The concept of a prewash for your hair originates from the age-old Ayurvedic practice of oiling your hair before you wash it. Back in the day, there wasn't a Sephora or a Target where you could buy your body care products. People would use nutrient-rich plants to help clean, treat, and nourish their bodies. Women (and men) living in the Indian subcontinent would create beautifully handcrafted mixes of plant-based oils, herbs, and flowers. These mixes were based in Ayurvedic science, which taught how to synergistically mix natural ingredients to deliver the right vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory elements, to strengthen the body and prevent damage.
These mixes were massaged into the scalp and hair, where they would soak in for a few hours or overnight allowing all those powerful nutrients to really be absorbed. Then it would be washed out with a gentle cleanser.
We've taken these Ayurvedic formulas and reimagined it for the modern-day and created BACK TO YOUR ROOTS Scalp+Hair Prewash. Here are some key details about why and how to use a prewash:
Why do I need a prewash?
There are 2 main reasons—
1. Food For Your Scalp and Hair: this is a nutrient-rich mask that has all the right vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties to feed and nurture your hair follicles, scalp, and strands. Letting it soak in at least for 20 minutes allows all that goodness to soak into your skin and strands.
2. Helps Prevent Damage: one of the biggest everyday drivers of hair damage is water. All hair is porous and when you step into the shower (bath, pool, ocean, lake) your hair starts absorbing that water. But the hair structure is not flexible, so at one point it absorbs too much water and your strands start swelling and breaking. A prewash helps this damage from happening, by creating a protective shield with the oils in it around your dry strands so when you step into the shower, a lot less water gets absorbed and your strands stay strong! Read more about water damage in this article.
Why do I need to put it in dry hair?
Oil and water don't mix, we know this! So in order for these nutritious oils to really soak in and do their job, your hair needs to be dry. If you put oil in your wet hair, it stays on top of your strands and gives a more cosmetic smoothness, not nutrition.
Also, going back to one of the main benefits of the prewash is to PREVENT water damage, so putting it in your dry hair before you wash it is crucial.
What is BACK TO YOUR ROOTS Scalp+Hair Prewash made with?
Our formulation is 80% plant-based. It's primarily created with plant and nut based oils mixed with herbal and floral extracts. There are some naturally-derived and a few (safe) synthetic ingredients that help stabilize our product so it can stay mixed and safe for you to use over a longer period of time. Read more about our ingredients here. We created a cream-like texture so all those oils and herbal extracts could be mixed properly and stay safe over time.
Why do I need to massage it in?
Studies show that increased blood flow in your scalp is one of the best ways it is able to absorb nutrients and oxygen and to grow thicker hair. And massaging does just that... increase blood flow! That's why we also encourage combing before and after application because it helps your blood going, helps distribute the prewash through your strands, and dislodged any dry flakes.
How long before I see the benefits?
You'll definitely see softer, flexible, and more manageable hair after the first use. But the true magic of our prewash is to regularly use it weekly (or any time before you wash your hair). Using this product is like taking your vitamins regularly. Over time, you'll see that you get less overall damage, your hair is stronger, and you're building the healthiest version of your hair.
Photo by Jana Cantua for SHAZ & KIKS
Video by Jyoti Patel for SHAZ & KIKS