Pre-Shampoo Treatments: What Are They And Should You Use Them?

Best Products for Healthy Hair

Pre-Shampoo Products: What Are They And Should You Use Them?

16 August 2018
photo of woman getting pre shampoo treatment in salon
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Emily Arata

Senior Editor, Hair.com

As an employee of L’Oréal, Emily works with celebrity stylists to make finding the right cut, color, or style easier than ever before. She's previously written for Allure, Elite Daily, and First We Feast.

In the wide world of hair care, there’s one myth that’s sneakily persistent: Shampoo can fix whatever hair woes you’ve got. Although we always preach the gospel of a well-rounded hair routine to achieve your goals, every beautiful blowout starts in the shower. More specifically, it begins with a pre-shampoo treatment.

They haven’t gotten the good press of leave-in conditioner or split-end treatments, but pre-shampoo products help ensure you’re starting with hair that’s healthy, clean, and ready for anything you can throw at (ahem, apply to) it.

Ready to learn more about what pre-shampoo treatments are and how you can incorporate them into your daily routine? Keep reading.

What is a pre-shampoo treatment?

As the name implies, this product category incorporates almost anything applied to your hair before washing it. They generally live in your shower and can come in clear and creamy formulas. Often, pre-shampoo products support the aims of your shampoo and conditioner. A hair care system that targets dandruff may have an oil that comes first, while a blowout system can rely on pre-shampoo gloss for the first step.

Hair professionals often layer products in the way an average woman almost never does, so think of the pre-shampoo formula as an easy way of emulating the greats.

Who needs a pre-shampoo treatment?

If you’re washing your hair before bed or mixing up shampoos and conditioners, a pre-shampoo treatment probably won’t make a difference in the way your hair looks or feels. In salon-quality systems, each product compounds the effect of the one before it. Those dedicated to using the same hair care lines will probably see more of an impact from their pre-wash scrub.

As far as what kind of pre-shampoo formula you need, think about how you’d like your hair to look at the very end. Do you want a visibly flake-free scalp? Is a glossy blowout the end result? Your chosen product will need to reflect that.

Which pre-shampoo product is right for you?

Don’t panic if you’re not sure which formula works with your hair. Below, we have a few favorite recommendations from the L'Oréal portfolio of brands. For personalized advice, be sure to loop in your stylist before trying something new.

L'Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil Huile Initiale

This high concentration product is formulated with a 10 percent blend of Colza and Safflower oil for thick hair. If your end goal is nourishment and protection, this in-salon formula will do wonders for your hair.

L'Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil Huile Initiale, prices available in salon

Mizani Scalp Care Pre-Treatment

The Mizani Scalp Care Pre-Treatment helps lift and remove excess buildup from the scalp. Infused with aloe, avocado oil, and eucalyptus oil, it works as the first step in the Scalp Care professional treatment toward caring for scalp. Follow up your pre-treatment with the Scalp Care Shampoo and Conditioner.

Mizani Scalp Care Pre-Treatment, $25.99 MSRP

Redken Glow Dry Pre-Shampoo Gloss Hair Scrub

For a shine-enhancing blow dry, start your hair care routine with the Glow Dry Pre-Shampoo Gloss Hair Scrub. Brayden Pelletier, Redken partner and stylist, is a huge fan of this one.

A pre-scrub actually helps kind of like you would use a pre-mask on your skin.

Brayden Pelletier

Follow with the Diamond Oil Glow Dry Gloss Shampoo and Conditioner to achieve the best results.

Redken Glow Dry Pre-Shampoo Gloss Hair Scrub, available in salon

Kérastase Chronologiste Gommage Exfoliating Pre-Shampoo

For revitalizing, exfoliating care, try Kérastase Chronologiste Exfoliating Pre-Shampoo for scalp and hair. The rinse-out pre-shampoo formula can help breathe new life into your strands. The line’s Bain Chronologiste Shampoo and Crème Chronologiste Hair Mask should follow.

Kérastase Chronologiste Gommage Exfoliating Pre-Shampoo, $46.00

Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil

Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil is a multi-use elixir moisturizes and protects with intense nutrition. Rapidly absorbed into the hair fiber, it rebalances the moisture level of dry hair. It’s even formulated for daily use, if you happen to love washing your hair every day.

Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil, $69.00 MSRP

Matrix Total Results The Re-Bond Pre-Conditioner

If you’re a hair color addict, you may find yourself with residual damage. Matrix’s Total Results The Re-Bond system is designed to repair internal strength after damage from three lightening services when used as directed for two weeks.

Matrix Total Results The Re-Bond Pre-Conditioner, available in salon

Need more advice about pre-shampoo treatments? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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