Tamar asks…Is there any real benefit to pre-pooing? I want to try products like Burts Bee’s Avocado Butter pre shampoo treatment, but i don’t want to waste my money. I’ve heard great things about it, but to me it would seem like I would just be washing out all of the beneficial ingredients.
The Right Brain replies:
First it was regular shampoo, then it was no poo ( washing your hair with conditioner), and now it’s pre-poo. What’s next post-poo?
What is pre-poo?
The idea of protecting your hair by loading it up with oily materials before shampooing actually makes some sense. (There’s a similar approach in skin care called “super-fatting.”) If you saturate the hair with oil, it will “overwhelm” your shampoo to some degree and you won’t strip your hair as much during this wash cycle. In other words the shampoo uses up its oil cleansing ability before stripping all the oil out of your hair. This is especially true for oils that penetrate hair like coconut oil. Of course the danger with this type of heavy oil treatment is that it might leave your hair feeling more greasy and weighed down more than you like. You could lather, rinse, repeat to get rid of any oily residue but this defeats the purpose of using the pre-poo in the first place.
Is Burts Bees a good pre-poo?
Let’s take a look at the ingredients:
Glycerin, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, avena sativa (oat) kernel protein, perseaue gratissima (avocado) oil, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, lanolin, tocopherol, urtica dioica (nettle) leaf powder, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) powder, chlorophyll, fragrance.
Notice that the third ingredient is a protein. Proteins are not very soluble and so if they are used at higher levels (1% or so) they need to be suspended or used in emulsion-type products. Since this product appears to be a mixture of oily materials, we would assume the protein is used at less than 1%. If this is true then the next ingredient down the list, the avocado oil, is present at an even lower level. It seems a bit of a stretch to call this product an “avocado butter” if the only actual avocado it contains just a pinch of its oil. But that’s typical marketing for you.
Anyway, there’s plenty of olive oil for this product to work just fine as a good pre-poo. But then again, you could get basically the same effect just by using olive oil mixed with a little glycerine to cut the greasiness. You can buy both of these pretty cheaply if you want to try a do it yourself version. But if you’re going to all that trouble you’re probably better off just using coconut oil.