Best Clarifying Shampoo

Clear It! 12 Best Clarifying Shampoos 2018 {Budget to Salon}

You might be wondering: Why, over time, does your hair become dull, lifeless, and difficult to manage? There’s a reason for this that many people may not even realize. The use of hair products like gel, mousse, or hairspray can leave heavy build up on your hair that regular daily shampoo can’t completely remove. That’s where the best clarifying shampoo comes in. It is powerful enough to strip the excess styling build up, mineral deposits, and oils from your hair, leaving it as clean and fresh as if you just stepped out of a salon.

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What is Clarifying Shampoo?

Virgo Essentials Peppermint Clarifying ShampooA regular shampoo is designed to gently cleanse and moisturize your hair, leaving it smooth and shiny. Regular shampoos are low in cleaning agents, called surfactants, which is why they cannot touch the heavier buildup caused by hair products, chlorine, or hard water deposits. This is where a clarifying shampoo is different. They have higher levels of surfactants, less moisturizers, and don’t always lather as much as other shampoos.

Clarifying shampoos deeply cleanse the hair, from scalp to ends, stripping it of all the excess buildup and oils. They have been known to dry out the hair due to the lack of moisturizers in their formulas, but many brands have a matching clarifying conditioner that softens the hair, leaving it ready to style.

Specific Clarifying Shampoo Buyers Guides

Why Use a Clarifying Shampoo?

There are actually a number of reasons why you should use a clarifying shampoo. The first is to remove the buildup left behind from styling products, such as mousse, gel, hairspray and wax. Even regular shampoos and conditioners can leave residue behind that eventually needs to be stripped away to bring the life and lustre back into your hair.

Other issues that may require the use of a clarifying shampoo are hard water deposits and chlorine. Both of these can alter the color of the hair, Blondes especially may notice a brassy, orange color from hard water, and a greenish tint from the chlorine used in a swimming pool. Hair can also become damaged, dry, frizzy, or even crunchy from either of these after repeated contact, making it look as if you’re having a bad hair day everyday. A clarifying shampoo can cut through these deposits, wash away the awful coloring, and leave your hair looking fresher than ever.

Fekkai Apple Cider Shampoo 2If you plan on coloring your hair, use a clarifying shampoo as a great first step. By removing all the excessive buildup and deposits on your hair before you color, the new color has the best chance of attaching to the hair, because there are no oils, colorants, or product residue to get in the way. Afterwards, find a clarifying shampoo for color treated hair to wash away any excess oils and product buildup, without stripping the new color from your hair. Since they only need to be used a couple times each week at the most, there will be little chance of fading, leaving your color vibrant and beautiful.

If you do weekly conditioning treatments, use a clarifying shampoo to wash away the residue and minerals that may have attached to your hair before you apply it. There are two reasons for this: The first is to deeply clean your hair so the conditioner can reach every inch of your hair without having to contend with the excessive buildup. The second is because the clarifying shampoo can leave your hair a bit dry, and the conditioning treatment can help to soften the hair afterwards. Since clarifying shampoos are usually meant to be used once a week, this will make for an easy ritual to remember.

How to Use a Clarifying Shampoo

Because of the lack of moisturizers and higher levels of surfactants, it is usually recommended to only use a clarifying shampoo once a week. Of course, this all depends on how much product you use in your hair, whether you have hard or soft water, and how often you swim in a pool treated with chlorine. The more of these you are dealing with, the more often you will need to use your clarifying shampoo. Twice a week is all right for some brands if needed.

Virgo Essentials Peppermint Clarifying ShampooIf you use very little product in your hair, you may only need to use the clarifying shampoo every two weeks. The best thing to do is to find a brand best suited to your hair type and the buildup your hair may have. As always, follow the directions on the bottle.

Remember, you don’t need a lot of clarifying shampoo to do the job. A small amount, about the size of a nickel in the palm of your hand, will cleanse your hair thoroughly. Just massage it in for about a minute and rinse it clean. Then use its matching clarifying conditioner. If it doesn’t have one, any other conditioner in your arsenal will work. This will help to moisturize the hair, since the clarifying shampoo may have left it feeling a bit dry.

What to Look for in a Clarifying Shampoo

The first thing to look  for in a clarifying shampoo is the hair type it is best used on. Many are designed specifically for one, but there are numerous brands that can be used on all hair types with equal success. It is also a good idea to check out the ingredients in the clarifying shampoo you are considering. Sulfates are great for making a huge amount of lather that will wash away the dirt in your hair, but they can also strip away the natural oils that protect your hair.

Many clarifying shampoos are now sulfate-free, as well as paraben free, vegan, and some are even human tested instead of animal tested. If any of these are a concern for you, there is a clarifying shampoo that will meet your preferences as well as your needs.

The Benefits of Using a Clarifying Shampoo

Virgo Essentials Peppermint Clarifying ShampooA clarifying shampoo has numerous benefits. They have a wide range of brands and varieties for all hair types from fine to thick, curly to straight, and colored to natural. Some of them offer moisturizing and replenishment. There are many that are perfect for stripping out the color before a treatment, giving the new color the best chance of depositing on the hair.

All of them wipe out the residue and minerals that the hair can collect from hard water, swimming, and daily styling, but many color safe varieties won’t wash the color down the drain along with the impurities. Clarifying shampoos can range in price from a $5.00 to $50.00. Regardless of the price, they are well worth the cost, especially since most only require weekly treatments, which means a single bottle could last for months.

The Best Clarifying Shampoo

The Best Budget Clarifying Shampoo:

Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo

suave-daily-clarifying-shampooThough this is one of the least expensive clarifying shampoos available, it doesn’t mean Suave has sacrificed quality for price. Their Daily Clarifying shampoo deeply cleanses the hair without stripping away the moisture, leaving your hair restored to its original beauty and lustre.

This shampoo is pH-balanced and hypoallergenic, perfect for any hair type, and has a subtle fragrance that lasts all day. Suave also has a paired conditioner that will leave your hair soft, beautiful, and ready to style.

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The Best Clarifying Shampoo for Dandruff:

Virgo Essentials Peppermint Clarifying Shampoo

Virgo Essentials Peppermint Clarifying ShampooThere are numerous ingredients in Virgo Essentials Peppermint Clarifying shampoo that can help anyone suffering with dandruff. The peppermint oil soothes and stimulates the dry scalp. Tea Tree oil moisturizes the scalp, while helping to promote hair growth. Menthol is necessary to combat dandruff, as well as eczema and scalp psoriasis. All of them together produce a head of clean, silky hair, free of dandruff. This clarifying shampoo is great for all ages and hair types. It is filled with natural products and essential oils, and is even safe for color treated hair.

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The Best Sulfate Free Clarifying Shampoo:

Nothing But Clarifying Shampoo

Nothing But Clarifying ShampooCompletely free of sulfates, Nothing But Clarifying gently, yet deeply, cleans your hair from root to tip. It will dissolve any buildup from styling products easily without stripping the color from your treated hair. It is safe enough to use weekly.

Not only is Nothing But Clarifying a sulfate free shampoo, it also doesn’t contain mineral oils, petrolatum, colorantes, paragons, or any other harmful chemicals. It is best to use one of Nothing But’s follow up products, like a conditioner or healing mask, to repair any damage that your hair has endured before using the clarifying shampoo and to moisturize it so it is back to its smooth, silky self.

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The Best Clarifying Shampoo for Color Treated Hair:

Alterna Bamboo Style Deep Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo

Alterna Bamboo Style Deep Cleanse Clarifying ShampooAlterna Bamboo has created a deep cleaning clarifying shampoo that is 100% safe for color treated hair. It will completely remove any dirt and buildup without stripping the color away to wash down the drain. Thanks to its gentle eco-friendly formula made with Blue Yucca Root and Organic Bamboo Extract, your hair will be stronger, healthier, more flexible, and ready to hold its style better than ever before. If you are specifically looking for clarifying shampoo for color treated hair we have a whole buyers guide just on these shampoos, check it out.

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The Best Clarifying Shampoo for Natural Hair:

Pantene Pro-V Truly Natural Hair Clarifying Shampoo

pantene-pro-v-truly-natural-hair-clarifying-shampooPantene has designed a line of hair care products that are specifically designed to help care for and manage your natural hair, and Pro-V Truly Natural Clarifying Shampoo is just the tip of the iceberg. It has a gentle formula, but is powerful enough to remove the toughest buildup and residue that has accumulated over time, to leave your hair soft, shiny, and radiant. Pro-V Truly Natural is also paraben and dye free, and is safe to use on color treated hair.

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The Best Clarifying Shampoo for Curly Hair:

Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo

Kinky Curly Come Clean ShampooCurly hair can be harder to manage than other hair types on even the best of days. When it becomes overburdened with dulling buildup and residue, it can be impossible to style. Kinky Curly Come Clean shampoo can give it new life by gently removing all the excessive buildup and completely restoring it to its naturally beautiful, curly glory. This clarifying shampoo is sulfate free and contains Sea Kelp, which helps your hair maintain its moisture. It also contains Mandarin Orange extract to clear out the grime. It is gentle enough that it can be used everyday or just weekly in place of your regular shampoo.

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The Best Clarifying Shampoo for Dry Hair:

Arvazallia Advanced Hair Repair System Repair Moisturizing Shampoo

Arvazallia Advanced Hair Repair System Repair Moisturizing ShampooArvazallia has created a professional grade clarifying shampoo that is perfect for repairing the damage hair can sustain from coloring, chemical treatments, and heat styling. It helps the hair to lock in the moisture lost from these practices, turning dry hair into soft, manageable, and vibrant. The gentle cleansers in Arvazallia Advanced Hair Repair uses a combination of Argan and Macadamia Oils to provide the moisturizing your hair needs and to promote the hair’s growth. Each use will help your hair become stronger and healthier than ever before. If you are specifically looking for clarifying shampoo for dry hair we have a whole buyers guide just on these shampoos, check it out.

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The Best Clarifying Shampoo for Fine Hair:

Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo 8.5 Ounces

Bumble and Bumble Sunday ShampooThere are two problems with fine hair. The first is that sometimes it is overburdened with excessive oils. The second is that fine hair usually needs an abundance of styling products just to add a bit of volume that the hair is otherwise lacking. Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo rids the hair of both of these nasty problems by washing away the excessive natural oils and cleansing the hair of the flattening buildup the styling products leave behind. With just one shampooing each week, your hair will be squeaky clean. With its soft, fresh scent, Bumble and Bumble Sunday is the great clarifying shampoo to restore your hair’s beauty. If you are specifically looking for clarifying shampoo for fine hair we have a whole buyers guide just on these shampoos, check it out.

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The Best Clarifying Shampoo for Oily Hair:

Matrix Biolage Normalizing Shampoo

Matrix Biolage Normalizing ShampooAll hair produces oils but some people have to suffer with excessive oil production that many regular shampoos cannot address. Matrix Biolage is a normalizing shampoo for anyone with normal to oily hair that strips away all of the excess oils without drying out your hair. Its formula consists of lemongrass, sage, pollen and ginkgo biloba – all perfect for washing away the oils and buildup from scalp to tip. These ingredients also create a fabulous aroma that many other clarifying shampoos are lacking.

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The Best Drugstore Brand Clarifying Shampoo:

TRESemme Purify and Replenish Deep Cleanse

TRESemme Purify and Replenish Deep CleanseTRESemme offers a fantastic clarifying shampoo that is professional salon-quality with a low drugstore price. It is easy to find in any store and comes in a huge bottle that will seem to last forever. It is enriched with lemon extract, grapefruit extract, and an abundance of vitamin C to purify your hair and completely clear out all of the buildup from daily styling. It offers the cleansing power of other clarifying shampoos but is gentle enough to be used every day if needed. TRESemme has a clarifying shampoo and conditioner combo that works perfectly together, so there is no need to test out the second step with other brands.

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The Best Salon Clarifying Shampoo:

Fekkai Apple Cider Shampoo

Fekkai Apple Cider ShampooYour hair deserves a new beginning, and Fekkai’s Apple Cider shampoo for clarifying and renewal can bring it back to its original beauty. Fekkai’s clarifying shampoo is silicone-free, perfect to purify your hair and remove the buildup from daily styling. It is infused with Apple Cider Vinegar and scented with fresh apple and pear for a natural, fruity smell that will follow you all day. Created and used by the Frederic Fekkai Salons, this fabulous clarifying shampoo is the perfect weekend purifier, though it is gentle enough to be used each day. It is even safe to use on color treated hair.

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The Best Overall Clarifying Shampoo:

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo

Neutrogena Anti-Residue ShampooThere are a number of reasons why Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo is the top-rated clarifying shampoo on the market. It is formulated to work on all hair types. It can boost your hair’s volume. Weekly use can help to remove nearly all of the buildup and residue accumulated in that time. Cleaning with this shampoo can help to make your daily shampoo work that much better because it doesn’t have to fight the excessive grime. Neutrogena Anti-Residue is a gentle clarifying shampoo that rinses clean with no irritation and has a wonderful scent that won’t overpower your sense of smell.

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Best Clarifying Shampoo Conclusion

Regardless of your hair type, we’re convinced you will find the best clarifying shampoo for your needs just by reading this article. Hopefully with the information provided, you will fully understand the need of a clarifying shampoo, the benefits of purchasing one, and the proper way to use one. We are confident with this information you can make your selection without the worry of making the wrong shampoo choice. You’ll have better hair for making this easy decision.

Thank you for reading our Best Clarifying Shampoo for article, and we hope you found it helpful in your search for a new clarifying shampoo. If we were able to help you make a decision on the best clarifying shampoo for you, please click through on one of the links and purchase it from Amazon. This site is part of the Amazon Affiliate Program and at no extra cost to you, we will receive a commission from Amazon if you purchase your clarifying shampoo through our site. For more hair care tips or information on dry shampoos, please visit

About the Author Emma O'Brien

I joined BloomGorgeous in 2014 and have been reviewing for them ever since. It's my passion and joy to help people thrive. I have had my up and down days with my my look and my mindset, it is our goal here to help people get through the rough times a little faster.