How To Get Rid Of Scalp Buildup

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If you've developed a habit of skipping regular washes, or you've been going crazy with styling products, you've probably noticed gunky flakes making themselves at home on your scalp. Rest assured that learning how to get rid of scalp buildup is a piece of cake and will get you closer to achieving the flowing mane of your dreams.

By the end of the week, you've probably loaded your hair with myriad products. Whether you're stretching washes with dry shampoo or you douse your strands in mousses, gels, and hairsprays, tons of chemicals routinely go onto your scalp, leaving behind sticky buildup. Even the very shampoos and conditioners designed to clean your hair can leave residue on the scalp that accumulates over time. And you certainly don't need the yucky build-up from various products mixing with the flakes of skin your scalp naturally sheds. Talk about a greasy, grimy mess!

While there are products with natural ingredients that aren't so damaging and going a week without washing your hair is possible, buildup is bound to happen if you're not careful. Take note of these key tips to if you want to keep your scalp refreshed and gunk free.

1. Use A Clarifying Shampoo

Using a clarifying shampoo is one of the most common methods for relieving the scalp of excess dirt and residue. "Clarifying shampoo is like regular shampoo but on steroids," blogger Raquel Minwell, a former salon stylist of seven years, explains to Bustle via email. "It works to bust through any gunk or oils you might have lurking up there."

Unfortunately, clarifying shampoos don't have specific targets, so they will dry up your natural oils if used in exess. To avoid sucking the moisture out of your hair, don't expect clarifying products to take the place of your everday shampoo. Use one only once a month (unless you're a frequent swimmer and could benefit from washing with it every other week). "Chances are you are using the wrong product or just way too much product if you feel like you need to use a clarifying shampoo often," Minwell says.

2. Rinse With Apple Cider Vinegar

Many hair products can disrupt the natural pH of your hair and thus, negatively affect the condition of the scalp. Taking the DIY approach, you can use apple cider vinegar to clarify product buildup. "It helps restore your hair and scalp to its natural pH," says Minwell. But you never want to put it on your hair straight from the bottle. She advises using a four-to-one ratio of water to apple cider vinegar when rinsing hair with this ingredient.

3. Try Using Lemon Juice

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Minwell likens lemon juice to apple cider vinegar, noting that they have similar pH values. "Just like ACV, you must mix with water before use," she advises. The acidity of lemon juice can help get rid of dandruff and other buildup, cleansing your scalp just as a shampoo would. Simply allow the mixture to sit on the hair for about 10 minutes, comb it through, and rinse it out when the cleansing process is finished.

4. Exfoliate With Baking Soda

When your hair gets weighed down with sticky product, try using baking soda as a scalp exfoliant. Minwell says a paste made of baking soda, water, conditioner, and a few drops of an essential oil like peppermint, rose, or lavender will do the trick. Run the mixture through wet detangled hair during your shower and follow it up with a good conditioner. "I really do swear by the apple cider vinegar rinse and a baking soda rinse, but like once every other month at the very most," Minwell adds.

5. Use The Proper Shampoo And Conditioner

With clarifying shampoos being too strong to use on a consistent basis, having the right shampoo and conditioner in your arsenal is crucial to combatting buildup. Minwell advocates against hair products containing parabens, sulfates, and silicones because these ingredients lead to nasty residue left on your scalp. "There is a new line called Innersense that I like a lot," recalls Minwell. "They use all organic ingredients and they manage to moisturize without all of the added bad stuff."

6. Keep Hair Detangled

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Although simply brushing your hair isn't a solution to cleaning scalp build-up, keeping your hair detangled makes a noticeable difference. "I would say keeping your hair detangled works to help fight buildup a little just because there are less knots for residue to cling on to," Minwell mentioned. As for the proper brush and technique, she advises holding the top of your hair so you're not irritating the scalp by pulling directly at the roots and using tools with less bristles if you have thicker hair.

The road to a gorgeous, healthy mane isn't always an easy one, but with your scalp free of build-up, you have one less hair problem to stress over.