Has your hair ever felt overly greasy?
Do you wash your hair so infrequently that when wash day arrives you have product residue on your scalp and caked butters and oils on your strands?
Have you used multiple products during a styling session in order to make your hair achieve a certain look or feel, and while your style may have been on point, in the end you’re left with white flakes?
Other contributions to build up on your scalp include environmental pollution, hard water, regular use of shampoos and other hair styling gels, sprays, etc.
If build up is left on the scalp, it can create an environment for mold or produce an unpleasant smell emanating from the scalp.
If your hair is anything like mine was in the photo on the left, read on!
I recently had an experience where I had my hair styled by someone who really wasn’t familiar with manipulating natural hair; in an effort to get it to ‘behave’ after all was said and done, she’d used lotta body, foam, lock and twist gel, a Jane Carter product, and a detangling spray to set my perm rods for the style. Long story short, my hair felt like it had been coated with a thick wax; a worlds difference from how it usually feels when I style my own hair. Because my hair was healthy and had lots of elasticity, my hair didn’t suffer irreparable damage.
I wore the style for one day following the event, and recycled the style for the remainder of the week since I didn’t have time to wash my hair. When I got ready to wash my hair, I had an intense detangling session (that took forever) with knots everywhere! I still wanted to rejuvenate it after such a traumatic experience so reached for my clarifier!
Here are my top 5 picks when I need to clarify my hair:
- Aztec Indian Clay – I have used Bentonite clay for at least 3 years now and it’s a staple that I can’t live without! It gently draws out oils, dirt, dead skin cells and product build-up as well as nourishes the follicles. You can use this treatment as often as you like and your clay mixture can be as simple or as complicated as you like! Use: Use a plastic spoon to mix bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar, and liquid (water, infused herbal water, aloe vera juice or gel) in a plastic bowl. The overall consistency will vary; more liquid will produce a thinner mix that you can spread easily over the hair and scalp or add conditioner or yogurt to your mix to produce a thicker, mousse-like consistency that’s also easy to distribute on the hair and scalp. Start with 1 cup of clay and enough liquid to get to your desired consistency, adjust as needed. I usually do not need to deep condition following the clay, but depending on your mix, you may need to.
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – ACV has an ingredient called acetic acid, which is what breaks down any build up on your hair and scalp, it kills bacteria and finally, balances the hair’s pH level to give you more shine and to bring out color. Use: When shopping for ACV, always go for the organic brand and be sure to verify that it has a murky substance at the bottom of the bottle, called the mother. Measure one tbsp ACV to 1 cup water. You can add this directly to your scalp using a Roots Only Applicator Bottle or add it to a spray bottle for easy application. Gently scrub the scalp and rinse.
- Thyme Tea Rinse – Thyme helps treat dandruff, hair loss, and stimulates hair growth by cleansing hardened sebum. Use: Boil 1-2 cups of water and add 4-8 tbsps of dried thyme. Steep for 10-15 minutes, strain, cool and cover hair and scalp with the solution. Do not shampoo or rinse after. Proceed with deep conditioner and/or moisture routine.
- Baking Soda – Removes excessive product build up and impurities by absorbing oils and is therefore ideal when used as a dry shampoo to remove sebum, the oily substance the skin secretes to keep skin and hair moisturized. Use: Add 1 tbsp to water (or conditioner, or regular shampoo if you use it) but concentrate use of the concoction on the scalp. You can add it to a a spray or squeeze bottle for direct application to the scalp; rub the scalp in a circular motion to clarify scalp. Follow up with a vinegar rinse to normalize the pH and close the cuticles of the hair. Proceed with deep conditioner and/or moisture routine.
- Diluted Shampoo – If shampoo dries your hair out, before you completely toss the bottle, I recommend diluting the shampoo with water (and/or baking soda)! Use: Add a heaping tablespoon of shampoo to about 1 cup of water to a spray or squeeze bottle for easy application directly to the scalp and rub the scalp in a circular motion. Rinse and condition per usual.
Nothing is worse than nasty hair and scalp; I hope these tips will assist you in gently cleansing yours!