Why Pre-Shampooing Your Hair Is Actually an Amazing Idea

It's like retinol for your strands.

Black and white image of woman having hair coloured
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I hate washing my hair. My thick, curly texture makes it super tedious, time-consuming, and I'd even go as far as to say soul-sucking. Me in the shower = Flossie Dickey at her 110th birthday party.

At first, I thought the hair scientists at Living Proof were out of their damn minds for thinking I'd be willing to add a "pre-shampoo" treatment to my hour-long routine. Then, I thought about it like this: Much like pre-blowout strands need heat protectant TLC, processed and damaged hair needs a shield of its own before cleansing—especially if it's colored. 

"The majority of your color is lost by simply rinsing your hair with water in the shower," explains Eric Spengler, SVP of research and development at Living Proof. "Even if you use a mild shampoo, you still lose more from the water rinse itself." 

"The majority of your color is lost by simply rinsing your hair with water in the shower."

This is why Spengler, alongside the rest of his strand-safeguarding team, came up with their new Timeless Pre-Shampoo Treatment, which is formulated with color seal technology that insulates the hair before you even step into the shower. All you have to do is apply it to dry hair, spend five minutes scrolling through Instagram, and then hop in.

What's more is that the powerhouse cream contains UV and thermal protectants to improve overall hair health. "Damaged hair is more porous, and more porous hair loses color from rinsing more easily," says Spengler. Because it prevents and corrects age-related damage in one fell swoop, the treatment is already being likened to retinol for hair. And what woman wouldn't want to ward off the mane equivalent of fine lines and wrinkles?

Because I bleach my hair blonde, do all sorts of crazy things to it, and want it to look good forever, I introduced the pre-shampoo step to my regimen on principal alone. It just made sense. Then, after one of my few-and-far-between washes, I noticed that my months-old color was less brassy than it should be. I'm sold.

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Lauren Valenti
Lauren Valenti

I’m the associate web editor at Marie Claire. I love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. I firmly believe that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.