The Best DIY Pre-Poo Recipes For Damaged Hair

Pre-pooing with oil or conditioner is an excellent way to lock moisture into hair that has been damaged from chemical treatments or heat styling. In this article, we will guide you through the basics of a pre-poo and provide 3 DIY recipes that are super easy and affordable to make.

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What Is A DIY Pre-Poo?

Essentially, DIY pre-poo is a simple hair care routine that involves using oil or conditioner on your hair before using shampoo. This moisturizes your scalp and hair while also protecting your hair from the harsh chemicals of shampoo.

There are a variety of different pre-poo products that you can use, depending on your preference and what you’re looking to get out of it.

Pre-poo oils like coconut or avocado oil are great for maximizing moisture, and there are a number of over-the-counter pre-poo products you can also use.

However, DIY pre-poos are fantastic and far more affordable – from banana to egg, honey to molasses, you can ensure your mane is getting the protein that it needs to stay shiny, strong, and silky.

A pre-poo is basically a step in your hair care routine where you add a treatment to your hair before you shampoo and condition it.

What that treatment is, is your preference – it might be an oil or oil mix, or a conditioner, or maybe a conditioner and oil mix. You can create your very own DIY pre-poo mixture that suits your hair.

Whatever the pre-poo treatment consists of, it’s designed to ensure that you give your hair the most moisture possible.

Pre-pooing shields against any harsh stripping of the hair that shampoo might cause, and also minimizes the risk of dryness and brittleness.

Read on for more information on how and why to pre-poo, as well as fabulous DIY recipes that you can make for yourself.

Why You Should Pre-Poo?

Now we’re clear on what pre-poo is, it’s important to understand what it does. There are a number of benefits to adding a pre-poo step to your regular hair care routine. These are amongst the best:


Sometimes you have those days where your hair is just not playing ball, and the knots are proving a challenge to pick out.

That’s where a pre-poo can help. By adding a pre-poo, it makes knots easier to untangle, as your hair is more slippery.

Brushes or combs, therefore, slide down hair shafts with greater ease, reducing any breakage, damage, or shedding that you might otherwise experience in the battle with your hair.

Moisture Retention

Sulfate shampoos can strip your hair of natural oils which can either give you a dry scalp or cause your scalp to overproduce sebum.

By using a pre-poo, you’re working to ensure your hair’s natural oils are both supported and restored, locking any moisture into the hair shaft.

Softer, Shinier Hair

Who doesn’t want beautifully shiny, luscious locks? Using a pre-poo helps to keep your hair bursting with natural moisture.

This then contributes to less breakage and better-nourished hair. It will therefore be softer, stronger, and shinier, benefiting from greater elasticity and bounce.

Protects From Hygral Fatigue

If you’re using coconut oil in your DIY pre-poo, you’re protecting your hair from hygral fatigue.

This is essentially what happens when hair is put under strain from water causing it to expand and contract, resulting in less elasticity and more breakage.

Too much moisture in your hair can be difficult to reverse so protecting your hair is very important.

Coconut oil is great for minimizing hygral fatigue, so adding it to your pre-poo is a huge plus.

Also Read: 6 Amazing Benefits of Using Bamboo Extract For Hair And Skin

Who Could Benefit From Pre-Pooing?

pre poo diy who could benefit

Using a pre-poo – whether DIY or store-bought – can benefit so many people.

If you’ve consistently exposed your hair to either heat or color treatments, it is likely to have experienced some signs of damage.

Pre-pooing can therefore help hair to retain moisture.

Alternatively, if you’re transitioning your hair, or naturally have very dry hair, pre-pooing is also great.

If you’re taking out extensions, using a pre-poo can significantly help with detangling. If you have high porosity hair, using a super moisturizing oil like extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil in your pre-poo will really help you to retain and supplement the moisture levels of hair.

Basically, if you’ve got dry hair in need of some extra love, pre-pooing is likely for you.

How To Pre-Poo

The below guide is how we recommend that you pre-poo, whether you’re using a DIY recipe or a store-bought product.

We suggest that you pre-poo for at least an hour, but if you have the time, you can even leave it overnight.

In terms of how often to pre-poo, plan to do it every time you shampoo your hair in order to ensure maximal moisture retention.

These are the steps to follow in your pre-poo treatment:

1. Ready your pre-poo treatment. This might be oil, conditioner, or an oil and conditioner mix.

2. If you separate your hair into sections, it will make the pre-pooing much easier. Depending on your thickness and length, split your hair into around four to eight sections.

This makes it easier to ensure the product is evenly coating all of your hair. Be sure to also detangle your hair before applying the pre-poo.

3. This step is optional, but if you lightly dampen your hair prior to applying the pre-poo, it can make application easier.

Using a spray bottle filled with water is a great way to do so.

4. Next, you’re applying the pre-poo treatment. If you warm up the pre-poo treatment before applying it to your hair, it will help to open the cuticles and therefore ensure that any moisture is penetrating deeper into hair shafts.

If you don’t feel like doing this, be sure to follow the step below. Massaging that treatment into your scalp also stimulates hair follicles and increases blood flow, all of which helps with hair growth.

Just be sure not to over-saturate – we don’t want any overly oily scalps!

5. Cover it with a plastic cap, scarf, or bonnet in order to create a warm environment, which helps the pre-poo to soak in.

It’s really important to do this if you’re leaving it overnight, too, to protect your bedsheets.

6. Leave on for as long as you want – but a minimum of 30 minutes. The longer you leave it, the softer and silkier your strands will be.

7. Wash your hair and condition it as normal. Be thorough about this – you don’t want to leave any product residue in there.

Also Read: The 12 Best Shampoos For Soft Water

What Ingredients Can I Use For A DIY Pre-Poo?

oils for hair

The sky is the limit (within reason) for what you can add to your DIY pre-poo. Coconut and egg yolk are fantastic protein boosters, but honey also adds moisture.

As discussed, aloe vera is fabulous if you experience dandruff, and castor oil is great for helping hair to grow strong and elastic.

Banana is also hugely popular for its potassium-boosting qualities, but molasses also feature heavily in DIY pre-poo recipes.

3 Easy And Affordable DIY Pre-Poo Recipes

These are the DIY pre-poo recipes that we recommend.

They include some of the most popular ingredients for pre-poo treatments and are guaranteed to boost your hair’s moisture levels, helping hair strands to resist dryness and grow with robustness and strength.

They’ll all work well overnight or if you’re strapped for time.

DIY Aloe Vera and Coconut Oil Pre-poo

You will need:

  • 4 tablespoons of aloe vera gel
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil

You can also add a few drops of lavender oil and argan oil if you want extra hydration.


Whisk and combine the aloe vera gel and coconut oil. Put it aside whilst you dampen and section your hair as advised above.

Apply the treatment to each section of your hair, and cover your head with a scarf or shower cap. Try to leave on for a minimum of 40 – 45 minutes.

DIY Coconut Milk and Honey Pre-poo

You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons of coconut milk (or oil, either works)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of honey

Both coconut milk and coconut oil work well, so use whichever you have.

They penetrate the hair cuticle and strengthen hair’s protein – and coconut works to mitigate hygral fatigue.

You can also add avocado as a base (just mash it up) and a bit of olive oil if you’d like.


It’s really important for this recipe that you pre-dampen your hair before applying the pre-poo.

Blend the ingredients together.

Add your pre-poo to your sectioned hair, leave a cap or scarf over it, and allow it to absorb. This one’s so moisture-dense that you’re probably fine to leave it for 20 – 35 minutes.

DIY Banana Pree-poo

You will need:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive or coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Bananas are a wonderful ingredient for hair. They help to manage dandruff whilst moisturizing the scalp and are mineral-rich, so soften and strengthen the hair to minimize breakage.


Mash the banana and combine it with oil and honey. If you want a really smooth pre-poo, use a blender to whizz them together.

Apply to your sectioned hair, cover with a cap or scarf, and leave to sit for at least 30 minutes.

Also Read: Can A Microscope Determine The Porosity Of Hair?

Store Bought Treatments: DIY Pre-poo Alternatives

Although you can make fantastic DIY pre-poo treatments in your own kitchen, there are also store-bought products that will do the trick.

Below are the best non-DIY pre-poo treatments you can use:

Pre-poo Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera is a godsend in many ways. It’s anti-inflammatory and can massively help if you experience itchiness in your scalp due to dandruff.

As it’s anti-fungal, it can also help mitigate dandruff, so is a perfect pre-poo option if you suffer from flakiness.

As it’s a humectant, it’s also deeply soothing and moisturizing and will restore your hair’s pH levels.

Pre-poo Oils

Whether your hair is curly or straight, using oil is a fab way of giving your hair that extra moisture boost.

Because oils don’t wash away easily even after shampooing, they’re going to give you that intense hydration you need, repairing any dryness or damage caused by color, heat, or chemicals.

There are many oils you can use for a pre-poo, including coconut, avocado, almond, argan, extra virgin olive, castor, and jojoba oil.

We love the Naissance brand and so these are the oils we would recommend purchasing:

1. Naissance Moroccan Argan Oil

2. Naissance Cold Pressed Golden Jojoba Oil

3. Naissance Cold Pressed Castor Oil 

Pre-poo Butters

Mango butter, cocoa butter, shea butter – all are fab for helping hair recover from breakage and damage.

They work to strengthen and rebuild damaged hair follicles, thus encouraging extra hair growth.

Try any of these butters:

The Soapery unrefined Organic Shea Butter

Naissance Refined Mango Butter

Naissance Organic & Fairtrade Cocoa Butter

Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.

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Alice Carlill

Alice is an experienced writer and researcher with a background in the Creative Arts. She is a published poet and is currently completing her Ph.D., having worked in a variety of industries, including as a theatre dramaturg. Alice is passionate about the environment, so is always on the lookout for the best zero-waste products that are vegan and cruelty-free.