Pre-conditioning your hair is also known as a “pre-poo”. This is basically the process of pre-softening, conditioning and preparing the hair prior the cleansing process, which can be stressful on very coily hair.
Naturally, our bodies produce sebum to lubricate our hair and scalp, correct? When we cleanse our hair with detergents it strips the natural protective layer of sebum we have which can lead to dry or dehydrated scalp and hair. Our natural pH is also altered when we do this which can also result in dry hair and scalp. The combination of dryness and elevated pH can also lead to frizzy hair. This is why for some hair types, cleansing followed by conditioning alone is not effective in maintaining proper moisture levels.
You can pre-condition with one oil like coconut oil or you can make a simple cocktail of nutritious goodies for your hair. I prefer the simple and nutritious cocktail way! I like for my personal recipes to consist of a fatty base, a carrier oil and an essential oil. Why, you ask?
1. Fatty/thick base – Avocado (my favorite!), palm oil, honey, full fat yogurt.
- These work to help soften the cuticle of the hair. They are thicker and will help coat the hair as well. Thicker oils are great lubricants for the friction involved in the anticipated cleansing.
- These oils have smaller nutrient chains that can penetrate the hair even easier once the cuticle is softened. They also “carry” the benefits of the essential oils to the hair and body.
3. Essential oil – Rosemary oil, peppermint oil, lemongrass oil, tea tree oil.
- These are oil pressed from different herbs, flowers, plants and fruits. They have many therapeutic and healing properties for the scalp and follicle and are also beneficial for the hair. They are in concentrated form and can be delivered to the body by adding drops to a carrier oil.
You can pre-condition before every cleansing. I prefer doing it every few cleansings. I usually leave it on for an hour or so covered with a processing cap. I found that a no or low lather cleanser is best for my hair so I opt for the low lather when I precondition. I follow with small amount of a natural commercial conditioner like Giovanni or Shea Moisture. My final step is to use my pH balancing treatment and then I rinse lightly with lukewarm water.
You can use any combination of these and a variety of many more oils. I just listed the few that I use regularly but you can try any of your favorite oils. Take a look at a few of the pre-conditioning recipes that I have tried under the Deep Conditioners category! I would love to hear what you tried and how it worked for you!