How to Remove Scalp Build Up

by Escaping Gravity Ltd.

Having gorgeous hair is what we all want, and it is achievable once you understand how to get rid of scalp build up. Beautiful bouncy curls start by taking care of the scalp. Your hair can’t grow strong and healthy if it's not nourished from the root. We say it over and over again but cleansing your hair correctly is so important. If you think about it, in one week you could be adding multiple products to your hair, whether that's dry shampoo, gels or other leave-in products. Over time you may start to notice that your hair appears drier or doesn’t hold the shape of your curls properly. If this is the case you might be a victim of scalp build up. Don’t worry, it's super easy to fix and we can show you how to remove scalp build up in the comfort of your bathroom!   

What Causes Scalp Build Up?

Before we discover how to get rid of scalp build up, you may need to know what is causing your curly hair, coily hair, or wavy hair to appear dull and lifeless. Ultimately, the reason you may have scalp build up is due to one or more substances becoming stuck to the scalp overtime, and these becoming difficult to remove. Knowing how often to wash your hair may help, but if you don’t remove the scalp build up properly it will be harder for your scalp to breathe, which means your hair might not be as healthy and strong as you’d like it to be.  

what are the main causes of scalp build up

When it comes to causes we can break it down further into two sections, natural causes and product causes.  

5 Natural Causes

Natural causes are those that occur without the help of products. For example:

  • Dead skin cells
  • Sweat
  • Natural hair oils (Sebum)
  • Pollution (environment)
  • Hard water (calcium build up) 

Exfoliating and cleansing the hair after exercise helps remove dead skin cells and reduce the chances of scalp build up. 

5 Product Causes

The product causes of build up happen when the excess residue isn't removed properly. It clings to your hair type and scalp and the longer it sits, the more difficult it can be to remove. Common product causes can be waxy substances like: 

  • Styling mousses / creams
  • Gels
  • Foams
  • Oils
  • Shampoo / conditioner

Our products at Curlsmith have this in mind, which is why our scalp line recipes are designed to be as lightweight as possible and limit the amount of build-up they can create.  

How to Tell if You Have Scalp Build Up

Determining whether you have scalp build up can vary from person to person, although there are some common themes that can apply to everyone. The three main signs are:

  • Dull looking or dry hair - scalp build up can cause you to have dull looking or dry hair no matter what hair treatments you apply to it. This is because your hair needs hydration to perform its best. When there is something restricting the absorption of this much needed hydration, your tresses will appear dull and lifeless, even if you're using hydrating hair products.  
  • Hair that won’t hold its curls - if your hair is being a little stubborn and not holding your beautiful natural curl pattern as normal, the cause may be due to build up. Knowing how to get rid of scalp build up could help those curls bounce.  
  • Dry / flaky scalp - Scalp flakes can be due to a lot of different causes. They could be caused by a lack of scalp hydration or by deeper skin conditions such as eczema or dandruff. Oftentimes though the flakes can be just simple product build-up that accumulates and dries on the scalp.

These three signs are not the be all and end all when it comes to determining whether you have build up. They are more of a helping hand to figuring out why your curls are not performing their best. If you are seriously suffering with any scalp related issues, contact your dermatologist or practitioner.  

How to Remove Scalp Build Up

The wait is over, we are now going to unleash our top tips on how to get rid of scalp build up, all from the comfort of your home. Strong, healthy hair is just around the corner!

  • Use a clarifying shampoo - clarifying shampoo allows you to almost hit the reset button on your hair and restore it to its most natural state. This is due to its deep cleansing properties, which dissolve oil and remove scalp build up easily. Because of its deep cleansing properties you shouldn’t use this as a replacement for your daily sulfate free shampoo, or you may be stripping out your hair’s natural oils.     
  • Exfoliate your scalp - exfoliating your scalp with scalp treatments is so important when it comes to getting rid of scalp build up. Small scrub particles gently stimulate the scalp and remove any dead skin cells, creating a beautiful environment for your hair follicles and promote healthy hair growth
  • Try doing an apple cider vinegar rinse - applying apple cider vinegar (ACV) to your scalp actually helps to break down residue that may be lingering on the scalp’s surface. However, you don't want to apply neat ACV as that could cause skin irritation. That is why diluting it with water is optimal in getting rid of scalp build up.    

 Like with any new product or routine, allow a couple of weeks to really see the magic work.

How to Prevent Scalp Build Up

get rid of scalp build up by prevention

When determining how to remove scalp build up, prevention is ultimately what we all should be doing. This is because when you don’t have scalp build up you are able to reap the best rewards from your products, meaning the ingredients could make your hair strong and healthy. Our top tips for prevention are:  

  • Regular & thorough washing - washing your hair thoroughly could ensure you are breaking down the excess oils and dirt to prevent it from becoming built up. For a gentle daily shampoo to melt through build up try our Curl Quenching Conditioning Wash.
  • Washing shampoo & conditioner out properly - one of the biggest causes of build up is not washing your products out properly, and this goes for your shampoo and conditioner too! To provide a deep clean, use our Detox Kit which contains a Pre-Biotic Primer, Post-Biotic Calming Conditioner, and our Wash & Scrub Pro-Biotic Shampoo.  
  • Distribute products evenly - Distribute your products evenly, by applying them to the ends of your hair and working your way up to the root. Alternatively, you could use a large-tooth comb which will distribute the product throughout the full length of your tresses. Either way you may never have to know how to remove scalp build up again, once you take onboard our tips.
  • Don’t apply too much product - Us curly people always tend to apply generous amounts of products to tame our manes. Make sure you are not going too overboard, as too much product can easily build up and weigh down the hair. The application amount changes from brand to brand, but our Curlsmith products are concentrated, so a little goes a long way. We recommend using a dime-size amount per hair section with any leave-in product such as leave-in conditioners. As a rule of thumb, if after applying the product you can see white residues when you squeeze your hair, that’s definitely too much.
  • Use lightweight products. Heavier products can struggle to penetrate the hair shaft, especially for low porosity hair. Using lightweight formulas will ensure your hair is not weighed down and scalp build-up risk is minimized.

Enjoy a Healthy Scalp With Curlsmith 

Curlsmith is a premium gourmet haircare specialist. We know caring for your curls is important, which is why we have a moisture line, strength line, scalp line, and color line. This means there is something for everyone's hair goals and needs. We are also proud to say we are vegan and cruelty free. So our curl-loving products are never tested on animals!