There are many reasons to love your scalp. Its natural oils do everything from keeping your hair hydrated and shiny to improving overall scalp and hair health, but if you’ve ever gone a few too many days between shampoos, you may have experienced the negative effects of scalp buildup.
Natural buildup is a combination of your scalp’s natural oils, dirt, dead skin cells, sweat, and bacteria and is responsible for greasy, dull-looking hair. Product buildup occurs when product residue stays on your hair and scalp and causes things like flakes, sticky or crunchiness, itchy skin, and even pain in some cases. Both types can be unpleasant to the touch and overall look of your hair, although, with product buildup, you may experience scalp inflammation.
Now that we know why buildup occurs, let’s learn what to do about it.
- Wash your hair often. As everyone’s hair is different and can be affected by everything from genetics to the weather, there’s no clear-cut rule about how often you should wash, but a few times a week is a safe bet. Look at your scalp in a mirror. If it looks greasy, or you see flakes or other visible signs of buildup, it’s probably time for a wash.
- Use a clarifying shampoo. Try our Apple Cider Tea Tree Shampoo in place of your regular shampoo every other week or once a week for more excessive buildup. Clarifying shampoos can strip the hair, causing brittleness, breakage, and irritation if used too frequently, so don’t go overboard.
- Try a scalp scrub. Scalp scrubs vary from granular varieties (salt/sugar) to chemical exfoliants (acids/enzymes). Both are effective at removing dead skin cells, dirt, and other buildup, so it depends on your preference. Scrub once or twice a week, before shampooing, by massaging the scrub into your scalp in sections and rinsing thoroughly.
- Oil your scalp. To restore moisture, protect hair follicles when washing, reduce inflammation, and stimulate blood flow, try a scalp oil, like our Intense Mint Scalp Infusion Oil. Invigorating essential oils, like peppermint, tea tree, and citrus, work best when diluted with a carrier oil (such as grapeseed) and applied to the scalp as a pre-shampoo massage.
- Use baking soda as a scalp exfoliant only when you’re experiencing excessive buildup, as its high pH can damage the hair cuticle and scalp if used too frequently. Combine 1 part baking soda with 3 parts lukewarm water and mix to form a paste. Use it as you would shampoo and rinse thoroughly.
- Rinse with apple cider vinegar. ACV contains acetic and alpha-hydroxy acids, which can help degrease and cleanse the skin. Mix ½ tbsp with 1 cup of cold water to form a simple cleansing solution. Leave on for 5 minutes before rinsing clean.
- Use witch hazel as a mild scalp refresher and astringent. It can help to relieve itchy skin and reduce flakes and oil, but it doesn’t work for everyone and can even irritate some sensitive skin types. If witch hazel works for you, apply it directly to the scalp, and leave it on for up to 10 minutes before shampooing.
What’s your go-to method for clearing up scalp buildup? Let us know in the comments!