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Signs of Product Build Up

Posted by Ashley Powdar on

Product build up is a common enemy of nearly every curly woman, regardless of race, ethnicity or hair type. The truth is our curly hair has more similarities than differences. Three common pain points we hear among curly women are a) chronic dryness b) breakage-prone areas and c) product build up.


If you're not familiar, product build up is the accumulation of oil, pollutants and product residue on your scalp and strands. Curly textures require a vigorous hydrating hair regimen because curls are prone to dryness. A demanding regimen requires several steps with tons of product. What else are curly women to do?! Your hair needs a healthy dose of product to stay strong, yet too much of a good thing can be bad. Here are 3 ways product build up is a silent killer:

Skin breakouts

One of the most visible signs of product build up are skin breakouts on your face and neck. While many hair products deliver fantastic results, continued use in the absence of a clarifying regimen results in oily residue. Your skin’s pores become clogged which leads to breakouts. The easiest transfer of product to skin is through your bedding. For those who sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase you could be extra vulnerable to breakouts.


Solution: Try our Product Junkie Stain Remover to spot treat those visible protein stains on your clothing and household items such as towels and throw pillows. Our stain remover is formulated to treat common hair product stains and lift allergens while preserving silk favorites.

ruby sampson product junkie stain remover

Emaciated curls

Your curls are thirsty and product build up blocks nutrients from penetrating your hair follicle. The intensity of your conditioning treatments are useless on an oil-ridden mane. Not only does the overuse of product weigh down your curls and dim your shine, but it also creates a barrier for the product's nutrients to reach the right places. Product build up results in accelerated breakage and weak strands.


Solution: Clarify 2-3 times a month with a powerful shampoo. Strip your hair of its moisture? That sounds crazy! Well, it’s not crazy at all. In fact, your hair should feel stripped to the touch - no slick. The removal of product build up allows your conditioning treatment to effectively penetrate the shaft and deliver hydrating, strengthening nutrients.

Death by allergies

Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? Have you considered that environmental pollutants may be trapped in your curls? Many adults suffer from seasonal allergies. Product build up not only refers to hair product, but also environmental elements. The struggle arrives in the spring when pollen comes out to play. Your hair may further aggravate itchy eyes and ears. Even worse, it may exacerbate a runny nose and congestion.


Solution: In addition to your allergy medication, increase the frequency of your wash days during allergy season. It’s important to tweak your regimen throughout the year in response to the appropriate season. During the spring and summer, we recommend fitting in an extra wash day with a good clarifying shampoo.


At the end of the day, it's a fine balancing act that takes time to learn. Each naturalista is unique so create a regimen that makes sense for you. Need some recommendations on the best clarifying shampoos? Check out Naturally Curly’s list of approved products here.


How has regular clarifying worked on your curls? Tell us by leaving a comment below!


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