Pre-Wash Hair Masks: When To Use Them and Which One To Use

Pre-Wash Hair Masks: When To Use Them and Which One To Use

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In the quest for healthy, beautiful hair, many of us are well-acquainted with the staples of hair care: shampoo, conditioner, and various styling products. But what if we told you that there's a lesser-known, yet potent ally in the battle for radiant tresses? Enter pre-shampoo masks, the unsung heroes of hair care.


These transformative treatments have been making waves in the beauty world, promising to take your haircare routine to the next level.  Whether you're struggling with damaged locks, unruly frizz, or just looking to pamper yourself, pre-shampoo masks might just be the secret weapon your hair has been waiting for.


Why Use a Pre-Wash Hair Mask

A pre-wash hair mask, also known as a pre-shampoo hair mask or pre-conditioning treatment, is a product applied to the hair before shampooing and conditioning. They can give your hair and scalp several benefits, including:


  • deep conditioning your hair to make it softer and smoother
  • repairing damaged hair
  • enhancing your hair’s shine
  • making your hair less frizzy
  • improving scalp health (some pre-shampoo masks help with dry or irritated scalps)
  • prolong hair color


How Often To Use a Pre-Shampoo Hair Mask

Since pre-shampoo treatments come in different forms from hair masks to hair oils, there is no set in stone answer for how often to use them, especially since it can vary pretty widely based on hair type. If you are using an oil, serum, or tonic for hair growth or density, often you will want to apply the treatment to your scalp daily.


For purifying or deep conditioning hair masks meant to either reduce oiliness or deep condition the hair, apply the treatment once a week will give your hair a good reset without overloading your hair.


Do You Apply a Pre-Shampoo Mask to Wet or Dry Hair?

While it will depend on the treatment, most pre-shampoo treatments will be best applied to damp hair. I like to spray my hair with water before applying the mask. Wet hair allows treatments to better penetrate your hair strands.


A lot of pre-shampoo treatments for the scalp however can be applied to dry hair. Look at the instructions for your specific treatment to understand how to get the best results.

hair quiz 


How Long Do You Leave a Pre-Shampoo Mask On?

Pre-shampoo masks generally should be left on for between 10-30 minutes in order to to get the full benefits. Don’t leave a pre-shampoo mask on overnight unless stated otherwise to avoid mushy hair or an irritated scalp.


I like to apply a pre-shampoo treatment 20 minutes before my shower and then secure my hair with a hair clip.


Best Pre-Shampoo Hair Masks

For Your Scalp

pre-wash hair oil

JVN Complete Pre-Wash Scalp and Hair Strengthening Treatment Oil

This is a great pre-wash scalp oil that works for scalp conditions ranging from dryness to excessive oiliness to itching and hair fall. It’s meant to be applied directly to your scalp 10-15 minutes before showering to let it soak in completely. This is a really effective multi-purpose oil that won’t leave your hair greasy.


pre-wash hair mask

The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density

I used The Ordinary’s Multi-Peptide Hair Density Serum to fix some patchiness on my scalp and was a little skeptical. It took only a few weeks for me to see some results after applying it once a day right before bed. It’s a non-greasy formula that became an easy part of my routine and was super effective. If you’re looking for thicker, fuller hair or to improve your overall hair density, apply this on the scalp right where you want to see some growth.


For Dry, Frizzy, or Curly Hair

Carols Daughter Goddess Strength Ultra Shield Pre-Shampoo Treatment

This treatment by Carol’s Daughter says it’s for “strength & length” and it’s a godsend for those with curly or texture hair who are prone to dryness in their hair. This formula uses ginger, black cumin seed, and castor oil to give hair bounce and shine. Use regular to protect the ends of your hair and make your post-shower detangling session a cinch. 


Shaz and Kiks Scalp and Hair Pre-Wash

I love a multi-purpose product and this scalp and hair mask helps with hair growth as it also smooths and defrizzes thick and curly hair. 15-20 minutes is all you need to let your hair saturate in this hair masks made with an Ayurvedic oil blend and kokum butter. It’s a perfect all-in-one hair and scalp mask for curly hair types or those struggling with lots of dryness.


For Damaged, Ultra-Dry Hair

pre-wash hair mask for damaged hair

Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector

Olaplex No. 3 is one of the lines most popular products.The bond building technology in the product makes hair silkier and smoother right away. There’s sometimes confusion around how to use No. 3 so here’s the lowdown: apply to damp hair and comb through with your fingers. Leave it on for at least 10 minutes, but up to 90 minutes is good as well! (Olaplex doesn’t recommend leaving it on overnight.) After the time is up, rinse it out and then shampoo and condition as normal!


Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment

Bonding treatments have been on the rise recently, but this one by Redken is one of the best. Applied to wet hair, it needs only 5-10 minutes to work its magic. Redken’s Citric Acid + Bonding Care Complex is a really powerful combination of ingredients that reinforces weakened bonds and makes hair incredible smooth.


Pre-Wash Hair Masks Conclusion

Pre-shampoo masks possess the remarkable ability to transform your haircare routine. By nourishing, hydrating, and fortifying your locks before the cleansing process even begins, they lay the foundation for hair that exudes health, vibrancy, and confidence.


Whether your hair is suffering from damage, yearning for that extra shine, or simply in need of some pampering, pre-shampoo masks offer a versatile solution that caters to diverse needs. They’re also an awesome way to relax and create a self-care routine that always does something good for your hair.

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