What is to Pre-Poo, Why is it Important On 4C Hair?

Beatrice Ntengeri4C Hair8 Comments


Do you know what it means when someone mentions the word ‘pre-poo’? Have you ever tried this type of treatment on your natural hair? Why is it important ?

In this article I will explain what it means to pre-poo hair, go into details of its benefits, popular pre-poos you can use and finally share DIY pre-poo recipes you can make at home.

What is to Pre-poo?

Pre-Poo is the process of treating hair with an oil, a conditioner or a mix of both in preparation of shampooing the hair.

The purpose of the Pre-Poo process is to protect and strengthen hair from the stripping/harsh effects of the shampooing process.

Benefits of pre-pooing include: protecting hair from the harsh shampoo process, improves manageability by softening the hair, restores moisture and shine and it makes the detangling process easier. The term pre-poo is an abbreviation of pre-shampoo.

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Benefits of Pre-pooing 4C hair

Protects the hair from the harsh shampoo process

After you have completely washed off shampoo, do you get the dry, frizzy effect?

The shampoo process in most cases leaves your hair stressed.  The process stresses your hair in many ways: Over-manipulation during the washing process, striping off of the natural hair oils and altering the natural PH of your hair.

Adding an extra step of pre-pooing in your wash day routine prepares your hair for the process by preventing it from the adverse effects of the process: dryness and excessive shedding.

Improves manageability by softening hair

The oils or conditioners used to pre-poo lubricates, moisturizes and conditions the hair making it soft and easy to manage during the washing process.  

Makes detangling easier

Oils or conditioners used in a pre-poo give the hair slip making the detangling process easier. The pre-poo used also helps to prevent subsequent tangles and knots that may result from the washing process.  

Restores moisture

4C hair is prone to dryness inherently due to the structure of the hair strands which lose moisture very quickly. Dryness can also be as a result of other factors such as heat, wind, salty water and sun.

It’s therefore important to restore moisture to your hair before beginning the shampoo process. Giving your hair a pre-poo treatment fills gaps in the hair strands as oils/conditioners used work in helping your hair retain extra moisture.  They also provide a barrier from further moisture loss during the shampooing process. 

Restores shine

Regular shampoos have a cleansing effect that almost completely removes natural oils which are responsible for the natural hair sheen. Pre-poo treatments help in protecting the hair against this effect.

Helps reduce hair loss

When hair is wet the hair cuticle absorbs a lot of water making its roots expand. This causes a lot of imbalance on the hair strand as the upper part of the hair strand doesn’t expand. The state of imbalance of the hair makes it susceptible to breakage.

Giving hair an oil or conditioner treatment before making it damp for shampooing reduces hair breakage/loss as it reduces the rate at which the hair cuticle absorbs water.

Keeps your hair healthy.

Adding oils to hair is similar to feeding when one eats to acquire nutrients. Oils have different nutritional contents. When you add them to your hair it acquires the nutritional value of the oils. This works well in helping your hair look at its best.

Improves hair growth and volume.

Oils e.g. castor oil contains vitamin E and fatty acids which really help in hair growth. Coconut oil works well in increasing the thickness of your hair strands helping increasing your total hair volume.

It improves your hair’s natural gloss and feel.

Once you complete your wash day routine having included pre-poo treatment you will notice a significant change in how your hair feels and looks.

Popular Pre Poos For Natural Hair

1. Olive Oil

Olive oil is a heavy oil with great benefits to your hair. It helps coat dry and damaged hair shafts. It increases moisture and elasticity of the hair. It plays an important role of giving you a healthy scalp and hair roots. Olive oil can also act as a sealant after application of your moisturizer as a base.

2 . Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is among the preferred oils that can be used as a pre-poo due to its ability to penetrates the hair shaft better than any other oil. It contains small amount of protein which is good for women who need a minor protein boost without overdoing it. It reduces dandruff, moisturizes, adds shine and thickens hair strands.

3. Honey

Honey is full of antioxidants and nutrients which nourish hair follicles hence promoting growth. It also attracts moisture leading to moisture balance and retention. Honey requires a medium to help it spread, these mediums should preferably be natural. They include: water, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and coconut oil.

4 . Avocado

This fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals and protein. These components work well in increasing your hairs growth rate, fighting dandruffs, moisturizing hair and increasing shine. Concentration of monounsaturated fatty acids in avocado is more than it is in extra virgin olive oil this makes it good for pre-poo.

5. Whole Fat Yoghurt

Going by experiments on my natural hair I have realized that whole fat yoghurt nourishes and moisturizes hair making it less prone to tangle and smooth. Whole fat yoghurt does well in fighting dandruff and promoting hair shine.

6. Oil Blends

Using oil blends has much more advantage as compared to using a single oil. This is because it combines the unique advantages of individual oils used making your hair acquire a wholesome package of nutrients in one.

7. Hot Oil Treatment

For this kind of treatment, you can use coconut oil, olive oil or avocado oil. After gently heating the oil apply the oil on your hair while giving your scalp a massage to enable even distribution. Proceed to cover the hair to avoid losing heat and let it stay overnight before you shampoo the hair.

8 . Store bought masks

These products are readily available in hair and beauty stores, supermarkets and online shops.  It is important to understand what your hair needs before choosing any product for your hair. You could use store bought read-made masks especially when time is a limiting factor. After picking a product of your choice you could use it by itself or blend it with any other oil or oils as per what suits you.

7 Easy DIY Pre-Poo Recipes For 4C Hair

1 – Coconut milk, coconut oil and honey.

This treatment is made by mixing 6 tablespoons of Coconut milk, 3 tablespoons of Coconut Oil and 2 tablespoons of honey. This mixture works well in hydrating and defining your hairs natural curls.

2- Coconut oil and honey

To prepare this treatment ¼ cup of honey is mixed with three tablespoons of warm coconut oil then applied on your hair. This plays a role as a remedy for dry hair.

3- Olive Oil

Olive oil can be used alone as a pre-poo or mixed with other ingredients. When preparing olive oil mask I preferably mix it with honey in the ratio 1:2. I heat the mixture then apply it to my hair and leave it for at least 1 hour then shampoo. The two work well together in boosting the moisture content of my hair and its plasticity.

4 – Plain Avocado

It is made by blending a ripened avocado and using it as a base on its own then seal it with an oil of your choice. Allow it to sit on your hair then proceed to shampoo.

5 – Avocado and Banana mix

Most basic kind of treatment made from avocado is by mixing it with banana. A ripe Avocado and banana are blended together. The creamy mixture is then applied to hair and allowed to sit. Heat the mixture for maximum benefits. Banana provides essential oils and adds radiance.

6 – Avocado and Egg mix

Avocado mask could also be made by mixing it with an egg yolk. Blend a ripened avocado then mix it with an egg yolk. Apply the result mix to your hair then allow it to sit. This mask should be washed off using cold water to avoid ending up with cooked yolk on your hair (pun intended). This mask helps in softening and nourishes hair hence increasing hair growth rate.

7- Onion treatment

Prepare onion juice then apply it on your hair and let it sit. It could also be made by mixing a quarter cup of the juice extract and mixing it with a tablespoon of honey. Another alternative way of making this treatment is by mixing onion juice extract together with garlic and an oil and applying it on your hair.  Allow it to sit then proceed to washing. These recipes work well in increasing your hair’s growth rate.

Here is a link to details of the benefits of onion juice on hair

How to Pre-Poo 4C hair

  1. Using your fingers, divide your hair into manageable sections (4, 6 , 8 whatever works for you)
  2. Coat each section of damp hair and scalp with the Pre-poo treatment you are using.
  3. Loosely twist or braid each completed section
  4. Cover the hair and let it sit between 1hr to overnight. If you are leaving it in for a short time, to reap maximum benefits wear a heat bonnet or cover with a plastic cap before adding a fabric cover.
  5. Proceed to wash hair normally. Be sure to clean the oil used well to prevent its accumulation on your hair follicles consequently leading to bacterial and fungal infections which lead to dandruffs 

Do you have a favorite Pre-poo recipe that has worked well for your hair? If so, leave a comment in the comment box below.

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Benefits of Pre-poo in 4C hair

8 Comments on “What is to Pre-Poo, Why is it Important On 4C Hair?”

    1. Very happy for you, you will not regret it. The natural hair community is here to help you 🙂 Find answers to your natural hair questions by typing a question on the search bar on the main menu. Here you will find all the information you need to get you started and keep you going.
      All the very best!

  1. Wow some great information. I will be cutting my hair for the 3rd time now. I have been trying to grow my hair naturally but I knew nothing. Basically I didn’t have much knowledge and that led to my hair breaking and feeling super dry. I learned about hair porosity on your website and basically been reading your blogs since morning. I am learning a lot. All the way from South Africa. Thank you for your dedication!!

    1. Mpho,

      Thanks for stopping by and for your very kind comment.

      Am glad you are seeking to understand your hair, I hope this time around as you start all over, you will be able to achieve the results you are looking for.

      Keep reading the blog to learn more. I will be adding new and fresh content and even updating the older content as necessary.


      1. Thank you so much I will do just that. Do you have a blog about mixing oils? I would like to know the. Best combination for low porosity hair.

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