6 Proven Ways of Removing a Yellow Buildup on the Scalp

Any time that we experience flaking, we assume that it’s either dandruff or dry skin. After scratching the scalp, we often notice a buildup that comes off and becomes lodged under our fingernails. There’s a difference between dandruff and a yellow buildup on the scalp.

The biggest difference is the cause. Dandruff and dry skin flaking are conditions within the body. Dandruff is often caused by the overproduction of sebum. This can create large, oily-feeling flakes. Sometimes they do have a yellowish tint. Flaking from dry skin will be smaller, whiter, and lighter.

But, if you’re not experiencing flaking and just notice a yellow buildup on the scalp, it’s likely due to your hair care routine. It could also be the result of not taking proper care of your hair and scalp. A combination of these factors can create a yellow ‘gunk’ on your scalp.

A yellow scalp buildup is easy to remedy. This article will cover several steps so that you can use to restore your scalp to a healthier state, getting rid of buildup and the itching sensation.

How to Get Rid of Yellow Waxy Residue on the Scalp

Hair products contain everything from fragrances to preservative and a long list of chemical ingredients. They can cause a buildup, or residue to form on your scalp. Aside from the yellowish buildup itself, you might also notice symptoms like flat-looking hair, or hair that still looks dirty even after it’s washed. It may also become difficult to style your hair, and your scalp may start to itch.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to take a look at the products you’re using. In the meantime, try some of the solutions here to clear the residue from your scalp, and start nourishing it with the right products.

  1. Switch to a Clarifying Shampoo

Salon-style hair products can leave your hair looking shiny, silky, and healthy – at least for awhile. But, they may be doing more damage to your scalp than you realize. If you regularly use these products, and you’re starting to notice a thick crust forming on your scalp, try using a clarifying shampoo.

It is a cleansing agent. It’s meant to get rid of the excess buildup of oils and product that may be settling in on your hair and scalp. Many people describe it as ‘regular shampoo on steroids.’ If styling products are a part of your daily hair routine, it can cut through anything they leave behind, giving your scalp a chance to breathe.

Because they are so powerful, you don’t need to use a clarifying shampoo everyday. Regular shampoos often do the same thing – they will cleanse your hair and scalp. They just won’t do it as well, or with as much potency. It should be used about once a month for best results. You can use your traditional shampoo in between uses.

To give yourself an extra benefit after using a clarifying shampoo, follow it up with a deep conditioning treatment. The clarifier will take care of any gunk that has built up on the scalp, so a natural conditioning treatment will have a better opportunity to soothe the scalp and leave your hair looking and feeling healthier.

  1. Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar

Sometimes, an oily buildup can be the result of products disrupting the pH balance of your scalp.  A perfect pH is around 5.5. Anything more than that is too acidic, anything less may be too alkaline. Apple cider vinegar restores the natural pH balance to your scalp and hair, reducing any type of build up in the process.

Not only will it help to kill any potential fungus that may be causing itching or dandruff, but it can also remove any waxy buildup that is clogging your hair follicles. When follicles are clogged, it becomes harder for your hair to grow. This can lead to thinning or balding in some cases.

When the pH balance is properly restored to your scalp, the excessive buildup should be gone. Keep in mind that apple cider vinegar is very acidic. Even though it’s a completely natural ingredient, you shouldn’t just pour it directly from the bottle onto your hair. Instead, make a solution of four parts water to one part ACV. Rinse through your hair thoroughly.

Alternatively, you can use fresh lemon juice in place of the vinegar. Be sure to dilute it in the same fashion, and leave in your hair for about ten minutes before rinsing away. It’s also important to be cautious when using lemon juice. If you leave it on your hair for too long, or use it too often, it can work as a natural lightening agent. It can also dry out your hair if you use it too much.

Keeping the use of ACV and/or lemon juice on your hair to once a month, or even once every other month, should give you the benefits you need without damaging your hair or scalp in the process. When used correctly, they are both great natural ways to restore your scalp to the proper pH level.

  1. Use Baking Soda to Exfoliate

You’ve probably heard that exfoliating helps to open up your pores and hair follicles. So, it only makes sense that the right type of exfoliation would also help to reduce the formation of any irritating gunk on your scalp. Baking soda is a great natural exfoliating agent.

Baking soda also works to balance the pH of your scalp if it is already too acidic. It is a more alkaline agent that can help to get rid of a waxy buildup. To use, make a paste of baking soda with a bit of water. You can even add essential oils that will calm an itchy scalp, like tea tree oil or lavender oil.

Massage the mixture into your hair and scalp while you’re in the shower. Rinse it away, and use a natural conditioner afterwards. Like apple cider vinegar, this isn’t something you need to do daily. One a month, or even every other month should be sufficient to experience the cleansing powers of baking soda as an exfoliant. You may even notice that your hair grows faster and thicker, because the follicles are cleared up.

  1. Switch to Natural Products

Because using a clarifying shampoo everyday isn’t practical, you might want to switch your regular, daily-use products. Hair care products that contain things like parabens and sulfates can be harmful to your hair and scalp. These and other chemicals can cause that nasty buildup to begin with. So, it’s no surprise that more and more people are switching to natural products.

Many of these natural shampoos, like Christina Moss Naturals Organic Shampoo, feature ingredients that will not only keep your hair and scalp free from chemicals, but that can actually help to retain moisture. Many of them also contain extra vitamins and nutrients necessary to keep everything looking and feeling great.

Take a look at your everyday hair products. If you can’t pronounce half of the ingredients, it could be what’s causing a greasy buildup on the scalp. Making the switch to organic/natural products can help to reduce the residue and leave your scalp healthier than ever.

Why does my scalp have a yellow waxy buildup?

  1. Create Your Own Detox Solution

Sometimes, natural DIY methods work the best when it comes to detoxifying your scalp and removing buildup. Try this homemade clarifying treatment once a month to naturally remove residue. You’ll need:

  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl or bottle. Part your hair into sections and apply the solution directly to the scalp, massaging gently for several minutes. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse and shampoo your hair as you normally would.

Any clarifying solution you use, whether it’s a pre-made shampoo or a home solution should be done once a month, at most. While the properties can help to heal your scalp, using them too often can actually strip it from the oils it needs. Consider it too much of a good thing.

How to get rid of a yellow buildup on scalp

  1. Brush Your Hair

While brushing your hair regularly may not seem like it would do much, it’s the process of keeping your hair loose and de-tangled that helps. Residue from products can cling to knots in the hair much easier. Even after you let your hair down, the buildup will still be there.

Use brushing tools with fewer bristles for best results, and be careful not to disturb your scalp or pull at the roots when you’re brushing. Accidentally poking or scraping your scalp with bristles or the teeth of a comb can create even more itching. If you style your hair frequently, which may cause it to tangle up, this can be an important step in limiting excess residue from caking onto your scalp.

Change Hair Care Habits for a Healthier Scalp

Finding out what’s causing a yellow buildup on your scalp is important. There are several different types of scalp conditions to consider before looking into a treatment option. It could be a skin condition like seborrheic dermatitis, to dry skin caused by weather or other various conditions. However, most of the time, a thick yellow residue is a direct result of using the wrong hair products.

Thankfully, it’s one of the easiest scalp conditions to treat, and even easier to prevent with a few simple changes. By following these helpful tips and the steps included within them, you can cleanse your hair and scalp quickly. Not only will these methods reduce any strong buildup, but they can promote hair growth, and leave your scalp feeling healthier than ever.