“Clarifying shampoos are formulated with higher levels of surfactants than other shampoos,” explained Ron Robinson, a cosmetic chemist for Dove Hair (a line I personally use). “They’re formulated to remove build-up and residue from conditioners and styling products. Unfortunately while doing so, they remove some of hair’s natural oils that keep it shiny and moisturized, especially if they’re used too often.” Here’s a cheat sheet to finding the best shampoo for your hair type.
DIY Clarifying Shampoo
That means on a scientific level, anyone with dry, damaged, or processed hair should avoid these shampoos like the plague and opt for homemade clarifying shampoo options instead. My personal formula for a homemade clarifying shampoo is pretty simple, but a little smelly, so only use it when you really need it, like after a weekend at the beach when your strands were coated in oils, heat protectants, ocean hair sprays, and other gunky products. All you need to do is grab a cup, a fork, 1/4 cup of your regular shampoo (hopefully something hydrating), and add an equal amount of apple cider vinegar. Whip it up till it’s fully blended, and shampoo the grime right out of your hair without risking your gorgeous tresses. The vinegar smell goes away by the time you condition your hair.
It’s a great solution for people with processed hair who love to work out, too, because sometimes you really want to clear away all the oils and sweat from a long run or hard workout, but don’t want to damage your strands more than hair color, processing, and life already have. In the meantime, if you still have a bottle of the damage-doing clarifying stuff in your shower, swap it out for anything that is labeled with the words hydrating, moisturizing, or replenishing. Your hair will thank you.