A question was presented on social media about which of the following methods offer the most moisture for relaxed hair: pre-poo, deep condition or co-wash. The responses varied greatly, surprisingly. Therefore, I decided to first discuss the basics and then share my two cents on which method provides optimum moisture for relaxed hair.
Pre-poo is a shortened phrase for pre-shampoo. Pre-pooing is pretty simple — drench hair with oil of choice (evoo is a great one!) and cover with a plastic processing cap for 30 minutes to overnight – done! This simple technique comes with big benefits: 1) Minimizes the impacts of harsh shampoos 2) Great for detangling as it gives slip to the hair and 3) Nourishes scalp and hair strands.
Deep conditioning is applying a good, creamy conditioner to freshly cleansed hair and allowing the product to sit for a designated time frame before rinsing. Note: Some have great success with dry deep conditioning so this is an option as well. Deep conditioning rates high on the list as one of the best methods for increasing hydration to the hair.
Co-wash is a shortened phrase for conditioner washing. This technique calls for conditioner washing the hair with a cheap conditioner (or any conditioner you choose for that matter, cheap or expensive. The wash session usually goes something like: rinse the hair to loosen dirt and oils, apply conditioner, let it sit for a few minutes and rinse again — repeat if needed. Co-washing is a great technique for increasing hydration to dry thirsty hair. Co-washing is a technique that is popular for a mid-week hydration boost.
Moisture for Relaxed Hair: My Thoughts
Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s briefly chat on which rates highest on my list? Deep conditioning, hands down…no comparison, no questions about it. Pre-pooing is great and can fight off some of the harsh impacts that shampooing presents. However, if a good, non-stripping shampoo is used and is followed up by a really great conditioning session, pre-pooing is not totally necessary. Co-washing is great as well but even still, the hydration is very temporary (for me). Deep conditioning, however, offers lasting moisture for relaxed hair.
But check it, if we really want to get technical, I would never rate these three in the same category as I feel they have a different purpose. A good regimen would incorporate all three or at least two of the three. I pre-poo about 99% of the time to combat the potential for hygral fatigue. Deep conditioning is a must for low porosity relaxed hair – I never skimp on this step. I co-wash here and there as-needed. Typically, mid-week during a stretch when the new growth needs a little boost. Otherwise, my vote is for deep conditioning.