Product Build Up In Hair- How To Remove It Fast!

Tired of hair that feels and looks flat, dull and dry? Struggling with curls that just won’t clump, define and look stringy? You might have a case of product build up in your hair! Don’t worry, there is a quick fix. Continue reading this post to find out how to get rid of product buildup in hair fast!


What Is Product Build up?

Product build up is the accumulation of stylers, silicones, petrolatum’s, greases, butters, serums and oils that when aren’t properly shampooed out of the hair, create a moisture blocking barrier that coats the hair strands and scalp temporarily.

It is the progressive accumulation of hair products that leave behind a residue or film on the hair. When products are also reapplied during the week and then improperly cleansed when it is time to shampoo, they start to form what feels like a waxy coating on the hair strands.

When product build up occurs, you will notice that your hair just seems pretty dull, flat, unable to retain any moisture or hold a curl, etc. You may even start to notice that your scalp feels and looks more greasy than usual, resulting in an itchy and flaky scalp.

Product build up can happen on any hair texture and/or hair thickness and if not identified and treated in a timely manner, can sometimes result in breakage.

Hair strands are fibers that are made up of protein which are delicate and really don’t need a ton of products to remain healthy and strong. However, sometimes you might go a little overboard with a product and over apply.

Product build up is temporary and can be easily fixed once you realize that your hair might need a reset!

This post is all about product build up in hair.

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What Does Product Build Up In Hair Look Like

One of the key indicators that product build up may be the cause for your hair not feeling and looking as healthy as it should be, is when your hair feels dry no matter what you use to moisturize it.

Dryness with product buildup in your hair happens because the products have left behind a water blocking film on the hair. You will notice that no matter what products you use, it just sits on top of your hair and never absorbs into the strands.

Product build up in hair can also look like your curls no longer clumping or defining and for those with straighter textures, your hair will just start to look flat and weighed down. If your hair starts to look stringy and limp (no matter what texture you have), you could be battling product build up.

An itchy and greasy scalp can be another indication of product build up and this can happen because your scalp goes into overtime producing what is called sebum. Our scalp produces  a sticky natural wax that forms in an attempt to reach the hair strand and moisturize it naturally (which is harder for it to do anyway for textured hair, due to the zig zags and spirals of our curls).

The sebum attracts more dirt and pollutants from the environment, so if you aren’t cleansing your hair regularly, this could wreak havoc on your hair and scalp health.

If your hair strands are blocked from receiving moisture and your scalp continues to produce its sebum layer, you will notice that your hair looks greasier than usual and you might even experience some dandruff.


What Causes Product Build Up In Hair

Hair products tend to leave behind a residue on the hair. Sometimes the residue is from a silicone or petrolatum for example and although they make the hair feel great in the moment of using them, it coats the hair in a way that takes a little more effort to remove than just using your traditional shampoo and conditioner.

This residue can feel like a waxy coating on the hair and it is typically water insoluble. This means that the left over product on your hair and scalp will not easily be rinsed out using just water or a gentle co wash conditioner.

So when you go to spray your hair with water or add another layer of your favorite moisturizer, butter or serum, the original waxy coating on the hair  is only getting thicker.

Another cause of product build up is the infrequency for washing your hair. If you are going through long stretches without washing your hair, chances are if you are also applying products throughout the week in between washes on top of that, you are probably contributing to the build up on your hair and scalp.


How To Get Rid Of Product Build Up In Hair

The easiest and most simple way to get rid of product build up in your hair is to use a clarifying shampoo.

Clarifying shampoos differ from your basic moisturizing shampoos in that they are meant to actually cut through and remove any waxy or oily layer that is built up on the hair and scalp.

Clarifying shampoo is a lot stronger than your tradition shampoo because it contains stronger surfactants that hep to remove all impurities from the hair and scalp.

Our top pick for a no nonsense clarifying shampoo is the Briogeo Scalp Revival Micro Exfoliating Shampoo. This is a great option especially for those that suffer from dandruff or scalp psoriasis, as it also soothes the scalp while removing the impurities.

If you want to go the more DIY, you can try this Clay/Apple Cider Vinegar recipe below, but be sure to still follow up with a shampoo after.

How Do You Remove Product Build Up From Your Hair?

When clarifying your hair, you’ll want to follow these simple steps:

  1. Section hair into four to six sections for easier manageability and to reduce tangles.
  2. Allow warm water to run over each section to warm the products up that are on the hair and scalp.
  3. Apply a quarter sized amount of clarifying shampoo to each section starting at the root and working your way down the strands.
  4. Using the pads of your finger tips, gently massage the shampoo into your scalp to remove the buildup and work your way down with the shampoo suds.
  5. Rinse each section thoroughly and repeat at least one more time using the clarifying shampoo in each section.
  6. You can incorporate using a shower detangling brush while everything is sudsy and with water running down the section you are working on.
  7. Rinse out thoroughly and apply your conditioner or deep conditioning treatment of choice.

If you have low porosity hair, you will definitely want to  follow up with a deep conditioning treatment! For a list of the the best deep conditioners for low porosity hair, click here!

Final Thoughts On Removing Product Build Up

Evaluate the products that you use and keep a close eye on the ingredients lists. Heavy silicone and petrolatum use, as well as as butters and oils that lock out moisture will need to be washed out thoroughly using a clarifying shampoo to ensure the scalp and hair strands aren’t coated.

This allows for the hair to take in moisture and other products, once and clean and you are ready to style again.

If you notice that your hair is dry, dull, flat, wont hold a curl or definition no matter what products you use, it is highly recommended to  incorporate using a clarifying shampoo at least once per month to reset your hair!


This post was all about product build up in hair.

More In Shampoo:

How Much Shampoo To Use For Properly Cleansed Hair?


What Is Clarifying Shampoo And How To Use It


How To Use Shampoo And Conditioner: Detailed Step by Step Guide

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