The science behind the oil pre-shampoo treatment:
Did you know that sebum’s your hair’s natural moisturizer? It coats your hair, creating a protective barrier that keeps moisture in. The more moisture your hair has, the softer and shinier it gets.
When you wash your hair, you remove some of that sebum. If your hair’s oily, that’s cool. You still have plenty left to keep your locks in top shape.
Dry, brittle hair? Your skin has so little sebum, it hangs onto it like its life depended on it. When you get rid of the little it has during washing, it becomes even drier.
FYI, sebum doesn’t just keep moisture in. It also keeps water out. When your hair comes in contact with water (i.e. every time you wash it), it swells up. As you dry it, it contracts again.
This phenomenon is called hydral fatigue and it’s NO good for hair. All that swelling and contracting makes your hair dry, weak, and prone to breakage.
A pre-shampoo treatment adds oil back into your hair. Sure, it makes it a little greasier, but that’s a GOOD thing.
The extra oil reduces the amount of water your hair soaks up during washing, reducing hydra fatigue. Plus, after shampoo has done its sebum-removing job, you still have enough oil on your hair to keep your locks soft and healthy. Win win.
How to do an oil pre-shampoo treatment?
Now you know why you need to do a pre-shampoo treatment before washing your hair, let’s find out how to do it right.
Which is the best oil for a pre-shampoo treatment?
If you want to reap all the benefits from a pre-shampoo treatment, you can’t just use any oil. You need one that can penetrate your hair.
That narrows down your choice to olive oil and coconut oil. Both oils make it through the hair shaft to condition hair from within.
But they take their sweet time to do so. Apply them 4 to 8 hours before washing your hair or slather oil on your hair before going to bed and washing it off in the morning.
How much oil should you use?
It depends on the length of your hair and on how oily it is. As a rule, the oilier your hair, the less oil you need. A few drops are more than enough for you. Dry hair? Apply it liberally. Your thirsty locks will soak it all up.
Should you heat the oil up?
When you heat it up, oil becomes less fluid. That means it spreads throughout your hair more easily and evenly.
The catch? Heat can dry out hair. So how do you heat oil up without damaging your locks? Just wrapping your hair with a plastic cap or a warmed wet towel is usually enough.
P.S. Make sure the oil is warm, NOT hot, when you apply it on your hair.
How often should you do a pre-shampoo treatment?
It depends on your hair type and how damaged it is.
You should also do an oil pre-wash treatment every time your hair starts becoming too dry, too difficult to detangle, or gets too many flyaways.