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Hair Need A Scrub? How To Identify and Manage Product Build-Up

We have received some questions about build-up, how to identify it, and what exactly the symptoms are of it. This is a topic of some frequency in the salon and barbershop world, so we figured we could take a little bit of time to cover it, and discuss it.

Basically, as time passes, the residue from our hair products begin to dry up, flake, and form a lay of build-up on our scalp, and oftentimes on our hair as well. Now, it isn't something that you have to be too concerned about, as it happens to the best of us, but as have mentioned before, using a truly water-based product that washes out with ease is your first defense. Waxy products and oil-based products are major culprits of build-up and residue being left in the hair. Now, over time this may be detrimental for your hair or cause issues, some pretty extreme—like hair loss! This is very uncommon, but it is important to mention.

Here are some symptoms/things to look for regarding build-up from hair products.

If you can actually see visible residue in your hair after you wash and dry it, this could be because products has began to build-up in your hair. Eventually this build-up will get to a certain point, and began coming off in flakes, maybe even convincing you that you have dandruff. This could be possible from products that dry your scalp out, but more or likely you are seeing specs of product residue. This is especially true if you are using the products we mentioned above, wax-based or oil-based products. You do not want to see product clumping on your scalp, so if this is happening during the day, you may be applying too much and should reduce the amount you are using.

Another symptom is dryness or loss of moisture. If you feel that you hair has been drier than normal, or not as soft and easy to style; it is very possible that this could be a symptom of build-up. If you are noticing less definition in your style, or 'floppy' hair, this could be a problem related to product build-up as well. Proper hydration is very important. If there is build-up preventing the natural oils, and moisturizing components within your hair products to enter the hair shaft, this is something that must be remedied (more on this later). The result of a symptom like this may be the inability to get your hair to style the way you like, or lay in a way that it normally does when your hair is nice and clean, and free from build-up. Once again as well, this may be paired with flaking or small clumps of product coming off your hair and scalp. Adding more product daily in this situation will just add to the headache.

Straight up greasy feeling hair is another major symptom. The same exactly your way feels if you haven't washed in awhile, or when you put too much product in it, can be a symptom of product build-up. Heavier products (that we keep mentioning) like wax-based or oil-based ones can cause this feeling extremely quickly. If you have a fine hair texture, it is even easier to add too much of these products and you have be very careful. Some ingredients to avoid in your products are mineral oils, petrolatum (in a lot of 'old school' style pomades and 'greases'), and various silicones. These ingredients are known by science (yes, science) to have negative effects on your hair—the primary one being they build-up very fast, and are very hard to wash out.

On top of loss of moisture, a lack of moisture absorption is a problem as well. If you spray your hair with water and it appears that you hair isn't absorbing that water; Houston, we have a problem. Pair this with a greasy feeling prior to spraying your hair with water, you know for sure you have some build-up going on, and it must be remedied. Basically, your hair strands as individuals cannot absorb water, products, or natural oils as well as they usually do if you are in this situation.

So, the main problem here? If this goes on too long, you will have issues like the ones above, and worse. As we mentioned, you will have a hard time getting natural oils to be absorbed by your hair, and also your hair will not feel as clean. As things began to harden/flake/etcetera, you may start to notice issues on your scalp. These can include redness, irritation, itching, pimples, or a film that begins to form between your hair follicles. All of this is gross, right? So, what do we do? Firstly, we use quality products are rinse out with ease—like our full-line of Zorian Of New York Products—and we use a quality shampoo and condition that is easy on your hair and scalp, and also removes the tough buildup.

If you have been using some really heavy, greasy products, you may able to find a clarifying shampoo if necessary to kind of jump-start the whole process, or you can try to use a bit of dish soap. We recommend if you are going to go the "home cook" route, that you use a plant-based dish soap, not Dial or brands of that nature. They may have the videos of little duckies getting the oil washed off of them, but for sensitive human skin we recommend a plant-based alternative. This also shouldn't be overused, and this will strip your hair down pretty seriously.

As always, if you feel compelled to contact us through our contact form, we can hopefully help, answer questions as necessary, or at least ask the right questions to the right people to help you out.

We at Zorian Of New York wish you the best on your grooming journey, and are here for any bumps along the way! We will be back with another blog in a few days! Enjoy!