If you love using hair styling products, then you know how annoying it is to have to remove them when hair wash day comes around. While a regular shampoo may do a good enough job of removing product build-up, there’s a specific type of shampoo that’ll help you get the job done without any trouble: clarifying shampoo. Join us as we learn a little bit more about this type product, and take a closer look at some of the best clarifying shampoos out there.
A short intro to clarifying shampoo
What is clarifying shampoo?
A clarifying shampoo is a shampoo that offers a deeper cleanse than your regular shampoo; indeed, you’ll often find these shampoos labeled as “purifying”, “deep cleansing”, or “detox” shampoos.
But why would anyone need a deep hair cleanse? Isn’t normal shampoo not enough? It may not be. If you use a lot of styling products (think styling foams, gels, or even dry shampoo), you might notice that your hair feels particularly heavy, almost like it’s enveloped in a thin layer of sticky build-up. If you live in an urban environment, where your hair is exposed to a lot of pollutants and impurities throughout the day, you might also struggle to reset your hair to that lightweight state we often associate with “clean” hair. Hard water might cause the same problem. And then, of course, there’s always the natural sebum production that goes on in your scalp, which may be a little intense at times.
All of these things can conspire to make your hair feel heavy, lifeless, and dull. If that sounds like you, then a clarifying shampoo might be a good option to “reset” your hair with a nice deep cleanse. If you think you may be dealing with “protein overload”, a clarifying shampoo might also come in handy!
How often should you use clarifying shampoo?
As we saw above, a clarifying shampoo offers a deep cleanse, a sort of reset for your hair. Because it’s a more intense shampoo than a regular shampoo (as it includes more surfactants), a clarifying shampoo should not be used every day. What will happen if you overdo the clarifying shampoo, you ask? The usual things that happen when you overdo cleaning at the expense of nutrition: dry and unruly hair, with plenty of frizz to top it off.
Most brands recommend using their clarifying shampoo once a week; for example, you can pick a hair wash day and use the clarifying shampoo instead of your regular shampoo on that specific day.
You can be even more cautious and use your clarifying shampoo only when you feel your hair is particularly heavy and lifeless. It’s all about paying attention to how your hair feels, and adjusting your routine accordingly.
10 clarifying shampoos to reset your hair
Now that you know how to use your clarifying shampoo for best results, let’s introduce you to some of our favorites:
Phytodetox Clarifying Detox Shampoo
The eucalyptus-infused experience
The Phyto Detox range is all about purifying hair that is exposed to pollution, smoke, and plenty of styling products on a daily basis. In short: it’s a product range for “urban” hair.
The shampoo is formulated with natural extracts that offer a deep cleanse along with a refreshing, purifying experience. Use it once or twice a week, depending on your needs, and enjoy a true spa moment thanks to the eucalyptus essential oil, which lends the shampoo its characteristic scent.
Living Proof Perfect hair Day™ Triple Detox Shampoo
The luxury deep cleanse
This Living Proof Perfect hair Day™ Triple Detox Shampoo looks and feels like a million bucks. The deeply cleansing formula removes buildup and pollution particles without stripping or drying out your locks–in short, it’s everything you could possible need for an in-depth hair wash.
The formula is color-safe and suitable for chemically treated hair. Use it once a week and see how your hair fares!
OLAPLEX Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo Nº4C
The clarifying shampoo for damaged hair
Everybody knows OLAPLEX for their bond building technology that works miracles on damaged hair, but did you know they also make a great clarifying shampoo? This pH-balanced formula uses an exclusive Broad Spectrum Clarifying System to remove impurities without damaging the hair fiber.
Use it once a week instead of your regular shampoo, and rid your hair of product built-up, pollution, hard water minerals, and pretty much every other impurity that may be compromising the softness and shine of your hair.
TIGI Bed Head Down ‘N Dirty Clarifying Detox Shampoo
The heavy duty cleanse
Busy city slickers people need a no-nonsense shampoo that’ll get the job done, and that’s exactly what TIGI Bed Head Down ‘N Dirty Clarifying Detox Shampoo is all about.
While the deep cleansing formula gets rid of pollution particles, product build-up, and various other bits of grime, glycerin provides a moisturizing action, leaving the hair feeling soft and smooth. Done and done!
OGX Purifying + Charcoal Detox Shampoo
The affordable hair “detox”
You’ve probably heard about the purifying properties of charcoal: now, thanks to hair care brand OGX, you can use them on your hair!
The OGX Purifying + Charcoal Detox Shampoo features coconut charcoal and kaolin clay, two ingredients with a pretty clean reputation. Together, they help you remove impurities and product build-up without actually striping them of their much-needed natural oils. The result? Healthy, shiny hair that feels light and soft to the touch.
Sebastian Professional Reset Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo
The frequent use shampoo
The Sebastian Professional Reset Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo is all about bringing your hair back to basics, so you can build it up all over again using your favorite styling products and techniques.
This deep cleansing formula is color safe and, most importantly, suitable for daily use. If you’re a fan of daily hair washing, this might be the clarifying shampoo for you.
Schwarzkopf BC Clean Balance Deep Cleansing Tocopherol Shampoo
The vegan keratin cleanser
Part of the Schwarzkopf Bonacure range, the Clean Balance shampoo comes with a couple of ingredients you won’t see in every clarifying shampoo: vegan keratin to help rebuild the hair fiber, and an exclusive Cell Equalizer Technology to repair the outer layer of the hair.
The star ingredient in this formula, however, is tocopherol, an anti-pollution agent that will help you keep your hair free from impurities for longer. Use this vegan shampoo to deep cleanse your hair once a week, and see the results for yourself!
Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo
The mud-infused hair treatment
Have you ever wanted to try a mud shampoo? With the Christophe Robin Purifying Shampoo, you can! Designed for daily use, this clarifying shampoo features mineral-rich thermal mud as its star ingredient. While this unlikely ingredient purifies and rebalances the scalp, red algae extract smoothes down the lengths and brings softness to the dry ends.
The hair emerges from the wash feeling light and soft from root to tip.
Klorane Anti-Pollution Detox Shampoo with Aquatic Mint
The botanical cocktail
Designed with a gentle, high-tolerance formula you can use as often as necessary, the Klorane Anti-Pollution Detox Shampoo with Aquatic Mint brings a touch of nature to your hair wash routine.
The key ingredient in this shampoo, Mentha aquatica, lends the formula its antioxidant and anti-pollution benefits, making this shampoo an ideal option for purifying and revitalizing city-dwelling hair. Oh, and a final note: the formula is biodegradable, which is another big plus.
L’Oréal Professionnel Série Expert Pure Resource Shampoo
The pro solution to greasy hair
The L’Oréal Professionnel Série Expert Pure Resource Shampoo is ideal for two types of people: those affected by a lot of product build-up, or those who have very oily hair. This purifying formula, which combines citramine and vitamin E, releases the hair from the weight of product build-up and excess sebum.
After cleansing, this innovative L’Oréal Professionnel shampoo reinforces the scalp’s hydrolipidic film, leaving the scalp not only perfectly clean, but also comfortable.
With the best clarifying shampoos, it’s never been so simple to remove product build-up and restore a lightweight feeling to heavy and lifeless hair. You can have too much of a good thing, though! Just make sure to use your clarifying shampoo in alternation with a more gentle shampoo, and you shouldn’t have any problems.
Beauty Writer & Editor