How to remove product buildup in hair the correct way.

remove product buildup in hair.

These ingredients are often found in the products that are actually used to clean our hair i.e shampoos and conditioners and the water too!

Yes, today I will be talking about ingredients that cause product buildup in hair, how they affect your hair health and how to remove product buildup from your hair to achieve shiny, bouncy hair.

5 ingredients causing buildup in hair

1. Silicones

The most common culprit behind product buildup in hair is silicone. Silicones in shampoos, conditioners, serums, hair styling products etc. form a film over the hair and can be removed only by sulfate shampoos.

Regular cleansing agents and surfactants cannot remove silicone buildup from hair. Although it helps tame the frizz temporarily, the buildup can make your hair look flat, limp and greasy.

Plus the sulfates dry out the hair which calls for more silicones and the cycle goes on. So its best to avoid silicones in your hair care products

2. Oils, butter and waxes

Yes, even the cold-pressed oils, natural butter and waxes can build up over time on the scalp when not cleaned well. We cannot completely avoid oils in our haircare routine since they help in keeping hair soft and moisturised. But we can definitely try not overdo it.  

And let’s face it, most of us don’t cleanse our scalp in the appropriate manner or use appropriate products to clean it.

3. Cationic surfactants and polymers

These are quaternary ammonium compounds that act as foam boosters and conditioning agents. You will often find these as replacements for silicones in sulfate-free formulas (like the Wow Organics Shampoos).

E.g. Centrimonium chloride, Behentrimonium chloride, Polyquaternium (4,7,10…) etc.

They cleanse mildly and can help condition, detangle and tame flyaways but can build up on the scalp over continuous use.

4. Hard water

Hard water is water that contains a higher amount of minerals like calcium and magnesium over soft water. These minerals can build up on your scalp to form dandruff like residue.

Hard water leaves your hair tangled, dry, frizzy, dull looking and difficult to manage.

5. Petrolatum

Petroleum products like mineral oil, paraffin and petroleum jelly can build up on your hair just like the natural oils and waxes. But since petrolatum is occlusive in nature and does not have any beneficial nutrients, it is best avoided. They may even make your hair greasy and limp.

remove product buildup in hair.
Non sulfate shampoos cannot remove silicone and cationic surfactant buildup from hair 

How does product buildup affect hair health?

Product buildup in hair affects both the look and health of your hair. It prevents moisture and nutrients from entering your hair. This leaves your hair dry, frizzy, lifeless and dull looking.

They also leave residue on scalp leading to itching, flaking and limp hair at roots which makes them look flat and less voluminous despite having thick hair.

Hard water buildup may even lead to breakage and hairfall issues in long run. It makes it difficult for shampoos to lather and leaves your hair all tangled and dry.

If you are suffering from the issues above, you need to consider clarifying your hair regularly. And I will guide through the process of removing the buildup below.

Also Read: The Clean Beauty Movement- Why you should be joining too

How to remove product buildup in hair and scalp?

Using a clarifying shampoo once in a month works best in removing product buildup in hair. These shampoos are the ones that don’t have any of the above ingredients in their formula and help cleanse thoroughly. But they are often drying in nature and hence to be used sparingly.

To remove silicones, you need a sulfate based clarifying shampoo. Hence, when switching to natural haircare regime, it is advised to clarify your hair first to remove all the silicone buildup that natural shampoos cannot remove.

Another option is alpha olefin sulfonate, which is milder than sulfates yet removes cationic buildup, oils, waxes and silicones. You can find this ingredient in the Rustic Art Biodegradable Shampoo range. You can also use Bentonite clay, Rhassoul clay or Kaolin clay to remove oil buildup from hair.

Removing Hard Water Buildup.

You can use Apple cider vinegar (ACV) or lemon juice rinses to remove some amount of hard water minerals from your hair.  But don’t do this too often as their pH level is too low. Also dilute them well with water before using to minimize the acidity level.

Another option is to use shampoos with chelating agents like Disodium EDTA, Trisodium EDTA or sodium citrate.  (I couldn’t find a chelating shampoo in India. Let me know if you know one.)

Hard water levels vary across regions. So if you live in an area with very hard water, you should consider installing water softeners or hard water filters in your bathroom (they also help in filtering out chlorine from water).

Also Read: Clean Beauty Swap: Switching to safer haircare alternatives.

Some tips regarding product buildup:

1. Make sure you are clarifying your hair at least once every month but don’t overdo it too.

2. While in the shower, take time and rinse shampoo and conditioner out of your hair well with water.

3. Minimize the number of styling products you use on your hair.

4. Avoid delaying hair washes or overuse of oils and conditioners.

Removing product buildup from your hair will help keep it healthy, shiny and voluminous. Do you clarify your hair regularly? Let me know how you do it in the comments below.

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how to remove product buildup in hair. clarifying shampoo for haircare
how to remove product buildup in hair. clarifying shampoo for haircare

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