How to Get Rid of Scalp Build Up

May 20, 2021 4 min read

Stylish modern african-american girlfriend looking joyful and delighted at camera raising head proudly and smiling, laughing out loud touching curls on back

By Toia Barry

If you feel like your hair has been looking dull, limp, or dry lately, you’re probably experiencing some product build-up on your scalp. Luckily, we’re here to cover exactly how to get rid of scalp build up so you can get your luscious curls back!

What is Scalp Build Up? 

Scalp build-up is what happens when substances start to accumulate on the scalp over time. This usually results in flaking, brittle, or dry hair. Build-up can happen to anyone, and is fairly common, and is one of the main differences between dandruff and dry scalp. Luckily, it’s easy to treat, manage, and prevent. 

What Causes Scalp Build Up 

Before targeting scalp build-up, or figuring out how to hydrate your scalp, we first need to understand what causes this build-up. You’re probably wondering what types of substances can contribute to scalp build up. Here are a few reasons you may be experiencing some flaking and or build up:

Hair Products

Being a naturalista comes along with trying and using different products in between our wash days. This can cause products to pile up on each other and cause our hair to feel lifeless. This includes products like shampoos, conditioners, gels, creams, mousses, oils, anything you use to style or treat your hair. 

Not Cleansing Properly 

If you are not washing your hair often enough, your scalp is accumulating every product and natural substance over that period. This can cause the scalp to start to flake and become irritated. Cleanse your hair thoroughly every 2 to 3 weeks, using a rosemary mint shampoo for curly hair. This shampoo will remove impurities while nourishing your hair. 


Our scalp produces natural oils. However, some people tend to produce more than others. This can result in an overproduction of oil that builds up on your scalp. 


Your scalp produces oil just like the rest of your body that can add to build-up on the scalp and create greasy hair. If you know your body easily sweats, then your scalp is probably experiencing the same thing and causing build-up. 

Dead Skin Cells

The skin cells on your scalp are always regenerating. However, some people’s dead skin cells don’t work as fast. This can cause the skin cells to build up over time and cause flaking. 

Getting Rid of Scalp Build Up 

There are many different things you can try to remove scalp build-up. You might need to switch up your routine, or just try some good ole’ at-home remedies. To help with build-up, itchy scalp, and flaking, here are some tips and trick to help address it: 

  • Use a Clarifying Shampoo - Regular shampoo removes impurities, but try to look for a clarifying shampoo that especially works to remove scalp build-up from products, oil, dirt, etc. This is great if you have oily hair or use a lot of products like dry shampoo. If you have dry skin or a dry scalp and want a shampoo that is a bit more moisturizing but still lifts product and dirt, try Mielle’s Pomegranate & Honey Moisturizing and Detangling Shampoo
  • Apple Cider Vinegar - Apple Cider Vinegar(ACV) is a vinegar made from fermented apple juice that is used in cooking and as a beauty remedy. Try an apple cider vinegar rinse to remove dead skin cells and build-up which will help with scalp cleansing. Use one part ACV, one part water, and use it as a rinse after cleansing your hair. Incorporate this into your weekly routine to maintain a healthy scalp.
  • Baking Soda - Everyone has baking soda in their pantry, so this one should be easy. Baking soda has the properties to properly remove scalp build-up. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda into the shampoo that you’re going to use to cleanse your hair. You can also try rubbing the baking soda directly onto your scalp before washing it for a scalp detox. 

Preventing Scalp Build Up 

Your hair will naturally have build-up due to products and natural substances, but you don’t want to get to the point where it is impacting the health of your curls. Do this by: 

  • Maintaining a Routine - Shampoo and condition your hair every 2 to 3 weeks to make sure your hair stays clean and healthy. Shampooing the hair will remove excess dirt, dead skin cells, and product, while conditioning will protect your hair from damage. If you work out a lot, consider washing your hair more frequently, as sweat can cause added build-up. 
  • Not Using Excessive Product - Even when you may not be able to see the product building up, trust us, it is still sitting there. To ensure you don’t have a lot of build-up or an oily scalp, try not to put in more product than necessary when styling your hair. When adding product to your hair, try to avoid putting it directly on your scalp. 

The Bottom Line

Scalp build-up is natural and common but can lead to dry and damaged hair if it is not treated. Anyone can treat build-up by using the right cleanser and conditioner, maintaining a healthy haircare routine, and avoiding excess product use. After you have gotten rid of scalp build-up using our natural hair products, your curls will feel refreshed, hydrated, and bouncy again!


  1. Medical News Today. What to know about a buildup on the scalp.
  2. Healthline. What Causes Scalp Buildup and How Can I Treat It?
  3. Skin Raft. Scalp Buildup: The Truth You Need To Know.

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