.

Experimenting with different products allows you to tailor your pre-poo routine to meet the specific needs of your hair, ensuring a customized and effective approach to achieving healthier, more vibrant locks.

How to pre-poo your hair?

So a pre-poo treatment is, as the name implies, done before shampooing. You can do this half an hour in advance, but also the night before.

The length of time you let it sit depends on how dry or damaged your curls are.

Step 1: Choose the Right Pre-Poo Product

Select a pre-poo product that aligns with your hair type and concerns. Whether it’s an oil like coconut or argan, an aloe vera gel, hair butter, or a combination, ensure it addresses your specific needs, such as hydration, repair, or detangling.

Step 2: Prepare Your Hair

Begin with dry, unwashed hair. Section your hair into manageable parts—usually four to eight sections, depending on your hair’s length and thickness—ensuring even product distribution and ease of application.

Step 3: Apply the Pre-Poo

Generously apply your chosen pre-poo product to each section, covering your hair from roots to ends. Take your time to coat each strand meticulously for optimal results.

Step 4: Detangle Your Hair

After applying your product, detangle your hair using your fingers. Then massage your scalp with circular movements to stimulate blood flow and enhance the pre-poo treatment’s effectiveness.

Step 5: Let It Soak In

Allow the pre-poo product to sit on your hair for a minimum of 30 minutes before shampooing. For enhanced benefits, cover your hair with a shower cap, utilizing the heat to intensify the treatment. If you prefer an overnight pre-poo, wrap your hair with a scarf and wash it in the morning.

Step 6: Rinse and Shampoo

After 30 minutes or the next morning, rinse out the pre-poo product thoroughly. Use a Curly Girl Approved shampoo to wash your hair, ensuring all product residue is removed. In some cases, a second shampoo application may be necessary.

Step 7: Style Your Curls

Once your hair is clean and free from product residue, proceed to style your curls as usual. Your hair is now primed and ready to showcase its natural beauty.

Pre-pooing is a simple yet powerful addition to your hair care routine that can transform the health and appearance of your curly locks.

By following our steps and tailoring your pre-poo routine to your unique hair needs, you’ll be on your way to achieving softer, shinier, and more manageable hair.

Say hello to a healthier curl routine with the addition of pre-pooing!

We are curious to hear how you like our guide to the Pre-poo method and what your experience is. Will you let us know in the comments below? And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!


  1. Hi, after rinsing out the pre-poo and shampooing twice, would you carry on with the hair washing routine as normal, such as using conditioner? Thank you.

    • Hi Heather,

      Thank you for your comment☺️. Yes! You can continue with your usual hair washing routine after the pre-poo and shampoo.


      Crystal from team Kurlify💜

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