The Not-So-Dirty Guide to Pre-Pooing!


Pre-Pooing, if you haven’t already guessed, is cool curly girl speak for “pre-shampoo”.

It is the practice of using a conditioning treatment or a product such as a hair oil or hair mask BEFORE you actually shampoo in order to prevent the drying or stripping effects of shampoo. This is especially important if you have curly hair or natural hair because this texture has a tendency to be deficient in moisture, or as I like to say “hydration challenged.”

Washing curly hair can be a very involved process that requires focus and a solid strategy of how to maintain moisture and cleanse in a way that will minimize damage and leave hair strong and soft. The first step in this strategy is Pre-Pooing before you step one well manicured toe into the shower.

How does Pre-Pooing benefit curly-haired Sage Beauties like yourself?

Since pre-pooing involves using nourishing oils, masks, or hair butters it is analogous to giving your skin a rich hydrating mask once a week. This is very important for color treated hair, curly hair, dry/brittle/very damaged hair. In some cases your hair may be in a state that fits into all the categories mentioned.  It also makes washing easier because it helps to combat tangles, helps your hair retain additional moisture, allows your other products to penetrate more efficiently, and you spend less time in the shower. I really don’t like to spend a lot of time in the shower shampooing my hair because my hair is 4B/4C curlicious and loves to tangle. No really, my hair loves to tangle!  Pre-Pooing helps with the tangles and I also noticed that I don’t lose as much in the shower when I pre-poo. Less breakage equals more happiness in life overall. You will also notice that your curls will be more defined, softer, and more manageable.

The application process is easy and fun!

I leave my pre-shampoo treatment on anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes depending on my day. Saturday is my wash day so on average, about 45 minutes. I start by gently finger detangling with my product, then taking a few minutes to massage my scalp to help with circulation. I finish off by throwing my hair up in a bun or a good old fashioned plastic cap, turn on Netflix, and let the hydration and repair begin.

Let’s talk about my favorite products to pre-poo on wash day!

I employ two different methods to pre-poo my hair. The first method uses a blend of equal parts Coconut Oil +Macadamia Nut Oil. These rich reparative oils really get the job done when it comes to sealing in moisture and repairing damage. You can read about the amazing benefits of Macadamia Oil here. The second method uses a creamy conditioner. Currently I have been having good results with Spring Loaded Frizz Fighting Conditioner by Sebastien. I discovered this product thanks to my monthly Curlbox.


Another favorite product that gives me amazing softness and shine is Blueberry Bliss Hair Growth Oil which is a blend of Blueberry Extract, Pomegranate Extract, Argan Oil, and Gardenia Oil. It smells fantastic and I immediately noticed softer and shinier hair after only one use.

The Washing Process. 

After 45 minutes or so, I wash my hair with a sulfate free shampoo. If you have curly, dry, color treated, or all-of-the-above type of hair, you need to be living a sulfate free life. At the moment I use a gentle co-wash to wash my hair (twice, since I only wash one a week) ,and then I apply a second conditioner, focusing mainly on the ends of my hair, then rinse thoroughly.

My new favorite trick is to apply my leave-in conditioner before I get out of the shower while my hair is still really wet. Most leave-in conditioners say to apply on wet or damp hair and I find that leave-in conditioner feels and works better on very wet hair, at least for me.  It also provides a nice slip while I am drying my hair. In order to minimize unnecessary friction on wet curly hair, I gently dry my hair with a cotton t-shirt. Your hair is in a delicate state when it is wet. You can buy some affordable basic white t-shirts at Target in the men’s’ department.

The Heat is ON or sometimes not at all.

I always air dry my hair, but if it’s part of your usual routine, feel free to dry your hair with a diffuser. But don’t forget to use a heat protectant on your curls before applying any amount of heat.

I can’t wait for your Wash Day Updates!

I am curious to know what all my lovely Sage Beauties are using to Pre-Poo every week. Please be sure to share your favorite products and what your wash day routine looks like.  We can hang out on my favorite places to chill on the interweb:  Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest! If you have any questions leave a comment below or on my Instagram, @sagebeautyblog

With Love and Joy,


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