Clarifying shampoo is the answer to a variety of haircare issues, be it limp hair or a congested scalp. We often don’t realize that the root cause of these issues is the buildup of styling products, sebum and dirt. Your regular shampoo may not be enough to remove this buildup on the scalp, which continues to worsen with time. A clarifying shampoo provides a deep cleanse to the hair and scalp and removes all the residual dirt and grease. It is like a reset for the hair where the scalp and hair return to their natural clean state. So, what makes a clarifying shampoo superior to your regular shampoo, and how should you use it? Let us find out!

How Does A Clarifying Shampoo Work?

A clarifying shampoo is the more potent counterpart of your regular shampoo. It is specially formulated to break down product and oil buildup on the scalp and hair. Whether you use a dry shampoo frequently, apply hairspray regularly, or work up a sweat in the gym daily, your lifestyle may be leading to a congested scalp. Sweat, dirt and product residue can cling to the scalp and pile up to make it a greasy mess. Your regular shampoo might not be able to get rid of all the grime, which will start to layer with time.

This is why using a clarifying shampoo at least once a month is a good idea. This shampoo will cut through the layers of dirt and grease on your scalp and hair, leaving them squeaky clean. A clarifying shampoo additionally restores the natural shape of the hair. Hence, it also helps to reset natural curls that you may have over-styled. Since product buildup and exposure to pollutants is inevitable, this cleanse cycle needs to be repeated every month.

Can I Use It At Home?

Since a clarifying shampoo leaves the hair squeaky clean, it is used by salons before treatments that demand perfectly clean hair. If you have ever received a keratin treatment or a curl relaxing treatment at a salon, chances are that they used a clarifying shampoo on your hair first. While it was traditionally used only in salons for this purpose, there is no reason why you cannot use a clarifying shampoo at home. It is easy to use and doesn’t require professional expertise to use it correctly. In fact, most hairstylists advise their clients to use a clarifying shampoo in between their salon visits.

What Does A Clarifying Shampoo Contain?

You must be thinking that a this shampoo sounds like a super-strong cleanser. So, perhaps it contains harsh chemicals that are not good for your scalp? You are not completely wrong! Traditional clarifying shampoos did contain a high concentration of harsh surfactants that could dry out and damage the scalp. However, thanks to the increased awareness among consumers, a lot of these shampoos these days contain milder ingredients. Instead of choosing a clarifying shampoo that contains a bunch of sulfates, pick one that contains vinegar, citric acid, clay or Zinc PCA. These ingredients effectively remove grease and product buildup without stripping the scalp dry.

If you have a fairly oily scalp, pick a clarifying shampoo that contains SLS along with these ingredients. Using SLS frequently can strip your hair dry, but it can actually help an oily scalp when used once a month.

How To Use it

I know that having a squeaky-clean scalp is the most satisfying feeling in the world. However, you should not go overboard with a clarifying shampoo. Overuse of a it can take away the natural oils that protect your scalp. This, in turn, can lead to scalp infections, or your scalp may start overproducing sebum as a compensatory measure. To prevent this scenario, you should avoid using a clarifying shampoo more than once a month.

Unless you sweat profusely every day or use styling products daily, a monthly rinse should be enough for you. For best results, you must massage the shampoo really well on your scalp until a rich lather is formed. Then take it down the lengths of your hair. Continue massaging the product into the scalp and hair for a few minutes. This will allow the shampoo to break down the layers of dirt. Now, rinse off the product as you would a regular shampoo. Follow it up with a generous amount of conditioner on your hair to hydrate it. If you have the time, it will be best to use a deep conditioning hair mask instead of a conditioner. This will ensure that your hair is devoid of excess grease but does not feel dehydrated.

Who Should Use Clarifying Shampoo?

While everyone can benefit from a monthly rinse with a clarifying shampoo, it is particularly useful in certain scenarios. If you used a lot of hairspray for a special hairdo, had a particularly hectic day out in the sun, or have just returned from a fun but sweaty tropical vacation, your scalp could do with a deep cleanse. Also, if you are a swimmer whose hair has acquired a greenish tinge from the chlorine in the pool water, a clarifying shampoo can help to remove it. Those of you with colored hair might be wondering whether a clarifying shampoo will break down the hair color. Some clarifying shampoos can make your hair color fade faster, but there are milder options available in the market that are color-safe.

To summarize, we often tend to forget that our scalp is also made up of skin. While we double-cleanse our faces daily, we usually don’t cleanse our scalp enough. This is why we all need a clarifying shampoo in our haircare regimen. The basic rule of thumb is to start with a mild variant once a month. If your scalp still feels grimy, switch to a stronger variant. It may sound intense, but once you start using a clarifying shampoo, your scalp and hair will be at their healthiest best. So, come aboard the clarifying shampoo train, I’m sure you will thank me later!