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How to get rid of hair buildup

Dealing with lacklustre locks? Think your hair looks greasy despite washing it every day? It’s probably hair buildup. Here’s how to spot it, treat it and prevent it so that you don’t have to hide your tresses under a baseball cap again.

woman with hair build up

Karen Ruckle knows the symptoms. A stylist for 35 years, the Sarnia, Ontario salon owner is an expert in identifying the look and feel of hair buildup. Her clients will come into the salon complaining that their hair won’t curl the way it’s supposed to or has lost its shine.

Luckily, she has the products to bring her client’s hair back to life, but what surprises her is how little her clients know about hair buildup before experiencing it for the first time. Prevention isn’t expensive or time consuming, Ruckle adds. Using a clarifying shampoo once every two weeks may save you an emergency trip to the salon.

What is hair buildup?

Hair buildup can be caused by the environment, minerals in your local water and even certain medications. The most likely culprits, however, are shampoos, conditioners, gels and mousses. Women gravitate toward products that promise to give their hair a luminous shine and softness, but buyer beware, as they often include a waxing ingredient that can cause buildup.

How to get rid of it

Ruckle uses KMS California clarifying shampoo on her clients to strip the buildup from their limp locks. A variety of clarifying shampoos and hair treatments exist at every price point, but they are not meant to be used on a daily basis or you’ll risk stripping your hair and scalp of all their essential oils. If your hair turns brittle and starts to break off, you’ll have a whole new problem on your hands.

If you want to go the all-natural route, head to the kitchen, grab the baking soda and follow these instructions: Mix water and baking soda together to make the consistency of a thick paste. Evenly cover your scalp with the paste and let it absorb for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse with water and then shampoo and condition your hair as normal.

Tips to prevent build-up

When shopping for hair products, try to avoid products that contain oils and waxes. Try to swap your products a few times a year to give your tresses a break and use a clarifying shampoo once every two weeks to strip any buildup that has accumulated. A little prevention can go a long way and there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy beautiful, truly clean hair that makes you look and feel your best all year round.

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