How Do You Use A Clarifying Shampoo

Think of them as shampoos on steroids

Clarifying Shampoo

Photo: Getty

There are lots of reasons why hair can look sad and lifeless: too much heat styling, chemical treatment overdose, even hard water can make your strands go limp. Another sneaky culprit that can keep your hair from attaining maximum shine-factor? The buildup of oils, styling products, dry shampoo, and even residue from normal shampoos and conditioners, all of which can cling to hair and scalp, making your freshly-washed hair seem heavy and unworthy of a starring role in a shampoo commercial. Luckily, there is a solution. All you need is a good clarifying shampoo and the know-how to use it.

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Think of clarifying shampoos as shampoos on steroids—they cut through product buildup and oils to leave your hair squeaky clean. If you’ve ever had a salon relaxer or keratin treatment done, you’ve probably had one used on you (both treatments perform better on ruthlessly clean hair) and they’re also popular among the lap-swimming crowd to fight off chlorine-green, but that doesn’t mean they need to be a specialty treatment. “These shampoos can be used by anyone, especially if you feel your hair is not cooperating or if it seems a bit lifeless. Those are signs of product buildup,” says hairstylist Paul Labrecque of Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa. “Think of clarifying your hair as preparing your canvas for something new.”

Of course, all of that hardcore cleansing ability comes with a downside – since clarifying shampoos do such a good job of purging your strands of any and every trace of oil and gunk, it also means that they can strip away the natural oils that keep your hair shiny and your scalp well-moisturized. “You shouldn’t use one more than once a month,” advises hairstylist Mara Roszak, who recommends not washing your hair more than every other day the rest of the time.

Think of your monthly clarifying session as a true beauty treatment, i.e. don’t rush through it when you’re already running late for work. Start by focusing the shampoo at your roots where buildup tends to be worst. Channel your inner salon shampoo station and really work those suds in (a little bonus scalp massage is never a bad thing) progressively spreading the shampoo through the length of your hair as you go. Rinse, then follow up with conditioner, or, even better, a hair mask to restore all of that lost moisture and up your shine game.

Fortunately, finding a clarifying shampoo to fit your needs is easy. Paul Mitchell makes two different versions: Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo Two, formulated for color-treated hair, and Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo Three, designed to target mineral and chlorine deposits from swimming.

Clarifying Shampoo

Photo: Courtesy / Paul Mitchell


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Paris is notorious for its hair-ruining hard water, so you can bet that any clarifying shampoo that gets the French girl stamp of approval is worthy of a spot in your shower. Try the Sephora best-seller Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt, which clears away scalp-based buildup with gentle sea salt grit.

Clarifying Shampoo

Photo: Courtesy / Christophe Robin


Fekkai Apple Cider Shampoo is a perennial favorite for a reason. Come for combination of real apple juice, citric, and salicylic acids that get your hair and scalp scrupulously clean–stay for the bright, fruity scent and mood-lifting color.


Clarifying Shampoo

Photo: Courtesy / Frederic Fekkai


If you love innovative delivery methods as much as we do, then Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo is exactly what you need to get excited about clarifying shampoos. The exfoliating volcanic ash-infused formula dispenses from the can in a rich mousse that’s so much fun you’ll be tempted to use it more than once a month (but please don’t.)

Photo: Courtesy / Oribe


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From: Harper’s BAZAAR US


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