How to remove scalp buildup: The best tips and tricks featuring clarifying shampoo, exfoliation, and more

How to remove scalp buildup: The best tips and tricks featuring clarifying shampoo, exfoliation, and more

Keep it clean

Text: Jean Chua

Editor: Emily Heng

Find yourself constantly scratching away at your itchy scalp? Or dealing with sticky, tangled ends? Worse still, sometimes you even find flakes in your hair. Yeesh. While we invest much time and money into grooming our manes so we can have much-coveted luscious locks, it seems our efforts can sometimes have the opposite effect. This is attributed to scalp buildup, a phenomenon that occurs when one or more substances (think sebum, sweat or extra hair product) gets stuck around your noggin and ends up accumulating over time. This, consequentially, leads to an oily scalp, itching, redness and flakes that get tangled in your mane. If left untreated, scalp buildup can even lead to hair loss. So how do you get rid of it?

Use a clarifying shampoo

Luckily, the beauty sphere has developed a fix just for ya. Clarifying shampoos are designed to relieve the scalp of excess dirt and residue, as well as oils clogged up in your scalp. However, clarifying shampoos are too stripping for your hair and can suck out all the moisture if you use them regularly (causing brittleness and breakage), so it is recommended that you incorporate them into your hair routine on a once-a-month or fortnightly basis.

Wash your hair regularly

JVN might argue that washing your hair only once every few days is better for your scalp, but this might prove false if you have oily scalp. How can you tell? Well, if you consistently observe scalp itching or greasiness after two days of non-washing, or worst — seeing flakes in your hair — then you should alter your hair washing schedule accordingly.

Exfoliate your scalp

Scalp exfoliation is a practice in itself that reduces scalp buildup as it helps get rid of the dead skin cells and sebum buried amidst of our hair follicles. This, thus, makes it a solution that gets to the root of the issue, aka  the accumulation of sebum, oil and hair products in our scalp. Choose between chemical or physical exfoliants to get the job done depending on your scalp type, which you can read all about here.

Keep your hair detangled

Brushing your hair daily doesn't just ensure your hair is neat, it actually kills two birds with one stone by breaking up the scalp buildup that's nestled in your hair all while getting rid of knots where unwelcome residue can form and clump. If you're afraid of irritating your sensitive scalp, opt for brushes with wide and fewer bristles to minimise tugging and yanking.

Use apple cider vinegar

Research has shown that apple cider vinegar is able to kill bacteria and, hence, cleanse your scalp of buildup without disrupting the natural pH of your hair. Other than opting for hair products with apple cider vinegar as part of their ingredients list, you can also create your own DIY apple cider vinegar solution by mixing it with cold water and then rinsing your hair with this new mixture.