article on avoiding build up in hair.

How can I avoid build up in my hair?

What is build up in hair? 


Build up is exactly that - it’s a build up of a mixture of things including sebum (oil from your hair), dead skin, some hair products, old hair, pollution, sweat, dirt, and, in hard water areas it can be made worse with the minerals in the water.

Build up can give you dull, heavy hair often with flakes that can be mistaken for dandruff. It can also be confused with scalp eczema, psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis; so if your own self-help treatments don’t work and / or your scalp is painful or looking infected then seek professional help. 


What contributes to build up in hair?


The cause of build up is often  multifactorial, in other words there is no one cause, but a mixture of things, these include using  silicone, synthetic wax or beeswax containing hair products, not washing hair often enough, not washing hair after a workout, living in a hard water area and exposure to environmental pollution.


What is silicone in hair care products ?


Silicone is found in some hair care products, it coats your hair giving it a lovely shine and acts as a protective layer over the hair shaft-smoothing out the cuticles - so it’s easy to see why people like products with silicone in them, however over time the silicone is difficult to rinse off and can contribute to build up leaving your hair heavy and dull. No An’du hair care products contain silicone.


How do I prevent build up in hair? 


  1. Use silicone free (and synthetic wax or beeswax free) shampoo and conditioners.
  2. Have a hair wash routine, and always wash your hair when it’s dirty. If you leave it dirty for too long then build up can accumulate. Some trichologists recommend daily hair washes to keep your scalp healthy, if you have very greasy hair you may need to do this, but if your hair is less greasy then we advise that you wait a few days - you can judge when it needs a wash. Wash your hair after a very sweaty workout - as the accumulated sweat will act as a magnet for other things such as pieces of dirt from the environment.
  3. Fit a water softener in your home. 
  4. Brush your hair at least once a day. Brushing from the roots to the tips literally distributes the oil along the hair shaft pulling with it the pieces of dirt, old hair and hair products i.e. redistributing any potential build up along the hair rather than having them all on the scalp clogging up the hair follicles. Take care not to be too rough with the hair and we advise always  brushing when your hair is dry, as when wet hair is most vulnerable to damage. 
  5. Wear a swim cap in the swimming pool, this prevents chlorine sticking to your hair. 



How do I treat hair build up? 


  1. Wash hair regularly with a silicone free (and wax free) shampoo - all An’du shampoos and conditioner bars are silicone free ( as well as synthetic and beeswax free). 
  2. Brush hair from roots to tips twice daily to help distribute any potential build up.
  3. If the above preventative measures don’t work then intermittently use a clarifying shampoo ( see below) 
  4. Intermittently use an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. Apple cider Vinegar has a pH between 3-5. Virgin hair (untreated hair) can have a pH as low as 3.7 however most hair has a pH between 4.5-5.5 , so Apple Cider Vinegar can work well as a hair rinse. Other vinegars have a lower (more acidic pH) so make sure that you use Apple Cider vinegar not just any vinegar,  and always dilute before use.



Advise on the internet that claims to treat build but but can damage your hair – so don’t do these things.


1.Baking soda - baking soda is  too alkaline with  ph of 8 or above - this damages the cuticles leading to hair becoming dry and brittle. 




What is a clarifying shampoo? 

Most shampoos contain a moisturiser to help prevent the hair drying out, some also are a two in one shampoo and  conditioner . A clarifying shampoo contains neither moisturiser or conditioner and is designed to ‘deep clean’ the scalp. But remember, scalp treatment is a bit like skin treatment and too much clarifying shampoo will dry the hair out - so use only if needed and then use intermittently. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.