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What Is Pre-Shampoo? | An Overly-Detailed Guide

When people are trying to help their hair be as healthy as possible, they often do a pre-shampoo treatment. This is a great way to give hair the nourishment it craves and lock moisture back in.

Many people come across this term, and they wonder, “what is pre-shampoo?” If this is you, keep reading; we’ll cover all you need to know to help you determine whether it’s worth buying.

What Is Pre-Shampoo?

Pre-shampoo is a hair treatment that takes place before you shampoo your hair. You apply oils, butters, or balms to your hair when it is dry to hydrate it and keep it strong, healthy, and soft. Often, people let it sit for 30 minutes, but you can leave it in longer if your hair is very dry.

Look at your hair type and how you want to improve your hair to choose the best pre-shampoo treatment. If your hair is dry and needs a boost, you might be considering this treatment. You may have a lot of questions, including the following:

  • What are some pre-shampoo treatments?
  • How does pre-shampoo work?
  • Why isn’t conditioner enough?
  • What differences will you notice?

We wanted to understand the details about pre-shampoo, so we searched for the answers. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about pre-shampoo.

Different Types of Pre-Shampoo Treatments

Woman using a hair mask for a piece on what is a pre-shampoo

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There are different treatments you can do as a pre-shampoo treatment. You can buy products designed for a pre-shampoo, or you can repurpose products you already have. Take a look at the following:


One of the primary purposes of a pre-shampoo treatment is to add moisture back into your hair. You can use a conditioner to do it. Take a hydrating conditioner, and apply it to wet hair. Then, let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. You can rinse and condition afterward.

Read Next: What Is Hair Conditioner?

Hair Mask

Another great option for your pre-shampoo treatment is a hair mask. Hair masks are designed to penetrate your strands and promote healthy, strong hair. They will help you smooth out your tangles, tame frizzy hair, and more.

Read Next: What Is a Hair Mask?

Scalp Scrub

You can also use a pre-shampoo treatment if you have an itchy or flaky scalp. A scalp scrub can exfoliate your scalp to remove dead skin cells, buildup, and more. You can follow it up with a dandruff shampoo to keep your scalp clean.


People who are fighting frizz often use an oil treatment. It is important to stick with a small amount of oil. This treatment will lock moisture into your hair strands, and you should leave it in for 30 minutes.

Read Next: The Best Oils for Your Hair

How a Pre-Shampoo Works

No matter which pre-shampoo treatment you choose, you will apply it before you shampoo. Usually, you will leave it in for around 30 minutes, but if your hair is super dry or super frizzy, you can use the appropriate treatment and leave it in even longer if you need to. 

Most of the time, you won’t wet your hair before you pre-shampoo.

This is especially the case with oils, as the water will prevent it from penetrating deep into the hair. The treatment will nourish your hair and make it healthier. Then, you can shampoo and condition as you normally would. 

Why a Conditioner Isn’t Enough

Some people wonder why their daily conditioner isn’t enough to keep their hair hydrated and healthy. The truth is that there are many factors that cause your hair to be dry. From styling products to chemical and heat treatments, your hair can become fragile and dry. 

Although you may use a shampoo and conditioner with hydrating properties and nutrients, your hair may need something extra to lock moisture back in. Pre-shampoo treatments help keep your hair as healthy as possible so that it has body and shines. 

What You’ll Notice After Using Pre-Shampoo

After you do a pre-shampoo treatment, you should notice some things right away. Your hair should be softer, shinier, and more hydrated. You will notice that your hair doesn’t break as frequently because it is stronger.

If you have dry or damaged hair, it may take some time, but you will notice it growing healthier. You should consider doing this treatment before each wash for at least six months if your hair is dry and damaged.

You won’t need to change anything else; your shampoo will still wash the oils or other treatments out without any trouble, and your hair will be healthier and stronger. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman showing us what a pre-shampoo is

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Who should use an oil pre-shampoo treatment?

Oils are a great option for people with dry, damaged, or frizzy hair. If you notice that you have thin ends that are lighter than the top of your hair, you might need this treatment. The ends might split out, and you may notice that you have trouble holding body or curls. The treatment will lock moisture into your hair so that it sits the way you want it to sit.

How do you apply the pre-shampoo?

Most of the time you will take the pre-shampoo and massage it into your hair. You can apply the product to your hair, and use your fingers to massage it into your scalp. This helps to promote a healthy scalp and open your hair follicles so that the treatment reaches the base of your hairs. It is important that you coat all of your hair in the treatment.

Can you use oil on fine hair?

You can use oils on fine hair, but you need to use very little. It will lock moisture into your hair without making it greasy. Make sure that you wash your hair out and it will remain healthier and stronger.

So, What Is Pre-Shampoo?

So there you have it — our answer to the question, “what is pre-shampoo?” It’s a treatment that you do before you shampoo your hair. There are different kinds of treatments available, and no matter which one you choose it will lock moisture into your hair.

This type of treatment can restore the shine and strength in your hair strands, and you will have more confidence. If you want sleeker, softer hair, it’s worth buying a bottle of pre-shampoo.