FAQs about Pre-poo’ing (HOT/Oil Rinse) – Why, When & How!

FAQs about Pre-poo’ing (HOT/Oil Rinse) – Why, When & How!


What is a prepoo? A pre-poo (short for preshampoo treatment) is very similar to traditional hot oil treatments (HOT). However, some women prefer to use things other than oils for their pre-poos, such as honey, avocados, yogurt, and/or bananas.  I prefer to use warm extra virgin coconut oil (EVCO).  EVCO has a number of proven benefits for the hair and from my personal experience, after using EVCO for my prepoo my hair is definitely well moisturized, soft, easy to detangle, and never feels stripped after shampooing.  Other awesome options are extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), Jojoba or Grapeseed oils.  Because I use warm oil for my prepoo, it is technically the same as doing a hot oil treatment, and some people call it an oil rinse.  Its all the same thing…except that oil rinsers and hot oil treaters normally do it after shampooing and/or conditioning.  But whether you do it before or after your shampoo it is all a form of a hot oil treatment.  Sometimes the terminology of the healthy hair world can be a little overly complicated!

So why do a prepoo?  What are the benefits?  When I am stretching, the coconut oil definitely helps to alleviate tangles and stop breakage at the line of demarcation.  It makes my new growth extremely manageable and soft, while leaving my relaxed hair feeling almost as if it were just deep conditioned.  After using direct heat, the EVCO provides extra conditioning.  When my ends are feeling particularly dry and brittle I concentrate the oil on them and it immediately restores their suppleness.  As I massage the oil into my scalp and hair, the oil also helps to nourish my nails – which is an added benefit.  Also, even though I wash with a sulfate-free shampoo there are times my hair feels overly clean to me (squeaky clean) but I never have that problem when I do my prepoo first.
Here are the steps I follow for my prepoo:
  1. Part my hair into four sections and twist or braid the ends (only necessary at 6 weeks+ post).
  2. Warm a couple tablespoons of EVCO in a small microwaveable container for ~20 seconds.*
  3. Leaning over the sink I gently pour 75% of the oil onto either the right or left two sections starting from the scalp and then moving downwards.
  4. The last bit of oil I pour into my hand and concentrate it on my ends.
  5. I massage the oil into my scalp and down the length of my hair for about 60 seconds.
  6. Pin the oiled hair up.
  7. Repeat on the other side for the other two twists or braids.
  8. Pour any remaining oil over my scalp.
  9. Massage oil into scalp and hair (again) to distribute evenly and stimulate scalp.
  10. Cover with two separate plastic caps.
  11. (Optional) Cover caps with a towel or Twist Turban to trap additional heat and to help wipe any oil that runs down your face.
  12. Sit for 15 minutes, then rinse well with water.  Proceed to shampoo as normal.
I hope this answers some who are wondering about how and why I prepoo!  Those who also do this step regularly whether it is with EVCO or something else, please post your experience below.  I know that your feedback will help someone else because, as we all know, every head of hair is different!


*I don’t use a measured amount of oil, so you have to determine how much oil is appropriate for you.  Also the microwave time may vary – 20 seconds may not warm your oil enough or it may be burning hot.  PLEASE test it before pouring it onto your scalp!


**Please see the terms and abbreviations tab at the top of the blog if you are lost with any of the language used in this or any other post.
  • My Twist Turban is my life saver! Keeps my neck and shoulders free from oil.

  • I never thought about warming the oil first- I was using room temp EVOO. I may need to try EVCO for my October goals. Thanks!

  • I have never heard of pre-poo but I am sure it’ll make your hair look and feel healthier…I need a haircut bad because lately there are more split ends known to womankind! So glad you liked the shoes in my outfit post, definitely check them out through the link I provided, SUPER comfy, best pair of heels I’ve ever bought and the link takes u to endless, 6 colours to select! Enjoy 🙂

  • I always love how detailed your posts are! It has been a long time since I pre pooed but I think that I might try it for my next wash.

  • I’m so glad you posted this! I have been on my journey for almost 2 years now and I never really was interested in prepooing, didn’t really know what it was. You broke it down so simple I think I’m gonna try it tomorrow with coconut oil. I have 23 weeks worth of ng and I need all the help I can get!

  • Oh yes! this is helpful. I find it a little bit difficult to find straight forward posts about this process. A lot of posts focus on the benefits, but I needed the process! This is helpful.

    I am considering mixing coconut oil into my DC as a pre-poo. Since my hair is so fine, I am a little wary of using only oil because I don’t like my hair to be heavy and oily… Then again, everyone says coconut oil absorbs into the hair so well. I will probably try it both ways and I will keep you posted!

    Eboni Ife’
    The Fashionista Next Door

  • This works

    I do this with every wash and my hair is super healthy. I also stopped using shampoo and use yogurt to wash my scalp- no more itchy oily flaky scalp. I use conditioner after I take out braids but for weekly washes I use apple cider vinegar as conditioner. I realized that egg or protien does not work for my hair. My hair loves oil, but my scalp hates it. It’s all about finding what works for you. Oh and yes I do use shampoo sometimes but sparingly and that’s just for super build up on my hair. If I stay away from gel then I’m fine without shampoo.

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