How To Use Clarifying Shampoo | Hair.com

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The Best Clarifying Shampoos To Beat Buildup

14 December 2017
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Emily Arata

Senior Editor, Hair.com

As an employee of L’Oréal, Emily works with celebrity stylists to make finding the right cut, color, or style easier than ever before. She's previously written for Allure, Elite Daily, and First We Feast.

In the beauty industry, there’s a curious collection of buzzwords that are often featured on products. What’s even more curious, though, is that very few people actually know what they mean.

There’s one descriptor that seems to pop up more often than any other, however: clarifying shampoo. Unlike your curl boosters and dry hair savers, clarifying shampoo is a product category that works for all hair types.

In order to better understand why you might buy a second shampoo to keep in your shower (on top of your already sizeable hoard of beauty products, no doubt), we sat down with Jamie Wiley, Pureology brand ambassador, for her thoughts on all things clarifying.

Blowout-loving women and flaky-scalped gentlemen, can we have your undivided attention? There’s something your hair care routine is desperately missing.

What is clarifying shampoo?

Think about the way you deal with your skin. During a regular week, you try to apply night cream and SPF. When you start to feel a little oily, however, you’ll be more likely to add a face mask into your daily routine.

The same way you might supplement your beauty routine an extra step, your beauty routine can be divided into everyday necessities and products designed for extra TLC. You have a go-to shampoo and conditioner formula, a heat protectant, and a blowout cream. For days when your hair just isn’t working, however, you’ve got a stockpile of extra products. That’s where you’ll find clarifying shampoo.

Clarifying or purifying shampoo is used to remove residue and buildup on the hair caused by hair products, hard water, minerals from water, and chlorine.

Jamie Wiley

If you’re finding that your hair is falling limp and looking underwhelming, try to review your routine and see what’s changed recently. Did you move to a new area where the shower water is just so-so? Have you been packing on the product recently? It’s important to know what could be causing all your mane drama or else you won’t be able to deal with it appropriately.

Once you’ve been able to single out the cause (or causes) of your hair woes, it’s time to understand the product you’re investing in.

What’s the best way to choose a clarifying shampoo?

We’ve all had experiences purchasing a product that turns out to do far less than we were promised. When it comes to hair, there’s no room to mess around with formulas that don’t work. According to Wiley, the best way to guarantee a product performs is to spend money on a professional-grade product.

Yes, it may cost a little more, but knowing your hair care is backed by salon knowledge and used by experts really means something in the hair world. All that expertise adds up to a product that will keep your mane healthy-looking and happy.

“Use a professional clarifying shampoo like Pureology Purify Shampoo versus a store brand,” Wiley explains.

When in doubt about what to buy, consult your stylist or colorist. He or she already knows all about your hair routine and may even create your custom color, which means an extra insight into what your hair really needs.

What’s the right way to make clarifying shampoo a part of your routine?

Good question! Wiley recommends washing your hair with clarifying shampoo on a biweekly basis. You’ll be cleansing your hair without drying it out.

“You will want to incorporate into a shampoo routine once every two weeks. Don't go longer than a month,” Wiley says. “When you are needing to shampoo your hair more often because you are feeling 'greasier' than normal, that is when you know it’s time to clarify!”

As with all shampoos, it’s as much about the application as it is the formula. Use your fingers to thoroughly scrub your hair. If you’d rather take the easy way out, purchase a shampoo brush to help slough away unwanted oils and excess residue.

If you have concerns about the quality of the water you’re washing your hair in, spend a little extra cash on a shower head designed to soften water while filtering out chlorine. Feeling extra spendy before a special event? Try washing your hair in filtered or bottled water. Many beauty gurus swear by it for hair that looks beautiful and feels soft.

When you start thinking about stopping by the salon for a fresh color, Wiley recommends scheduling time to use a clarifying shampoo beforehand.

“At some point in time your hair needs a clean slate...definitely before a color service is done,” she says. “This will help remove any buildup and prepare your hair to accept the fresh new color. It will last longer and actually be shinier!”

Shiny, freshly colored hair sounds great to us. Clarifying shampoo, it is. The only thing left to figure out is exactly which product to buy.

What’s the best way to choose a clarifying shampoo?

We’ve all had experiences purchasing a product that turns out to do far less than we were promised. When it comes to hair, there’s no room to mess around with formulas that don’t work. According to Wiley, the best way to guarantee a product performs is to spend money on a professional-grade product.

Yes, it may cost a little more, but knowing your hair care is backed by salon knowledge and used by experts really means something in the hair world. All that expertise adds up to a product that will keep your mane healthy-looking and happy.

“Use a professional clarifying shampoo like Pureology Purify Shampoo versus a store brand,” Wiley explains.

When in doubt about what to buy, consult your stylist or colorist. He or she already knows all about your hair routine and may even create your custom color, which means an extra insight into what your hair really needs.

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