Applying product is an almost-daily practice for most naturals. Whether to moisturize, condition, style or seal, there’s always a risk of product coating the strands, leaving them dull, weighed down and hard to style. Product buildup can also lead to dry hair since product is not penetrating the cuticle and infusing moisture. Here are 5 sources of product buildup.
1. Ineffective Moisturizing Products
Moisturizing products should be water-based and have the ability to infuse your cuticle with moisture. If not, it will sit on the outside the strand, coating it and leaving it dry. Moisturizing products should leave hair feeling soft and supple, not coated and greasy. If your moisturizing product isn’t doing the job, ditch it.
2. Non-porous hair
Hair that isn’t porous has a harder time allowing product into through the cuticles because they lay flat as opposed to being raised. Product applied to non-porous hair will sit on the outside of the strand, leading to buildup. Try steaming your hair (in the shower or with a hair steamer) before applying moisturizing and conditioning products. The steam will help lift the cuticles, allowing moisturizing product to get inside. Click here to determine your hair’s porosity level.
3. Applying too much product
With the many product applications that natural hair requires, it can be easy to get heavy handed. Excess product will sit on the strands, attracting lint and dust and weighing them down. When applying product to hair, make sure it doesn’t feel greasy or waxy.
4. Co-washing and the “no poo” method
Co-washing is often used as a substitute for shampooing, but they are designed to leave deposits on your hair that fill in damaged cuticles. Make sure that you perform occasional clarifying rinses to remove conditioner residue from your strands and scalp.
5. Incomplete rinsing/washing
Although some naturals recommend not fully rinsing out conditioners, the excess product can lead to faster buildup.
6. Ineffective sealing products
Sealing products should soften strands and help them retain moisture. Ineffective sealing products will leave a waxy residue.