How To Remove Hairspray Build-Up

What does hairspray buildup look like? This frequently asked question can be simply answered - when your hair looks heavy, dull, and lifeless this is typically the result of frequently using hairspray to hold your style.

There are many different options you can try when shampooing just isn’t enough, and most of them use household ingredients to quickly put the shine back! See how to remove hairspray buildup here...

How to remove hairspray buildup

The washing up liquid method

Washing up liquids contain detergents that can cut through any hairspray buildup and cause it to loosen. You can even try one with heavy-duty grease-cutting formulas! Aim to leave the detergent in your hair for 15-20 minutes to allow the removal of oil, dandruff, and product buildup from your scalp. Rinse thoroughly to get rid of all residue.

Used monthly results in shiny hair that’s full of body. Bear in mind that this method may not be suitable for colour treated hair.

The clarifying shampoo method

Clarifying shampoos cling onto pollution particles in your hair including hairspray buildup. They’re designed to deep-clean the hair and scalp as they contain ingredients such as witch hazel and tea tree which remove excess oil, sebum and other impurities. Depending on your hair type clarifying shampoos can be used once a week for fine hair, and just once a month for coarser and curling hair. Used on wet hair these shampoos can provide long-term benefits for hair health.

Apply as you would your normal shampoo, working a small amount into your hands and then applying to your damp hair and scalp. Massage the product in until you have a good lather and leave for about 30 seconds. Rinse the shampoo out completely and then apply conditioner. The conditioner will seal moisture into the hair cuticle to prevent it from drying out. Leave for a few seconds and then rinse out.

Clarifying shampoos that contain larger amounts of surfactants are best not used on colour treated hair.

How to remove hairspray buildup from colour treated hair

The baking soda recipe

You’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Bowl
  • Water
  • Wide toothed comb
  • Tablespoon and teaspoon

The baking soda method

  • Put two tablespoons of your normal shampoo into a bowl
  • Add a teaspoon of baking soda
  • Mix together until they form a smooth liquid
  • Place the mixture on a wide-toothed comb
  • Run the comb through your hair until its all covered
  • Leave to rest for around 15 minutes
  • Thoroughly rinse the baking soda mix out of your hair
  • Shampoo normally and rinse again

As an alternative, you can rub baking soda directly onto wet hair and scalp and wash it off with your normal shampoo. Baking soda contains sodium and bicarbonate ions which neutralise acid and act as a cleansing agent. It’s free of any harmful additives and also absorbs any hair odour.


  • Baking soda treatments can be used as frequently as necessary without damaging your hair
  • Washing up liquid and some clarifying shampoos may not be suitable for colour treated hair
  • The amount and frequency of product usage will determine how dirty your hair is and how often you need to treat it

Need advice from a professional?

Frankie Cochrane specialises in hair colouring amongst many other services. If you want to discuss hair colour maintenance with an expert hair colourist in Holborn, then this is the salon for you! You’ll be able to phone or book an appointment online and following your visit your hairspray buildup will soon be a thing of the past.