Whew. Now this can get the best of us sometimes. Sometimes we get SO excited to try new products we just bought, or we get nervous about having dry hair for not using enough product, or we just don’t know what to do so we try EVERYTHING…and before we know it, we’ve went wayyy too far and now have too much product on our hair. And it’s noticeable.
Don’t you hate to be in that situation? And chances are you’ve done it wayyy more than once!
Well, let’s not practice insanity by continuing to do the same things over and over again that bring the outcome we don’t want and let’s make ourselves aware of how to stop product build up in its tracks!
Here’s some effective ways to eliminate AND completely avoid hair product buildup:
Determine your “product limit”
This may be something you’ve never thought of before, but how many products do you normally use on a routinely basis? Chances are, when you realize that you have too much product on your hair, you’ve use at least one more than normal. Or piled on a certain product a tad more than you should’ve. Maybe you thought it would provide extra moisture or make your style last throughout the week.
Regardless of the reason why, keep track of how many products you apply on a regular basis and stick to that number.
Keep in mind that I’m NOT saying that you have to use 4 hair products only, each time you use products for the day (if that’s your “product limit”). I’m saying you need to be aware of how much you normally use on a good day with no issues, and make educated decisions if you decide to use less or more. This is a new method I’m trying with myself so let me know if it also works for you!
Be mindful of the ingredients in your products
Of course, ingredients have EVERYTHING to do with product buildup. So you should be paying attention to what ingredients you’re using in between washes. Silicones are heavy ingredients are the most likely to build up (and the quickest). Ingredients contained in many conditioners and leave-in conditioners are up next. That’s why only co-washing can still cause buildup and it’s still important for naturals to shampoo their hair on routinely basis. There just comes a point where all the natural oils from the scalp and products applied manually is too much for your hair to handle. And then it’s wash time. And that’s just the cycle of hair (isn’t it wonderful?).
Alright I KNOW that word sends some naturals running for the hills, but this ingredient does have a very useful purpose. And depending on your lifestyle and the kinds of products you normally use, you will NEED to incorporate this ingredient into your regimen.
Sulfate is able to break down water-insoluble ingredients that can’t be washed away with water or shampoos that DON’T contain it. If silicones are a part of your regimen you should go ahead and add “sulfate” to bag as most are not water-soluble. This could be common for high porosity sistas as silicones are necessary to your life to keep in moisture. Alternatively it could also be common for the low porosity sistas that don’t steam their hair and continue to use product throughout the week. Or it could be likely for the natural that uses heat more often than others and applies silicones to decrease the heat damage. There’s A LOT of reasons, but if you are one of those naturals (like me) you need sulfate!
Don’t use sulfate
Now if sulfate still scares you, worry not. BUT in order to avoid using it, you’ll also have to avoid other things as well. Using lighter ingredients (no insoluble silicones) and less product will cut down on buildup. Just make sure you’re still moisturizing properly or you’ll go from a head full of product buildup to a head full of DRY HAIR!
What to do when it’s too late
This is for the cases where you’ve built too much product on your hair but you don’t want to just rinse it all out. I mean after all, those products cost money and it can literally feel like a waste if you have to end up rinsing it all out.
So here’s two suggestions:
Water only method
This will work more for naturals who rock wash-n-go’s (like me). Instead of co-washing your hair, adopt the water-only method for a couple days. This will allow the ingredients that ARE soluble in water to rinse away a bit which will leave you with LESS ingredients in your hair than you had before, which is the goal. Do this until you either wash your hair or notice a decrease in buildup.
Steam your hair
We all know the benefits of using steam and how vital is it to getting products into our hair strands. Well if the issue is that product is building up, wouldn’t you think it would help to use steam to get product from ON TOP to INSIDE? Depending on your hairstyle, it will determine how much steam you should use (you don’t want to alter your current curl pattern if it isn’t a wash-n-go) but it’s a great way to force some of those ingredients to do what they were originally supposed to do—get in your hair cuticles!
Product buildup is just a sign that you’re very excited about taking care of your hair! Feel great about that because many naturals struggle with NOT doing enough which commonly leaves them with dry hair. But that’s not you! You just needed to find a median between not enough and too much. So may you never fall into the “product buildup” trap again!