Natural Hair

Understanding Product Build-Up and How to get rid of it

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Have you noticed something different about your hair lately?. Like how your hair feels dry even after putting in some products, your styles not coming out flawless or your regime is no longer working for your hair and your hair generally sucks at management. These problems can be as a result of product build-up.

What is Product Build Up?

The definition is not far-fetched from what has been said above. Nevertheless, product build-up is the flaky, sticky residue produced over time when products accumulate on the hair and its follicles. This residue forms a layer over the hair preventing other products from penetrating into the hair which in turn adds to the build up. Sometimes product build-up is often mistaken to be dandruff. It is important to understand that dandruff is a medical condition while product build up can be characterized by the bad use of hair products. Product build-up can worsen the appearance of dandruff if it occurs on a dandruff prone scalp or if it combines with the normal scalp shedding cycle.

How to know when you have product build up?

You will know you have product build up if you have many of these:
  • Dull looking hair – No shine.
  • Looks dirty even when it has just been washed.
  • Difficulty to style.
  • Feels coated.
  • Looks flat.
  • Texture Change.
  • Feels dry even after applying the moisturizing product.
  • Sticky residue on the scalp.

What causes product build up? Some liken product build-up to the products they use and go get new ones that still give the same problem. Product build up can be caused by the products you use and so it is important that you identify the ingredients in these products that are prone to causing product build up.
  • Failure to rinse out all products on hair.
  • Hair with low porosity doesn’t allow water to penetrate easily, likewise hair products.
  • Use of hair products with waxes, silicones ( water insoluble), parabens, petroleum products, mineral oil, vegetable oils, butter and plant gels.
  • Co-washing, cleansing conditioners, and no-poo method.
  • Misuse and overuse of products.
  • Failure to evenly distribute product on hair.

How to prevent product build up?

To prevent product build up, you must:
  • Identify the chemicals that cause product build up, stop use or moderately use products.
  • Make use of a product with more therapeutic effects than cosmetic effect (silicone). Water-insoluble silicones must be avoided, few examples include; Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Amodimethicone and if you must use a product with silicone as they add lustre and shine to the hair, opt for products with water soluble silicones. Examples of water-soluble silicone’s include; dimethicone copolyol, lauryl methicone copolyol. Products with Therapeutic effects (proteins) have smaller molecules and penetrates more than products with cosmetic effects which have larger molecules and penetrates less.
  • Useless products.
  • Melt products in your hands before applying them to your hair to aid even distribution of the product.
  • Leave shampoo a bit longer before washing to increase its cleansing effect.
  • Keep your hair detangled.
  • Use a scalp brush when washing your hair.
  • Apply heat when deep conditioning for low porosity hair to aid product penetration.

How to get rid of product build up

  • Use of clarifying shampoo once a month can get rid of product build-up, but can leave the hair dry as it strips the hair of moisture and natural oils present in the hair.
  • You can do an activated charcoal and clay mask on hair as its chelating properties can help remove product residues.
  • Apple cider vinegar or Lemon juice rinse to restore the natural pH of the hair. They must be diluted appropriately before use.
  • Exfoliate scalp with baking soda by making a paste with baking soda, water, conditioner and your favorite essential oil ( peppermint oil, rose oil, lavender).
  • Always follow every build-up remover with a moisturizing deep conditioner to restore moisture to the hair.
I believe you now have an understanding of product build up and how to get rid of product build up. Don’t wait till you have product buildup, prevent it by using good hair products, shampooing regularly and moderate use of styling products.

Have you had product build up? How were you able to manage your hair? How did you get rid of product build and what product did you use?

I would love to hear from you.
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I Am Yeka Asumah, An ordinary girl from Nigeria with big dreams. I love to write, read, learn and try new things every day. I enjoy the ability to air my voice out, expressions and being able to inspire people with my little thoughts. I hope to one day create an atmosphere where people can drop their challenges and together help solve them... I am on a journey to success and greatness. I would like for you to join me on that journey.


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