When hair becomes unmanageable, don’t panic and load it down with extra styling products to create the look you want. Instead, use a clarifying shampoo to rid yourself of the product buildup, oils, dirt, and minerals clogging up your hair to restore its beauty and manageability.
Regular shampoos will wash away the dirt and oils from your hair, but they don’t have any effect on the product buildup that accumulates in your hair from overuse of styling products. That’s where a clarifying shampoo comes in. A clarifying shampoo, also called a deep cleansing shampoo, cleans much deeper and more thoroughly than a normal daily shampoo, says Ian Michael Black, hair color global artistic director for Aveda.
It isn’t just styling products that can weigh down your hair. Regular shampoos and conditioners can leave behind residue as well. Dry shampoos can also leave behind this buildup. Even your natural oils can contribute to this problem, especially for those with extra oily scalps. If you have hard water, the minerals can deposit on your hair and won’t be removed with daily washing. Frequently swimming in a chlorinated pool can also lead to buildup that a regular shampoo just can’t handle.
A clarifying shampoo is a stronger cleanser, one that will cut through the junk ruining your beautiful locks and strip it all away, resetting your hair back to the freshness it once knew. The only issue with a clarifying shampoo is that they can also strip away your hair’s natural oils, leaving it drier, so be sure to use a good moisturizing conditioner afterward. If needed, a leave-in as well, so your hair won’t suffer any unnecessary damage.
Deciding if you need a clarifying shampoo not only has to do with the products, minerals, and environmental deposits in your hair, according to Dr. Shuba Dharmana. Your hair type is just as important when deciding if you are in need of one, and how often to use it. If you are prone to oiliness, as many with fine hair suffer through, a clarifying shampoo can strip away the extra oils from your scalp and hair as well as the product buildup that is weighing it down. You can use your clarifying shampoo a couple times a month to control these issues.
For anyone with colored hair, be sure to find a clarifying shampoo that will not strip the color away along with the residue. Once a month or even less often should be enough to keep your hair feeling clean and your color vibrant. Curly hair rarely suffers from the oiliness that plagues fine hair since it takes much longer for the oils to make their way through all those curls. Unless you’re a product junkie, you can go a month or two between uses of your clarifying shampoo and focus mainly on the scalp.
Those with natural black hair are most likely also dealing with drier hair and may be wary of a clarifying shampoo, but you can benefit from the cleansing agents in one of these products without sacrificing soft, manageable hair.
Aside from removing product buildup, minerals from hard water or chlorinated pools, and excessive oils, there are a few other reasons to use a clarifying shampoo, says the founder of Beauty Editor Michelle Villett.
If you are about to color your hair, wash it the day before with a clarifying shampoo to be sure it is squeaky clean. This will not only rid it of buildup but also strip away any color from previous treatments, which will help the new color deposit better onto your hair. If deep conditioning treatments are part of your regular routine, try using a clarifying shampoo first. This will rid your hair of the buildup, leaving a clean head of hair for the treatment to work on. Deep conditioning will soften any dryness from the stripped, clarified hair.
Blondes, bleached or otherwise, can also benefit from a clarifier. This light shade can pick up pollutants from anywhere, discoloring it and giving it a brassy look. Using a clarifying shampoo once a week can rid you of this problem, giving you back the gorgeous shade you love.
Using a clarifying shampoo is similar to using a regular shampoo with only slight differences in the application process. Licensed cosmetologist Kendra Aarhus offers simple instructions to ensure your hair will be clean and product free after each use. When using a clarifying shampoo, start with a small amount – about the size of a nickel. Use this on your scalp, massaging it in gently for one minute. Clarifying shampoos may not lather like regular ones, so don’t be alarmed by the lack of suds.
Work another small amount of clarifying shampoo into the rest of your hair, taking your time to ensure it is all thoroughly washed. Don’t rinse out your hair right away. Instead, continue with your shower routine while the clarifier does its magic. After a few minutes, you are ready to wash out the shampoo. Be sure to rinse it out completely and then condition it as usual. If you notice your hair is still a bit dry, use more conditioner in the shower or a leave-in afterward.
You should notice the results immediately. Your hair should feel lighter, cleaner and be easier to manage.
Regardless of what type of hair you have, you can benefit from a clarifying shampoo. In this article, we have outlined some of the benefits and types of clarifying shampoos on the market. If you are still having trouble with buildup after using a clarifying shampoo, please consult your hair stylist. If you are looking for more hair care articles check out our blog and our hair care buyer’s guides.
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.