3 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Scalp Buildup

Scalp buildup occurs when residue from hair care products, minerals from pollution and hard water, or your own body’s oil accumulate on the scalp. Almost everyone experiences buildup from one or all of these factors from time to time, but if buildup persists, it can irritate the scalp, leave strands weak and lifeless, and make what was once healthy hair unmanageable. Thankfully, there’s a simple solution to get rid of scalp buildup so no one has to live with bad hair days. Here, we discuss what causes scalp buildup and how to get rid of it.

What Causes Scalp Buildup

So, what causes scalp buildup in the first place? Identifying the root of the issue will help you treat buildup and detox hair more effectively.  The most common causes, some of which you may not realize are hurting your hair, are:  ‌


Thick hair care products or even just the constant use of products layered on top of each other can result in buildup.  Your hair may feel weighed down and/or greasy. When learning how to use dry shampoo and styling products, be sure to read the instructions so you are applying the products correctly and not overdoing them. If you notice that you have an oily scalp, it may mean you need a scalp detox to rid your hair of excess hair care products that have built up over time.


Particles in the air from dust, grime, and spent gas can settle on your hair and accumulate, causing buildup and leaving hair looking dirty and brittle. If you are experiencing dry hair or an oily scalp, pollution may be the culprit. 

Hard Water

Hard water is water that has a high amount of dissolved minerals, which can eventually result in buildup, causing your hair to look dull and dry. To test if  your water is one of the reasons you’re experiencing buildup, use the hard water indicator included with Perfect Hair Day™ (PhD) Triple detox shampoo.

Excess Oil

While a lot of buildup is the result of external factors, sebum buildup on scalp skin is the result of excess oil production. A variety of things can cause the sebaceous glands on your scalp to produce excess oil. One of the most common things that can lead to excess oil is actually overwashing. When you wash your hair too frequently, you strip your scalp’s skin of natural oils. This sebum buildup can cause oily hair even after you have just showered. If you want to achieve a healthy scalp, it’s essential that your sebum production is at a normal level. If not, you may need a scalp treatment to reverse your condition. 

Skin Conditions

In some cases, you may have developed a scalp condition that requires treatment. From seborrheic dermatitis to scalp psoriasis, there are a number of different ailments that may be causing a dry, flaky scalp which can be confused with buildup. If this is the case, you may need a medicated shampoo or special scalp detox to alleviate symptoms. If you think that you have a scalp condition, talk to your doctor for further testing.

How To Get Rid of Scalp Buildup

With any kind of buildup, the problem is that it clogs each hair follicle and keeps hair from functioning at its best. You will probably notice or feel signs of buildup such as an oily residue on your scalp, and dullness. You may also feel like your hair is heavy and impossible to get clean despite how often you wash and rinse using regular shampoo. In addition to these immediately noticeable signs, you may experience dryness, weak strands prone to breakage, and even hair loss if scalp buildup isn’t addressed.  Not to fear, we’re here to teach you how to get rid of scalp buildup so you don’t have to deal with any of the side effects.  ‌

1. Detox Your Hair

If your hair is feeling oily, cakey, or impossible to get clean, it’s time for a detox. Enlist the help of a clarifying shampoo such as our powerful, yet gentle, PhD Triple Detox Shampoo. If you deal with hair product buildup on the regular, this scalp cleansing product will be your saving grace. Use it once weekly to rid your hair of buildup from the three most common sources: product, hard water, and pollution. That’s right, this shampoo treats all three sources and does so without stripping your hair of moisture unlike many of the other clarifying shampoos on the market. It will leave your hair feeling soft, shiny, and more manageable, as well as reveal a fresh, clean, and revitalized scalp.    

2. Pick the Right Products

In addition to using a clarifying shampoo such as our PhD Triple Detox 

Shampoo once a week, your regular shampoo can help fight buildup too. The wrong products can be a leading cause of dry scalp or other issues. Make sure to choose a formula without sulfates or parabens which can  irritate sensitive scalps and make buildup worse. Shopping for hair products online? We recommend our PhD Shampoo, which is not only sulfate-free  (free of SLS & SLES) but keeps hair feeling cleaner, longer, so you have to  wash and rinse less often. Browse all of our paraben free shampoos to find out which collection is right for you! ‌

In between washes, don’t be afraid to reach for dry shampoo, just make  sure it’s the right kind. Some dry shampoos sit on top of the hair and  increase buildup, however, our PhD Dry Shampoo actually cleans hair.  It contains fast-absorbing powders to soak up oil and sweat and a  patented Healthy Hair Molecule to help remove the powders from your  hair easily, resulting in fresh, clean hair, free from oil and sweat buildup.

3. Use A Scalp Treatment

To keep the sebaceous glands on your scalp from producing excess essential oil, be sure to hydrate the skin with one of our hair conditioning treatments. Our Dry Scalp Treatment features a Hyaluronic-Based Molecular Patch that delivers instant hydration and lasting relief, ‌which can rebalance the good and bad bacteria in your  scalp’s microbiome. ‌

In just three easy steps, you’ll have a healthy scalp and be buildup free—for good.