What is a clarifying shampoo?

You know sometimes when you feel your hair is not responding to the products that were working perfectly fine for quite sometime and no matter how many times you use your regular shampoo, you still feel your hair weighed down and limp. The solution to your problem can be to clarify your hair.

What is clarifying
Clarifying is to clean your hair from pollutants, dirt, product build up and other impurities using a right shampoo. It will give your hair a kind of clean slate so that your products can perform better on your hair. People who use products that contain lots of silicone should clarify their hair regularly like once in a week. And those who don’t use silicone products should also clarify their hair once in a month or when they feel the need of it. Clarifying helps prepare the hair to absorb the moisture better.

How to Clarify hair
There are many different types of shampoos that are available in market these days like conditioning shampoos (2 in 1 shampoos), clarifying shampoos, dry shampoos etc. Clarifying shampoos are the ones that contain higher percentage of surfactants in it and mostly made of strong surfactant like sulfate. As the main job of clarifying shampoo is to get rid of any kind build up and excess oils so these contain very less amount or none of conditioning agents or emollients. So, that means clarifying shampoo is a bit harsh so it should be used occasionally.

 You can see here the difference in curls after clarifying. Rekha is a CG follower, but she noticed that her hair was not curling well and looking a bit limp and weighed down (left-most pic). This could be a build up from hard water or over-conditioning. So, she clarified her hair and it really helped her to get her bouncy curls back. So, when you feel that your hair is not curling and looking limp then you can think of clarifying your hair.

Rekha’s hair – Before and After Clarifying

How to choose a clarifying shampoo
Shampoos that are available in India mostly do not have it mentioned on their label if it is a clarifying one or whether it is a conditioning shampoo. So, it comes to you to decide if the shampoo that you are using will serve the purpose of clarifying the hair or not. Check the ingredients list of the shampoo. It should have sulfate and should not contain any silicone in it. And also the conditioning agents, if any, should be present very low down in the ingredient list because the main purpose of clarifying shampoo is to do the cleaning job and not the conditioning.

Clarifying shampoo available in India
Clarifying shampoo should be used sparingly in curly hair regime as it is a bit harsh on hair. So, remember not to overdo it. If you feel your hair is not responding to the products that were earlier working for you or hair looks limp and lifeless and stop curling properly then you can think of clarifying your hair. I use Revlon flex body building shampoo – Dry Damaged to clarify my hair and I do it once in a month or sometimes longer than that. It is available on flipkart. Other option is Pantene Lively Clean shampoo. Here are their ingredients.

Revlon flex body building shampoo – Dry Damaged:
Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Lauramide DEA, EDTA, Citric acid, hydrolyzed silk, Methylchloro isothiazolinone, Methyl Isothiazolinone, Panthenol, Propylene glycol, Methyl Paraben, Propyel Paraben, Tocopheryl Acetate, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride.

Revlon flex body building shampoo – Normal to Dry:
Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Lauramide DEA, EDTA, Citric acid, hydrolyzed silk, Methylchloro isothiazolinone, Methyl Isothiazolinone, Panthenol, Propylene glycol, Methyl Paraben, Propyel Paraben, Tocopheryl Acetate, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride.

Pantene lively clean shampoo:
Water, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium citrate, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Fragrance, Citric acid, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Sodium Benzoate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Benzoate, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Benzyl salicylate, Methylchloro isothiazolinone, Methyl Isothiazolinone.

Let me know if you find out any other good clarifying shampoo that is available here in India and I will add that here. Also let me know how often do you clarify your hair.

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23 thoughts on “What is a clarifying shampoo?

  • Mary Ware

    I use my all time favorite GKhair pH+ clarifying shampoo once a week for the past couple of years for my oily and greasy hair. Perfect shampoo for removing an excess styling products, dirt, residue, product build up and other impurities. I’d highly recommend this shampoo as I have personally experienced its usefulness. Love it. 🙂 <3

  • Tara

    Thanks for these tips. The clarifying shampoos that you mention here contain parabens. I thought that parabens is not a good ingredient in products ? What are your thoughts regarding parabens?

  • Richa Sharma

    Hi Asha, I wanted to ask when we use clarifying shampoo, are we supposed to follow it up with regular conditioning (using CG friendly conditioners ) and then the products? Please let me know. Thanks!

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Hi Anu, an actual clarifying shampoo should not contain any silicone and even conditioning agents as they are meant to clarify hair. But in India, it is hard to find a shampoo without a conditioning agent but we do have shampoos without silicone. So you can look out for such shampoo.

  • Shailee

    Don’t the above clarifying shampoos have silicones? Methylchloro isothiazolinone is a silicone I believe. And a clarifying shampoo should have a sulphate, but not silicones right?

  • PGA1707

    Hi Asha, thanks for this. I find a few ‘clarifying shampoos’ on iHerb Singapore, but almost all of these advertise themselves as “No Sulphates”. That wont serve our purpose, will it?

    For eg. the Earth Science Ceramide care Clarifying shampoo’s ingredients are: Aqua, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate, glycerin, sodium laurylglucosides hydroxypropylsulfonate, hydrolyzed rice protein, oleyl betaine, behenyl/stearyl aminopropanediol esters, aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, panthenol, hydrolyzed soy protein, allantoin, arnica montana flower extract*, anthemis nobilis (chamomile) flower extract*, camellia sinensis (white tea) extract*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract*, glycosphingolipids (plant ceramides), sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, ethylhexylglycerin, fragrance (parfum)**.

    Other one I found is Giovanni 50:50 Balannced Hydrating-Claryfig shampoo, that says they don’t have “Laureth Sulfates”

  • Priyanka

    Hi Asha, Does Pantene Pro V, which is easily available in India, work as a clarifying Shampoo? The online list of ingredients is below:
    Water, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycol Distearate, Sodium Citrate, Cocamide Mea, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Dimethicone, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Polyquaternium-76, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

  • Ashwathi

    Hi I have 4 a type of curly hair,I love curly hair but mine is mostly frizzy.uuded to use head and shoulder anti dandruf shampoo other than that every other shampoo makes my hair dry and dandruff prone. Could you help me out with products with brand for making my curls look good

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Ashwathi, all you need is just the right styling routine post wash. You need to stop combing your hair to keep it defined. Use a leave-in conditioner and a styling gel post wash. You can check the video tutorials available on the website. you can start with giovanni, matrix, loreal smooth intense and homemade flax gel. You will find the product list on the website and flax seed recipe too.

  • Divya

    Hi Asha,

    Did I make a big mistake by using Pantene Clarifying shampoo for every wash of mine [say weekly] ?

    Just read in this article it should be used sparingly !!!

    I am not able to tell the change in hair pattern / curls, but the results are not the same like when I didn’t use the clarifying shampoo….. I had started this curly routine last May. Not started with CG method though I have stopped using silicone products in my conditioner, leave in, gel. I assumed that since clarifying shampoo doesn’t have silicones I can use them to cleanse my hair. I was so wrong,!