As naturalistas, we apply many products to our natural hair for various reasons be it to achieve long lasting moisture, help hair grow faster, strengthen hair or eliminate other issues.
Over time, these products will start to clog up the scalp and coat the hair strands preventing products from working effectively.
It doesn’t really matter how light the products are either. Eventually, build up will factor into the equation, which is where clarifying from time to time comes in especially if you practice a no or low poo regimen.
What is a Clarifying Shampoo?
A clarifying shampoo strips the hair of all products used previously and removes build up on hair.
The build-up could be from either products or environmental factors such as hard water, chlorine in water and seawater.
7 Signs It’s Time to Clean Your Hair With a Clarifying Shampoo
- If you run your hands through your hair and it leaves a sticky feel on your hands, its time to clarify.
- Are you heavy handed with product application? Eventually, your hair will start to feel weighed down and lose fullness and bounce.
- If you live in an area with hard water and you’re not mitigating the hardness with a shower filter, you will need to clarify every few weeks.
- Do you swim regularly? A quick rinse after swimming is good but over time, there may be build up of chlorine and salt that will require a clarifying shampoo to remove.
- If you try out a new product that doesn’t turn out the way you expect and you need to start over, clarifying will help.
- Suspect damage from treatments? This may not always be the case. A good clarifying shampoo will remove products and allow you to examine if you hair is damaged or just really dried out from the treatments.
- Your staple and go to products no longer working as effectively as before is a sure fire sign that you have product build up.
Irrespective of how your hair feels, you should aim to clarify at least once a month if you have type 1 – 3 hair and every 6 – 8 weeks with type 3 – 4 hair.
How Often Should You Use Clarifying Shampoo On Natural Hair?
Clarifying shampoo strips all the natural oils from your hair and leave it bare so to speak. You should only clarify if you’re trying to remove build up.
Ideally, this shouldn’t be more than three times a month. If you have really dry hair, even less than that.
It’s hard to get moisture back into the hair after stripping it with a clarifying shampoo. If you are faced with using a clarifying shampoo more than 2 – 3 times a month then you need to reexamine your product stash.
There are some products in there that likely have undesirable elements, which could be causing a quick build up. Read 6 Ingredients to Avoid in Shampoo.
How To Use Clarifying Shampoo
- Apply to wet hair. Lather up and massage thoroughly.
- Use your fingertips on your scalp. If you have a scalp exfoliator, you can use that as well.
- Rinse then deep condition. You shouldn’t shampoo more than once with a clarifying shampoo unless the product build-up is extreme.
Best Clarifying Shampoo Brands for Natural Hair
Below are the top 22 clarifying shampoos that work well but gently at the same time. They are particularly suitable for dry hair.
I’ve scored the ones I’ve tried before and will upload individual reviews over the next few months.
Clarifying Shampoo For Color Treated Hair
As mentioned earlier, clarifying shampoo strips the hair of everything on it so you can start all over. This is counterproductive for colored hair.
You want your color to last as long as possible but you also want your hair to be clean. In this case, there are 5 clarifying shampoos created for colored hair:
- Ion Colour Defense Clarifying Shampoo
- Aveda Color Conserve Shampoo
- Herbal Essences Color Me Happy Shampoo
- John Frieda Color Preserving Shampoo
- Redken Color Extend Shampoo
Because clarifying shampoos strip all the moisture and natural oils from hair, you should follow up with a very good deep conditioning session.
A future article will examine the best moisturizing deep conditioners for natural hair. Have you tried any of these shampoos? Share in the comments section.