Learn how to tell if your hair has product buildup, what causes product buildup in hair and how to remove buildup from hair.
Have you noticed your hair feeling dull and limp, while it also has become excessively frizzy of late and wondered why?
Well, what if I told you that you have become a victim to the problem of product buildup in your hair.
Yup your scalp issues could all be a result of the various styling products you have been using over the months like setting sprays, hair serums, pomade, moisturizing creams, etc. etc. all of which have left behind residue on the scalp.
This residue leads to product buildup formation on the scalp and hair making your hair feel so lifeless and dry over time.
What is product buildup? Is it the same as dandruff? Is it harmful to the hair? How is it caused?
Can I get rid of it? Now I’m sure these questions are in the mind of many and here are all the answers you need!
Related: How To Get Rid Of Hairspray Flakes
Related: Why Does My Hair Feel Waxy
What exactly is product buildup?
Product buildup are the layers of residue left behind from hair styling products like gels, creams, sprays, cleansers etc that settle on the hair and scalp.
Most hair styling products contain ingredients like silicones, wax, mineral oils etc that makes the hair look smooth and shiny.
But while it adds a sheen to the hair, these products also stick to the hair and shine and keep adding up with every application as they do not get washed off easily.
That is the reason why over time, these products result in the accumulation of product buildup making the hair feel dry and lifeless while making the scalp feels greasy.
How to tell if your hair has product buildup
Apart from getting gunk stuck in your fingernails or seeing while blobs in your parting, there are many other signs that will tell you that your hair has succumbed to product buildup. Here are some of them:
Your hair feels less voluminous
Well, once your hair strands get weighed down by all the locked in layers of residue and buildup, it loses its lustre and shine, making the hair stand greasy and limp.
At this point, there is not much you can do to bring back its volume unless you completely get rid of the excess buildup.
Lack of moisture and dry hair
Like I’ve mentioned earlier in the article, hair that contains product buildup will not allow conditioners, serums and moisturizers to penetrate into the hair strand.
Therefore, the hair will not be able to get the necessary moisturizing it requires.
You will begin to shampoo your hair more often
Once your hair contains excessive buildup, your hair will feel greasy quickly within a day or two of a hair wash. You will never feel like your hair is completely clean.
Your good hair days are limited
Hair with product buildup will make it harder for you to style your hair. And even if you’ve probably managed to style it, you will realize that the style will not stay or hold in place for a long time.
You may develop scalp conditions
While your hair may feel dry and rough, your scalp will feel sticky and greasy. This may also result in the development of dandruff, scalp conditions, redness or soreness.
Well, if you have a few or all of these signs, then note that they are all indicative of product buildup issues you need to resolve as soon as possible!
How to get rid of product buildup?
Some of the best ways to get rid of product buildup from the scalp and hair is by using the following methods
1. Using hair clarifiers or clarifying shampoos
Well, clarifying shampoos are known to be one of the most effective methods in getting rid of product buildup and cleansing the scalp completely.
Clarifying shampoos have the ability to cut through the layers of the buildup in order to detoxify the hair. That is how strong and effective they are for the hair.
While these shampoos can do the best job of getting rid of the buildup, they can also damage your hair at the same time as they can be harsh on the hair.
Such shampoos contain harsh chemicals like SLES and SLS that can damage the hair by stripping the hair off its moisture and making the hair become weak and brittle.
So clarifying shampoos cannot be used on a regular basis and should be limited to use only once in a month to once in forty-five days.
Using a clarifying shampoo on your scalp and then over the hair is advisable, while also deep conditioning your hair after its use, to regain the lost moisture and moisturize your hair.
2. Washing your hair with micellar water
Like I’ve mentioned earlier, using a clarifying shampoo on a regular basis can damage your hair beyond repair and therefore, it is not advisable to use it too often.
Well, of course there are other methods you could also use to get rid of product buildup and this one’s using something called ‘micellar water’. The name may be new to many, I’m sure, so here’s what it is.
Micellar water is a product used to help get rid of product buildup, just like clarifying shampoos, but use micellars instead of harsh chemicals to get rid of the buildup.
The micellar molecules draw the impurities towards them and attach to them in order to dissolve them, in turn breaking down the buildup and eventually washing it away.
Since micellar water doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, it can be used on a regular basis, even up to once every week. It will help cleanse your hair and scalp and also nourish it at the same time.
3. Use home cleansing hacks like baking soda and apple cider vinegar
Well, I’m sure there are some of you guys out there who always look for simple home hacks to solve most of your problems and guess what, we have you covered!
Here are some effective home hacks you can try, to get rid of product buildup from your hair:
Baking soda: Dissolve ½ tablespoon of baking soda in half a cup of warm water and rinse your hair with this mixture after your hair has been shampooed and washed, but before conditioning your hair. Baking soda has properties of mild abrasion and can help loosen up and get rid of product buildup.
Apple cider vinegar: Rinse your hair with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with half a cup. Since apple cider vinegar is acetic, it can help get rid of product buildup.
Lemon juice: Mix 1½ teaspoons of lemon juice in 1½ cups of water and rinse your hair with this mixture after you’ve shampooed your hair. Leave it on for 2 to 3 minutes before rinsing off. Then, condition your hair. Lemon juice may not completely get rid of the buildup, but it can help revive the hair damaged due to excessive product buildup.
Homemade scalp scrubs: Scalp scrubs help exfoliate the hair and therefore mixing cane sugar (or semi-granulated sugar) or even coffee grounds with any oil of your choice in order to make a paste to use as your scalp scrub will help get rid of the product buildup.
What causes scalp product buildup?
Hair styling products contain substances like mineral oils, silicones and polymers. These substances are responsible for giving the hair a shine and holding a hairstyle in place.
The issue with substances like these are that they do not wash off easily with regular shampoos but instead result in the accumulation on the hair and scalp causing this product buildup.
Why is product buildup often confused with dandruff?
Product buildup can often be confused with dandruff on the hair and that is because of the way it looks.
Small white flakes or spots that stick to each hair strand, which sometimes makes it look like a thin film covering the hair strand (but it is not usually visible to the naked eye).
I’m you’ve felt a greasy feeling when you’ve touched your hair after a couple of days of not having washed it or got a little gunk stuck in your fingernails when you’ve run your fingers through your hair.
Well, this all could just be the horrible product buildup stuck in your hair and scalp.
Is product buildup harmful for the hair?
Yes, of course! It most definitely can be harmful to your hair and can also hinder your hair growth.
One of the main problems of product build up is the clogging of the hair follicles on the scalp, apart from causing scalp irritation, dandruff formation, scalp conditions, itching and redness.
When this product buildup clogs the hair follicles, the normal hair growth process gets hindered.
This product buildup can also make it an unfit environment for the hair to grow and can lead to hair loss in the long run. Or it may even result in improper or no hair growth as well.
Another problem people with product buildup in their hair can face is their hair becoming dry, frizzy and having split ends.
This is due to the residue forming layers over the scalp that do not wash off easily.
So the conditioners we use to moisturize the hair do not penetrate into the hair strand and this makes the hair become dry, brittle, rough and of course, more prone to damage and breakage.
The final takeaway
Well, I hope this article gave you all the answers you’ve been looking for with regard to getting rid of product buildup from your scalp and hair.
I’d definitely suggest trying out the home hacks before going in for the others and I hope you can soon say goodbye to product buildup!
For those who have scalp conditions due to the buildup, it is important to consult a doctor in order to get professionally treated.