The Difference Between Dandruff and Product Build-Up

It is something that a lot of people tend to accumulate.

Dandruff and Product Build-Up.

But what is the difference? Does Dandruff come from product build-up?

Sometimes people may mistake dandruff for product build-up.

In this week’s edition of #BarberTalk by New York Barbers, we explain both and what the difference is.


Dandruff is common and almost every guy has probably had at least a little bit of dandruff at some point. It is a skin condition, caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the scalp and is quite common on oily scalps. It will cause itchiness and dry flakes of dead skin. There is to much oil which causes the scalp to shed the dead skin.

Product Build-Up

Product Build-Up is the accumulation of products in your hair. This can happen if you use a product that is not water soluble, meaning just water alone cannot break up the product in your hair. Commonly, products containing silicone or products that are oil-based are the biggest culprits. Over time, this causes a film of product build-up on the hair and can sometimes affect the scalp as well.

Product build-up can also come from over-use of these products. Using too much product will cause product build-up if not washed out properly. Also, while it is good to not wash your hair each day, if you leave too long in between washes – product build-up can have an effect on your hair and your scalp!

The Difference - Do I Have Dandruff or Product Build Up?

The two can look the same, but there is a difference.

Since Dandruff is a skin condition, causing the skin to flake, whether that be from your scalp producing too much oil/ yeast, or a dry scalp, Dandruff will leave flakes irregular in size and shape and they can be a yellowish colour. If you find flakes falling on your shoulders, or if you run your fingers through your hair, rub your scalp and flakes fall out, it is most likely dandruff.

Whereas with product build-up, the flakes will usually stick to the hair rather than fall out. After all, product is sticky and made to stick to the hair. Also with product build-up, you may find specs of product, rather than flakes – but this depends on the product itself and varies from person to person.

If the product build-up is from a product that hardens or has alcohol in it (such as a gel or hairspray), this can cause white flakes.

Product build-up can also be felt. Your hair will be greasy and not feel clean if you have a product build-up. But with dandruff, you can have clean hair but still have the dead skin flakes.

Can Product Build Up Cause Dandruff?

Product build-up will not necessarily cause dandruff, but it definitely doesn’t help! It can contribute to it if you already have dandruff.

If you have dandruff, the last thing you need is more excess oils added to the mix. Product build-up will cause more oily & greasy hair and when mixed together with existing dandruff - cause a whole combination of both dandruff and product build-up!

How To Prevent Dandruff

Since dandruff stems from a skin condition, sometimes it cannot be completely stopped. But it can definitely be controlled (and stopped in some cases) with a dandruff control shampoo such as the REDKEN Dandruff Control Shampoo.

How To Prevent Product Build Up

There is no special product to prevent product build-up like there is for dandruff.

The key is to not create the product build up in the first place.

Stop using products that are high in silicone. Go for water-soluble products that wash out with ease.Stop using too much product! This is another big culprit of the product build-up. You’d be surprised to see you actually don’t need a heap of product to style your hair unless it is quite long. Less is more.If you are an avid product user every day, you may need to consider washing your hair more often to ensure you are washing that product out.

Thanks for reading this week’s edition of #BarberTalk by New York Barbers.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please feel free to get in contact with us. We are here to help!

You can connect with us on Facebook – New York Barbers

or Instagram - @newyorkbarbers

Visit us here at our barbershop here in Berwick for all your grooming needs. Haircut, Beard Trim or Shave. We are located at 30 Adams Lane, Berwick VIC 

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