Best Clarifying Shampoos

Over time hair tends to get build up from styling products, hard water, mineral and chemical deposits including chlorine from swimming pools and salt water from the beach, and even some medications. This build-up can weigh hair down and cause it to appear dull and lifeless. To help remove build up and give your hair a fresh start, consider the occasional use of a clarifying shampoo.

Using a clarifying shampoo really is no different than working with any other cleanser, except that it may not lather as much. You'd also want to let it sit for a couple of minutes after you've worked it in all over but concentrating at the roots. Letting the shampoo sit on your head will help release any build up and will allow you to simply rinse it away. Just be sure that you rinse really well. However, if you have a lot of build-up, consider repeating the steps.

After clarifying, condition as you usually would just keep in mind that most clarifying shampoos tend to remove even more of the natural oils in your hair and scalp than normal shampoos. Since they do not typically offer moisturizing benefits, be sure to condition well with whatever treatment is best for your hair type.

As far as how often to clarify, it really depends on your hair condition, the products you use, the quality of the water in your area, and your lifestyle. If you use a lot of hair products or have very hard or mineral-rich water, you may find it helpful to clarify weekly. If you swim in the pool every day you will likely need to clarify even more often. However, if you don't really use many hair products or have soft water, you may only need to clarify once a month.

While not typically designed for everyday use, clarifying shampoos are perfect for those weekly or monthly hair pick-me-ups. To help you find the best clarifying shampoo for your hair, here are some of our top picks.
Ouidad SuperFruit Renewal Clarifying Cream Shampoo
Best for naturally curly hair, this gentle, sulfate-free cleanser effectively removes product build-up and residue without stripping or dehydrating hair. Infused with a powerful antioxidant-rich blend of concentrated whole superfruit acids, acai, blueberry, cranberry, papaya, and pomegranate it detoxifies and rejuvenates dull, lifeless curls. Banana extract immediately nourishes and replenishes moisture. Shine, softness, and bounce are restored after just one use. Safe for use on color-treated hair.

Kérastase Bain Clarifiant
A clarifying hair bath for overactive scalps prone to oiliness, this purifying formula leaves your scalp feeling calmed and detoxified while hair is gently cleansed and left feeling naturally soft. This clarifying shampoo removes excess sebum from the surface of your scalp and your hair to leave it feeling fresh, cleansed and rebalanced.

KER Hair Health Deep-Cleansing Clarifying Shampoo
Formulated with select fruit and plant extracts including Buriti Fruit Oil, Babassu Oil, Avocado Oil, Green Tea Extract, and Murumuru Seed Butter, this shampoo deep cleans and exfoliates layers of product buildup. It freshens, cleans and fortifies the hair, providing vital nourishment while locking in hydration.

Redken Hair Cleansing Cream
Ideal for swimmers and product junkies, this cleansing cream works to remove accumulated mineral deposits and styling product build-up on your hair and scalp, leaving it cleansed and purified. Formulated with fruit acids to strengthen your hair cuticles and add shine and moisture, Redken Hair Cleansing Cream will leave your hair purified and refreshed. Product build-up and excess mineral deposits will be gently removed without stripping the hair to leave it soft and shiny and ready for the next day!

Prospector Co Clarifying Shampoo
A classic shampoo formula suited for normal to oily hair types. It leaves hair feeling clean without stripping away its natural oils. Lemon and Peppermint oils soothe, revitalize and stimulate the scalp with a clean, bright scented finish.  

Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo
When product buildup and styling stress leave your locks feeling dull, use Number 4 Clarifying Shampoo, subtly scented with white freesia, golden amber, and warm musk, to gently cleanse without stripping moisture or color.

Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo
A top pick for people who frequently style their hair, use styling gels and products daily, and for people who choose not to wash their hair daily. This cleansing shampoo includes natural ingredients like rosemary leaf extract and sage leaf extract to nourish the hair, soothe the scalp, and leave it feeling light and healthy.