how to pre-poo 4c hair

Isn’t it interesting how much you learn once you start your natural hair journey and your own natural hair website? There are so many things I didn’t know about until I decided to learn about 4c hair

And one 4c hair growth hack I found out about recently is pre-poo treatments. Apparently, a good pre-poo routine is another step, wise Naturalistas have added to their wash day routine

So of course, I had to include it into my natural hair care routine. And today I’m sharing how to pre-poo 4c hair. But first, let’s look at some pre-poo benefits.

What are the benefits of a pre-poo? 

Whenever I share something on this blog, it’s important to me to explain why I’m doing it. After all, taking care of your 4c hair should be fun and easy. So, every step needs to serve a purpose. 

In this case, the purpose of pre-pooing our 4c hair type is to limit hair damage. It’s very common to experience a lot of hair breakage after you do a protective style or during your bi-weekly detangling process on wash day. I mean, we all know the brutal knots at the root of your hair that build up quickly when rocking box braids.

So the main goal of a pre-poo is to loosen up your hair for easy detangling before shampooing, thus drastically decreasing hair loss. And here is why a pre-shampoo treatment is so effective: 

  1. The pre-poo method applies a protective layer to your natural hair, that does not only add extra moisture but also keeps the shampoo from stripping your hair of its moisture. 
  2. Pre-pooing makes it easier to detangle your hair strands and remove possible knots. Especially, if you apply the pre-poo mix in sections and use a detangling brush
  3. A good pre-poo treatment boosts the effectiveness of your deep conditioner, which leads to healthy hair. 
pre poo recipes for natural hair

How do you pre-poo 4c hair? 

Now that you know why this extra step is necessary, let’s see how to pre-poo 4c hair. 

Part your hair in sections

The first thing you want to do for an effective pre-poo routine is to work in sections. Divide your hair into at least four sections. At this step, you finger-detangle your hair softly. You do not want to use a wide-tooth comb yet, because your hair is not yet wet.

Apply the product

The next step is to apply the pre-poo product to each section evenly. You want to apply it to all your hair, from the roots to the ends of your hair. Don’t worry if your hair is dirty, because you will clean your hair with a clarifying shampoo later. 

Let it sit

Lastly, the best way to achieve results is to let it soak under a shower cap for at least 30 minutes. That way your hair can absorb as much moisture as possible. In contrast to deep conditioning, you don’t need to leave it for too long. 

Proceed with your shampoo 

Once 30 minutes pass, you can now go ahead with your regular wash day routine and apply your shampoo products

How long should you pre-poo 4c hair?

As mentioned above, you want to leave the product in for about 30 minutes. If you had braids in before, then you can do an overnight pre-poo to ensure that the knots are out. However, if you choose the right pre-poo treatment, then it shouldn’t take much time.

Should I rinse my hair before pre-poo?

No! You do not need to rinse or wash your hair before pre-pooing. I know the information can be confusing at times. But the pre-poo is the pre-wash process so no need to include even more steps. You simply want to apply the pre-poo oil or whatever product you choose and follow the steps above.

What is a good pre-poo for natural hair?

The choice of pre-poo totally depends on how dirty your hair is and whether it needs some extra care before the washing process.

Because just like with co-washing, the pre-poo method is an optional step where you can’t choose from a multitude of store-bought hair products as well as DIY recipes. This means you can use your favorite conditioner, your favorite oil, or any other 4c hair product that best caters to the texture of your hair. 

The following products are what I have used so far and seen great results with:

Aloe Vera Gel

The first product I ever used to pre-poo my natural hair was aloe vera gel. I looked up DIY pre-poo recipes online and recreated them. The main benefit of aloe vera is that it is rich in moisture and has protective entities, that make it perfect for the job. It works especially well if you tend to suffer from a dry scalp.

Natural Oils

Recently I’ve been using different hair oils to pre-poo my 4c hair. You can pretty much choose any oil of your choice. Examples include essential oils, such as jojoba oil and castor oil, or natural oils such as avocado oil, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil. Using hair oil is a good idea because oils don’t rinse easily prohibiting the shampoo from stripping your hair of its moisture. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Now apple cider vinegar I have personally only used once and was shocked about the result. It’s a very powerful pre-poo product that will get out knots and buildup. And the best thing is we all have it in our pantry, so no planning is required. You simply apply it as part of your hair care regimen next time.

Hair Butters

While I yet need to try it myself, I’ve seen many black women online that use hair butter to pre-poo 4c hair. Shea butter and mango butter are great sources of nutrients for all hair textures. They help strengthen the hair follicles and hair shaft, leading to less breakage and more hair growth. As you may know, I use Shea butter as part of the L.O.C. method and love it because it protects my very brittle hair.

Hair Masks

Last but not least, you can also use different hair masks or deep conditioners to pre-poo your natural hair. While I don’t think it is necessary to use professional hair products, it really depends on your hair’s needs.

You might have fine hair like me and want to give it a nice boost, or you might have had chemical treatments recently and now need to protect your hair a little more. Totally up to you. Whatever gives you the best results.

Remember that the goal is to keep your 4c hair routine as fun and manageable as possible. So choose whatever pre-poo method that works best for you and run with it. 

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