Has your hair ever felt gunky, even after you’ve thoroughly washed it? If so, you’re likely experiencing “build-up.” Build-up may be any combination of natural scalp oils, hair products, and minerals in tap water (if you live in an area with hard, mineral-dense water, you’re more likely to experience hair build-up regularly). Common areas for build-up include the top of your head, where your scalp tends to produce a lot of oil, and the area behind your head. Banishing build-up with a DIY clarifying shampoo is a must–a clean scalp is a healthy scalp! And no one likes hair that feels and looks dirty, despite washing regularly.
Once or twice a month, I like to use a DIY clarifying shampoo to rid my hair of build-up, bring back shininess and volume, and give my hair a healthy dose of nutrients. Although there are many natural hair cleansers that can be bought in the supermarket, I prefer to make my own as it’s easy, cost-effective, and chock-full of nutrients for your scalp.
DIY Clarifying Shampoo, aka Hair Detox
-Natural, raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (amount needed depends on hair length)
-1/3 cup Baking Soda
-A few drops of essential oil (I like citrus or peppermint; rosemary is also a nice choice, and it may help boost hair growth and shine; tea tree oil is a powerful detoxer with antibacterial benefits)
Place the baking soda into a medium-sized bowl. Slowly add apple cider vinegar (the mixture will fizz, so go easy). Add enough vinegar until you’ve formed a paste. Add a few drops of the essential oil to the mixture. The essential oil minimizes the smell of the apple cider vinegar, and can also be an energizing pick-me-up for your senses. (After you’ve tried this mixture for the first time, you can adjust the ingredient quantities to suit the length and thickness of your hair.)
Using the tips of your fingers, gently rub the cleanser into your scalp. A light massage helps stimulates the scalp and hair follicles and contributes to hair growth. After massaging the mixture into your scalp, leave the cleanser on your head for 3-5 minutes. Once the 3-5 minutes is up, wash the cleanser out of your hair. Go on to shampooing and conditioning your hair like normal, or skip this step all together as this hair cleanser packs a powerful cleansing punch.
Apple cider vinegar is filled with nutrients that can aid dandruff, increase shine, de-frizz, clarify and cleanse the scalp, and add volume. According to Dr. Marie Jhin, M.D., apple cider vinegar gets rid of the dead flakes and works as an anti-fungal to prevent further itching and flaking. As apple cider vinegar can be drying on the hair, it should not be used daily. The baking soda has a cleansing and exfoliating effect that when combined with the apple cider vinegar can have a tremendously refreshing impact. I have noticed an immediate difference in my hair after applying the cleanser, especially in the vitality that is restored to my strands after consistent use.
Have you tried a DIY build-up cleanser? What were your results?
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This article was first published on January 23, 2018 and most recently updated on October 2, 2019.
Photo: Hillary Fink, Pexels
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