Color Safe Clarifying Shampoos

Regular shampoos, conditioners, dry shampoos, and styling products can cause buildup on your hair over time. Hard water minerals and chemicals in swimming pools also tend to build up on the hair. The gunk from styling products, minerals, and environmental pollutants cause hair to appear dull, greasy, and lifeless. Such hair is hard to comb and style. All of these signs mean that your hair needs a fresh start.

Clarifying Shampoo

The most effective way to get rid of buildup from styling products is to use a clarifying shampoo.

If you have hard water in your house, you need a chelating shampoo that, in addition to washing away styling product buildup, can also eliminate unwanted mineral deposits that cause “well-water orange” hair.

If your hair is exposed to chemicals in swimming pools, you also need a chelating shampoo that will eliminate “swimmer’s green” and stop the chlorine from fading your color.

Shampoos that are advertised as clarifying may also include chelating ingredients, so you need to read the description to find out which types of buildup your clarifying shampoo is supposed to remove. Both deep cleansing shampoo types – clarifying and chelating – are meant to be used periodically, depending on the number and amount of hair products you use and the type of water your hair is exposed to.

Regular, sulfate-containing clarifying shampoos are effective at deep cleansing and will leave your hair feeling squeaky clean. Unfortunately, sulfate-based clarifying shampoos suck the moisture out of your hair and scalp and can fade your color.

Clarifying Shampoos for Colored Hair


Color safe clarifying shampoos are developed to gently wash away hair-dulling buildup and relieve vibrancy of your color. Those shampoos use mild cleansers that are able to provide deep cleansing without fading your color. Color safe clarifying shampoos leave your hair clean and soft, giving it a beautiful natural shine.

Following is a list of several color-safe clarifying shampoos formulated to remove all color-dulling residue, including buildup caused by styling products, mineral deposits, and pool chemicals.

Pureology Purify Shampoo for Color Treated Hair

This color-preserving clarifying shampoo is formulated to remove buildup from styling products, hard water, and chlorine.

The formula uses gentle cleansing agents derived from corn, sugar, and coconut oil which won’t strip hair color. Baking soda, tea tree oil, and witch hazel help remove buildup and detoxify hair. Botanical extracts and hair oils work to nourish your color-treated hair and invigorate your scalp.

This shampoo is 100% vegan and is free of sulfates, parabens, animal products, and cruelty. The formula is color-safe, but not salt-free and therefore it is not safe for keratin-treated hair.

Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo

This deep-cleansing formula is designed to remove everyday buildup from hair products, hard water minerals, chlorine, and environmental pollutants that can cause dull or limp hair.

Argan and avocado oils and natural plant extracts help nourish your hair and restore moisture balance.

Hydrolyzed keratin and keratin amino acids repair and strengthen damaged hair. 

It is free of sulfates and parabens and is safe for colored hair.

Activated Charcoal Shampoo

This chelated shampoo uses activated charcoal to thoroughly cleanse and detoxify the scalp and hair. Charcoal has been used for centuries for cleansing scalp and hair.

Charcoal has the ability to attract impurities from the hair, leaving your hair clean, soft, and shiny. Activated charcoal pulls out excess oils, dirt, product buildup, minerals, chlorine, toxins, and environmental pollution. It also helps fight free radicals and restores damaged and dehydrated hair.

Charcoal removes dead skin cells from the scalp, soothes dandruff and itchy scalp, and restores balance to the oily scalp.

This natural shampoo contains a blend of herbal oils, including Argan, Jojoba, Coconut, Avocado, and Almond oils. The Bamboo extract has powerful anti-frizz properties and adds volume to your hair.

It protects from UV rays and heat from styling tools, which helps reduce color fading.

Botanical Keratin strengthens and repairs chemically damaged hair.

Despite being black in color, this shampoo won’t stain or mess with your color. It is sulfate-free and salt-free and safe for use on colored and keratin-treated hair.

Nothing But Clarifying Shampoo

This clarifying shampoo is made to dissolve excess product buildup, pool chlorine, and medication buildup from the hair. It helps remove sebum from clogged hair follicles and can be used prior to deep conditioning to make the treatment more effective. Being free of harsh sulfates, it is safe for color-treated hair.  

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