12 best pre-wash treatments to maximise your hair-washing routine

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Add extra nourishment and shine to the hair and scalp with an effective pre-wash treatment.

Nowadays, there are endless product and technique possibilities when it comes to washing your hair. While shampoo and conditions were once the be-all and end-all of all routines, you can now maximise your routine beforehand by adding in a pre-wash treatment to help with concerns from detangling, scalp health and moisture loss – among others.

What is a pre-wash treatment?

Simone Thomas, hair loss expert and founder of Simone Thomas Wellness describes pre-wash treatments as a facial for your hair. “It’s something that can be of benefit for all hair types and all ages. It’s a treatment that can help with many issues including easing itchy scalps and lifting hair that has lost its shine.”

As someone with a 4c hair type that thrives off hydration, I usually find that shampoo and conditioner aren’t enough to increase the moisture in my hair, so I’ll usually turn to a pre-wash treatment to provide my hair with exactly what it needs.

What are the benefits of using a pre-wash treatment?

Don’t be duped into thinking that pre-wash treatments are only beneficial for particular hair types. Shelby Samaria, global styling director at Bread Beauty Supply, notes that “pre-wash treatments can provide an extra protective layer of hydration and moisture particularly to heat damaged and post braided hair”.

When should you use a pre-wash treatment in your routine and how often?

This is dependent on your hair type and what your current routine looks like, but Thomas recommends adding it to your routine at least once a week and making it a regular part of your routine. “Once you have used the pre-wash treatment, shampoo and condition as usual, gently towel dry and then, if you can, let your hair dry naturally.”

If you do end up using heat on your hair straightaway, always make sure to apply a heat protectant beforehand so that it forms a protective barrier.

What type of pre-wash treatment is best for each hair type?

“Everyone is different; it’s best to give things a try and see what works best for you. If your hair is dry, you are going to want a luxury treatment that will truly nourish and bring it back to life, but if your hair is greasy it will be more about finding a treatment that will ease the oil but not be so strong that it completely strips it away,” explains Thomas.

  • Davines Renewing Pro Boost Superactive

    Simone Thomas, hair loss expert and founder of Simone Thomas Wellness:I am a massive fan of the Davines range as its products are natural and are super kind to your hair. I adore the Pro Boost Superactive as it’s packed with goodness and looks after the hair and scalp which is a double winner. The product should be spread evenly over the scalp for 15 minutes before using a shampoo and conditioner.”

    Shop Davines Renewing Pro Boost Superactive at Allbeauty, £48.75

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  • Bread Beauty Supply Macadamia Oil

    Shelby Samaria, global styling director at Bread Beauty Supply: “Our hair oil is a silicone-free, multi-purpose oil that is infused with kakadu plum and safflower oil. It can be used in three different ways: before-wash day as a pre-wash treatment, after-wash day to help lock in moisture and in-between wash days to help add shine to your strands throughout the week. My favourite way to use it is as a pre-wash treatment.”

    Shop Bread Beauty Supply Macadamia-Oil at Space NK, £26

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  • Leonor Greyl L’Huile De Leonor Greyl

    This pre-wash treatment is oil-based and delivers nourishing, protective and detangling benefits to the hair. Due to its hydrating ingredients such as organic coconut oil and jojoba oil, it’s best suited to those with dry hair.

    Shop Leonor Greyl L’Huile De Leonor Greyl at Lookfantastic, £31.50

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  • R+Co Gemstone Pre-Shampoo Color Protect Masque

    Salon-quality treatment couldn’t be easier to achieve at home thanks to R+Co’s Gemstone Pre-Shampoo Colour Protect Masque, which is particularly beneficial for dry, damaged and colour-processed hair. Simply spritz the hair with water and apply the pre-shampoo for up to 20 minutes before applying your usual shampoo and conditioner.

    Shop R+Co Gemstone Pre-Shampoo Color Protect Masque at Cult Beauty, £29

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  • Fable & Mane Pre-Wash Strengthening Treatment Hair Oil

    This treatment hair oil encourages healthy hair from root to tip, smoothing your strands for a silk-like finish. Whether you prefer using pre-wash treatments a few minutes before your usual wash routine or overnight before rinsing off, this is a great pick for all hair types with the same great results.

    Shop Fable & Mane Pre-Wash Strengthening Treatment Hair Oil at Cult Beauty, £32

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  • LifeSaver Pre-wash Treatment

    This pre-wash treatment helps to restore broken bonds, making it a great alternative to Olaplex. Whether you’re trying to reverse the effects caused by too much heat or if your hair needs some TLC, the pre-wash treatment will leave your hair feeling replenished, shiny and soft.

    Shop LifeSaver Pre-wash Treatment at Van Clarke, £29.50

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  • LifeSaver Ultra Intense Pre-wash Treatment

    This pre-wash treatment takes LifeSaver’s original pre-wash treatment up a notch with this intense version. It contains everything you know and love, just with double the concentration of LifeSaver’s patented Hydrabond Rx which provides less shrinkage, less breakage and less splitting.

    Shop LifeSaver Ultra Intense Pre-wash Treatment at Van Clarke, £14

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  • Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector

    This is another pre-wash treatment that helps to tackle the effects of dry and brittle hair and includes Olaplex’s well-love patented bond-building technology (which is found in all of its products). The bond helps to give hair the structure, strength and stability that it deserves and Olaplex’s cult following is truly a testament to how well each of its products works.

    Shop Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector at Cult Beauty, £28

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  • Kérastase Chronologiste Pre-Cleanse Régénérant

    Kérastase’s hydrating pre-wash blend helps to keep both the hair and scalp feeling and looking refreshed and lifts up to 96% of pollutants away before shampoo is even applied.

    Shop Kérastase Chronologiste Pre-Cleanse Régénérant at Lookfantastic, £29.16

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  • Color Wow Dream Filter Treatment

    This pre-wash treatment is suitable for all hair types but is particularly beneficial for those with colour as it helps to bring back colour that may have lost its shine and smoothness over time due to the effects of hard water. Simply spray evenly to hair and wait up to three minutes before going in with your shampoo.

    Shop Color Wow Dream Filter Treatment at Lookfantastic, £26

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  • Rapunzel Hair Syrup

    If you want to revive dull-looking hair and encourage hair growth then Hair Syrup’s vegan and cruelty-free Rapunzel Hair Syrup could be one for your basket. The formula is enriched with sweet almond which is known for its hydrating benefits and pomegranate which helps stimulate hair growth.

    Shop Rapunzel Hair Syrup at Beauty Bay, £13.95

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  • Bouclème Revive 5 Hair Oil

    Oil pre-wash treatments are great for adding deep nourishment to the hair and with a blend including moringa, mongongo, daikon seed, coconut and olive oils, you can bet that not only will your hair feel nourished and revitalised, but it will smell great too. Bouclème’s hair oil also helps to minimise frizz and flyaways.

    Shop Bouclème Revive 5 Hair Oil at Lookfantastic, £28

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Main image: Stylist; courtesy of brands

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