If you're anything like us, dry shampoos, hair oils, and leave-in conditioners are your saviors for making your hairstyle last longer. Look, we don't like spending an hour or more blow-drying our hair only to have the style collapse a few days later, either. Here's the thing: There's nothing wrong with using these products—pry our dry shampoo out of our cold, dead hands, we dare you—but that's only if you're effectively cleaning those products out of your hair on wash days with one of the best clarifying shampoo products on this list. If your regular shampoo formula isn't working super hard, you might develop what's called "build-up."
What does a clarifying shampoo do for your hair?
Let us introduce you to a nightmare symptom list: flaky scalp, excessive oiliness, dull-looking strands. Hair products aren't the only offenders, either: Sweat, pollution, products, and dirty water can all cause build-up over time.
If you're thinking, "Well then, what the hell is my regular shampoo doing?" let us explain: It's not that your regular shampoo is terrible and needs to be tossed. A standard shampoo is great...most of the time. But if you start noticing build-up, a clarifying shampoo should be used once a week or month as a deep-clean, depending on your hair type. If you're unsure which clarifying shampoo to reach for, don't worry, we did the work for you. From color-treated hair to excessively damaged ends, there's a clarifying shampoo that will suit your needs.
Ouai Detox Shampoo
Jen Atkin, queen of dry shampoos and style-maintenance products, knows the importance of cleansing the hair of build-up. Apple cider vinegar gently exfoliates the scalp while keratin softens and manages frizz.
Bumble and Bumble Sunday Clarifying Shampoo
If you love using style-protecting products like dry shampoo, incorporating this product into your hair routine once a week will allow you to remove any build-up or residue that's accumulating on the scalp.
Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo
This gentle shampoo is infused with lemongrass and argan oil, allowing hair to maintain its protection while still effectively cleansing the scalp. Unlike many clarifying shampoos, it's gentle enough to be used daily without excessively drying or stripping the hair.
Pattern Clarifying Shampoo
For hair that needs an extra shot of moisture, clarifying shampoos can seem excessively stripping. Tracee Ellis Ross's Pattern curated this shampoo specifically for low-porosity hair (aka strands that crave hydration) so that it can deep-clean without removing essential hair nutrients.
Phyto Clarifying Detox Shampoo
Eucalyptus oil and burdock extract work together to rid the hair and scalp of excess oil and pollution that could cause irritation and limp hair. This shampoo is gentle enough for regular use of build-up removal.
Klorane Clarifying Shampoo With Citrus Pulp
This French brand doesn't mess around—effectiveness comes first. This clarifying shampoo utilizes glycolic acid and citrus to cleanse the hair and remove build-up, while amino acids aid in not overly stripping hair's natural oils. Plus, it smells as fresh as a bike ride through the French countryside.
Virtue Refresh Purifying Shampoo
Opt for this clarifying shampoo by Virtue if you're seeking extra smoothness. The winning ingredient? Alpha Keratin 60ku—a healing protein that's identical to the keratin that makes up 90-percent of our hair—that restores damaged strands with every use.
R+Co Oblivion Clarifying Shampoo
With a host of active ingredients, including coconut oil, witch hazel, tea tree oil, and vitamin C, this shampoo seeks to remove harmful build-up without removing your hair's key defenses. When washing, let the product sit in your hair for a minute or two before rinsing.
Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo
Use this shampoo once a week to quickly and efficiently remove residue from hair styling products. Build-up is removed after use to reveal clean, shiny hair.
Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo
Nourishing your scalp means clearing it of any congestion first. The salicylic acid in this formula helps to loosen any stubborn gunk, while wheat protein strengthens your hair follicles to promote healthy growth.
DevaCurl Buildup Buster Gentle Clarifying Cleanser
Clarify hair with DevaCurl's build-up busting shampoo sans silicones, sulfates, and parabens. So, it won't strip your gorgeous waves, coils, or curls.
Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo
If you're noticing excessive oiliness or dullness, this clarifying shampoo nips those concerns in the bud. The hair is cleansed and primed for its next adventure with argan oil, natural extracts, and keratin. For people looking to chemically process their hair in the future—with a Keratin treatment, perm, or dye—this shampoo prior will let you get even better results.
Leonor Greyl Paris Balancing Shampoo
Just because you're going to town on your scalp doesn't mean your ends should suffer. This Parisian gem will cleanse your scalp thoroughly while nourishing the rest of your length, too.
Adwoa Beauty Blue Tansy Clarifying Gel Shampoo
What's blue tansy, you wonder? An annual yellow-flowered Mediterranean plant found in northern Morocco, also known as Moroccan Tansy. The natural ingredient has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it superb in clarifying shampoo for calming overly-stressed strands.
Drybar On the Rocks Clarifying Charcoal Shampoo
Charcoal, often used to remove impurities and toxins, is the key ingredient in this shampoo. It absorbs leftover product residue in the hair and scalp. And if your hair has endured lots of heat and chemicals, this product strengthens damaged strands, too.
Miss Jessie's Co-Wash
Clarifying shampoos might seem out of the question for those who prefer to co-wash their hair instead of using traditional shampoos. However, this product caters to co-washers who want a deep clean without completely stripping the hair. So, curly-haired ladies, this co-wash might be your savior.
Davines Solu Shampoo
If you're a dry shampoo devotee, chances are your scalp is junked up with residue you can't shake out. Enter this buckwheat extract-infused formula, which will break up that nasty layer of dust and add shine back to your strands.
Verb Reset Clarifying Shampoo
If your scalp feels itchy from excess product build-up, this shampoo removes those aggravating substances and soothes with calming aloe vera. It's perfect for all hair types that don't want to sacrifice moisture for cleanliness.
Living Proof Perfect hair Day (PhD) Triple Detox Shampoo
This shampoo targets build-up from these three leading causes: products, pollution, and hard water. Not only does this color-safe clarifier gently cleanse away build-up, but it also soothes the scalp from itchiness and irritation.
Amika Reset Charcoal Detoxifying Scalp Cleansing Oil
Ahead of washing, treat your scalp with this gentle cleansing pre-shampoo scalp treatment oil. It detoxifies while absorbing toxins, dirt, and build-up, all with an invigorating feel.
Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo
This unique formula sets itself apart from other clarifying shampoos. It comes out as a mousse that you apply to the scalp, then rinse out. Key ingredients include volcanism ash and herbal extracts that aid in cleansing the hair while strengthening weak strands.
Tatjana Freund is a Beauty Commerce Writer, covering makeup, skincare, and haircare products and trends. She's a fan of vodka tonics and creepy Wikipedia pages.
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