July 31, 2023
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Last Updated on August 17, 2023 by Verna Meachum
Curly hair requires using many products regularly, which causes build-up, leaving your hair damaged, dull, and limp. Finding solutions can be confusing, but a clarifying shampoo is a good start. After years of experimenting, I have found the 25 best clarifying shampoos to share with you.
Clarifying shampoos are a deep cleansing agent that removes build-up from the hair and scalp. Some of the best options are Bouncecurl Gentle, Schwarzkopf Professional Blond Me+, Oribe Gold Lust, L’Oreal Paris EverPure, Avalon Organics, Ouai Detox, and Righteous Roots, clarifying shampoos.
In this blog, we’ll look in-depth at what ingredients should be on your must-have list of clarifying shampoos, from cult classics to up-and-coming brands. Here is your ultimate guide to the best clarifying shampoos for curly hair!
A clarifying shampoo is a hair-cleansing formulation that removes product build-up, debris, and excess sebum.1
The deposits of polymeric ingredients, oils, and black particles make hair greasy, sticky, and heavy with a limp-down effect. These occur from products and pollutants.
Shampooing with a clarifying shampoo can get rid of these deposits leaving hair clean, hydrated, and with a natural appearance.
You get gentle formulas for weekly use and more potent formulas for monthly use. This choice depends on your hair and scalp and how much residue you have.
Some curly hair product ingredients often leave behind a residue. This accumulates over time and causes your hair to become less voluminous and soft.
This build-up of particles results in lackluster-looking curls and weighed-down hair. Prolonged build-up can lead to damage and hair loss.
Deep cleansing your curls and scalp is the best way to restore their natural luster, bounce, and softness.
By eliminating all the accumulated product build-up, you will experience a full head of bouncy, refreshed curls with improved texture. This is possible with clarifying shampoos.
When you delve deep into the world of curly haircare and products to use, no doubt clarifying shampoo will appear.
But fully understanding what clarifying hair means can help you realize the significance of it and how it benefits your hair, scalp, and beautiful curls.
When we refer to the process of clarifying, there are a couple of meanings:
Every day, a build-up of air and environmental pollutants and hair care products accumulates on the strands of our hair.
This layer forms a barrier around your hair, depriving them of the proper moisture they need. As you keep applying products, they don’t work as well as they should.
An example of this is skin exfoliation. If you don’t exfoliate to remove dead skin cells and clogged pores, the best and most serums and creams won’t make much difference, and your skin will start to look dull, uneven, and clogged. Your scalp and hair work in a similar way.
The importance of clarifying curly hair exists because curly hair requires a lot more product usage than other hair types.
Daily moisturizing, curl creams, leave-in-conditioners, and styling mousses and gels are a regular part of curly hair routines.
To achieve optimal results with your curly hair products, they need to penetrate the surface of your hair. If a layer of product residue or other impurities coats the strands, your curls will struggle to reach their full potential.
To get the most out of clarifying, check this blog post: How To Clarify Curly Hair: The Ultimate Guide.
Check out this list of our 25 best picks for clarifying shampoo:
This shampoo is super gentle for any hair type and can be used weekly. It is an excellent option for curlies who use a lot of products daily and tend to get more build-up than others.
Pros: Lightly moisturizes while cleansing it. You only need a small amount . Vegan formula. Color-safe.
Cons: Not strong enough for excess product build-up.
Ingredients: Water, **Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, **Decyl Glucoside, **Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, **Glycerin **Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, **Propanediol, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Polyquaternium-10, **Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Biotin, **Vanillin, **Hydrolyzed Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Seed Protein, *Nigella Sativa (Virgin Black Cumin) Oil, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Lactic Acid, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, **Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, **Boswellia Carterii Oil, **Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, **Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, **Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, **Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, **Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, **Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, **Geranium Maculatum Oil, **Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Seed Oil, **Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, **Pogostemon Cablin Oil, **Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Seed Oil, ** Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Caprylyl Glycol. *Certified Organic **Plant Derived 100% Oil Scent (no synthetic fragrance).
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 and is, therefore, great for color-treated hair.
Pros: It comes in a generous-sized bottle that is long-lasting. It helps to remove unwanted yellow tones from the hair.
Cons: It may be too gentle for those with very oily scalps.
Ingredients: Aqua, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Coco-Glucoside, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Methyl 2-Sulfolaurate, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Lanthanum Chloride, Glycine, Succinic Acid, Eriophorum Spissum Flower/Stem Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Moringa Oleifera Seed Extract, Malic Acid, Panthenol, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Parfum, Glycerin, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Disodium 2-Sulfolaurate, Coconut Acid, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Sulfate, C12-18 Fatty Acids Methyl Esters, Glycol Distearate, Limonene, Phenoxyethanol, Linalool, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Acetate, Potassium Sorbate, Sorbic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-10, Laureth-4.
The Oribe Gold Lust Shampoo is a luxurious clarifying shampoo 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.
Pros: It leaves behind a beautiful shimmery gold finish. It is gentle enough to use on color-treated hair.
Cons:It is a bit pricey compared to other clarifying shampoos. Contains silicones, which is not preferable for those following the Curly Girl Method.
Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Cocamide MIPA, Dimethicone, Capryloyl/Caproyl Methyl Glucamide, Lauroyl/Myristoyl Methyl Glucamide, Glycerin, Acrylates/Beheneth-25 Methacrylate Copolymer, Coconut Acid, Parfum/Fragrance, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Amodimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Sodium Isethionate, Propylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydroxyacetophenone, Sodium Benzoate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Polyquaternium-7, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Laureth-23, Laureth-4, Panthenol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Trideceth-15, Trideceth-3, BHT, Rice Oil Glycereth-8 Esters, Shea Butter Glycereth-8 Esters, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Silicone Quaternium-22, Sorbitol, Phenoxyethanol, Salicylic Acid, Quaternium-95, Citric Acid, Caffeine, Citrullus Lanatus (Watermelon) Seed Oil, Dipropylene Glycol, Polyglyceryl-3 Caprate, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acetic Acid, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower Extract, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Fruit Extract, Cystine Bis-PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Niacinamide, Palmitamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum Extract, Tin Oxide, Vegetable Amino Acids, Cupressus Sempervirens Seed Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Seed Protein, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Phytic Acid, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Gluconolactone, Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Biotin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Litchi Chinensis Pericarp Extract, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sorbeth-230 Tetraoleate, Decyl Glucoside, Calcium Gluconate, Sorbitan Laurate, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide).
The L’Oreal Paris EverPure Clarifying Shampoo is an excellent choice for color-treated hair users. If you have bleached or colored hair and are worried a clarifying shampoo might mess it up, this product is your solution.
Pros: Excellent for color treated hair.
Cons: Some people may not like the scent It contains silicone (not recommended for those following the Curly Girl Method).
Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Ethanolamine, Citric Acid, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Glycol Distearate, Parfum/Fragrance, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Chloride, Polyquaternium-10, Amodimethicone, Ppg-5-Ceteth-20, Coco-Betaine, Peg-55 Propylene Glycol Oleate, Propylene Glycol, Carbomer, Linalool, Acrylates/Beheneth-25 Methacrylate Copolymer, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzoic Acid, Trideceth-6, Limonene, Hydroxycitronellal, Salicylic Acid, Magnesium Nitrate. Geraniol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil/Sunflower Seed Oil, Citronellol, Sodium Benzoate, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract/Rosemary Leaf Extract, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Centella Asiatica Extract, Magnesium Chloride, Methylisothiazolinone, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopherol Fil Code C251094/1.
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.
Pros: Certified organic formula. Made with plant-based botanicals and essential oils. Non-GMO. No parabens, harsh preservatives, synthetic colors or fragrances, or phthalates.
Cons: It may be too gentle for those with very oily scalps.
Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (1), Water (Aqua), Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate, Decyl Glucoside, Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract(1), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (1) , Chenopodium Quinoa Seed (1), Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Extract (1) , Styrax Benzoin Resin Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Babassu Oil Polyglyceryl-4 Esters, Bisabolol, Citric Acid, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Inulin (1), Sodium Chloride, Sodium Phytate, Sodium Sulfate, Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Citral, Limonene. (1) Certified Organic Ingredient. Product is preserved with Sodium Benzoate.
This clarifying shampoo deeply cleanses dirt, oil, and product build-up by detoxifying apple cider vinegar and hair-strengthening keratin. It is perfect for those who enjoy apple cider rinses but don’t want the hassle of making the solution at home.
Pros: It smells amazing.
Cons: You’ll notice a difference after the first use.
Ingredients: AQUA (WATER, EAU), SODIUM C14-16 OLEFIN SULFONATE, SODIUM LAUROYL METHYL ISETHIONATE, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, DECYL GLUCOSIDE, ACRYLATES COPOLYMER, COCAMIDE MIPA, PARFUM (FRAGRANCE), POLYSORBATE 20, HYDROLYZED KERATIN, HYDROXYPROPYL GUAR HYDROXYPROPYLTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, VINEGAR, PEG-150 DISTEARATE, POLYQUATERNIUM-7, GLYCERIN, BENZOPHENONE-4, SODIUM CHLORIDE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, TETRASODIUM EDTA, TRISODIUM ETHYLENEDIAMINE DISUCCINATE, ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, CITRIC ACID, DISODIUM EDTA, CHLORPHENESIN, SODIUM BENZOATE, PHENOXYETHANOL, POTASSIUM SORBATE, LINALOOL, CITRONELLOL, CI 14700 (RED 4), CI 19140 (YELLOW 5), CI 61570 (GREEN 5).
This scalp-tingling shampoo cleanses, clarifies, and stimulates circulation while leaving you feeling reinvigorated and renewed thanks to a potent combination of vitamin-rich peppermint and tea tree oils.
Pros: It eliminates any signs of dirt or oil build-up from the hair. It relieves irritation caused by dryness. It promotes hair growth.
Cons: Some say the formula is not the same for different stores/sites. (Beware where you purchase your bottle.)
Ingredients: Water (Aqua, Eau), Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycerin, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Polyquaternium-10, Disodium Laureth, Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Sodium Sulfate, Dipropylene Glycol, Eucalyptol, Camphor, PEG-150 Distearate, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.
This shampoo is formulated with raw black soap and is 100% organic and natural.
Pros: No “harsh” sulfates. Highly moisturizing.
Cons: The scent is not for everyone.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice(Aloe Vera Juice,Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Kernel Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Potash(Ashes of Plantain Skins, Cocoa Pods, Shea Tree Bark), Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), Botanical Blend Ingredients.
This clarifying shampoo clears any product build-up, purifying your hair while preserving its nourishment.
It is a luxury formula free of parabens, silicones, sulfates (DEA / MEA), propylene glycol, mineral oil, and phthalates – all the while being cruelty-free and vegan!
Pros: Gentle for daily use. Works for any hair type can use this. Best for low-porosity hair.
Ingredients: Purified Water, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Methyl Oleoyl Taurate, Lauryl Glucoside, Coco Glucoside, Polysorbate, PEG- Methyl Glucose Trioleate, Propanediol, Citrus Paradisi Grapefruit Peel Oil, Glycerin, Adansonia Digitata Oil, Baobab Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima, Avocado Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia Tea Tree Leaf Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii Shea Butter, Panthenol, Allantoin, Mentha Piperita Peppermint Oil, Menthol, Urtica Dioica Nettle Root Extract, Phytic Acid, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Acrylamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Acrylamide Copolymer, Annatto Extract, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol.
The Aveda Scalp Benefits Balancing Shampoo is an excellent choice for those with oily scalps.
Pros: It helps to remove excess oil and product build up.
Cons: The scent is not for everyone.
Ingredients: Water\Aqua\Eau, Babassuamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Chloride, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Extract, Echinacea Purpurea (Coneflower) Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Narcissus Tazetta Bulb Extract, Peg-12 Dimethicone, Dimethicone Peg-8 Meadowfoamate, Glycerin, Isostearamidopropyl Morpholine Lactate, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Sulfosuccinate, Laureth-3, Sodium Sulfate, Fragrance (Parfum), Linalool, Eugenol, Citral, Benzyl Benzoate, Limonene, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.
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.
Pros: Cleanses and softens hair. Helps add volume.
Cons: It is on the pricer side.
Ingredients: Aqua / Water, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Sodium, Chloride, Coco-Betaine, Lactic Acid, Parfum / Fragrance, Ppg-5-Ceteth-20, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Propylene Glycol, Peg-55 Propylene Glycol Oleate, Salicylic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Coconut Alcohol, Sodium Sulfate, Cocos Nucifera Oil / Coconut Oil, Coumarin, Wheat Amino Acids, Fumaric Acid, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium Edta, Potassium Sorbate.
Combining Sea Kelp and Mandarin Orange extract will gently clean your hair and scalp of build-up while maintaining proper moisture balance.
Pros: Doubles as a chelating shampoo. It’s super affordable yet still effective.
Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Mandarin Orange Fruit, Organic Marigold Flower, Organic White Willow Bark, Organic Sea Kelp, C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Coconut Derived), Phytic Acid, Citric Acid, Sea Salt, Phenoxyethanol and Natural Fragrance.
The John Masters Organics Lavender Shampoo is an excellent choice for dry hair. Helps balance oil production. It contains naturally derived surfactants.
Pros: It helps balance oil production. Has a pleasant lavender scent.
Cons: Some people may not like the scent.
Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice*, Aqua (Water), Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citric Acid, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil*, Caramel, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extract, Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Leaf Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract*, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Root Extract*, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Lavandula Hybrida (Lavender) Oil*, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow) Extract*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract*, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Linalool†
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.
Pros: Made of natural ingredients. Cleans your hair without damaging it. Excellent for significantly damaged and over-processed hair.
Cons: Contains silicones, which is not compatible with the Curly Girl Method.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Cocamide MEA, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Acrylates Copolymer, Glycerin, Coconut Oil Glycereth-8 Esters, Dimethiconol, Shea Butter Glycereth-8 Esters, Dimethicone, Amodimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Laureth-23, Laureth-4, Trideceth-12, Decyl Glucoside, Lauryl Glucoside, Cetrimonium Chloride, C12-13 Pareth-23, C12-13 Pareth-3, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Glycol Distearate, Cystine Bis-PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Extract, Fragrance (Parfum), Divinyldimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Keratin, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Protein, Coumarin, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Panthenol, Tocopherol, Polyquaternium-7, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Hydroxide, Chlorphenesin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Alcohol, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Coumarin. Ingredients may vary.
This light yet effective deep-cleaning shampoo is perfect for treating your scalp and hair. The key ingredients are African Black Soap, Bamboo Charcoal, and Tea Tree Oil.
Cons: The scent is not for everyone
Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycol Distearate, Parfum (Essential Oil Blend / Mélange d’huiles essentielles), Panthenol, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter***, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Charcoal Powder, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Kernel Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Pod) Potash, Glycerin, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Triethyl Citrate, Caprylyl Glycol, Benzoic Acid.
This is an excellent clarifying shampoo option if you prefer a gentle product that will help soften your hair.
Pros: It aids in hair softness. Enhances dry combing characteristics.
Cons: It may be too costly for some.
Ingredients: WATER/AQUA/EAU, DECYL GLUCOSIDE, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, GLYCERIN, SODIUM LAURYL GLUCOSE CARBOXYLATE, LAURYL GLUCOSIDE**, HYDROXYETHYLCELLULOSE, BRASSICA ABYSSINICA (ABYSSINIAN) OIL, CAMELLIA SINENSIS (GREEN TEA) LEAF EXTRACT, XANTHAN GUM, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, GUAR HYDROXYPROPYLTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, SILK AMINO ACIDS, PHENOXYETHANOL, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, TETRASODIUM EDTA, FRAGRANCE/PARFUM, *BENZYL BENZOATE, CITRIC ACID. *Fragrance Component.
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 shampoo contains pure flower and plant essences that infuse the hair with a calming aroma.
Pros: Contains no silicone, parabens, gluten, synthetic fragrance, mineral oil, petrolatum, or formaldehyde. Vegan-friendly.
Cons: It is a little bit on the pricey side.
Ingredients: Water\Aqua\Eau, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamide Mipa, Propanediol, Babassuamidopropyl Betaine, Crambe Abyssinica (Abyssinian) Seed Oil, Bixa Orellana (Annatto) Seed Extract, Glycerin, Peg-60 Almond Glycerides, Polysorbate 80, Polyquaternium-10, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Fragrance (Parfum), Linalool, Geraniol, Citronellol, Benzyl Benzoate, Limonene, Sodium Phytate, Benzoic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Annatto.
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.
Pros: Vegan friendly. Color-safe. Easily accessible (available at Marshalls). It is inexpensive.
Ingredients: Aqua (Purified Water), Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, *Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, *Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Menthol, Glycerin, *Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Lauryl Glucoside, *Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Decyl Glucoside, Polyquaternium-7, Polysorbate 20, Fragrance , *Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Potassium Sorbate, *Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, *Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Extract. *USDA Certified Organic.
This powerful shampoo clarifies and removes build-up, leaving your curls soft and clean. MopTop Detox Shampoo will gently remove any product build-up traces while nourishing your hair with vital nutrients to keep it healthy.
Pros: Water-soluble, Paraben-free, Phthalate-free, Sulfate-free, Silicone-free, Dye-free.
Cons: A little pricey.
Ingredients: WATER, SODIUM C14-16 OLEFIN SULFONATE, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, COCAMIDE MEA, SODIUM PHYTATE, PANTHENOL (VITAMIN B5), ALLANTOIN, LINUM USITATISSIUM (LINSEED) SEED EXTRACT, VITIS VINIFERA (GRAPE) SEED EXTRACT, URTICA DIOICA (NETTLE) EXTRACT, GLYCERIN (VEGETABLE DERIVED), POLYSORBATE-20, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, POLYQUATERNIUM-10, GLUCOSE, PEG-120 METHYL GLUCOSE DIOLEATE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, PHENOXYETHANOL, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, CITRUS SENENSIS OIL, CITRUS LIMON OIL, CITRUS AURANTIFOLIA OIL, CITRUS PARADISI OIL.
The Acure Clarifying Shampoo is a fantastic product that will help you eliminate all the excess build-up and residue in your hair. This shampoo contains a double dose of beneficial oils, including lemongrass, which work to deeply nourish and hydrate your hair.
It’s gentle enough for everyday use, so you can always enjoy clean, healthy-looking curls. This product is free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, petrolatum, formaldehyde, and animal cruelty. The refreshing lemongrass scent helps invigorate and refresh the senses too!
Pros: 100% Vegan formula.
Ingredients: WATER EAU, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF JUICE*, SODIUM LAUROYL METHYL ISETHIONATE, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, BETAINE, GLYCERIN, COCOGLUCOSIDES HYDROXYPROPYLTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, CYMBOPOGON FLEXUOSUS LEAF OIL, CYMBOPOGON SCHOENANTHUS EXTRACT, ARGANIA SPINOSA KERNEL OIL*, RUBUS FRUTICOSUS BLACKBERRY FRUIT EXTRACT*, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA MATRICARIA FLOWER EXTRACT*, EUTERPE OLERACEA FRUIT EXTRACT*, ROSA CANINA FRUIT EXTRACT*, CALENDULA OFFICINALIS FLOWER EXTRACT*, ASPALATHUS LINEARIS LEAF EXTRACT*, PUNICA GRANATUM EXTRACT*, ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS ROSEMARY LEAF OIL, PERSEA GRATISSIMA AVOCADO OIL, HIPPOPHAE RHAMNOIDES FRUIT OIL, JUNIPERUS VIRGINIANA OIL, LAVANDULA HYBRIDA OIL, LEVULINIC ACID, UBIQUINONE, SODIUM LEVULINATE, GUAR HYDROXYPROPYLTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, SODIUM COCOYL GLUTAMATE, SODIUM METHYL COCOYL TAURATE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, SODIUM BENZOATE, CITRIC ACID, SODIUM HYDROXIDE. *CERTIFIED ORGANIC INGREDIENT.
This a refreshing and nourishing hair cleanser designed to cleanse strands without stripping away precious moisture.
This luxurious formula is infused with sweet ginger and invigorating lemon peel, leaving your locks feeling soft and refreshed. With regular use, this product helps to balance the scalp’s natural oils while providing a thorough cleansing experience.
Pros: Contains a gourmet blend of natural ingredients.
Cons: Quickly runs out of stock, so get it while you can.
Ingredients: Deionized Water (Aqua) Infused With Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil, Disodium Cocoamphodipropionate, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate (Sulfate Free Cleanser), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Coconut Cleanser), Citric Acid, Pimpinella Anisum (Anissed) Seed Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Oil, Phenoxyethanol (Optiphen Nd), Ethylhexylglycerin, Polyquaternium-10, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (Coconut Cleanser), Decyl Glucoside (Sugar Based Cleanser), Glycol Distearate (Vegetable Derived), Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Phthalate Free Fragrance.
This clarifying rinse removes product build-up and excessive impurities from the hair without leaving it dry and brittle. It is enriched with exotic Argan Oil from Morocco, which helps to replenish moisture, adds shine, and leaves your hair feeling softer and smooth.
A bonus of this clarifying rinse is that its apple cider vinegar content helps to balance your scalp’s natural pH levels, resulting in beautiful, healthy hair.
Pros: No sulfates, silicones, petrolatum.
Cons: Contains yellow, blue, and red dye.
Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, PEG-40 Castor Oil, Glycerin, Parfum (Fragrance), Acetum (Vinegar (Vinaigre)), Cetrimonium Chloride, Panthenol, Menthyl Lactate, Menthol, Isopulegol, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Propylene Glycol, Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Keratin, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Polyquaternium-4, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Red 40 (CI 16035), Blue 1 (CI 42090).
Do you know who the founder of this remarkable shampoo is? None other than renowned actress Taraji P. Henson? If her widespread fame and success are any indicators, then we can expect nothing but excellence from her products.
Honey Fresh Shampoo is a luxurious and effective shampoo that provides your hair with deep cleansing plus added moisture. The gel formula effectively purifies the scalp and hair while preserving all the beneficial natural oils in your hair.
This shampoo is infused with aloe, honey, and willow bark extract and gives your hair a nourishing boost of hydration, leaving it feeling healthy and refreshed with each use.
Pros: Cruelty-free. Color-safe formula. You get 12 ounces of shampoo versus the regular 8 ounces.
Ingredients: WATER (AQUA/EAU), SODIUM C14-16 OLEFIN SULFONATE, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, GLYCERIN, FRAGRANCE (PARFUM), GLYCOL DISTEARATE, PHENOXYETHANOL, LAURYL LACTYL LACTATE, ACRYLATES COPOLYMER, PEG-150 DISTEARATE, PHOSPHOLIPIDS, PEG-200 HYDROGENATED GLYCERYL PALMATE, GLYCINE SOJA (SOYBEAN) OIL, POLYSORBATE 20, CHLORPHENESIN, CITRIC ACID, GUAR HYDROXYPROPYLTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, DISODIUM EDTA, HYDROXYETHYLCELLULOSE, MENTHOL, PEG-7 GLYCERYL COCOATE, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, GLYCOLIPIDS, GLYCINE SOJA (SOYBEAN) STEROLS, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF JUICE, EUCALYPTUS GLOBULUS LEAF OIL, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, HONEY, SALIX NIGRA (WILLOW) BARK EXTRACT, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, LIMONENE.
This salon-quality shampoo is formulated with certified organic botanicals, including peppermint and tea tree oil, which work together to nourish and clarify your hair while soothing your dry scalp. Unlike many other shampoos, this product is suitable for all hair types.
Pros: Cruelty-Free – Never Tested on Animals. No laurel/laureth sulfates. Suitable for all hair types
Ingredients: Water, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil, nettle oil, thyme oil, birch leaf oil, chamomile, clary, lavender, coltsfoot leaf, yarrow oil, mallow, horsetail oil, soybean protein, coconut derived c12-14 olefin sulfonate, cocamidopropyl betaine, tocopherol (vitamin E), trace minerals, citric acid (corn), sodium hydroxymethyglycinate, sea salt, grapefruit seed.
This shampoo is another one of my favorites! It is the perfect solution for damaged, chemically processed, or heat-styled hair.
The main ingredients of this shampoo are Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Shea Butter, which help revive damaged strands while nourishing and restoring moisture to your hair. This potent combination helps strengthen weakened hair making it more resilient to further damage from styling.
Those who regularly color (like me), straighten, perm, or heat style their hair will benefit from the nourishing properties of this shampoo as it helps restore softness and shine to dull locks. With regular use, you can expect to see a noticeable improvement in the overall health of your hair.
Pros: Sulfate-free, Paraben-free, Cruelty-free. Best for high-porosity hair.
Cons: Not recommended for low porosity hair.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend), Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Tocopherol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Vinegar, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Niacin, Dextran, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Caramel, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract *Certified Organic Ingredient.
This clarifying shampoo is the perfect solution for overworked, environmentally stressed hair. Formulated with Eco Chic Technology, it adds moisture and manageability and smooths frizz with natural botanical extracts.
The unique blend of ingredients locks in color and pH balance, leaving hair perfectly clean. This shampoo is also gentle enough to use every day.
Pros: Free of Lauryl and Laureth Sulfates.100% vegetarian friendly with no animal testing.
Ingredients: Aqua (purified water), sodium cocoamphoacetate, lauryl glucoside, sodium cocoyl glutamate, sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate, decyl glucoside, cocamidopropyl betaine, vegetable glycerin, panthenol, potassium sorbate, citric acid, polysorbate 20, phenoxyethanol, natural fragrance, *aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, *helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, *glycine soja (soybean) seed extract, *betula alba extract, *malva sylvestris (mallow) extract, *achillea millefolium extract, *chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, *equisetum arvense extract, *lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract, *rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, *salvia sclarea (clary) extract, *thymus vulgaris (thyme) extract, *tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) flower extract, *urtica dioica (nettle) extract.
When choosing the best-clarifying shampoo for curly hair, you want to pick one that specifically states it’s suitable for curly hair on the label/bottle. These formulas are designed to be gentle enough not to strip the hair of natural oils while removing impurities.
It is also essential to consider your hair type and the level of clarification you need. For those with oily hair, a stronger formulation may be best, while those with dry or damaged hair should opt for a gentler option that won’t strip away the natural moisture from your curls.
If you’re following the Curly Girl Method, carefully read each shampoo ingredient list. The CGM does not recommend silicone-based products, sulfates, or other components. That way, you can ensure it will work perfectly with your curls and routine.
Clarifying shampoos is beneficial in helping to remove residue; however, overusing it can potentially cause harm. Some curly hair types are already fragile, so clarifying shampoos should be used with precaution to avoid damage.
Surfactants in these products could strip your scalp of natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. If using this type of shampoo causes your hair to become dried or lifeless, switch up the formula for one with gentler ingredients instead.
When selecting a clarifying shampoo, consider if you have any of the following conditions: dermatitis, dandruff, seborrheic, or psoriasis. These issues can be exacerbated with the use of some chemicals in some clarifying shampoos.
Surfactants, or surface-active molecules, are the primary working force of a cleansing formulation. By reducing water’s surface tension and enhancing its wetting power, surfactants make it much simpler to cleanse dirt away.2
Formulators can select from a range of surfactants when creating a cleansing product. When developing a clarifying shampoo, the choices are usually between sodium lauryl and sodium laureth sulfate.
Another option is sulfate-free functional surfactants for an entirely sulfate-free formulation.
Sulfates are unfavorable to skin and hair because they may strip away vital lipids, leaving them dry and brittle. Additionally, when used long-term, sulfates have more potential to irritate than other ingredients.
However, if you do not have or never had a negative reaction to sulfates and don’t mind them in your products, you can use them.
If you notice any signs of damage like dryness, brittleness, and excess frizz, switch it out for sulfate-free and see if there’s any difference.
Clarifying shampoos often contain a combination of cleansing agents, sulfate, or olefin sulfonate. It is essential to explain that sulfonates are not sulfate.
These two surfactants differ entirely in chemistry, cleaning potency, and foam production potential.
Olefin sulfonates are commonly used in shampoos as well. Not only are they gentle, mild, and biodegradable, but they’re also the preferred choice for a sulfate-free shampoo.
Certain brands blend sulfates with olefin sulfonate or other sulfate-free surfactants to potentially reduce costs or enhance foam production (sulfates are renowned for producing copious amounts of lather). Unfortunately, the product will still contain sulfate.
Therefore, it is vital for consumers to thoroughly look at the ingredients listed on the label before purchasing.
That way, you will know what you will be applying to your hair and can make the best choice to get the best results from your clarifying shampoo.
To get the best results from a clarifying shampoo, understanding the ingredients that make it worthy and do the job you need can help you make the right choices.
Here are the ingredients to look out for:
● Decyl glucoside, coco glucoside, lauryl glucoside (green alternatives, sugar-based nonionic, preferred).
● Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate – mild, rich, creamy lather, hydrating (Preferred).
● Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate – mild, hydrating (Preferred).
● Sodium Laureth Sulfate (Avoid it).
● Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate (Please avoid).
Healthy-looking hair requires moisture to combat frizz and dryness. Choosing a hydrating ingredient depends on its ability to work with other formulation ingredients, such as the primary surfactants.
The top hydrating ingredients for a clarifying shampoo are:
● Betaine – a natural water-holding molecule obtained from beetroot extract (Preferred).
● Propanediol – is a natural, green alternative to traditional humectants (Preferred).
Cationic polymers make wet and dry combing incredibly easy. They bind to protein residues on the hair, giving them a slip and a smoother feel, making detangling easier.
It also boosts other active ingredients to adhere more effectively.
Our favorite cationic polymers for a clarifying shampoo are:
● Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride – guar-derived hair conditioner.
● Polyquaternium-10 – cellulose-derived hair conditioner for superior wet and dry combing.
Other additives to look for in a clarifying shampoo formulation:
● Cocamidopropyl Betaine – a mild co-surfactant to boost foam generation.
● Cocoamphodiacetate – another mild cleansing agent.
● Fragrance – natural aromatic essential oils are better than synthetic fragrances.
● Preservatives – avoid DMDM-Hydantoin and Imadazolidinyl Urea. Instead, go for green alternatives, such as Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Hexylene Glycol, etc.
Clarifying and detoxifying are often used interchangeably in haircare; however, they do not always share the same meaning.
This is often due to the marketing language used by different companies; essentially, the primary difference is the ingredients.
You may have heard the word “Detoxification” for the body. Detoxification aims to remove accumulated toxins or potentially dangerous substances from the body.
Similarly, hair may need a detox from toxic mineral deposits such as chlorine.
Salt (sea) water and chlorine from pools seep into hair strands. They can be detrimental to the health of your hair if not properly removed.
Hair detoxification uses natural ingredients such as charcoal, bentonite clay, and minerals to eliminate any undesired debris from your scalp and strands.
On the other hand, clarifying removes product build-up and other pollutants, like dust, sand, etc., from the hair.
They are more likely to contain synthetic ingredients that can strip your hair of its natural oils if used excessively.
While clarifying and hair detox shampoos seek to achieve the same purpose of eliminating residue, minerals, toxins, and residue from your scalp and hair, they differ significantly in their active ingredients and offer slightly different results.
Here are several natural ways to neutralize residue in your hair:
1) Apple Cider Vinegar – Fill a spray bottle with 1 c. water and 2 tsp. Apple cider vinegar, then spritz it onto the hair. Leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing it out with cold water.
2) Baking Soda – Create a paste with 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1 cup of water. Work the mixture into your hair until it’s saturated. Leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing out with cold water.
3) Lemon Juice – Squeeze the juice of one lemon into a bowl and work it through your hair. Leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing out with cold water.
4) Use a shampoo containing EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), such as Hard Water Wellness Shampoo by Malibu C.
5) Vitamin C crystals are a powdered form of ascorbic acid. For best results:
If you don’t want to deal with a DIY solution, consider using Solpri Swimmers Chlorine Swim Shampoo Body Wash and Conditioner with Vitamin C, UltraSwim Chlorine Removal Shampoo, or TRISWIM Chlorine Removal Swimmers Shampoo.
If you’re struggling with breakage or dryness due to shampooing, try using bentonite clay – a cleansing clay that can help restore your hair’s natural moisture.
Bentonite clay is a natural detoxifier and helps to remove any product build-up or environmental pollutants from the scalp and hair.
Not only does it have the power to soothe and heal, but it also can be a great ally in relieving an irritated scalp or reducing inflammation.
As a curly-haired individual, I understand how difficult it can be to keep your curls voluminous and healthy.
Caring for such hair type also takes its toll on the wallet! But some fantastic natural alternatives can give your curls an effective yet affordable deep cleansing treatment.
These components can all work to nourish your hair and strengthen your locks:
If you’re dealing with damaged hair, a clarifying shampoo can’t provide the long-term solution you’re looking for.
You’ll need something more targeted for that condition to mend broken strands and restore your curly to their former glory.
Once your cuticles have been harmed by color, bleach, excessive heat, or other causes, they cannot be reversed.
You can use a clarifying shampoo to help deep cleanse and refreshen your hair so the deep treatments like masks, oils, and targeted products can seep in better and work their magic.
Protein treatments are an excellent option to temporarily fix damaged areas while your hair begins to grow out again. This will help fill in the cracks and improve the overall look of your curly hair.
Clarifying shampoo can be a beneficial component of your hair care regimen when required. Be sure to try one or more of the options we suggested above to find one that works best for you. Always remember to let your hair be your guide.
1. Trüeb, R. M., Shampoos: Ingredients, efficacy and adverse effects. JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft 2007, 5 (5), 356-365.
2. Myers, D., Surfactant Science and Technology. Wiley: 2020.
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