Product Build Up
Product Build up
Lets face it, without the use of products all hair would look a hot mess, and with everything we know about taking care of our hair, we know that we need hair products to have healthy happy hair.
And so we spend our money on products, only to be told that shouldn’t use too much so we don’t get ‘product build up”
One of the other things you’ll hear people say is to properly clarify your hair if you have buildup.
But do we really know what it means product build up means, how it’s caused and how to prevent it.
And so That’s what we will be answering today:
Product build refers to the gradual accumulation of product on your scalp and or hair stands over time.
The build up we end up with is usually a combination of a few things, namely products that you manually apply to your hair, the natural oils your hair produces called Sebum, and small dust particles.
First let’s discuss buildup on your scalp.
You will know you have scalp buildup when your scalp starts to itch and you notice thick gunk underneath your nails, your hair follicles have already been compromised and your scalp will soon, if it isn’t already become irritated and flamed.
Everyone gets to this stage at a different rate and is affected by a number of factors like your genes, whether you live an active lifestyle or not, your environment and the products you use and how often. The goal when choosing a washday routine should be to avoid this point, but remember it looks different for all of us.
Buildup on your scalp can lead to serious issues, especially for kinker texture.
Fun fact: Your salp is part of your skin, and is in fact the thickest skin on your whole body.
But even though it’s so thick, it can be just as sensitive as the skin on your face.
Sebum is your hair’s natural oil that secrets out the sides of your hair strands coat and protect your hair strands, but with highly textured hair, the loops and bends make it difficult for the sebum to slide down, which can causes sebum to get backup and accumulate on your scalp. On top of that, the products that we manually add to our hair and dust particles from the environment accumulate here too. Your scalp, covered by hair, makes for a perfect dark warm and moist environment for bacteria giving them the perfect opportunity to grow and multiply. Eventually this bacteria filled gunk penetrates into your follicles interrupting the activity going on in your hair bulb, which can dramatically affect the quality of the hair that grows out the follicle. Not to mention the infections that can develop.
Now for hair strand buildup
Imagine your hair as a sponge, Hair strands that are healthy and free of build up are able to quickly absorb moisture by soaking up the water it can, your hair strands swell up and let go of excess water leaving hair flexible, breakage resistant and well moisturized until it releases the water your hair can no longer hold.
When your hair is experiencing build up, this buildup creates a barrier between the water and your hair, making it difficult for your hair to soak up the moisture. And without access to moisture, your hair strands are more prone to breakage.
Another tell for product build up is that it appears a lot duller in the the sun because light can no longer reflect off your cuticles due to the uneven surface that build up creates
Ok so now that you know what build up is; How do you get rid of it?
The simple answer: Water
But i wouldn’t be making this article if it was that simple right?
The real answer can only really be realized after we understand the products that we apply to our hair. Because if buildup is as a result of sebum and sebum only, then water is the best remover of this kind of buildup…
But because most of the buildup we experience contains products, we need to determine whether our products are soluble, or insoluble so we can find the right remedy to break down and remove the build up
Separating the types of products into soluble and insoluble. Soluble refer to how well the product dissolves or goes away. So insoluble products are those that are very difficult to remove and soluble are those that are easily removed. All products have some level of insolubility and will need products to remove them from your hair.
Removing soluble products from your hair is as easy as using the same moisturizing shampoo you already use on your hair. Overtime, even soluble products can build up on your hair and scalp making it more difficult to remove. In this instance, while clarifying your hair with shampoo, after the foam is formed, let the shampoo sit on your hair for a bit longer. This allows certain compounds in the shampoo enough time to grab hold and remove stubborn dirt.
Products that are on the insoluble side need some extra help to come out your hair. These products usually have more complex ingredients. In fact if you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce at least 4 ingredients, it’s probably insoluble.
Products like gels, certain hair sprays and products that contain some silicones and mineral oils.
Removing insoluble requires something harsher, like a clarifying shampoo
So How often should you clarify your hair,
Because clarifying shampoos work well at removing build up, they can also be very drying, its basically a mild attack on your hair stands cuticles. For kinkyer hair, this can end up with a bigger problem that you started off with, so the use of clarifying shampoos should be minimal
If you rarely use heavy and soluble products on your hair, use clarifying shampoos every other month, or if you notice your hair not responding the same way- whichever comes first. And if you’re a heavy product user, use clarifying shampoo once a month.