If you asked me that question and gave me only 2 seconds to answer it I would probably blurt out YES! After all I am a creature of habit and for me prepooing seems to be naturally the first step to any wash day especially since that is what I have practiced for years.
Now that we have the rushed answer, let me think about the question a bit more.
Frankly I have never gone a whole month without washing my hair even if I wore a protective style or had my hair flat ironed and needed it to last.
After about 2 weeks my hair starts to get greasy and dull which usually indicates that there is some buildup of some sort happening up there which means wash day is imminent.
So if 30 days went by what exactly would be going on in your scalp and hair at the base level? And would it really make sense to add a bunch of oil or other prepoo to the mix just to shampoo it all out later?
Well when you think about it, it kinda sorta seems crazy right?
Now before you start going ewww, washing your hair just once a month?? It is actually a valid technique used by quite a few waist length and beyond natural haired ladies as a way of reducing manipulation.
What is prepooing?
For those of you that don’t know the infamous pre poo or pre shampoo process, it is simply a method used by naturals and relaxed women alike to coat the hair with some kind of concoction usually involving oil to protect the strands from the stripping effects of a regular shampoo.
You can use any oil to do prepoo, it just depends on what your preferences are. You just apply the oil from root to tip of your hair then after a few minutes to a few hours you would then proceed to shampoo and deep condition your hair as normal.
It is easy to confuse a typical prepoo with dry conditioning treatments which can also be done prior to washing your hair as well. Honestly it is all the same because when you dry condition your hair, and then shampoo it, chances are that you will have added enough product to protect your strands prior to stripping off the excess with your shampoo.
It’s worth a note that prepooing can also be done by those who use sulfate free shampoos. As counter-intuitive as this sounds, sulfate free shampoos are also perfectly capable of being stripping your hair depending on the formulation used.
Have you ever heard the term, ‘clean hair good, dirty hair betta?’ Of course not because I totally made that up!
But I’m sure that you have heard that dirty hair is easier to style, better for relaxers and better for a dye job. The reason for this is because dirty hair contains a mix of sebum which is naturally produced by the scalp, oils* you applied to seal your hair, and products you have added to your hair for maintenance over the past 30 days.
Even if you are not using any products at all, guaranteed there will be sebum traveling down your strands and all over your scalp as you style your hair from week to week.
This stuff serves as a barrier to chemicals, sulfates or anything that apply topically to your hair. This is the reason why hair protein treatments should only be applied to freshly shampooed hair, they are more effective then.
What exactly is Sebum?
This brings us to sebum and what it is. Sebaceous glands found below our skin are responsible for producing sebum, a waxy oily substance who’s purpose is to lubricate the skin and hair.
The production varies from head to head but nonetheless, this stuff is very much like ear wax which sounds gross but is the best description for it. On a side note, ear wax has sebum in it, go figure!
Sebum is a mix of triglycerides, wax esters and squalene along with some fatty acids that are insoluble, and vitamin E* which is great for our skin and hair. It is made to protect your skin and scalp by coating them and keeping everything moisturized and supple, kind of like the oil does when you pre poo.
30 days worth of sebum is no joke and it is kind of amazing that you have your own natural prepoo which would warrant that you would not need to add anything else to your hair.
Additionally it acts as a great barrier to the direct effects of chemical treatments such as relaxers and color making you less susceptible to chemical burns or over processing your hair.
Sebum is not fool proof though, you still need to take the proper precautions before you apply any sort of chemicals to your hair just as a backup.
Back to our question then, Do You Need To Prepoo If You Only Wash Your Hair Once A Month? The short answer is no. The process would be pointless because your scalp and hair is already prepooed for you.
PS – For our monthly washers it makes more sense to deep condition on clean hair rather than on dirty hair to allow maximum uptake of all the goodness from your conditioner so don’t skip the shampoo step.
What say you? Do you agree that prepooing after 30 days is pointless?