Clarifying shampoos are NOT your regular type of shampoo.
If you haven’t used a clarifying shampoo before, you should now !
At least once a week.
Why it’s necessary:
A clarifying shampoo cleans up all the slippery silicones, waxes, moisturisers, and plain old gunk from your regular shampoo, and styling products.
– Michelle Villet, founder of Beauty Editor Magazine
If you didn’t know…
Your regular hair styling products accumulate junk on your scalp and your hair.
And for this reason:
Many people have adopted a new hair care routine called the No Poo Low Poo methods.
No-poo means going weeks without washing your hair with a shampoo.
Even up to 6 weeks !!
Fair enough, if you want to avoid the harsh chemicals and residues from shampoos.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda are in fact good natural alternatives to clean your hair.
Clarifying shampoos do the same job.
Without the messy hair masks, the smell, and figuring out how to mix vinegar and baking soda to get the right pH balance.
A clarifying shampoo is your ideal and neat solution to STOP residues building up in your hair and scalp.
This guide covers everything you need to know about clarifying shampoos.
Find out how they work and why they work.
Preserving your hair and scalp vitality is the foundation for beautiful and healthy hair.
So check it out:
Table Of Contents
- How Often Do You Detox Your Scalp?
- The Benefits Of Clarifying Shampoos
- The Top 10 Best Clarifying Shampoos For Your Hair
- What Is A Clarifying Shampoo (SLS And Surfactants)
- When To Use A Clarifying Shampoo?
- How Often Can You Clarify Your Hair?
- How To Use A Clarifying Shampoo?
- Types Of Residue Build Up In Your Hair & Scalp
- How To Get Rid Of Scalp Buildup (Solutions)
- The Different Types (Get The Right One)
- Anti Residue Shampoo
- Deep Cleansing Shampoo
- How To Get Rid Of Oily Hair
- Add Volume And Bounce To Fine Hair
- Clarifying For Coarse Hair
- Clarifying Shampoo For Natural Hair
- Best Natural Dreadlocks Shampoo
- Sodium And Sulfate Free Options
- Clarifying Shampoo For Color Treated Hair
- Sulfate And Silicone Free Shampoo Benefits
- Organic Clarifying Shampoos
- Vegan Shampoos
- What About Daily Clarifying Shampoos ?
- Top End Salon Professional
- Homemade Clarifying Shampoo (DIY Recipes)
- Clarifying Hair Masks
I didn’t know about it until..
It came bundled into my first Botox Treatment for Hair kit.
There is a good benefit for using a clarifying shampoo as part of the process.
Let’s find out if YOU need a purifying treatment for your hair.
Does your hair suffer from any of these symptoms?
- Frizzy and brittle
- Breaks easily
- Feels itchy
- Does not absorb conditioners
- Too much dandruffs
- Hair feels heavy and weighed down
If so …
It’s Time To Detox, Purify, And Exfoliate !
I’ve lived in hot places like Miami, Dubai, and the Middle-East.
And I can relate to such hair problems.
These problems are common, but also ignored by many.
Those who are conscious, take actions immediately. And those who ignore them, end up facing severe hair problems later.
By problems, I mean hair loss or even scalp psoriasis.
Let’s NOT ignore these little problems.
These are the warning signs that your hair needs help !
When your hair stops absorbing conditioning treatments, you know something is not right.
Excess sebum, pollution, dead skin cells, and hard water block the pores on your scalp. They create a barrier on your hair shafts, preventing moisture from setting in.
Too much of these also cause bacterial growth that eats away the roots of your hair.
In other words…
You’ll see gradual hair loss.
Use a chelating shampoo (double clarifying) to fight hard water hair damage and also detox your scalp.
How Often Do You Detox Your Scalp?
Use a Tangle Teezer Detangling Brush or try running a soft brush through your scalp…
… and watch carefully.
You will no doubt find flaky stuff and deposits that your shampoo fails to clear up.
Just like your skin needs exfoliating every now and then, your scalp does too.
What you need is a Clarifying Shampoo.
Let’s look at how it benefits you.
The Benefits Of Clarifying Shampoos
This is what a clarifying treatment does to your hair and scalp:
- Thoroughly cleanses hair and scalp with a single wash
- Rejuvenates dry scalp and keeps it healthy
- Keeps sebum levels balanced
- Clears pores
- Unclogs unwanted dirt from building up
- Prevents bacterial growth
- Soothes itchy scalp
- Protects from hair loss
- Adds volume to limp hair
- Brings weighed down hair back to life
See also: The perks of using a Clarifying Shampoo
Good hair starts from a healthy scalp just like plants need a fertile rich soil to flourish.
So, don’t let your hair suffer from the root!
Get yourself a clarifying shampoo, and see the positive difference from a single wash.
As it turns out …
I have a list of the best clarifying shampoos right here.
The Top 10 Best Clarifying Shampoos For Your Hair
Save yourself time reading reviews.
We’ve done it all for you.
We’ve updated the list of clarifying shampoo brands and narrowed it down to the 10 most popular and loved shampoos online.
What Is A Clarifying Shampoo (SLS And Surfactants)
Have you noticed?
Nowadays, it seems like almost everyone checks the back of their bottles for ingredients.
I’m guilty of this too.
The top ingredient you’ll find in clarifying shampoos is Sodium Laureth Sulfates (Wikipedia link), also known as SLS.
It’s used in cosmetic products like toothpaste, skin cleansers, and household cleaning detergents.
Is it safe for your hair?
Yes, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review approved that SLS is safe to use in rinse-off products.
SLS is a heavy cleaning agent also known as surfactant. It cleans thoroughly but there is one problem…
It does not moisturize.
Sulfates make your hair dry if used frequently.
Note: Sulfate-free and organic clarifying shampoos are also covered below.
Regular shampoos hardly contain surfactants because their purpose is to gentle cleanse and moisturize. This is why your hair feels shiny and smooth after a wash.
But shiny and smooth hair on the outside does not mean clean and healthy hair.
What Does A Clarifying Shampoo Do?
Clarifying shampoos do the complete opposite. They are designed with heavy cleansing agents but less moisturizing care.
This is why sulfate based clarifying lotions and shampoos are not recommended for daily use.
When To Use A Clarifying Shampoo?
This is important:
Do not use a clarifying shampoo everyday, unless the solution is designed for everyday use.
A single wash is enough to feel the deep cleansing action.
Make it a weekly habit.
If you use styling products such as hair sprays, masques, or leave in conditioners on a daily basis, use it twice a week.
Using twice a week is also recommended if you live in a locality with hard or salinated water.
If you don’t use hair products daily, then use a clarifying treatment once a month.
How Often Can You Clarify Your Hair?
|Type Of Hair||How Often|
|You use daily hair styling products||1 X Per Week|
|You DON’T use daily styling products||1 X Per Month|
|You swim regularly||2 X Per Week|
|You live in a hard water area||2 X Per Week|
|You have colour treated hair||1 X Per Month|
|You recently coloured your hair||WAIT 2 Weeks before clarifyingThen 1 X Per Month|
|You have newly done Dreadlocks||Every 5 Days for FIRST Month|
|Matured Dreadlocks||Every 3-4 Days|
How To Use A Clarifying Shampoo?
Use it like any other shampoo you have at home.
Apply a small amount on your wet scalp. Gently massage for a minute and then rinse.
Remember, it won’t lather that much at first depending on your scalp residue.
Then apply a lesser amount on your wet hair. Let it sit for 2 minutes. This will free your scalp from product build up.
Then rinse with warm water to clean it all up.
Let’s look at the types of build up that affects your hair…
Types Of Residue Build Up In Your Hair & Scalp
Scalp Build Up
Do you want to know what causes scalp build up everyday?
Here’s a list:
- Air pollutants
- Chlorine (if you swim)
- Hard water minerals ( See Our Best Hard Water Shampoos » )
- Your gels, hairsprays
- Sebum from your scalp
- Renewing skin cells
Infrequent washing combined with an active lifestyle also contributes to scalp perspiration building up.
For those who follow the rule of minimal washing to keep your hair healthy, a clarifying shampoo should be part of your routine.
Less washing yes, but effective washing is what you need.
Yellow Crusty Scalp Build Up
Dry scalp build up has a crusty and yellow appearance.
Your scalp’s natural process of renewing skin cells causes the dead skin cells to clump together. Combined with excess sebum that your scalp secrete, the oily clumps become more visible.
Thorough hair cleansing balances the sebum levels on your scalp and gets rid of crusty build up.
White Build Up On Scalp (Dandruff)
White scalp build up are peeling dead skin.
This causes dandruff, flaking, and itchy scalp.
The best remedy for this: Nizoral Anti-Dandruff.
Click the image below to get more information on this product.
Itchy Scalp Build Up
Dead skin build up on your scalp causes your scalp to become itchy.
This gets seriously uncomfortable.
What your scalp needs, is intense moisture.
I use Apple Cider Vinegar, and find it super effective.
Masssage the vinegar on your scalp, leave it for around 10 minutes then wash.
Do it twice a week and see the results.
This stuff works !
Both men and women can do it at home. I highly recommend Apple Cider Vinegar as it cleanses the scalp and also maintains a healthy pH balance.
Conditioner Build Up On Your Scalp!
Yes! This surprised me as well…
Did you know?
Your conditioner does not rinse off completely!
This causes a rich and heavy build up on your hair, making it feel waxy and greasy.
Waxy, Oily, And Greasy Scalp Build Up
Your scalp produces sebum. It’s a natural process.
The waxy nature of sebum combined with letf over conditioners make your hair and scalp greasy and oily.
This type of build up is also necessary to take care of and clean at least one a week.
Thick Sebum Scalp Build Up
If your scalp produces sebum excessively, it becomes a problem.
The best way to balance this natural process is again Aple Cider Vinegar rinse.
Sebum scalp build up is a common thing…
But if you let it happen, it grows quickly into a thick layer of scalp build up.
Hard Water Scalp Build up
Hard water makes your hair dry and brittle.
Salinated water accumulates calcium and chlorine in your hair and on the pores of your scalp.
Both carry high mineral content like magnesium, that dissolves in your hair when washing.
This creates a scaly film layer on your hair preventing your hair from absorbing moisture.
If not treated, your hair becomes porous and breaks easily.
Clean your hair & scalp every week with a good chelating shampoo for hard water.
How To Get Rid Of Scalp Buildup (Solutions)
First determine what type of build up is accumulating on your scalp and hair.
Then take action based on the recommendation below:
Here’s how you remove dirt from your scalp:
Check this out…
There’s a lot more than just scalp build up removal.
A clarifying shampoo cleans each individual hair strand to remove what your shampoo and soap leaves behind.
I call them the by products of their cleaning process.
Also known as Residues.
Let’s take a look at the different types of residue shampoos that complement your hair type.
Your hair type and texture matters when choosing your shampoo.
The Different Types (Get The Right One)
Anti Residue Shampoo
The by products of your regular shampoo stick to your hair.
How can you tell if there are shampoo residues on your hair?
It Takes Longer To Blow Dry Your Hair !
Hair residue is also known as impurities that sit in your locks making them hard to blow dry and moisturize.
A residue free shampoo fights all this grime.
If problem lies less on the scalp and more on your hair, then a residue free shampoo offers the benefits of deep washing.
A clarifying shampoo also refreshes and invigorates your hair and scalp.
Deep Cleansing Shampoo
Feel the power of rich antioxidants, zingy lime, and mint in your scalp.
As an added bonus…
A clarifying shampoo does not only clean. It gives your scalp and hair a good refresh with added antioxidants.
Try the Phytocyane Revitalizing Shampoo.
How To Get Rid Of Oily Hair
A common frustration for people with oily hair…
The more you wash, the more oily it appears and if you don’t wash…
It looks plain horrible !
To make it worse…
You just can’t help but touch it all the time.
I agree, oily hair looks shapeless and neglected.
And that’s why you should use a good dry clarifying shampoo for oily hair to maintain it.
What shampoo is good for oily, greasy hair and scalp?
Look no further…
Maple Holistics currently holds the Number 1 Best Seller spot on Amazon.
As it turns out:
Maple Holistics is also the best shampoo for oily scalp.
Add Volume And Bounce To Fine Hair
There’s one important thing you need to look for in a clarifying shampoo for fine hair…
It must not make your hair flat to stick to your scalp.
A good clarifying shampoo that won’t weigh down your fine hair is Tony & Guy Cleanse.
This shampoo not only cleans, it also restores fullness of your hair from the root.
Clarifying For Coarse Hair
Your hair becomes coarse when there are too much water mineral deposits and chlorine in it. Harsh chemicals from your shampoos and constant use of hot dryers, curling irons also make it worse.
Getting your smooth and silky hair back is easier than you think though.
The Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo uses the power of Grapefruit and Orange power extracts to fix it.
The best clarifying shampoo for coarse hair: Paul Mitchell’s Clarifying Shampoo and Conditioner is the popular choice, but many people seem to opt for Ouidad due it’s fair price and good results.
Get the same results and for a lot less cheaper.
Clarifying Shampoo For Natural Hair
The truth about natural hair:
The most important thing is texture and maintaining the texture without using harsh chemicals.
Natural hair (African American hair) also means relaxer free hair.
Did you know?
According to the Boston Globe, more and more African American women are adopting the chemical free hair regime.
No relaxers, no dye, no chemicals, and no sulfates.
Natural black hair styles are on the rise.
And to maintain your natural curls…
You’ll need sulfate-free clarifying shampoos with Shea Moisture African Black Soap.
The best clarifying shampoo for natural hair?
In my opinion, it has to be the Shea Moisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo.
Like I mentioned above, the main ingredient in a cleansing shampoo is SLS sulfates.
But if your hair is too dry and damaged, and you want to avoid chemicals, you can go for the more gentle clarifying solutions.
Best Natural Dreadlocks Shampoo
Washing natty dreads can be hard work.
You’ll have to make sure your shampoo is gentle to your hair to avoid knots slipping or loosen.
Check out the organic shampoo options below. Aubrey Organic and Avalon are the good shampoos for dreadlocks.
Sodium And Sulfate Free Options
The gentle clarifying shampoo that does not contain sulfates, sodium, SLS, and paraben chemicals.
Here’s a quick tip for you…
If you still want to avoid any sort of chemical in your shampoo these are the shampoos you need to look for:
Search for these:
Search for these shampoos if you want to avoid harsh chemicals:
- Sulfate free clarifying shampoo
- Sodium sulfate free shampoo
- Sulfate and silicone free shampoo
- Sulfate free dry shampoo
- Paraben and sulfate free shampoo
- Sodium free shampoos
- Shampoo without sodium lauryl sulfate
- Sulphate free shampoo
To save you an enormous amount of time..
Here’s the best selling non sulfate shampoo you can find online.
79% of customers rated this product as 4-5 stars.
Clarifying Shampoo For Color Treated Hair
Mixed Chicks is designed for colour treated hair. So if your hair is dyed, colored…
Mixed chicks will not fade your hair color or make it look brassy.
Blonde hair with brassy tones:
Brassy blonde hair also benefits from Mixed Chicks shampoo. Iron deposits and minerals are the main reasons your blonde hair looks dull with brassy tones. Using a good cleaning shampoo will protect your hair.
Sulfate And Silicone Free Shampoo Benefits
- No irritation and inflation on your scalp if you are sensitive
- More moisture retention in your hair
- Your hair retains its natural oils
- Hair color and dye stays for longer
Organic Clarifying Shampoos
No Parabens and no harsh preservatives…
This is what defines an organic clarifying shampoo.
An organic shampoo won’t have any frangrance or scent. What you get with an organic alternative is essential oils, lemon oils, and sometimes shea butter added in the mix.
What to look for when buying organic shampoos:
- Certified organic ingredients
- No parabens
- No harsh preservatives
- No artificial colors
- No SLS or other sulfates
- 100% vegetarian
- No animal testing
The best natural organic shampoos for clarifying are:
- Giovanni Balanced Hydrating Clarifying
- Aubrey Organics Green Tea Clarifying Shampoo
- Avalon Organics lemon clarifying shampoo
Based on Forum Reviews, Aubrey Organic shampoo is the preferred choice.
The organic shampoos mentioned above are classed as vegan shampoos. Their manufacturers also claim no animal testing has been performed.
Other options available are:
- EO Botanical brand
- Acure Organics Lemongrass
- Ion Clarifying shampoo
Watch this space I will be doing a full review for vegan and organic clarifying shampoos soon.
What About Daily Clarifying Shampoos ?
Clarifying daily in general is not a good idea at all.
This will have a drying effect on your hair and strip necessary lipids out.
You may have heard about Suave daily clarifying shampoo. It’s dead cheap and a reputable brand.
But my take on the Suave Clarifying shampoo is:
- It has sulfates, therefore daily use is a big NO
- It still leaves coatings on your hair
- Doesn’t do a good job on oily scalp
- It can cause dandruff if used daily
Dilute it with water to minimise the effects of sulfates in your hair, if you’re using Suave daily.
My Opinion: There is no such thing as a best daily clarifying shampoo.
If you’ve been looking for a daily cleanser, then STOP. Regardless if it’s sulfates or paraben free, it will still strip your hair of natural oils.
Look for a weekly solution. It will be better in the long run for your hair.
Top End Salon Professional
Is your hairdresser recommending you a clarifying treatment due to plastic buildup on your hair?
You should get one every time you’re off to get your split ends trimmed or any other treatment.
Hair salons use the top end clarifying shampoos such as:
- Kenra professional
- Joico k-pak clarifying shampoo
- Tigi Pro clarifying shampoo
- And Kerastase.
Having your hairstylist doing it for you is something you should opt for.
It saves you money buying the product, plus it won’t cost a lot if you’re doing it as part of your regular visit.
If you are not convinced with off the shelf shampoos and prefer natural methods…
I have good news for you.
There are plenty of ways to clarify your hair using natural methods.
Homemade Clarifying Shampoo (DIY Recipes)
Learn how to make your own cleansing conditioner and clarify your hair naturally.
We have a few tricks and tips for you:
As you read on you’ll find out about:
- How to make clarifying shampoo at home
- Clarifying hair rinse homemade
- Clarifying hair mask
- Clay hair mask (Bentonite Clay)
- Mud mask for hair
- Coconut mask for hair
- French clay mask
- Apple cider vinegar rinse for hair
- Clarifying hair with baking soda
So, jump right in.
Clarifying Hair Masks
You can detoxify your hair using a clay hair mask.
A common method used is the Bentonite clay mask which helps relieve toxins from your hair and scalp.
Bentonite Clay For Hair
Bentonite clay for natural hair is highly absorbent.
It clarifies your hair without stripping moisture or making your hair dry.
Bentonite clay mask makes your hair feel pure and silky with an overnight treatment.
Bentonite Clay Mask Recipe (Mud Mask For Hair)
- Bentonite Clay
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Essential Oils of your choice (I use rosemary oil)
- Plastic / wooden bowl
- Wooden spoon for mixing
- Mix the Bentonite clay with Apple Cider Vinegar. Use enough ingredients that can cover your hair length
- Add your essential oil and mix thoroughly
- Section your hair into 6 sections preferably
- Apply the mixture and let it sit for 20 minutes
- Massage it into your hair. Do each section for 2 minutes pulling downwards
- Rinse after 20 minutes with lukewarm water. Rinse thoroughly until it’s all gone.
- Use a deep conditioner afterwards to seal in the moisture.
Coconut Oil Hair Mask
A coconut mask for hair contains Vitamin E, is anti-fungal and thickens your locks.
The anti-fungal properties of coconut oil will remove white scalp build up also known as dandruffs.
So here’s the recipe:
Coconut Oil Hair Mask Recipe For Deep Cleansing
- 7 drops of essential oils (optional)
- 4 tablespoon of coconut oil
- Plastic bowl for mixing
- Suitable spoon or brush to mix
- Simply mix the essential oils with the coconut oil for a few minutes (I use Rosemary oil)
- Massage the mixture in your hair
- Leave for 30-60 mins depending on how long your hair is
- Wash out thoroughly
Coconut oil washes out easily with any regular shampoo. Your hair will feel smooth and smell good after the treatment.
French Clay Mask For Hair
Montmorillonite also known as French Clay is a soft mineral that clarifies your hair.
It’s clarifying process is more gentle and this magical French green clay is highly absorbent.
It does not leave your hair dry and it won’t strip your hair of it’s natural oils.
Try the recipe and see how French Clay removes toxic substances (harsh soaps & shampoos) from your hair.
French Green Clay Hair Mask For Gentle Clarifying
- 1 cup of French green clay
- 1 cup of Aloe Vera juice
- 1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
- a few drops of Rosemary oil or any essential oils
- A glass bowl for mixing
- Suitable spoon or brush to mix
- Add the French clay in the glass bowl and mix in the Aloe Vera juice
- Add the Apple Cider Vinegar
- Finally add the drops of essential oils
- Wet your hair first, then apply starting from the roots
- Work the mixture thoroughly through your hair
- Leave for 15 minutes, but don’t let it dry off
- Rinse thoroughly
And voila !
Clarifying Hair With Apple Cider Vinegar
The most popular homemade clarifying treatment.
Check this out…
Is your hair looking dull and lifeless?
I guarantee you, a vinegar rinse for hair will immediately bring the springy bounce back into your hair.
It literally makes your curls POP.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) in hair neutralizes the pH levels of your follicles.
The Alpha-Hydroxy acid in ACV fights all the gunk left behind from your styling products to make your hair squeaky clean.
Here’s the recipe – how to use apple cider vinegar on hair.
How To Rinse With Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 cup of water
- 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
- Spray bottle
- Spoon for mixing
- Add the water and the vinegar and mix well
- After shampooing spray the mixture on your wet hair. Massaging it well into your hair and scalp
- Leave it for 5 minutes
- Rinse thoroughly
Caution: Don’t let it get into your eyes. It will sting.
Once your hair is properly dry, the vinegar small will go away.
Clarifying Hair With Baking Soda
And, I almost forgot…
Clarifying hair with baking soda is also a cinch.
Use a baking soda exfoliant to remove chlorine build up from your hair.
Washing your hair with baking soda can be abrasive to your hair.
So you need to get the right balance to avoid the grittiness and hard scrubbing effect.
The solution: Mix it with a conditioner rather than water.
Here’s a DIY baking soda recipe that is not harsh on your hair.
DIY Baking Soda Shampoo
- 1/2 cup of baking soda
- 1 cup of your favorite conditioner
- Glass bowl
- Spoon or brush for mixing
- Shower cap
- Mix the baking soda and your conditioner until it becomes smooth
- Smooth the mixture into your hair
- Put your shower cap on
- Leave for 15 minutes
- Rinse thoroughly
Do NOT try the baking soda and vinegar experiment.
Many people are now using this experiment, also called the no-shampoo (no-poo) alternative hair care.
I don’t recommend it.
The reason for this: 3 Reasons Why Mixing Baking Soda And Apple Cider Vinegar Will Destroy Your Hair
Baking Soda mixed with Apple Cider Vinegar will completely deplete your hair of natural oils.
I tried the natural homemade solutions, but it started getting too messy and time consuming.
The perfect solution for me was finding the right balance. A shampoo that is gentle and sulfate free.
After reading so many good reviews on Amazon about Mixed Chicks, I decided to give it a try. And it didn’t disappoint. To date I still use this shampoo and I highly recommend it.
But if you have any specific hair or scalp problems, I hope to have covered enough above to set you in the right direction in buying the most suitable shampoo that will work for you.