Use clarifying shampoo for beautiful hair
Hair Care | Hair Shampoo

Clarifying Shampoo: What It Is & How To Use It

Clarifying shampoo is the hair care product that everyone is talking about. Designed to strip away all kinds of dirt, oil and product buildup, this ultra-intensive wash sheds weight from your hair and lets it breathe. Clarifying shampoos are often used prior to bleaching or keratin treatments as they prep the hair strands, thoroughly cleansing them of all contaminants that might affect the chemical process. Here we take a deep dive into the topic and answer important questions about how often to use clarifying shampoo and who it is most suitable for.

What is clarifying shampoo?

Use clarifying shampoo prior to coloring

Clarifying shampoo is important for those with colored hair

Clarifying shampoos are designed to provide an intense clean that is more powerful than standard daily shampoo formulas. They are meant to break through tough residues from hair care and styling products, artificial colorants, and environmental pollutants like dirt and chlorine to offer a truly cleansing experience. Targeting both the scalp as well as the hair itself, clarifying shampoo ensures that your entire head and scalp are well and truly cleansed and primed for the next step, whether that’s a moisture mask, coloring or a chemical treatment.

How to use clarifying shampoo

Given the strength of most clarifying shampoos, it is not advised to use them too often. If you follow a no-poo style routine, then using it just once a week will suffice. If, however, you are using other lighter shampoos between deep cleanses then it shouldn’t be applied any more than once a month. When you do use it, you should follow the usual guidelines on how to wash your hair and take a few additional steps after to ensure your hair remains in optimal condition:


  • When washing the hair, gently massage the clarifying shampoo into your roots. Let it sit for a minute before pulling the suds through the lengths of your hair to the tips. Let it sit on the whole head for another minute.
  • When washing the suds out, do not scrub the hair but rather let it run naturally out.
  • After washing, use a nourishing leave-in conditioner or, even better, a hair mask to lock in as much moisture as possible.

Which clarifying shampoo should I use?

Clarifying shampoo is important for women with afro hair

Afro textured hair requires particular care

For women with kinky or afro-textured hair, using a specific clarifying shampoo for natural hair is imperative. Different hair types require different care and products, and because natural hair tends to be drier and more fragile than other types, the strength of clarifying shampoos can sometimes be too much for it. Similarly, women with frizz-prone hair should also try to use a specially formulated clarifying shampoo for curly hair that will remove residue without taking away any much-needed moisture, letting your curls remain healthy and bouncy.


Using clarifying shampoo on color treated hair can be risky as the strong agents in the shampoo can cause color fading. Many products are now specially designed to target scalp and root buildup without affecting the color in the hair at all, so be sure to always look out for this prior to purchasing.