As naturalistas, we apply many products to our natural hair for various reasons.
Some of these reasons include 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.
This 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 Use a Clarifying Shampoo
1. Hair Feels Sticky
If you run your hands through your hair and it leaves a sticky feel on your hands, its time to clarify.
2. Heavy-handed Product Application
Are you heavy-handed with product application? Eventually, your hair will start to feel weighed down and lose fullness and bounce.
3. Hard Water
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.
4. Swimming Regularly
Do you swim regularly? A quick rinse after swimming is good but over time, there may be buildup of chlorine and salt that will require a clarifying shampoo to remove.
5. Product Mishap
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.
6. Possible Damage
Do you suspect damage from treatments? This may not always be the case.
A good clarifying shampoo will remove products and allow you to examine if your hair is damaged or just really dried out from the treatments.
7. Products No Longer Working
Your staple and go-to products no longer working as effectively as before is a surefire sign that you have product buildup.
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 buildup.
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 buildup.
Related Content: 6 Ingredients to Avoid in Shampoos.
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 coloured hair.
You want your colour 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 coloured hair I would recommend:
- Ion Colour Defense Clarifying Shampoo
- Aveda Color Conserve Shampoo
- Herbal Essences Color Me Happy Shampoo
- John Frieda Color Preserving Shampoo
- Redken Color Extend Shampoo
There are more comprehensive recommendations at Top 10 Shampoos for Coloured Natural Hair.
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 your experience in the comments section.
Abi delved into the world of hair care after suffering from a bout of severe hair loss. She is the founder of Healthy Natural Hair Products & Natural Oils for Hair and Health, as well as the writer of the Healthy Hair Care Series. She is also the creator of the The Self-Empowerment Network Portal. Read more…