The Best Ways to Remove Product Buildup From the Hair

Hair salon. Women`s haircut. Use of cosmetic oil.
Get rid of product buildup with an in-depth cleaning. (Image: Alexandr Dubovitskiy/iStock/Getty Images)

Hair sprays, spritzes, mousses and gels coat hair to create varying degrees of hold, volume and control. These styling products can build up over time even with regular shampooing. The residue makes your hair look dull and weighs it down. Conditioner also can build up on your hair, and even shampoo can leave residue behind. The best ways to remove product buildup from the hair is to provide more in-depth cleansing than usual.

Clarifying Shampoo

Shampoo is good for removing dirt and oil, but many shampoos are not effective at completely removing product buildup. Use a clarifying or antiresidue shampoo at least once a month -- or weekly for heavy buildup -- and you’ll find your favorite shampoo performing even better. These shampoos are more acidic than others and so shouldn't be used on a continual basis, as explained by Paula Conway and Maureen Regan in their 2006 book, "The Beauty Buyble."

Apple Cider Vinegar

Using apple cider vinegar is another good way to remove product buildup, as noted by Healthy Textures. Wash your hair, condition and rinse as usual, then use 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for a final rinse. Vinegar cleans residue from the hair, similar to the way white vinegar is effective at removing soap residue as a final laundry rinse.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another of the best ways to remove product buildup from hair. In a container, add 1 tablespoon baking soda to the amount of shampoo you would normally use, then stir with a spoon until well mixed. An alternative method involves wetting your hair, rubbing baking soda into the wet hair, rinsing and then shampooing as usual.

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