How Pre-Shampoo Oils Can Support Healthy Hair & Help Reduce Breakage
I always say that healthy, thick hair starts in the shower. How you wash your hair sets the basis for all that follows. But according to trichologist Bridgette Hill, it starts even before that—with a pre-shampoo step. On a recent episode of our beauty podcast Clean Beauty School, I chatted with Hill about all things scalp and hair care, and one of the things she stressed the most was how almost everyone can benefit from using a pre-shampoo oil.
Now, I know it's a lot to ask to add another product to beauty routines, but if you have dry, brittle hair, prepping your hair before you wash it just might be your missing step.
Why you should add a pre-shampoo to your hair routine.
We often talk about how it's important to use a gentle shampoo—harsh detergent-based options can be really hard on the hair fiber and the scalp. But even with sulfate-free shampoos, the simple act of shampooing can also affect hair health. Physical wear and tear in the showering process can stress out the hair fibers, causing split ends. But for many, shampooing is still very much a needed part of the overall hair care routine. So how can you protect those delicate strands? With a pre-shampoo oil, says Hill.
"You always want to pretreat the hair dry with some type of nourishing oil," she says. "You always want to put moisture into the hair fiber: Think of it like a sponge before you get into the shower. It absorbs those nutrients and can help protect the hair fiber when you wash."
And while there are many great pre-shampoos on the market now, you don't need to purchase anything new if you don't want to. Simple oils—like coconut and olive oils—are fabulous options that you can get relatively inexpensively. And if you want to upgrade the treatment, jojoba, argan, and moringa seed oils all have amazing skin- and hair-supporting benefits.
If you're looking to protect against breakage, it may be time to rethink your hair care routine. More specifically, you may want to fold in a pre-shampoo to add nutrients to the hair fiber and add a coat of protection before the shower. It just might be the missing step for more hydrated, happy strands. And be sure to stay hydrated yourself, and take a hair-supporting collagen supplement to help maintain healthy hair from the inside out.*
Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director at mindbodygreen. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She has worked at many top publications and brands including Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends and updates in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as travel, financial wellness, and parenting. She has reported on the intricacies of product formulations, the diversification of the beauty industry, and and in-depth look on how to treat acne from the inside, out (after a decade-long struggle with the skin condition herself). She lives in Brooklyn, New York.