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Not quite shellac, but close
October 4, 2012 8:53 AM   Subscribe

So I used some evil nasty hair product for a while that built up like crazy. What are some good ways to get it gone all at once?

I tried out a new hairspray for a month, but it was always stiff and sticky and I decided to chuck it a couple days ago. But then my hairdresser said last night that it had left a lot of buildup on my hair; she had to shampoo me twice before my cut, and then gave me a third shampoo halfway through because there was just so much crap in it. Even though she got a lot of it out, she says there's still buildup in there.

My hair is so baby fine that the buildup is probably weighing it down like crazy, and I"d like that junk gone pronto. I asked her if there was some treatment I could do to get rid of it, and she said using a vinegar rinse (I do anyway) would work; however, she said that would work gradually. I'm looking more for an all-at-once solution, if it's possible - even a DIY approach (I kind of dig that, to be honest). Any recommendations?
posted by EmpressCallipygos to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Baking soda. One tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water in a bottle - shake it up and apply to hair.
posted by quodlibet at 8:56 AM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Neutrogena anti-residue shampoo.
posted by jeather at 8:56 AM on October 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Baking soda used how?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:57 AM on October 4, 2012


nthing Neutrogenia anti-residue shampoo, available at any drugstore.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:58 AM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Neutrogena anti-residue. No question. I use it once a month or so just to "freshen up" my hair since I use a lot of product day to day.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 8:59 AM on October 4, 2012


Any shampoo with regular sulphates -- minus any added silicones -- should strip your hair pretty effectively. If you need more than that, wow, what was in that hairspray!
posted by nanook at 9:00 AM on October 4, 2012


Anecdote: A couple of months ago, I took my mom to get her hair washed and cut (she has Alzheimer's and has really let herself go)...Her hair was thick and matted with oils and general yuk.

The girl at the salon first applied an enormous handful of shampoo onto her dry hair and worked it in to strip-away the accumulated yuk. Then, she rinsed the hair and reapplied more shampoo to the now-wet hair to do an actual shampooing.

It really worked wonders.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:02 AM on October 4, 2012


Apple cider vinegar, mixed 50/50 with water, and applied as a rinse can help, too. (Pro-tip: don't let it get in your eyes!)

on edit (!): sorry, didn't see that you said you were already trying that. I'd still do it, but as a follow-up to the Neutrogena clarifying shampoo.
posted by scody at 9:05 AM on October 4, 2012


If you want to strip EVERYTHING out of your hair (including its natural oils), use Dr. Bronner's liquid soap. Then use the apple cider vinegar/water mix to give it back the ability to put a comb through it.

(I wouldn't recommend this if your hair is longer than chin-length, though.)
posted by Lucinda at 9:08 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aveda no longer makes the exact product build-up shampoo I used to buy back when I used more products, but they do make this product build-up shampoo, and I swear by their stuff.
posted by pammeke at 9:09 AM on October 4, 2012


Some further datapoints to respond to other people:

My hair is now a little shorter than chin length. My regular shampoo is something that's sulfite-free. I've already planned on the Neutrogena; my hairdresser implied that it would still take a couple washes, even so. Am I maybe hoping for too much in hoping there's an all-at-once thing? Or is an all-at-once thing generally a bad idea?

And a warning: the hairspray in question was Garnier Fructis, which my hairdresser dismissed as "JUNK!!!!" (And she said it like that too.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:12 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


quodlibet: Baking soda. One tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water in a bottle - shake it up and apply to hair.
Baking soda used as a hair "shampoo". Pour it on, gently work it into your hair, and let it set while you have your shower (a coupla minutes, IOW). Then rinse it out. You can optionally follow it with diluted cider vinegar (the ratio isn't critical - 1:4, 1:10) to make sure the remaining baking soda is out.

Baking soda + fat + mechanical agitation + time = weak soaplike molecules, which are readily water-soluble.

This is the basic "no-poo" hair regimen. Baking soda has a tendency to stick to surfaces, BTW, so rinse your shower walls/door when done.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:12 AM on October 4, 2012


Yup, baking soda.

I just put a few tablespoons of baking soda in a small cup, add a pump or two of shampoo, then swizzle with my finger until it's a nice, goopy consistency. Then I use it like regular shampoo. It is amazing at stripping the gunk out of your hair. I've never had a problem getting it to rinse clean.

I use a similar method when I'm super grimy and dirty (like after I camped sans shower for a week and a half) with sugar and body wash. A few tablespoons of sugar in a small cup, a few squirts of body wash, swizzle with my finger until it's a nice, goopy consistency. Cheap, effective exfoliant!
posted by phunniemee at 9:20 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a bored teenager, I once tried to dreadlock my own hair with a combination of hairspray and Murray's hair wax. The only thing that finally got that stuff out was liquid dishwashing detergent. IT IS HARSH, so follow with a good conditioner, but it works.
posted by saltwater at 9:22 AM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I went through this a couple of months ago, and did a major search on the net to see what others had used. I went though baking soda paste, vinegar, baby "clarifying" shampoo, and several other suggestions. The ONLY thing that got this stuff out of my hair, and it did take two or three shampoos to complete, was Dawn dishwashing liquid. They use it for getting the crude oil off of sea birds for a reason.
posted by blurker at 9:23 AM on October 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


backing up what Lucinda said: If you want to strip EVERYTHING out of your hair (including its natural oils), use Dr. Bronner's liquid soap. Then use the apple cider vinegar/water mix to give it back the ability to put a comb through it.
posted by Sassyfras at 9:32 AM on October 4, 2012


Thirding dish detergent. The kind where your hands feel raw after you're done washing the dishes (ugh).
posted by anaelith at 11:05 AM on October 4, 2012


Castor oil. It'll take out old temporary hair color, as well.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:34 AM on October 4, 2012


I did exactly what you did, I switched over to a sulphate-free shampoo and lo and behold, major gunky build-up. You now have to check every hair product you are currently using to make sure that there are no silicones in it (dimethicone is what to look for), otherwise you are going to just build up the guck again. (You need the sulphates in order to take out the silicone).
posted by nanook at 12:44 PM on October 4, 2012


Nanook, I'd actually been using the hairspray for a good while before switching shampoos, so I'm pretty sure that was the bulk of the problem...but good to know.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:46 PM on October 4, 2012


As nanook said, shampoos with sulfates will wash out ingredients that cause buildup; if you switch to a sulfate free detergent, crap from your hairspray that was normally going away will stick around and build up. Go for the Dawn dishwashing liquid, and then use a heavy-duty scalp and hair conditioner afterward to replace all the good oils you'll strip as well.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:28 PM on October 4, 2012


There was a time during my youth when the only "shampoo" my father would buy was Ajax dish soap. It'll clear anything out of your hair, but it'll leave it super dry, so definitely condition afterward.
posted by limeonaire at 3:48 PM on October 4, 2012


Perhaps if nothing else works try out some isopropyl (in a small area first) in case it literally does contain shellac or some other alcohol soluble stuffs, as that would certainly cut right through it, but maybe use that as the nuclear option if everything else fails. Keep away from open flame etc... You'd probably need some hot oil treatment in there afterwards though because it will take every last drop of natural oil out of your hair along with the cruft.
posted by mcrandello at 12:26 AM on October 5, 2012


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