No matter the length, style, or type of hair you have, shampoo is a must for keeping it healthy and clean, but not all shampoos are designed to do the same thing. If you’ve ever noticed that your hair still feels a bit “dirty” (AKA greasy or oily) after you’ve washed it, it may be because you’re using the wrong type of shampoo. Certain people, especially those who use lots of products like sprays and gels that leave buildup in their hair, can benefit from a special type of shampoo known as clarifying.
The best clarifying shampoos are specifically formulated to get rid of stubborn residue on hair, which regular shampoo often misses, explains Annagjid “Kee” Taylor, celebrity hairstylist who has worked with the likes of Keke Palmer, Tiffany Haddish, Nafessa Williams and Tika Sumpter. “A clarifying shampoo’s goal is aligned with a hair detox in the fact that they both remove product buildup, minerals, dirt, and oil,” she says. Using one once a week will provide a deep clean that helps revitalize the hair.
While most clarifying shampoo will do the trick of getting rid of buildup in your hair, there are a few key features to look for when finding a formula for you. It’s a wise idea to check the ingredients list to make sure it contains ammonium-sodium lauryl sulfate, which provides the deepest cleanse, says Taylor. She also recommends looking for chlorides or bromides, which are mild cleansers but help make and keep your hair soft.
“Something else to take into consideration when shopping for clarifying shampoos is skin conditions like dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis, in which you should look for products that have ingredients like salicylic acid that can keep irritation and flare-ups at bay,” Taylor adds. Ready to try one? Here are the best clarifying shampoos that hairstylists recommend to their clients.
The Best Clarifying Shampoos
Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo ($26; amazon.com)
Like most of Moroccanoil’s products, this one is highly moisturizing because it’s rich in Vitamin E, essential fatty acids and antioxidants. It’s also clarifying, according to Gina Rivera, hair artist and founder of Phenix Salon Suites, because the natural oil ingredient helps to nourish the hair and promote scalp health.
Deeper Than Hair’s Detox Bath Shampoo ($23; deeperthanhair.com)
With this shampoo, you don’t have to worry about adding extra products to your routine to get the style and texture you’re looking for, according to Taylor. “The Detox Hair Bath is infused with natural oils such as Tea Tree and Peppermint, which are used for other remedies related to removing lice and soothing dry, itchy scalps,” she says. “This special shampoo allows the hair to be cleansed, healed, and invigorated, and it is also safe for colored and chemically-treated hair, which makes it very convenient.”
IGK First Class Charcoal Shampoo ($29; sephora.com)
This clarifying shampoo is deep cleansing without stripping the hair, according to Nai’vasha. “The main ingredient charcoal gently detoxifies and cleanses, absorbing excess oil and buildup from the scalp.”
Giovanni Balanced Moisture and Clarifying ($21; amazon.com)
According to Nai’vasha, celebrity curl expert and founder of Curl Queen, this shampoo is gentle enough for dry, overworked, environmentally stressed and color-treated hair. “It leaves the hair feeling clean, pH balanced, and reawakened,” she says. It’s also vegan friendly as it’s cruelty-free and contains no animal by-products.
Creme of Nature Argan Oil ACV Rinse ($7; walmart.com)
For a much more affordable option, Nai’vasha recommends this argan oil-infused clarifying rinse, which features apple cider vinegar to keep the natural pH of the hair properly balanced. “This deep cleanser is perfect for removing weekly product build-up without stripping hair of its moisture,” she says. “This rinse will make strands smoother, softer and add shine.”
SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo ($12; ulta.com)
Taylor is a big fan of SheaMoisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo because it not only cleanses the scalp and balances pH levels, but it also nourishes the hair and restores its natural vibrancy and luster. “It’s also really great for strengthening and repairing chemically damaged and over-processed hair,” she says.
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