Hair Care

5 Early Signs Your Hair Has Build-Up & Fix

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Hey dear, welcome back, in today’s post I’ll be outlining the 5 early Signs Your Hair Has Build-Up and how to get rid of build-up ASAP.

Most people care about making their hair look better by using products continuously. The fact that excessive use of these products can lead to buildup isn’t what most people think about; until buildup hits.

Hair buildup refers to the situation when your start to accumulate layers of natural and artificial grime due to excess hair products and natural oils. Allowing for protein buildup will make your hair look greasy and lifeless.

In this article, you’ll learn some telltale signs that your hair has started accumulating buildup. I’ll also outline some of the major causes of hair buildup and some of the best ways to remove buildup from your hair.


What Causes Buildup on Hair?

If you’re noticing the early signs of buildup in your hair, you can slow the process by stopping the activities causing the buildup. While some of these activities are almost entirely your fault, a large percentage are things you have no control over.

Here are some of the most common causes of buildup on hair.

1. Residue from hair care products

The most controllable cause of hair buildup is undoubtedly the overuse of hair care products. If you use certain shampoos, styling creams, or hair conditioners excessively, they’ll stick to your scalp, causing protein buildup.

Sometimes, the problem is the overuse of these products. In most cases, however, the buildup is a result of using the wrong type of hair products for your hair type. Getting recommendations from qualified cosmetologists should work in this regard.

2. Natural hair buildup

You don’t have as much control over natural causes of hair buildup as you do over buildup from hair products residue. Over time, your hair will accumulate proteins that make it look greasy.

Dead skin cells are the primary materials that cause natural buildup in most hair. When skin cells die and don’t shed quickly, they’ll eventually accumulate to cause unwanted buildup in your hair.

Also, your hair produces natural oils to keep your skin moist and safe from infections. Some people produce more of these oils than others, and excess of this oil will lead to buildup, which isn’t a positive outcome.

Sweat may not be as much of an offender as dead skin cells or natural oils, but they also add to hair buildup. If you partake in a lot of activities that make you sweat more than usual, you may want to change your routine to combat buildup.

Early Signs Your Hair Has Build-Up

Early Signs Your Hair Has Buildup

In most cases, hair buildup isn’t usually very hard to notice. The signs that your hair has been accumulating buildup are quick to notice, even to someone who isn’t a professional hairstylist.

Here are some of the most common signs of hair buildup to help you decide if you should start washing your hair with lime water or vinegar.

1. Lack of volume

Most of the symptoms of hair buildup lead up to hair that looks less voluminous than it should be. The main cause of the hair’s lack of volume is its inability to lift from the grime at the root level. Also, the severe hair breakage that comes with buildup will find you struggling to keep it longer.

If volumizing sprays never seem to work for you, you should try looking for other signs of hair buildup. Washing your hair with vinegar or lime water will remove the background residue, waking up the hair and giving it the desired volume once again.

2. Less absorbent hair

When your hair starts to absorb less water and hair products, it’s usually because you have a serious case of hair buildup. Since the dirt that constitutes the buildup creates a layer that restricts the passage of oils and moisture to the hair.

When your hair doesn’t absorb hair products, it becomes even harder to fix the problem using anti-buildup products. In this case, you may have to rely on acidic DIY products to dissolve the grime before changing your washing routine to make your hair more absorbent.

3. Dull hair

When your hair builds up too much grime, the residue congests the hair follicles and weighs it down. When this happens, the hair becomes too dull, a look that doesn’t improve with constant washing, as the hair isn’t absorbent enough to take on oils that’ll make it look better.

Even without visible grime, dull-looking hair that doesn’t seem to absorb moisture and hair products can also be a tell-tale sign of buildup. In addition to the dullness, the hair will also appear to be brittle and unusually dry.

4. Your hair doesn’t hold curls

Product buildup can also lead to your hair not holding curls as much as it should. The reason for this is pretty simple; your hair needs to absorb enough moisture to form a full curl pattern. Since less absorption rate is one of the telltale signs of hair buildup, it’s clear why this is also the case.

With less severe buildup, your hair may be able to hold curls to a certain extent, but it will be severely less impactful and will likely not hold for long. When this happens, you may need to wash your hair with an acidic solution like lime water to bring your hair back to its former glory.

5. Visible grime

The most common way to tell if your hair has buildup is by simply looking in the mirror. If you can’t see the residue, the buildup isn’t severe enough to warrant your attention. However, if you can see the residue while looking at your hair in the mirror, you should probably start looking to wash your hair especially.

To avoid the buildup from getting even worse, you may want to reevaluate your choice of hair care products. Washing your hair a bit more frequently will also help in getting rid of the grime once and for all.

6. Itchy scalp

While an itchy scalp doesn’t always signify buildup in your hair, you can always blame the itchiness on the presence of residue if it occurs with most other symptoms on this list. Since most of the items that create the buildup are unfriendly to your scalp, they may cause infections that cause itchiness.

If you find yourself scratching your hair more frequently than usual, it’s usually because of buildup. Consider washing your hair more frequently to see if that helps. If it doesn’t, you may want to try any of the advanced DIY procedures in the following section to fix the problem.


How to Fix Build-up in Hair

Knowing the causes of buildup in hair will be useless if you don’t know what to do about it. Fortunately, hair buildup is usually a temporary issue, as there are numerous things you can do to fix it.

Some of these fixes are everyday hair care procedures you should already be doing, while others are specific for removing buildup. With that said, here are the best ways to fix buildup in hair naturally.

1. Wash your hair regularly

While this might be deceptively simple, it’s a pretty effective way to combat hair buildup. If you start noticing excess flakes, oil, or grime on your hair, it’s almost certainly time to get another wash.

To remove the occurrence of buildup completely, you may want to modify or change your hair wash routine. Having to wash your hair every other week due to buildup is a sign that your hair care routine needs work.

2. Massage your hair with vinegar

A DIY treatment that works exceptionally well for buildup is vinegar. The vinegar treatment for hair buildup involves washing your hair with a mixture of vinegar, water, and essential oils to remove the buildup from your hair.

If you only have light buildup, you can use clean your hair using a damp microfiber cloth soaked in the vinegar solution. However, washing your hair with the solution is the best option if the buildup has advanced.

3. Wash your hair with lime water

Lime and lemon are both highly acidic, with acid levels capable of dissolving most of the buildup in your hair. With a few tablespoons of lime water, you can make a similar solution to the vinegar treatment.

Using lime water to combat hair buildup is similar to using vinegar. You follow the same process, but in this case, it’s recommended to use a conditioner afterward to remove the grimy feeling of lime.



Product buildup will always make your hair look worse, no thanks to the unfriendly symptoms of the condition. Once you start noticing the warning signs of hair buildup, it’s recommended to start practicing some of the recommended ways to fix product buildup in your hair.

However, it’s impossible to notice the warning signs if you don’t even know what they are. This article has outlined some of the warning signs of hair buildup to look out for before deciding that you have buildup.

Once you’ve confirmed that buildup is indeed the issue, you can also use our expert suggestions to get rid of the residue and access the full glory of your hair once again.

I hope you enjoy and find this post on signs your hair has build-up helpful?

Here are some other posts you might find interesting:

And lastly, if you got questions or feedback, do not hesitate to let me know by leaving a comment below right now. 

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Signs Your Hair Has Build-Up & Fix

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Esther Godswill

Hi, Esther Here! Graduate, Full-Time Hairstylist, and Business Woman. I am also addicted to cute Outfits. I am here to guide and provide you with helpful and well-researched pieces of information you need to achieve your hair goals.

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One Comment

  1. Hello ,
    Last year in March I used hair wax (Gatsby’s) I think at that time I was not able to clean it properly since then my hair has become very dry, tight and freezy it breaks when I keep long hair, my hand does not move smoothly on washing with soap, it feels so tight ,Since then I have been bald twice just only because of hair breakage and tightness, can i get my hair back natural as before,can you help In this case, I am worried and tensed a lot about hair breakage and this happens mostly while bathing, mostly 2-4 are broken, but sometimes when i wash it tightly with hands number increases to 6-7 🥺, please help !!!

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