What Is a Pre Shampoo Treatment and How Do I Know If I Need One?

Oh, to be blessed with a personal glam squad! Effortless great skin and great hair days … so dreamy. A good hair morning can turn into an excellent day at the office. Just a quick swish of your locks can give you the confidence you crave. While we can’t all afford a team of hair experts (boo!), there are things you can do to love your locks a little more.

While we’ve been shampooing, conditioning, and adding serum for years, it’s time to introduce the pre shampoo treatment and the pre shampoo mask. The pre-poo? Maybe not. Pre shampoo products penetrate the hair before you clean it. Butters, oils, masks are all applied to damp hair before the big wash to help boost hydration and your hair’s health.

But what exactly is a pre shampoo, and how do you know which one your hair needs? What is the real pre shampoo meaning? To help you figure out the best treatment to transform your tresses, we’ve done some research and have the answers to your haircare questions.

What are the Best Pre-Shampoo Treatments? Oribe Gold Lust Pre-Shampoo Intensive Treatment - hands holding product jar and lifting the lid off - 1080 x 771What are the Best Pre-Shampoo Treatments? Oribe Gold Lust Pre-Shampoo Intensive Treatment - hands holding product jar and lifting the lid off - 1080 x 771

What is a Pre-Shampoo Treatment?

A pre shampoo can come in many forms. A pre shampoo oil treatment will help protect your hair before you put it through a rigmarole of shampoo and conditioner. A pre poo before shampoo is different from a conditioner. If you have dry ends and oily roots, pre shampooing will work to add moisture back into your hair before you wash it. Pre shampooing will help balance out the overall look of your locks.

How Do You Use Pre-Shampoo?

The best pre-shampoo will dislodge a build-up of product from the roots, which can then be washed away, leaving hair superclean and nourished. If you’re wondering how to pre shampoo natural hair, it really depends on the type of product you choose to apply. Slather on your potion of choice and leave for 10 minutes or more. Some enjoy leaving the product overnight to really reap the rewards. Wash out with your regular shampoo and conditioner, and work a sassy hair flick to finish. That’s how to pre shampoo!

A pre shampoo hair mask will coat the hair in a nourishing layer that you can leave before you rinse it out in the shower. A pre shampoo scrub will really get to the root of your hair care problems by helping remove stubborn impurities. Take a gentle approach when you scrub to help keep the hair protected.

A pre shampoo oil will soak your hair and tend to brittle, dry, and broken ends. This type of treatment won’t strip your hair of its natural oils and will help keep hair hydrated, flexible, and silky-smooth. A pre shampoo treatment for dry hair is something we’ll always recommend. If you can’t decide what product will work best for you, you could always try Coconut Oil as pre shampoo. Seriously, is there anything that Coconut Oil can’t do?!

How to Use: Color WOW Dream Filter Pre Shampoo Spray

Is Pre-Shampooing Necessary?

While it’s not essential to add a treatment to your hair before you wash it, if you’re struggling with tangled strands, it could really help. We put our hair through a lot! Washing, towel-drying (even though we know we shouldn’t), blow-drying, straightening, curling—phew!

If you’re into the idea of giving your locks a little more love, a pre shampoo oil or treatment could really turn your routine around. It’s not a totally essential step, but who wouldn’t want softer, easier-to-manage hair?

What are the Benefits of Pre-Shampooing?

Well, there are lots! At the heart of it, a pre shampoo will help restore hair to its natural beauty. The right product will help reduce frustrating frizz, and if you colour-treat your hair, a pre shampoo will help reduce colour damage too. Adding a pre shampoo before you wash with your normal shampoo will help reduce tangles. You’ll also see a reduction in excess oils and product build-up at the root.

A pampering pre shampoo could also aid with hair growth by promoting healthier hair. And you could also use a pre shampoo to massage your scalp too! Picking up a pre shampoo botanical oil treatment could act like a little aromatherapy treatment at the end of a hard day. Sounds pretty luxe!

If you want to take the plunge and pick up a pre shampoo, we’ve picked out our favourites for you to try.

Wella SP Luxe Oil Reconstructive Elixir is a great go-to for when your tresses are looking a little tired. This luxurious hair oil offers long-lasting smoothness and reconstructive powers after every use. Designed to revive hair and take it back to its best, this oil has been scientifically proven to hydrate and restore. With a formula that protects the keratin in your hair, it’ll deliver long-lasting smoothness and a little extra shine.

An awesome pre shampoo for curly hair, Wella SP Luxe Oil Reconstructive Elixir will add definition and help eliminate fuzz and frizz. Offering protection from even the hottest blow-dry, this one can be left on overnight to really up the ante. Before shampooing, distribute 2 or 3 drops through damp mid-lengths and ends. Massage into the scalp and leave for as long as it feels good. You can also add a few drops to the hair directly before you blow-dry to smooth things over.


Chemical processing, heat-styling, colouring ... Hair can get worn out quickly if you don’t look after it. R+Co Palm Springs Pre-Shampoo Treatment Mask is a pre shampoo treatment mask with a difference. The soothing blend of oils, butters, and extracts help hair get back to its healthy best by deeply conditioning and adding shine. The Shea Butter, Organ Oil, Coconut Oil, Babassu Seed Oil, and Sodium PCA perfectly work together to soften the hair and seal in some much-needed moisture.

If you want to tend to your scalp, this could be the best blend for you. Sage Leaf Extract, Nettle Leaf Extract, Safflower, and more complement each other to create a healthy scalp. Apply to dry hair and leave for 10 minutes. You could also apply R+Co Palm Springs Pre-Shampoo Treatment Mask as a mask after you shampoo or use it as a pre shampoo for afro hair.


Hands up if you love a little luxury packaging! If you’re dying to raise your hand, Oribe Gold Lust Pre-Shampoo Intensive Treatment could be a product you want to take a closer look at. Known in the industry for bringing damaged locks back to life, Oribe Gold Lust Pre Shampoo Intensive Treatment balm melts into hair to deeply moisturise and protect strands from everyday environmental aggressors. Made with the Oribe Signature Complex of Lychee, Edelweiss Extracts, and Watermelon, this wonder keeps hair from drying out and experiencing any further damage.

Caffeine, Biotin, and Niacinamide work together to fortify and deeply nourish hair from the roots while energising the scalp and bringing the hair follicles back to life. Dermatologist-approved Oribe Gold Lust Pre-Shampoo Intensive Treatment softens, reduces frizz, and improves manageability while adding UV protection. Great Mullein Flower, Argan Oil, and Glycerine add lightweight shine. And a blend of oils protects against moisture loss when you shampoo and condition. Apply this Oribe pre shampoo all the way through the mid-lengths and ends, and leave for up to 20 minutes.


If you’ve been hitting the straighteners and the hair products a little too hard, Kérastase Resistance Soin Premier Therapiste Pre-Shampoo could be your favourite new bathroom addition. Created to protect and repair very damaged and overprocessed hair, this formula won’t weigh the hair down or cause it to look limp and lifeless. Instead, the hair will look nourished, revived, and back to its glossy best. This Kerastase pre shampoo treatment acts as a caring gauze to protect the hair’s fibres before you wash with a shampoo.

A great pre shampoo for natural black hair, intense Kérastase Résistance Soin Premier Thérapiste Pre-Shampoo will help replenish moisture in your hair and give it a shiny finish. To use, squeeze out a cherry-sized amount into your hand and massage gently through the lengths and ends of your hair. Focus on the ends if that’s where your hair is especially dry. Wash out with your regular shampoo and continue your hair care routine as usual.

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Color WOW Dream Filter Pre Shampoo Spray is perfect if your once-bright, lively hair is now looking a little dull and dark. This pre shampoo mineral spray is a great pre shampoo for hair extensions, and it’s super easy to use. Paraben-free, sulphate-free, and cruelty-free, this industry-first product has been formulated to remove minerals, metals, and build-up. It works hard to transform coloured hair, and you’ll see results after just 3 minutes.

Even better, Color WOW Dream Filter Pre Shampoo Spray will help remove brassiness if you’re a blonde and restore dimensional shine if you’re a brunette. However, this formula is more effective on lighter shades of hair. Apply the easy spray-on formula to dry hair and wait a few minutes before shampooing and conditioning as normal. Use more frequently if you’re spending a lot of time in the sun or in a chlorinated swimming pool.


If your scalp is feeling a little flaky and … off, Oribe Serene Scalp Exfoliating Scalp Scrub could help bring it back into balance. A gentle combination of physical and chemical exfoliants works to remove oil, build-up, and impurities. This treatment will help relieve a dry, itchy, flaky scalp, making it a great pre shampoo treatment for dandruff. The vegan and cruelty-free formula contains Polymer Beads that break down as you work the scrub in. The naturally-derived AHAs help keep your colour and keratin safe.

An alternative to Oribe Gold Lust Pre-Shampoo Intensive Treatment, Oribe Serene Scalp Exfoliating Scalp Scrub can be used with other Oribe products to make the most of your mane. Perfect for oily hair and flaky scalp, this pre shampoo should be applied to damp hair. Make sure you wash it out thoroughly with your favourite shampoo.


Made to remove excess oil from the scalp and strands, Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo - Anti Oil Astringent Cleanser is a great solution for limp, greasy hair. Cleansing and removing impurities from the roots and scalp, the clarifying oil attracts excess oil and helps remove it gently. It also helps halt the hair from producing too much oil. It’s completely colour-safe and ideal for weekly use.

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo - Anti Oil Astringent Cleanser is enriched with caring Yuzu Extract to keep hair looking light and fresh for days on end. You can even use the formula as you would your normal shampoo if your hair is feeling especially oily. To use, massage a small amount gently into your hair. Rinse out and follow your normal routine.



If your hair is looking a little more tired than normal and your usual haircare routine is failing you, a pre shampoo could help with your good hair mission. With a different formula for every hair type and concern, the pre shampoo step is easy to work into your regime. Get ready to swish your hair with a little more confidence!

Want to discover more amazing hair care products? Have a read through some of our guides!


Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty’s highly trained Customer Service team. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.


Now, let's recap! What are the Best Pre-Shampoo Treatments?

  1. Wella SP Luxe Oil Reconstructive Elixir

  2. R+Co Palm Springs Pre-Shampoo Treatment Mask

  3. Oribe Gold Lust Pre-Shampoo Intensive Treatment

  4. Kérastase Résistance Soin Premier Thérapiste Pre-Shampoo

  5. Color WOW Dream Filter Pre Shampoo Spray

  6. Oribe Serene Scalp Exfoliating Scalp Scrub

  7. Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo - Anti Oil Astringent Cleanser