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4 of the Best All-Natural Pre-Shampoo Ingredients

Avatar • Nov 18, 2013

virgin-coconut-oil

In previous articles, I discussed the options for 100% natural shampoo and conditioner treatments based on possible efficacy from a scientific perspective. This week is the turn of pre shampoo treatments, specifically oils and butters:

1. Coconut oil
This is probably a very old and repeated story for regular readers so I will make it short and sweet. Coconut oil applied to dry hair is scientifically known to be able to penetrate hair and reduce hair breakage during subsequent shampooing and wet combing (Journal of Cosmetic Science pg 327–339,1999, Journal of Cosmetic Science pg 169–184,2001). If you are looking for the gold standard then coconut oil is it. If you do not like coconut oil on your hair in general, using it as a pre shampoo treatment will not be an issue as your shampoo will carry away most of the oil on the surface.

2. Butter
Before you roll your eyes, yes, I do mean butter of the put on your toast variety and it actually has some strong similarities in composition to the gold standard coconut oil. It is rich in saturated fat and importantly, it can contain some of the smaller sized saturated fats that can penetrate hair. I actually researched it after reading another blogger’s (Alice of Alice in Nappyland) account of how effective natural butter was as a preshampoo treatment when she was in Ethiopia. Scientifically, saturated fats especially when they are small are thought to be better able to contort themselves better and slip under the cuticle (Journal of Cosmetic Science, pg 169–184, 2001). The fresher and less processed your butter is, the better (i.e let it be a nice deep yellow butter, possibly from a farmer’s market and definitely not the low fat variety).

3. Corn Oil and Palm Kernel Oil
Once more if you are after oil penetrating hair and preventing some amount of breakage, then corn oil and palm kernel oil could also help. As with coconut oil and butter, they both have some of the smaller saturated fats which help to do this job.

4. Any other oil coatings
Olive oil, sunflower oil and castor oil are quite popular in the natural world. But they do not have the ideal profile of small saturated fats and largely contain unsaturated fats which do not behave in the same way as a penetrating oil such as coconut oil would. Equally, avocado butter, shea butter and cocoa butter contain saturated fats but they are dominated by the larger variety which makes them again less ideal to penetrate hair. However, any type oil on the surface of hair prior to shampooing can help towards reducing the dry feeling after shampooing. Therefore, if you like any of these oils, feel free to use them for that purpose.

Ladies, have you used any of these ingredients for a pre-shampoo treatment? Share your experiences.

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About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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ayisha
ayisha
7 years ago

Coconut oil is my love when it comes to my hair. I have long given up on shampoos, my hair is just too dry…pre-poos didn’t help either. I only co-wash once a week and i shampoo about four times a year.
Organic coconut oil is part of regimen all the way. I add it as a leave in, deep conditioners, butters and I LOVE, LOVE IT
I can’t imagine putting pure bread butter in my hair when coconut oil will do the job,i don’t think i would like the smell of it in my hair.COCONUT OIL IS THE WINNER ALL THE WAY.….

Gena Coulthrust
Gena Coulthrust
7 years ago
Reply to  ayisha

Hi,

What brand of coconut oil do you use?

Dananana
Dananana
7 years ago

I totally cosign ayisha’s comment: coconut oil is the best (for my hair)!! In my experience, the brand of coconut oil doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s pure, extra virgin coconut oil. I’ve tried using run-of-the-mill refined coconut oil, and my hair acted a fool: dryness, brittleness, and breakage all around. That being said, my hair also really likes Vatika oil, which is refined coconut oil mixed with ayurvedic herbs. It’s trial and error 🙂

Janelle
7 years ago

I have ORS coconut oil…does this have the same benefits? I know that it’s not exactly natural and since I bought it I’ve only used it once or twice.

http://runwithnoregrets.blogspot.com

Miss Elisa K.
7 years ago

I’m just upset the eczema on my hands hates coconut oil. I love it too much!!! I just put it in everything and I try to avoid it getting it on my hands by using gloves. But my hair and body loves it. So annoying.

JustSayin
JustSayin
7 years ago
Reply to  Miss Elisa K.

wear gloves when you apply em!

elsa
elsa
7 years ago
Reply to  JustSayin

LOL she already stated, that she is wearing gloves “[…] I try to avoid it getting it on my hands by using gloves.”

Amber
Amber
7 years ago
Reply to  Miss Elisa K.

My hand eczema hates coconut oil too! But only when the coconut oil is in combination with other products. I put it on my hands at night with no problem, but if I’m also using a conditioner along with it, the itch is almost unbearable.

bride91501
bride91501
7 years ago

My hair HATES coconut oil EXCEPT during a pre-shampoo treatment. I use Chicoro’s recipe — AV gel or juice mixed with castor oil, sealed with coconut oil, and baggied. It melts tangles, moisturizes like crazy, and my hair feels great even after a clarifying shampoo wash. You better ask somebody.

Cindy
Cindy
7 years ago

Olive oil works great as both a pre-poo and sealant. I especially love using olive oil infused with herbs and essential oils to provide additional benefits and fragrance.

Just Joy
Just Joy
7 years ago

I always do two different pre-poo applications.

One on my scalp where I rub a warmed-up blend of:
+Rosemary Oil (http://bit.ly/1b5JvKv)
+Peppermint Oil (http://bit.ly/TeaFGO)
+Tea Tree Oil (http://bit.ly/HXaV8F)
+Vitamin‑E Oil (http://bit.ly/1hUM45T)

Then, on my hair follicles I use Vatika Oil (http://bit.ly/1aDQsQi) which is coconut oil infused with other vitamins, oils, and fruit extracts.

I usually keep it in from a few hours to overnight. Then I proceed with my usual wash process. Even then, I still take care of my scalp and hair differently.

S.
S.
7 years ago

My grandmother told me about how butter grew her hair.

la
la
7 years ago

Almond and Amla oil. I use one of the two, which ever I have, as a pre-treatment

luminous
luminous
7 years ago

My pre-poo is also my deep conditioner treatment: avocado, banana, egg, honey, coconut oil, and olive oil

I mix that together with a hand blender, apply to dry hair, cover with plastic cap, and let sit for 2 hours.

tmc (gta meet up, dec 14)

I’ve been prepooing with oils since fall started and the last time, i used a mixture of refined coconut oil and my herbal oil. left it in for almost two hours, shampoo, DC and hair was awesome. I then threaded my hair with African threading. its been 3days and my roots still feels soft!
themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

mangomadness
mangomadness
7 years ago

I used to pre-poo with coconut oil with good results.

Now, I add coconut oil to my deep conditioner and use it as the O in the LOC method. This works even better for my kinky hair. Leaving it super soft and moisturized without being greasy.

D.P.
D.P.
7 years ago

I do a deep conditioner before I wash and I mix coconut oil, olive oil and castor oil into a small container with either suave humectant or l’oreal sulfate free extra moisturizing conditioner. I saturate my hair with it, to the point my hair is a giant grease ball. Then I put a cap on it and put my turbie twist on top of that for warmth and I go about my business for the next few hours. Then I rinse with my Argan Magic conditioner and scrub my scalp with the pads of fingers. Sunday wash and deep condition… Read more »

Gina
6 years ago

I’m in love with Coconut oil. I use it to moisturise my skin and I use it on all aspects of my hair. It leaves my hair soft, flexible and beyond shiny. It’s definitely a staple product FOR MY WHOLE LIFE.

At the beginning my ‘big’ chop I researched Coconut oil hard. Paste this link into your browser if you want to know more about Coconut oil.

http://youtu.be/I8vmIRxk0KA

Gina
6 years ago

Wrong vid.

This is the one on Coconut oil.

http://youtu.be/dIzoiBn7GlE

Esta
Esta
6 years ago

im thinking of using coconut milk as a pre wash / conditioner. Any thoughts abt this out there?

Cre8ive
6 years ago
Reply to  Esta

I’ve used coconut milk as a pre-poo protein conditioner for a year now and I love it. I read that it takes a long time to penetrate, so I try to leave it in for 8–10 hours or more. It’s a bit messy to put in but the conditioning effects are worth it for me. Totally gives my 4b‑c hair life: makes my curls and coils pop! On the rare occasion that I flat iron my hair, I use the coconut milk as a post-heat-styling-pre-shampoo-revert my curls-confirm-no-heat-damage treatment, and it hasn’t failed me yet.

natural shampoo guy
6 years ago

I didn’t know that butter is in handmade natural shampoo lol

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