Why You Should Be Using A Pre-Shampoo Treatment

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Photography: Emma Palmer

I’m not ashamed to admit that I went into a slight panic when hair salons closed in March. How was I going to cope without my regular six week trim? My hair would be frazzled. It’s no surprise that sales of at-home hair treatments have soared recently. Pre-shampoo treatments in particular have really come into their own. The bestseller? Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector, which we sell over 500 of bottles a week!

If you haven’t experienced the hair repairing, gloss-boosting power of Olaplex you might question the point of adding another step into your weekly hair routine. And, you might be even more perplexed as to why you’d add another step with the brand’s NEW No.0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment, a liquid primer that helps to supercharge your treatment. But, the clinical stats are incredibly impressive and using No.3 and No.0 together has been shown to make you hair time times stronger.  

We’ve put the latest launch to the test (with No.3 of course) and spoken to the experts to find out more. Read on to discover why pre-shampoo treatments could be the game-changing answer to keeping your hair in shape and extending your salon visits…

What Does A Pre-Shampoo Treatment Actually Do?

A pre-shampoo is exactly what is says on the tin – a treatment you use on your hair before you shampoo. “Usually they are applied to dry or damp hair and scalps, so they’re more intense and the results are far greater than most hair treatments, which are diluted with water,” says hair session stylist, Chad Maxwell. “Pre-shampoo treatments are great for every hair type because everyone can benefit from increased hydration and strength, as well as a healthy scalp too.” When it comes to maximising their potential, it all depends on the treatment you’re using. However, Chad does have some handy tips…

Leave It On For As Long As Possible

“If you’re using a pre-shampoo treatment specifically for hydration or to revive damaged hair and increase strength, I always recommend leaving it on for as long as possible,” advises Chad. “If you’re working from home, you can leave it on all day.” Chad also recommends using them the night before a special occasion. “When I work with my celebrity clients, I always recommend a pre-shampoo treatment as it really does take the condition and shine of their hair to the next level.”


Wrap Your Hair To Maximise Results

Another top tip is to always wrap your hair up to keep the product locked in. “From a practical point of view this will also help prevent the formula dripping. In terms of results, it also helps the treatment to penetrate the hair better as your head naturally heats the product,” advises Chad. We love the Aquis Turbans for this, but cling film will also do the trick.

What Is The Right Pre-Shampoo For You?

For Longer, Stronger Hair…

After a spat of hair extensions a year ago, I turned to Olaplex No.3 and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s helped strengthen my somewhat damaged hair and leaves it with that soft, glossiness usually achieved with a trip to the salon. The results are achieved by patented technology, which helps to repair damage at a molecular level and prevent breakages. “Our patented molecule, Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate addresses damage hair by repairing the disulfide bonds,” explains Olaplex CEO, JuE Wong.

It’s absolutely not necessary to reap the hair repairing rewards, but I personally like to apply it to damp hair and sleep with it on every other week. Well, at least I did until Olaplex No.0 arrived six weeks ago.

The NEW Olaplex No.0 is a liquid primer that you apply to dry hair 10 minutes before No.3. It helps to maximise absorption of No.3 and really intensify the results. Think of it as pre-shampoo supercharger. So, what can you expect? While there isn’t an immediate effect as such, as the weeks have moved on I have noticed that my hair feels stronger. The ends don’t break off when I brush or style it. On top of this, I’ve also noticed that when I leave it to air dry there’s less frizz.

“No.0 together with No.3 is your in-between salon regimen to keep your hair at its healthiest,” says JuE. “Through empirical scientific measured data we were able to prove that the dual system of No.0 and No.3 gives hair 68% more repair and makes it three times stronger.” After six weeks of using it I’m converted. Let’s hope Olaplex brings out a supersized bottle of this formula too. 

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For Irritated Scalps Or Excess Product Build-Up…

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub is great for those who experience a dry or flaky scalp. With a blend of both AHAs and BHAs, the gentle scrub helps to exfoliate and dissolve dead skin cells. It’s also great for reviving your scalp as you have to massage it in, which boosts circulation and can result in healthier hair overall.

“We exfoliate our faces regularly and our scalp should be treated just the same,” says Chad. If you’re an avid dry shampoo user, this exfoliator is also great for washing away any product build-up. Apply to a dry scalp, gently massage it in and then shampoo and condition as normal.

For Restoring Shine And Boosting Hydration…

To really quench thirsty, frazzled strands, Oribe’s Gold Lust Pre-Shampoo Intensive Treatment provides a much-needed dose of hydration. It’s packed full of macadamia and coconut oil, as well as caffeine, biotin and niacinamide to really nourish and lock-in moisture. “This is my all-time go-to and something I use on all of my clients,” says Chad. “I love blow-drying hair after using this as the shine and finish is incredible.”

Oils are also great to use as a pre-shampoo treatment if you want an extra boost of moisture, particularly for dry ends. We love Aveda’s Nutriplenish Hair Oil. Apply a generous amount to dry hair, let it work it’s magic overnight and wash your hair in the morning.