Ah, all the things we do for perfect hair: wash it, condition it, color it, style it, straighten it, curl it, tease it. The list goes on and on. Now, you can add another hair to-do to that ever-growing laundry list: pre-treatments.
No matter what you call it—pre-treatment, pre-wash, pre-poo, pre-wash conditioner or hair primer—the concept behind all of these products is to hydrate, prep and prime your hair when it’s dry for even more conditioning and moisturizing. “They’re a new and exciting way to care for your hair,” says John D., TRESemmé celebrity stylist. Celebrity colorist Beth Minardi adds, “Pre-wash therapies are a unique way to deep-condition the hair. Wet hair is filled with water, so, applying a crème-oil emulsion that’s loaded with protein, moisturizers and strengthening agents completely smooths out the cuticle.”
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Some pre-wash treatments resemble a hair serum while others are more like a conditioning mask with a thicker texture. And then there are those that are straight up oils. And, each type of treatment targets a different concern like dryness, fading color and lack of volume.
While pre-treating definitely provides hair with extra help, it doesn’t mean you can bypass the standard shampoo and conditioning steps. “Shampoo needs to be used to cleanse your hair and remove any of the excess weight left behind,” says John D. “Some pre-wash conditioners, like the TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Pre-Wash Conditioner, don’t contain co-washing properties and need to be used in tandem with shampoo.”
Minardi suggests applying whatever product you use at least 15 minutes to one hour prior to shampooing. While you don’t have to pre-wash every single time you wash your hair, at least once or twice a week will make a difference.