I've been around the block a few times on this issue. I've also done this enough times on enough heads and followed the my client's results over time to feel 100% secure that everything I'm telling you is solid advice. Here are some key points to remember:
Your hair and scalp will ALWAYS do best if they are free of buildup and can breathe.
If your scalp has buildup, the follicles can get clogged and that can cause irritation and even hair loss.
If your hair has buildup, it can't absorb the water (the main and most essential moisturizer) it needs for it to stay hydrated, and it will then become dull, lifeless, brittle, and eventually break. Think putting a plastic bag over your head and trying to breathe. That's a little harsh, but it's kind of the same thing if your hair has layers of oils and silicones on it. The water is like the air to your hair. It NEEDS it to survive.
Also, water. UGH. Water can have so many minerals and garbage things in it that end up wreaking havoc on your hair. Look at your glass shower door, or anywhere in your shower. Is there a film? Do you have to use chemicals to get all the buildup off of it? That shit is in your hair, then, too. Gross, right? That right there is why I, personally, detox my hair at least once a month. I get mad mineral buildup because the water in Florida is literally trash garbage. Oscar the Grouch lives in my drain.
Try A Clarifying Cleanser
The super short of it - for most people, a detox once in a while is a very good thing. Try it once, even something simple like the Malibu Undo Goo, and notice how good your hair feels. (you for sure want to condition your hair super well after using any detox cleanser.) When it starts to not feel like that, it's clue that it's time to do it again. It might be once a month, it might be once every 3 months. It all depends on what products you use, your hair and scalp canvas, and what your water is like.
I have an infographic near the end of this post with a step by step for a detox that would be kind of the way I would do it at the salon. You can start with a good clarifying cleanser, scrub that scalp, do it a few times and then do a nice moisturizing treatment afterwards. Don't make it super complicated, it doesn't need to be. <3
The Misconceptions about The Curly Girl Method
Your hair and scalp can get buildup on them. Silicones and even all natural, 100% pure, organic oils, butters and even pure unicorn tears can cause buildup if they're not water soluble and you don't use a cleanser that can break them down and get them off of you.
That's LITERALLY the entire basis of the Curly Girl Method, (using water soluble products). Because the original curly girl method preached using "no-poo" which was basically conditioner. It could work for some people if they only used products that conditioner could get out of their hair (i.e, WATER SOLUBLE). For those of you who have heard the term "CG" thrown around loosely - it's why you see people who don't actually understand the whole point freaking out over things being "CG friendly", checking ingredients, and bitching about silicone being the devil while they soak their hair in coconut oil then wash it with conditioner and wonder where they went wrong and why their hair sucks and their scalp has buildup you can scrape off ot it.
So, a huge source of confusion over "CG friendly" is people think as long as a product doesn't have sulfates or silicones, you're good. You can then wash your hair in coconut oil and style it with shea butter and you're magically going to have great curls.
I think the first step to having healthy hair and a healthy scalp is to realize that no one method is the best thing for everyone. People have different scalp issues, hair textures, types of water /mineral content of water that they wash their hair with depending on where they live, senitivities, allergies, etc.
On my store page I have lists of lots of the cleansers that I like and know that my clients have had success with. Some of them may not be traditionally "CG" friendly. Ask me if I care...
WHY?!? Because when I see people often and I know they they'be been using a certain product and their hair and scalp actually improve over time, that means that it's working for them. (see my theory a few paragraphs up about the exact same thing not working for every person in the world.)
Here is an infographic I made for a "detox wash day" which includes some tips to do a DIY detox at home...
If you'd like to have any of these detox items at your door ASAP, you can find a a shopping list with all of them, and more, in my STORE. The Curls Night IN list is all about downtime, pampering and self care. The Detox List has even more items related to creating a clean canvas for your curls and scalp - and it also has my absolute favorite shower filter to combat hard water!
*any link I post may be an affiliate link. This means I get a small compensation for the referral. It will never affect the price you pay or the terms of the sale.