The Best Clarifying Shampoo, According to Your Hair Type
In recent years, it’s become somewhat of an (albeit odd) bragging right to see how many days you can last before washing your hair. And whether that’s two days or five, the fact of the matter is most of us are shampooing less frequently, which can lead to dulling buildup on your scalp and strands. This is where a clarifying shampoo comes in.
What is a clarifying shampoo exactly?
A clarifying shampoo is basically a supercharged cleanser that’s formulated to remove stubborn buildup (think oils, silicones, dry shampoo, hair spray and even residual shampoo and conditioner) from your hair. It’s also used to lift the chlorine that’s left on hair after swimming in a treated pool and remove the mineral deposits that result from hard water.
How often should I use a clarifying shampoo?
That mostly depends on your hair texture, lifestyle and styling routine. If you’re someone who regularly uses a lot of styling products, you’ll want to use a clarifying shampoo once a week to cut through any buildup (which can weigh down your strands and dull them).
If you use styling products sparingly or have naturally drier hair, you’ll want to limit your use to once or twice a month, as a clarifying shampoo is so good at its job that it can be drying when used excessively. Regardless of how often you use a clarifying shampoo, always follow up with a conditioning treatment on the mid-lengths and ends of your hair to restore moisture.
Ready to shop the best clarifying shampoos? Here, our top eight picks for super-clean strands.
1. Best for Fine Hair
Biolage Clean Reset Normalizing ShampooThis clarifying wash transforms greasy, lank locks into squeaky-clean and bouncy strands that are able to withstand the typical elements (like sweat and, um, gravity) that usually bring fine hair down within hours. “[This] makes my hair last two days usually (sometimes I can even pull off three), instead of less than one,” says one Amazon fan. Also of note: The fresh lemongrass scent.
2. Best for Natural Hair
Alikay Naturals Moisturizing Black Soap ShampooThis sulfate-free shampoo relies on natural raw black soap to get deep into the scalp to remove any gunk and buildup. (The pointed nozzle tip helps you get a targeted application.) Featuring a blend of coco seed powder, plantain skins and tea tree oil, it nourishes your strands from scalp to root while imparting a delightfully tropical scent. (Note: The formula is a bit thinner in consistency than most traditional shampoos but as long as your hair is fully saturated with water, it will suds up considerably.)
3. Best for Curly Hair
Elucence Volume Clarifying ShampooThe catch-22 of caring for curly hair is that you want to regularly remove buildup to keep your curls springy, but you don’t want to zap your strands of moisture, which causes frizz. Thankfully, this cult-favorite clarifier gets both jobs done thanks to a host of purifying and balancing ingredients like salicylic acid, white willow bark, panthenol and biotin. As one fan on Amazon explains, “It effectively leaves my hair feeling very refreshed and clean without over drying (as my curly hair is prone to do). [It] has transformed my over-dry, frizzy, fuzzy, slightly wavy and sometimes crispy-feeling hair into the soft, curly, bouncy hair that it used to be.”
4. Best for Color-Treated Hair
R+Co Oblivion Clarifying ShampooCreated by a trio of professional hairstylists who have, collectively, tended to the heads of everyone from Timothée Chalamet to Gisele, this gentle clarifying cleanser is free of color-stripping sulfates and full of hydrating coconut oil and glycerin to give you clean, never coarse hair. A Dermstore fan raves that “it does a great job of refreshing my hair without making it feel ‘stripped.’”
$27 at Dermstore