How to Properly Use a Clarifying Shampoo

Written by Gaga

There is a time when your hair feels lifeless and weighed down even if you’ve washed it. No matter what you do, it still looks untidy? Well, then it’s probably time to clarify.

All of the mousses, gels, hairsprays, and even your regular shampoo and conditioner can leave residue on your hair and scalp over time. Some hair products contain silicone that isn’t water-soluble. This type of silicones can’t be washed away by regular shampoo and tend to coat your strands.

Clarifying shampoo is formulated to remove dulling residues that can cause bad hair days. Clarifying shampoo dissolves the layers of products sitting on the surface of hair strands and gives your hair a healthy-looking fresh start.

Hard water in your area and the chlorine in swimming pools can deposit hard water minerals and chlorine residue in your hair. In order to remove buildup from minerals and chlorine, you need to use a chelating shampoo, which is a bit stronger than conventional clarifying shampoos.

How Do Clarifying Shampoos Work?

Clarifying shampoo contains a higher proportion of cleansing agents than your regular shampoo and doesn’t contain conditioning agents. The majority of clarifying shampoos on the market contain acetic acid, a mild, acidic chemical compound that is known for its descaling capabilities. Acetic acid is also contained in vinegar, which is used to de-scale household appliances, etc. In the same manner, the acetic acid in clarifying shampoo helps remove the buildup in hair that makes it feel oily, heavy, and unmanageable.

Healthy Hair Basics | Co-Wash & Clarify -Video

When to Clarify Hair?

If you use a lot of hair care products, your hair will benefit from using a clarifying shampoo. The following are 4 obvious signs of buildup on hair:

1. Your favorite shampoo doesn’t seem to be cleaning your hair as well as it used to. Your hair doesn’t look fresh and bouncy after washing.

2. Your strands are breaking/splitting more than normal. Your strands lose elasticity because the water/moisture can’t penetrate inside.

3. Your hair is hard to style no matter which styling product you use.

4. Your hair has turned green after swimming in chlorinated water.

Woman after washing the hair with a clarifying shampoo

How Often Should You Clarify your Hair?

The optimal frequency of clarifying depends on how much styling product you use, the quality of water in your area, and how often you go swimming.

If you use a lot of styling products, swim frequently, and/or live in an area that has mineral-rich water, you should clarify your hair a couple of times a month.

If your hair has a tendency to be oily, you should consider using a gentle clarifying shampoo on a weekly basis.

If you live in an area with soft water and use hair products in small quantities, you only need to clarify when your hair starts to show the signs of product build-up. The majority of people only need to use a clarifying shampoo 1-2 times a month. 

If you have mineral deposits in your hair from using hard water, you need to use a chelating shampoo. Chelating shampoos are formulated to remove minerals such as calcium and magnesium that can build up on your hair

If you color your hair you shouldn’t use a clarifying shampoo more than once a month and never within the first few weeks of coloring. Clarifying color-treated hair too often will make your hair color fade faster. Also, make sure to use a clarifying shampoo that is safe for colored hair

However, if you want to get rid of a bed hair dye job, a harsh clarifying shampoo can help you fade unwanted hair color in a few washes.

Always use a rinse-out conditioner after washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo to restore lost moisture and make detangling easier. However, if you clarify your hair prior to receiving a chemical treatment you may need to skip the conditioning step, depending on the treatment you are going to receive.

Use Clarifying Shampoo that will Suit your Hair Type

Ordinary clarifying shampoos contain strong sulfate surfactants that can strip away the natural oils, that keep your hair and scalp well-moisturized. If your hair is fine, dry, or chemically treated, make sure to use a gentle sulfate-free formula that is appropriate for your hair type.

Gently massage the shampoo into your scalp doing circular motions of your fingertips to avoid damaging the skin.

Removing Scalp Bild-Up with the Help of Clarifying Shampoos

Using a deep cleansing shampoo is a good method for clarifying your scalp. By removing dirt, oil build-up, and residue from dry shampoos and styling products, scalp purifying shampoos unclog the scalp pores, creating a healthy environment for hair growth. Those shampoos in common contain soothing ingredients to calm itchiness and skin inflammation.

Scalp clarifying shampoo should cleanse without redness or irritation, so make sure to get quality formula and use it per instruction. Consider formulas developed by trichologists and gentle sulfate-free clarifying shampoos.

girl with freshly clarified hair
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