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25 Best Clarifying Shampoos For Curly Hair

December 17, 2021

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Verna Meachum

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If you have curly hair, you know the importance of using a good clarifying shampoo to clean your scalp and hair of any build-up. But with so many options on the market, it can be hard to know which one is right for you.

In this article, we will discuss the 25 best clarifying shampoos for curly hair. We will cover what makes each one unique and then provide you with the pros and cons of each.

What the heck is clarifying, anyway?

Clarifying can mean a few different things. It could be used as a term for deep cleaning or detoxifying the hair and scalp. It can also be used to describe the ability of a shampoo or conditioner to remove product build-up.

How do you clarify curly hair?

There are a few ways to clarify curly hair, but the most common way is to use a clarifying shampoo.

What is a clarifying shampoo?

A clarifying shampoo is a type of shampoo that is made to rid the hair of any product build-up or environmental residue. They can range from gentle to harsh and should be used no more than once a month or as needed.

Products and conditioning ingredients (yes, this is true) can leave behind residue. These residues can build up and prevent hair from looking full and feeling soft.

What does clarifying my curly hair do?

When you clarify your curly hair, you remove all of the product build-up that has accumulated over time. This will help your hair look and feel fuller and softer and give your hair a reboot.

Are clarifying shampoos safe for curly hair?

Clarifying shampoos help to eliminate build-up, but using it excessively may have harmful effects. Surfactants may exacerbate these problems by drying out your scalp and stimulating the underlying cells to produce more oil.

Using this type of shampoo more than once a week can result in your hair feeling dry and lifeless. If the ingredients have strong cleansing agents, opt for the gentle formula.

Other considerations for clarifying shampoos to think about include dermatitis, dandruff, seborrheic, and psoriasis.

Ingredients to look for in a clarifying shampoo

A strong surfactant is the active component in a clarifying shampoo. A surfactant is a chemical that gives shampoos their soapy texture.

From strongest to mildest, the surfactants include:

  • (Strongest deep clean) Ammonium-sodium lauryl sulfate (milder than ammonium-sodium lauryl
  • (Less harsh than ammonium-sodium lauryl sulfate, but makes the hair soft) Chlorides/bromides
  • (Mildest clarifying ingredient) Cetyl-fatty alcohols

Also, acetic acid, EDTA, sodium citrate, and trisodium phosphate are common ingredients in clarifying shampoos. These ingredients are deep cleansers, degreasers, chelators (mineral deposit removers), and pH balanced.

What is the difference between clarifying and detoxifying?

The terms “clarifying” and “detoxifying,” while not synonymous, are frequently used interchangeably due to marketing language.

The word “detox” refers to the process of eliminating or purging one’s body of harmful or unhealthy substances. The primary function of detox is to eliminate, transform, and remove undesirable material and pollutants from the body. You can restrict your diet and ingest herbal remedies to speed this up.

Removing the toxin from your hair is a crucial aspect of detoxing. If for example, chlorine in the water of a swimming pool is absorbed by your hair, it is toxic and damaging to your strands. This can be done in a variety of ways for chlorine.

Neutralizing the alkaline chlorine with a combination of water and vitamin C powder, neutralizing the alkaline chlorine with an apple cider vinegar rinse, or using a chlorine removal shampoo that contains EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid).

The takeaway is that “clarifying “and “detoxifying” are not the same because clarifying doesn’t involve removing toxins.

Cleansing clay for curly hair

If you’re having trouble with dryness or breakage with shampoos, consider using a cleansing clay, such as bentonite clay.

Bentonite clay is a natural detoxifier and helps to remove any product build-up or environmental pollutants from the scalp and hair. It also has soothing and healing properties, which can help to calm an irritated scalp and reduce inflammation.

Will a clarifying shampoo reverse damage done to my curly hair?

A clarifying shampoo does not repair or undo the damage that has been done to your hair. Hair strands that have been damaged must be temporarily mended with something. Because damage to your cuticles may not be reversed after they are damaged by color, bleach, too much heat, or other causes, you can temporarily repair damaged areas while your hair grows out with protein treatments to temporarily fill in the gaps.

How to Choose the Right Clarifying Shampoo for You

When choosing a clarifying shampoo, it is important to consider your hair type and the level of clarification that you need. If you have oily hair, you may need a stronger clarifying shampoo that can remove all of the build-up on your scalp and hair. If you have dry hair, you will need a gentler shampoo that will not strip your hair of all of its moisture.

Some of these shampoos will not be suitable for you if you are strictly following the curly girl method. Check the ingredients list to ensure that they will work for your curls.

Natural clarifying ingredients for curly hair

Being a curly-haired person myself, I know first-hand the struggle to keep your curls up and full of life. It’s really hard to manage this type of hair and it can also be very expensive so I’ve found some great natural alternatives that will help give your hair a good deep clean.

These are just a few ingredients that you will find in clarifying shampoos and apart from giving your hair a good cleanse, they all benefit it in some way.

  • Lemon juice is a natural astringent and helps to remove excess oil.
  • Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial activity and also acts as an astringent which can help lay down the cuticle and reduce frizziness.
  • Aloe vera is believed to help with the frizziness of curls and it also helps to moisturize.
  • Lavender essential oil helps reduce frizziness, makes the hair strong, stimulates scalp health, and also helps with hair growth.

Best Clarifying Shampoos For Curly Hair

Bouncecurl Gentle Clarifying Shampoo

This shampoo is super gentle for any hair type and can be used literally every day!

The pros: it lightly moisturizes your hair while cleansing it, and you only need a small amount. Vegan formula and color-safe

The cons: If you have a lot of product build-up, you may need a stronger formula.

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo

The Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo is a great option for those with curly hair. It has a gentle formula that is specifically designed to cleanse the hair and scalp of any build-up without stripping it of its oils.

The pros: It has a nice clean scent that is not too overpowering. Super affordable.

The cons: It may be too gentle for those with very oily scalps.

Schwarzkopf Professional Blond Me+ Clarifying Shampoo

This clarifying shampoo is perfect for those with light blonde hair. It has a gentle formula that helps to remove any unwanted yellow tones from the hair. It can be used on color-treated hair.

The pros: It comes in a generous sized bottle that will last you a long time. It helps to remove unwanted yellow tones from the hair.

The cons: It may be too gentle for those with very oily scalps.

Oribe Gold Lust Shampoo

The Oribe Gold Lust Shampoo is a luxurious clarifying shampoo that is perfect for those with dry or damaged hair. It has a gentle formula that helps to restore the hair’s natural shine and luster. It can be used daily or weekly, depending on the needs of your hair.

The pros: It leaves behind a beautiful shimmery gold finish. It is gentle enough to use on color-treated hair.

The cons: It is a bit pricey compared to other clarifying shampoos.

Kenra Clarifying Shampoo

Before color services, a deep clean is necessary to break down product build-up. Kenra Clarifying Shampoo destroys up to 99 percent of dulling deposits.

The pros: Great for hard water and well water. Brightens highlights, bleached and gray hair.

The cons: Some people may not like the scent.

L‘Oreal Paris EverPure Clarifying Shampoo

The L’Oreal Paris EverPure Clarifying Shampoo is a great choice for those with color treated hair.

The pros: It is best used on color treated hair.

The cons: Some people may not like the scent.

Avalon Organics Clarifying Shampoo

The Avalon Organics Clarifying Shampoo is a great option for those with sensitive scalps. It has a gentle formula that helps to remove any build-up or residue from the hair.

The pros: Certified organic formula made with plant-based botanicals and essential oils. Also, no GMOs, parabens, harsh preservatives, synthetic colors or fragrances, or phthalates.

The cons: It may be too gentle for those with very oily scalps.

Redken Detox Hair Cleansing Cream Clarifying Shampoo

For all hair types and textures, it’s ideal for removing product build-up, excessive oil, and pollution residue with just one use.

The pros: Can be used on color-treated hair and clarify hard water minerals.

The cons: Some people may not like the scent.

EDEN BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo 

This scalp-tingling shampoo cleanses, clarifies, and stimulates circulation while leaving you feeling reinvigorated and renewed thanks to a strong combination of vitamin-rich peppermint and tea tree oils.

The pros: It eliminates any signs of dirt or oil build-up from the hair. It relieves irritation caused by dryness. To promote hair growth.

The cons: Some say the formula is not the same, so beware where you purchase your bottle.

Alikay Naturals Moisturizing Black Soap Shampoo

This shampoo is formulated with raw black soap and is 100% organic and natural.

The pros: No harsh sulfates and it’s moisturizing.

The cons: Some don’t like the scent.

Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

The Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo is a great choice for those with scalp conditions, such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.

The pros: Dermatologist-recommended and it’s super effective on the scalp

The cons: It may dry out your curls.

Suave Naturals Daily Clarifying Shampoo

The pros: It is very effective and super affordable

The cons: Even though it says “daily” clarifying shampoo, I would not use it on a daily basis.

Aveda Scalp Benefits Balancing Shampoo

The Aveda Scalp Benefits Balancing Shampoo is a great choice for those with oily scalps.

The pros: It helps to remove excess oil and product build-up.

The cons: Some people may not like the scent.

Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo

The Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo is a great choice for those with dry, damaged hair. Amino Acids, when combined with fatty alcohol or fatty acid, have cleansing properties. They are recognized to aid in the retention of moisture.

The pros: Cleanses and softens hair while helping to add volume.

The cons: It is a little expensive.

Kinky Curly Come Clean

The combination of Sea Kelp and Mandarin Orange extract will gently clean your hair and scalp of build-up while maintaining its proper moisture balance.

The pros: This shampoo doubles as a chelating shampoo. It’s super affordable and effective.

The cons: None

Phyto Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Shampoo

The Phyto Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Shampoo is a great option for those with dry, frizzy hair.

The pros: It is lightweight and does not leave a residue on the hair.

The cons: Some people may not like the scent.

John Masters Organics Lavender Shampoo

The John Masters Organics Lavender Shampoo is a great choice for those with dry hair. Helps balance oil production. Contains naturally derived surfactants.

The pros: It helps balance oil production. It has a nice lavender scent.

The cons: Some people may not like the scent.

Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo

The ingredients in this clarifying shampoo were specifically designed to be as clarifying as possible, so if your curls are dry or damaged, use it once a month.

The pros: Contains a lot of sulfates

The cons: No silicones and it’s a little pricey

Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Shampoo

This shampoo is gentle and made with almond milk and other natural ingredients that help to clarify and gently cleanse your hair. It leaves your hair feeling soft, silky, and healthy.

The pros: made of natural ingredients that clean your hair without damaging it. Great for extremely damaged and over-processed hair.

The cons: Contains silicones

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo

This light, yet effective deep cleaning Sulfate-Free Shampoo is perfect for treating your scalp and hair.

The pros: The key ingredients are African Black Soap, Bamboo Charcoal, Tea Tree Oil

The cons: Some may not like the scent.

Curl Junkie Gentle Cleansing Shampoo

This shampoo is as it says; gentle.

The pros: It aids in hair softness and enhances dry combing characteristics.

The cons: It may be too costly for some.

Aveda Shampure Shampoo

This nourishing shampoo uses natural ingredients like lavender and ylang ylang to soothe the scalp and help to clarify your hair. It’s perfect for those with sensitive skin.

The pros: Infuses hair with calming aroma with pure flower and plant essences.

The cons: It is a little bit on the pricey side.

Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo

This shampoo is made with tea tree oil, which helps to remove any build-up or residue from the scalp and hair. It also helps to control dandruff and itching.

The pros: Vegan friendly and color-safe. You can easily find this shampoo at Marshalls and it’s inexpensive.

The cons: None

Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt

This scrub doubles as a shampoo to deeply cleanse both the scalp and hair.

The pros: Good for all hair types.

The cons: It may be too scented for some.

Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo

It clarifies, cleanses, and retains natural moisture while reducing dulling build-up and impurities.

The pros: The beneficial effects include non-stripping citrus extracts that break down and remove build-up without drying out curls’ vital moisture.

The cons: It may be too harsh for some hair types.

Conclusion

Clarifying shampoo can be a beneficial component of your hair care regimen, but it is not intended to be used daily unless the label says so. To receive the most advantages, apply it between your regular shampoo days.

If you’re looking for a good clarifying shampoo for curly hair, any of the products on this list will do the job. So don’t hesitate to try one or more of them to find the one that works best for you. Always remember to let your hair be your guide!


troubleshooting
Curl care

 We treat our blog with a curious, open-minded, and customer-focused attitude. We ask lots of questions about everything.

We think that people should take what information they need and leave what they don't. We suggest things we enjoy and believe are worth your attention.

Above all, we value your trust above anything else. We're so glad you’re here!

more categories to come!

Hi,I'm Verna

product reviews
Textures

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