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How to Remove Scalp Buildup Post-Protective Style

September 6, 2021

1 Min read

So you’ve finally taken down your protective style, and you’re ready to shampoo to rinse away weeks or months of buildup. Not so fast. There are a few steps you’ll want to take before cleansing that will prevent unwanted tangles and ensure your scalp gets the TLC it rightfully deserves because, after all, a healthy scalp is essential to healthier hair. Plus, protective styles are meant to help give your hair a break from styling and let your strands flourish while all wrapped up—you wouldn’t want to defeat that purpose while taking out your style. Here we’ll talk more about why focusing on how to remove  scalp buildup post-protective style  is important and how to add a scalp mask to your routine.

Step 1: Finger detangle your hair from root to tip

We know you’ve spent an hour (or three) removing the kanekalon hair braid by braid (or twist by twist), and you’re ready to get your extended wash day over with ASAP. Well, we want to encourage you to give your scalp and the roots of your hair a few extra minutes with a gentle finger detangle. Often the gel and styling products used to install your style of choice caused a gunky residue at the base of the head. Breaking the residue up pre-wash helps remove any tiny tangles that could cause matting and helps to loosens up the debris, so it rinses away without the need for over-cleansing.

Step 2: Section the hair and apply a pre-shampoo scalp mask

A healthy scalp is a foundation for healthy hair. Adding a pre-shampoo scalp mask to your rotation post-protective style is an ideal addition for a few reasons. For starters, a deep yet gentle exfoliation will help remove all of the product residue and buildup from your scalp. You’ll want to look for a scalp mask with detoxifying, active ingredients like bamboo charcoal powder that draws out impurities and excess sebum. This ingredient is one of the stars of Prose’s scalp mask. In addition, the slightly gel-like formula boasts a biome-rebalancing blend of kombucha and prebiotics alongside jojoba beads (an all-natural and biodegradable exfoliator) that gently exfoliates the scalp without irritation.

If you’re wondering why biome-rebalancing ingredients are good for the scalp, we’ll break down the science for you. We each have natural microorganisms that live on our skin and in our bodies. The good yeast and bacteria (yeah, there is such a thing as the good kind) protect and hydrate our skin. So essentially, our biome blend acts as our skin’s natural defense mechanism, protecting the scalp from harsh things that can disrupt our skin barrier.

Step 3: Use a clarifying shampoo

Now it’s time to clarify. A clarifying shampoo is the final step of the post-protective style wash day trifecta that will rinse away all the pore-clogging gunk from the scalp. This step will help further break down the buildup, impurities, and product residue that settled on the skin and rinse them away. However, we want to note that clarifying should never mean stripping. Washing your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo with hydrating (hair and scalp-friendly) ingredients should always be the priority. Look for a shampoo infused with scalp soothing ingredients like licorice extract and CBD powder at the center of the custom shampoo formula we whip up just for you.


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Bianca Lambert is a freelance journalist. She covers beauty, travel, and culture. Bianca regularly contributes to Byrdie, HuffPost, The Everygirl, and more. 

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