Overtime, the residue from our natural hair products can begin to dry up, flake, and form build-up. While some product residue isn’t going to hurt anything, if product build-up is left on the hair for too long anything ranging from your hairstyles to the health of your scalp can be affected.
Here are 5 signs of too much product build-up in natural hair:
1) Visible residue
If there is visible residue still left in your hair even after it has dried, this can be because you have applied too much product. Eventually, the residue dries up and can result in flaking and build-up. Also, if residue is still visible with various hairstyles you wear, it can be a sign of excessive product build-up that has begun to harden and clump. The product hasn’t been provided with adequate moisture to be absorbed all the way, so it is essentially sitting on top of the hair.
2) Lack of shine / dull looking hair
Too much product build-up can prevent shine in your natural hair and create the appearance of dull hair. The build-up / residue can clog the hair follicles and weigh the hair down with product. This can prevent products or oils that may promote shine from being thoroughly absorbed. If you notice your styles are turning out a bit more “lackluster” than usual and its been awhile since last wash day, it may be a sign of too much product build-up and time for a good cleanse.
3) Less curl definition than usual
To get maximum definition out of your hairstyles, hydration is a key factor. Excessive product build-up can cause less curl definition than usual. This is because there is not enough moisture being absorbed to form the full curl pattern. Additionally, the heavy residue can even weigh down your natural hair curl pattern. Not even with just wash and go’s, but the definition with your twist/braid-outs can be affected due to too much product build-up in your natural hair. The hair strands cannot hold together to form a lasting curl because of the build-up that is partially blocking it. The result is less-defined styles that do not hold as long.
4) Hair feels limp or greasy
Hair that has too much product applied to it usually feels a bit limp or greasy. The same applies for product build-up. Typically, heavier products like butters or creams are quicker to cause this feeling, especially if they are applied daily. You should also avoid products that contain mineral oil, petrolatum, or silicones. These ingredients are known to have negative effects on natural hair – one of which being faster build-up.
5) Hair doesn’t / won’t absorb moisture like it usually does
Another sign of too much product build-up in natural hair is a lack of moisture absorption. If you spray your hair with water and no type of curl pattern forms, or your hair feels kind of greasy, it can be a sign of excessive product build-up. Your hair strands aren’t going to absorb product as well as they usually do because they are being inhibited by other build-up and residue.
What can happen if too much product build-up is left on your hair:
With the signs of too much product build-up in natural hair listed, what can happen if it is left on for too long? Well, moisture nor additional product will be able to be fully absorbed. The product will just be sitting on top of the hair strand, causing even more build-up and even product hardening and matted hair. Scalp health can also be affected. If your hair follicles / pores are blocked, this can inhibit healthy growth at the root and cause scalp irritation.
How to get rid of too much product build-up in natural hair:
Of course, the most obvious way to get rid of product build-up in natural hair is to wash it. Depending on how much build-up and for how long its been since your last shampoo, you may want to consider a moisturizing clarifying shampoo for heavier product build-up. What a clarifying shampoo does is act as a heavy-duty shampoo, essentially. It gets rid of even the thickest of products and cleanses the scalp thoroughly. This cleansing process can get a bit harsh, which is why it is important to find one that is moisturizing and keeps the natural oils of your strands intact.
In mention of products, check out this list of the best natural hair products for growth: