HALO Hydrated Halo Pre-Treat – Review

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The Hydrated Halo Pre-treat is a pre-shampoo treatment designed to help protect the hair by ensuring natural oils are not stripped from the hair shaft during shampooing. It also doubles as a leave-in treatment that can protect the hair from the damaging effects of UV radiation, salt water and chlorine exposure. It’s especially useful for anyone who regularly colours or heat-treats their hair or is prone to frizz and dullness.

HALO Claims:

Hydrated Halo Pre-treat works by being absorbed by the proteins inside your hair, sealing the fragile inner layer (cortex), and making it less prone to swelling up with water. No swelling means stronger, healthy, hydrated, shiny hair.

Brand Overview:

Halo Haircare Society was started by Nicola, a professional hairdresser with over 20 years of experience who wanted to create a line of haircare that used a range of locally sourced, natural ingredients, backed by science that had a pH perfectly cohesive with the hair and scalp. Halo’s ingredients are never tested on animals, and safe for you and the environment. To read more about the brand, and the other products I have tried and recommend, click here.

Appearance and Scent:

The treatment is a beautiful lightweight texture that is like an airy, less dense version of a traditional hair mask. It absorbs quickly and leaves no oily residue on the hair. It smells like coconut and peppermint.

Packaging, Size, and Expiry:

The treatment is housed in a sturdy plastic tub. The plastic tub is recyclable and the label is made from the same type of plastic, so it does not have to be removed prior to recycling.

Cost and number of uses:

Hydrated Halo Pre-Treat retails for NZD $44. I have been using this product daily during summer and I estimate it will last me about six months as a little goes a long way.

How to Use:

Apply to dry hair from roots to tips, at least 20 minutes before washing hair. Smoothing down the hair shaft then gently rake through the hair using a wide-tooth comb. For intensive treatment, it can be left on overnight. To protect hair from UV exposure, apply a small amount each morning. It is recommended for use prior to exposure to UV light, chlorine and saltwater.

Formulation Analysis:

With a pH of 3.7, the hair fibre has a more acidic pH than the scalp which sits between pH 5.4 and 5.9. Hair is composed of long, parallel chains of amino acids, with the typical composition being 90% keratin protein and 1-9% lipids.

When hair is exposed to friction, rough washing, sunlight and alkaline chemical treatments, the lipid content within the cell membrane complex (the cell membrane and the adhesive holding the cuticle cells together), decreases thereby changing the hydrophobic (water-repelling) nature of the hair to a hydrophilic (water-attracting), negatively charged surface.  Damaged hair becomes more porous, allowing more water to be absorbed, causing the hair shaft to swell.  The visible effects of which are tangling and frizz. The use of correctly pH-balanced haircare products may allow for the repair of this damage by reducing friction and sealing the cuticle making hair more able to resist water and able to neutralize the static electricity.

The use of oils can protect hair from damage by penetrating the hair and presenting water absorption, levering the amount of swelling of the hair shaft.  Good oils for the hair include Argan, Macadamia and Shea butter, all of which are included in this formula.

Leave-in treatments work by containing positively charged (cationic) surfactants that in turn, cause the entire formulation to carry a positive electric charge.  As the hair shaft has a negative charge (anion), the product is attracted to the hair shaft.  As hair accumulates a greater amount of damage, the net electric charge also increases. By only using haircare products at a low pH close to that of the hair, less frizzing occurs due to a reduced negative static electricity on the surface of the hair fibre. A slightly acidic conditioner will add shine to the hair as the cuticle is flattened and, therefore, able to reflect more light, appearing shiny and healthy.

The use of water-insoluble silicones in haircare also plays an important role in this process, as they are designed to create a water-repelling layer over the hair shaft.  The immediate effects of this are a decrease in frizz and a silky feeling due to an increase in the amount of moisture trapped within the hair shaft. However, over time no additional moisture or active ingredients are able to be absorbed. The only way to remove these built-up silicones is with harsh sulphates or alkaline products, which causes long-term damage to the hair and result in greater frizz and tangling.  To counteract this, water-based silicones are increasingly being used by the haircare industry to provide the same short term benefits and even provide some protection from the damaging effects of chlorine, saltwater and UV radiation. They have the huge benefit of being able to deliver active ingredients before evaporating off or being easily removed with water. Halo Haircare Society has a very good blog post on the use of silicones in haircare.


Purified Water, Behentrimonium Methosulfate & Cetyl Alcohol & Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclomethicone, Cetrimonium chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Macadamia integrifolia (Macadamia) Nut Oil, Vitellaria paradoxa (Shea Butter) Nut Butter, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Nut Oil, Isopropyl Myristate, Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis (Hibiscus) Flower Extract, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract, Guar Hydroxypropltrimonium Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Hydrolyzed Silk Protein, Citric Acid Anhydrous, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Essential Oil, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Essential Oil.

Ingredient Analysis:

Behentrimonium Methosulfate & Cetyl Alcohol & Butylene Glycol is a haircare ingredient complex that allows oil and water to form a stable emulsion while also providing a positive electric charge (cation).  Behentrimonium Methosulfate is a quaternary ammonium salt derived from Rapeseed oil (Brassica napus).  It is frequently used in haircare because it functions as a conditioning agent and offers detangling properties.  As it is a long-chain molecule, it is hydrophobic (water-repelling), which gives body to hair and reduces flyaways.  Because it is considered one of the mildest ingredients due to its low chance of irritating the scalp, it is commonly used in leave-on haircare and skincare products.

Cyclomethicone is a water-soluble silicone used for spreading or dispersing active ingredients.  It also functions as a wetting agent due to its low surface tension, water-repelling properties, low viscosity and non-greasy texture. It is volatile (quickly turns from a liquid to a gas) and unstable, evaporating after application leaving behind the active ingredient. Any remaining residue is removed by washing and it does not build up on the hair shaft.

Cetrimonium chloride is a quandary ammonium salt that functions as an antimicrobial agent and is another cationic surfactant that works in a similar way to Behentrimonium Methosulfate.

Vitellaria paradoxa (Shea) nut butter is extracted from the kernels of the Shea tree native to West Africa.  It is composed of vitamins, minerals and triglycerides with oleic, stearic, linoleic and palmitic fatty acids. It also contains compounds that possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has the potential ability to protect the hair from UV exposure and relieve the symptoms of an irritated scalp.

Argania Spinosa (Argan) nut oil comes from the kernels of the tree native to Morocco it is rich in poly-unsaturated fatty acids, tocopherols (vitamin E), polyphenols, vitamins and antioxidants.

Panthenol is the pro-vitamin (biologically active precursor) to Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) present in all body cells and plays an essential role in cellular metabolism. When applied topically, it attracts water from the atmosphere providing hydration, reduces inflammation and helps the scalp resist damaged by exposure to irritation, including that caused by sulphates.

Hydrolyzed silk protein is the protein from silk that has been broken down into smaller components via hydrolysis (adding water molecules).  It is rich in the amino acid cysteine and is positively charged (cationic), so it is able to bond with damaged hair.  Keratin is the most abundant protein in the hair and contains a high amount of cystine as a building block, so products containing cysteine can help to strengthen and repair hair.   It forms the disulphide bridges with providing rigidity and strength to the keratin protein.

This study published in the Journal Molecules found topical use of cystine results in the repair of damage and decreases the amount of hair loss.

Tocopherol refers to a group of molecules known as Vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant essential for a healthy scalp. Vitamin E absorbs UV energy and reacts with reactive oxygen species (ROS) which protects the hair from UV-induced free radical damage and provides protection from the damaging effects of UV radiation.

This formula does contain some essential oils, but as it is intended to be applied to the ends of the hair, not the scalp, this should not cause any irritation.

pH Testing:

I got a pH result of 5.3.

pH Analysis:

As the pH of healthy hair is considered to be pH 3.7 This product is formulated slightly higher, but just below the range of the pH of a healthy scalp (5.4 to 5.9). Therefore, it can help to improve the long-term health of the scalp microbiome. As the scalps barrier function is so dependent on the pH of the products that come into contact with it, it is so important to use haircare products formulated within the pH range of healthy skin. You can read my page about why the pH of haircare products are so important here.


I have been using The Hydrated Halo Pre-treat in addition to a Halo Shampoo and Conditioner for around three months, during which time I have received so many compliments on my hair. It has also become more resilient to frizz on humid days, my colour is lasting longer and my hair no longer has that horrible crunchy feeling when I get out of the pool. My preferred way of using this pre-treat is to comb it through the ends of my hair several hours before washing. This leaves my hair feeling so soft and silky and even after airdrying, it prevents the frizz I use to experience. What I really love about this product is the effect it has had on my daughter’s hair. In addition to not having to have battles with her tangles in the morning, her blond hair that had turned green from swimming in chlorine has its beautiful colour back and is looking shiny and healthy.

Overall Impressions:

I love this treatment and will continue to repurchase this product. Since starting this blog I have become as aware of how important the correct pH of products are not just for the face, but also the scalp and hair. However, I have struggled to find products that are formulated at the correct pH or include quality ingredients in high enough concentration to be effective. There is also an issue in the haircare industry with transparency and using low-quality ingredients that can cause damage long-term. The entire Halo line ticks all the boxes for me and really admire the brand’s commitment to sustainability and supporting local NZ businesses.

What I Liked:

  • Fragrance, alcohol, and preservative-free
  • Effective and well-formulated
  • Can be used for multiple purposes
  • Travel-friendly, sustainable, and easy-to-use packaging
  • The brand is cruelty-free and vegan

What I Disliked:

  • Contains essential oils which can be irritating in sensitive individuals

Where to Purchase:

HALO products are available to purchase here from Halo Haircare Society website. You can use my discount code ‘biomefree’ to get free shipping or ‘biome20’ for 20% discount on two or more products purchased in the same transaction.


HALO haircare is only available for delivery in NZ or to an NZ Post Office box address.


  • Halo Haircare Society
  • Hair cosmetics; an overview.  International Journal of Trichology, 2015.
  • Normal skin surface pH is on average below 5, which is beneficial for its resident flora. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2006.
  • Evaluation of pH in bathing soaps and shampoos for the skin and hair care. Indian Journal of Dermatology, 2014.
  • Shampoo and conditioners: what a Dermatologist should know.  Indian Journal of Dermatology, 2015.
  • Croda Personal Care www.crodapersonalcare.com
  • Anti-inflammatory and skin barrier repair effects of topical application of some plant oils.  International Jornal of Molecular Sciences, 2017.
  • Use of Vegetable Oils to Improve the Sun Protection Factor of Sunscreen Formulations. Cosmetics, 2019.
  • Effects of the Usage of l-Cysteine (l-Cys) on Human Health. Molecules, 2018.
  • Final report on the safety assessment of Cyclomethicone.  Journal of the American College of Toxicology, 1991.
  • Vitamin E in dermatology. Indian Dermatological Online Journal, 2016.
  • Vitamin E and skin health. Oregon State University-Micronutrient Information Centre, 2012.