Hair Care

How to Remove Buildup from Curly Hair

Having product buildup in our curly hair can be annoying and gross. However, there are simple ways to get rid of it if we know how to use them properly.

In this article, I tell you everything you need to know about product buildup and how to remove it from curly hair, so make sure you don’t miss a beat and read everything!

What Do I Mean by Product Buildup?

If you don’t know much about this subject, you might be wondering what I mean by product buildup. Overall, this process happens in different ways, so you should get to know each of them.

The main type of buildup happens when your hair absorbs ingredients through the shaft and they start layering on top of each other. Thus, this process can happen with various ingredients. Although you may want some of them in your hair, others are harmful.

In other words, the buildup process can occur with both good and bad ingredients. What we all want is to have a buildup of good things in our hair, like proteins and other therapeutic elements.

However, this doesn’t happen all the time. As a consequence, sometimes we can get a buildup of harmful ingredients that damage our hair.

What Happens to My Hair When it Has Buildup?

A common ingredient that builds up in our hair is silicone. When we start using products with this, our hair curls might look shinier, and they can even be easier to detangle.

Nonetheless, silicone is a completely cosmetic ingredient that doesn’t make our hair healthier. If we use too much of it, it’s going to cause a buildup.

As a result of too much silicone, our hair builds barriers to moisture. Thus, our curls can lose their healthy shine and even end up being dehydrated.

In sum, it’s difficult to spot when our hair has buildup at first. However, eventually, our curls lose moisture, and they can slowly become unmanageable.

What Can I Do?

There are some things we can all do to avoid buildup or manage it if it’s already happened. Since this process can damage our curls so much, it’s best to prevent it. Even so, several strategies can work for us when it occurs, so keep reading!

Micellar Water

If you know something about skincare, you probably know about micellar water. It’s a pretty popular product many people use on their skin.

What most people don’t know is that it can also work wonders for our hair, especially if we have buildup in our beautiful curls.

Micellar water works with tiny molecules called micelles. These molecule clusters attach themselves to remove dirt and impurities. Thus, they can make your buildup disappear!

Likewise, all hair products that have micellar water are usually free of any chemicals that could be more damaging to your hair. In other words, they are frequently gentle and have good properties for our curls.

A girl with her hands in her hair

Apple Cider Vinegar

This type of vinegar has incredible properties that can help even with the worst buildups. The best part of it is that you can make your solution at home!

Combine one part apple cider vinegar, one part water. After mixing, put it inside a bottle. When you wash your hair, after rinsing your shampoo, apply the vinegar solution. As long as you cover your whole head, it doesn’t matter how you apply it. For example, you can directly pour it on top of your head (fun!) or use a spray.

Make sure the solution covers all your curls. Leave it there for one to two minutes, and then thoroughly rinse it.

The previously mentioned solution can also give you beautiful curls and shiny hair. Thus, you can keep it as a part of your routine!

Moisturizing Products

Moisture is very important when it comes to removing product buildup. Remember: many buildups happen as a result of bad ingredients accumulating in our hair and stripping it from its natural oils, which make it shiny.

Thus, we need lots of moisturizing to balance that lack of oils. Getting good moisturizer products is the key to recovering our natural, beautiful curls.

Dish Soap

Dish soap can be much more than your companion to do the dishes. It can be a perfect shampoo to help you get rid of buildup. Likewise, it can add more volume to your hair!

Although it sounds strange, dish soap is great for this. However, you should make sure your hair is okay with it! You should:

  • Try it on a strand. Add it just like you add your regular shampoo and rinse it.
  • Add your conditioner and the rest of your hair washing routine.
  • Leave it to air dry and think: did it work? Did your curls agree with it?

For some curls, the dish soap may be harsh. We don’t want to cause any more harm, so we need to be careful!

Baking Soda

Baking soda is also a great product you might have at home and can help you with buildup. However, you should use it carefully because you can’t save the mixture for later. Try this out:

  1. Grab a small bowl and add the amount of shampoo you frequently use to wash your curls.
  2. Add a tablespoon of baking soda.
  3. Mix it all.
  4. Go wash your hair!

After washing your hair with this mixture, you should see some differences. Nonetheless, remember: you should never use these strategies every day. Although baking soda is not that harsh on your curls, it can still damage them if you overuse it. We want to recover our natural oils, not lose them even more!

Last Tips

Removing buildup from our beautiful curls can be a challenge. We usually don’t know how to do it, and we can end up damaging our hair even further.

However, if you use these tips, you can bring back life to your hair! Remember: as long as you don’t overuse anything, you’re going to be fine!


Hi I'm Hati and my hair is naturally very curly, obviously! I have started this blog to share curly hair stories and what I use to manage my own hair. Hopefully you will find it useful! My other main passions are food, art and animlas. I have a little cat who I love very much.

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