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Shampoo, conditioner and the occasional mask have been the haircare protocol for as long as we can remember, but it might be time to rethink these three basics. With an increased focus on the scalp and the role it plays in healthy hair growth, a pre-shampoo product movement is upon us. From scrubs to protein-rich treatments, what you do before you shampoo may just be the key to strong, shiny strands.
Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture Dream Come True Wonderful Pre-Wash Protein Treatment ($32)
This fortifying and strengthening mask may seem similar to the products you’ve been using for deep conditioning after washing your hair, but, alas, it’s not. Packed with protein that penetrates the hair to fill in any gaps caused by chemical processing, heat styling and environmental damage (and free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates), the floral-vanilla scent also gets your shower off on a nice note.
Klorane Gel Conditioner with Peony ($20)
Yes, this is technically a conditioner, but those with an especially sensitive or irritated scalp shouldn’t lather up without using this first. Featuring soothing peony that instantly relieves itching and discomfort caused by coloring, styling, sunburn or any other source for up to a week, the bottle has a unique applicator tip to ensure the gel gets exactly where you need it. When used after shampooing, the lightweight formula is an excellent detangler that leaves hair smooth and soft without weighing it down.
Living Proof Timeless Pre-Shampoo Treatment ($26)
Anti-aging hair care is a thing, and this treatment features shampoo-activated ingredients that help protect hair from environmental damage, lock color in place and reduce breakage caused by heat styling (by up to 85%). For optimal results, apply five minutes before shampooing—each and every time—and as an added bonus you can skip the pre-styling thermal protection product.
Christophe Robin Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt ($52)
At first glance, this scrub screams body product, but it’s actually formulated for your scalp. With exfoliating and detoxifying sea salt plus hydrating and soothing ingredients that quell post-coloring itch and irritation, it takes a few tries to get the hang of using this scalp scrub, but once you do, you’ll see less oily roots—which translates to less-frequent washing. And you’ll love the invigorating sensation!
IGK Low Key Cleansing Walnut Scalp Scrub ($36)
Offering the benefits of scalp-stimulating exfoliation and shampoo in one, this multitasker takes your haircare to the next level without investing any extra time. With clarifying apple cider vinegar plus walnut shell powder that easily rinses away any sugar crystals that melt as you massage this scrub/shampoo whisks away flakes, thoroughly cleanses and provides a cooling sensation thanks to a dash of peppermint oil.
R+Co Crown Scalp Scrub ($38)
Ideal for sensitive and oily scalps, this soothing and purifying scrub purges product buildup and dandruff to create the ideal environment for healthy hair follicles. Formulated with salicylic acid (yep, the same stuff in your skincare), exfoliating Ecuadorian ivory palm seed powder and oil-absorbing kaolin clay, think of it as a pre-shampoo facial for your scalp.
Oribe Gold Lust Pre-Shampoo ($68)
We’ve never met an Oribe product we didn’t like, and this is no exception. The rich, rejuvenating oil-based balm literally melts into the hair, in turn providing long-lasting protection against harsh surfactants lurking in your shampoo, damage caused by heat styling and environmental assaults like UV rays and pollution. This formula also hydrates and smoothes dry, brittle hair and helps prevent split ends while leaving Oribe’s scrumptious signature scent behind.
NOTE: Klorane products were provided complimentary for review purposes. All other products were purchased or sampled in-store. All opinions are my own.