What are pre-shampoos and pre-cleanses and do you need them?

I used to be one of those people who had 100000 products. I didn’t just have one body lotion; I had a lotion to firm up butt/tights, one for the chest area, one for the stomach, and then a general one for the rest. My face routine had an endless number of steps…. When a dermatologist, Dr. Gross, told me to stop using everything on my face besides an oil-free SPF to clear up my skin – and it worked – I became a less is more girl, especially for skincare (bodycare still involves a rather long list of products…). With that said I was weary of pre-shampoos and pre-cleanses. And, as it turned out, they’re not something particularly useful for my personal routine.

The idea behind both products is to remove build-up so that your subsequent cleansing products can work more effectively. As far as pre-shampoo treatments go they come in a number of different formulations: butters, conditioners, masks, and oils. Depending on the product you apply it either to dry or wet hair before you cleanse with your normal shampoo and conditioner/mask. For me I didn’t seen any value in adding this to my routine. I use very little styling products aside from heat/sun protecting spray and the occasional anti-frizz or shine spray. If, however, you do use a long list of products on your hair a pre-shampoo could be helpful to remove excess styling products, dirt, and oil that can build up on your scalp.

Pre-cleanses are the same idea. If you’re in an aggressive environment a cleanser might not be enough to clean your skin. That’s when your pre-cleanse comes in. It works to attract and dissolve the layer of buildup that may be blocking your regular cleanser if your skin is particularly full of oil, dirt, and grime. Again, day to day this isn’t something I find very useful, but on days where I’m loading my skin with sunscreen, bug spray, and powder foundation it does come in handy (Dermalogica makes a great one).

Have you tried either of these kinds of products?

Image: Vogue

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