What Clarifying Shampoos Are Safe for Color-Treated Hair?

Last Updated on December 29, 2022 by Gaga

Typical shampoos, conditioners, dry shampoos, and other styling products can create buildup on your hair over time. Additionally, hard water minerals and chemicals found in swimming pools also tend to build up. This gunk from styling products, minerals, and environmental pollutants causes hair to appear dull, greasy, and lifeless. When your hair gets like this, it is hard to comb and style. If you relate to this feeling, it means that your hair needs a fresh start.

Why you may Need a 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.

Beautiful woman with blond curly hair in elegant clothes

Shampoos that are advertised as clarifying may also include chelating ingredients, so you need to read the description to find out which types of build-up your clarifying shampoo is supposed to remove. Both deep cleansing shampoo types – clarifying and chelating – are meant to be used periodically, depending on the amount and the type 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 while retaining the vibrancy of your color. Those shampoos use mild cleansers that can 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, hard water minerals, and chemicals in swimming pools.

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1. Lanza Healing Colorcare Clarifying Shampoo icon

This clarifying shampoo is designed to deeply cleanse your hair without stripping color. It helps remove product buildup, hard water deposits, and “swimmer’s green” when normal shampoos don’t do the job. It leaves your hair feeling clean, soft, and luminous.

The formula is free of harsh sulfates, parabens, gluten, and sodium chloride and is gentle enough to be used daily.

This chelating shampoo is infused with Flower Shield Complex to protect your hair color from dulling.

2. Pureology Purify Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair

(Available at Walmart)

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

This shampoo is 100% vegan and is free of sulfates, parabens, animal products, and animal cruelty. 

The formula uses gentle cleansing agents derived from corn, sugar, and coconut oil which are gentle enough for washing color-treated hair. Baking soda, tea tree oil, and witch hazel help remove buildup and detoxify hair. Botanical extracts and hair oils invigorate and nourish your scalp.  Natural conditioning ingredients prevent color oxidation and leave your hair feeling clean, soft, and healthy.

To eliminate extreme build-up or “swimmers’ green,” you need to shampoo twice and apply heat for about 20 minutes. 

Beautiful young girl with blond curly hair in cozy clothes

3. Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampooir?t=softerhair 20&l=am2&o=1&a=B0089NVH5W

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

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

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

The formula is free of sulfates and parabens and is safe for use on colored hair.

4. Activated Charcoal Shampooir?t=softerhair 20&l=am2&o=1&a=B078HCCMDP

(If unavailable, so you check this one at Walmart: Hask Charcoal With Citrus Oil Purifying Shampoo).

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

Charcoal can 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 repairs damaged hair.

Charcoal removes dead skin cells from the scalp, soothes dandruff and itchy scalp, and helps balance sebum production.

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 fine hair.

Botanical keratin strengthens and repairs chemically damaged hair.

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

5. 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 before deep conditioning to make the treatment more effective. Being free of harsh sulfate cleansers, it is safe to use on color-treated hair.   

hair washed with a color-safe clarifying shampoo

About the author

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Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.


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