What is a clarifying shampoo?
A clarifying shampoo is a shampoo that helps get rid of buildup in your hair. The buildup may be due to the residue left by your daily shampoos, chlorinated water during swimming, coloring treatments, oils, dust and other chemical treatments on your hair. It is a special shampoo that should not be applied daily, but occasionally. It helps in deep cleaning of your hair, something that traditional shampoos fail to do.
What are the benefits of using a clarifying shampoo?
A clarifying shampoo differs from your daily cleansing shampoo because it has different active ingredients. The active ingredient in a clarifying shampoo is a strong surfactant. A surfactant is a chemical that is responsible for the soapy feel of a shampoo. It removes oil, grease and impurities from your hair and scalp. The surfactants include
- Ammonium-sodium lauryl sulfate (strongest deep clean)
- Chlorides/bromides (milder than ammonium-sodium lauryl sulfate, but makes the hair soft)
- Cetyl-fatty alcohols (mildest clarifying ingredient)
Can clarifying shampoos be used by everyone?
You can use a clarifying shampoo if you
- Have not colored your hair within the last seven days: Do not use a clarifying shampoo if it does not mention on its label that it can be used on color-treated or dyed hair. Heavy surfactants in a clarifying shampoo can wash away the hair color.
- Do not have skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis: Using a clarifying shampoo may trigger problems in the scalp if you have these skin conditions. Ask your dermatologist what type of clarifying shampoo is right for you.
Depending upon your hair type, hair experts recommend using a clarifying shampoo once every seven or 15 days. Do not use it as a daily cleanser. This can make your scalp extremely dry, which will stimulate the production of oil in your scalp. If you have oily hair, this could worsen your oily hair/scalp condition.
Using this shampoo several times a week can be too harsh for your hair. Your hair may become dry and dull. You may develop a lot of frizz and flyaway hair. Only consider using clarifying shampoo once or twice a week if you are a swimmer and develop green-colored hair because of the chlorinated water.
How to use a clarifying shampoo
Take a small amount of a clarifying shampoo in your hand and rub gently it between your hands. Apply it on your damp scalp until it lathers.
Let the shampoo sit on your hair for about 30 seconds to one minute.
Rinse and wash your hair thoroughly with water until you get rid of the lather completely.
Follow-up with any conditioner that you have been using. The conditioner will restore the lost moisture to your scalp and hair.
If you do not have any scalp issues such as seborrheic dermatitis and if your hair is not color-treated, you can go for the deepest clean. Look for ingredients that include
- Ammonium lauryl sulfate
- Ammonium laureth sulfate
- Alpha-olefin sulfonate
- Sodium lauryl sulfate
- Sodium stearate
If you have any other hair concerns, speak to a hair expert and dermatologist. They will help you decide the right clarifying shampoo along with the best hair care routine for you.
International Journal of Trichology
American Academy of Dermatology Association
Skin Appendage Disorders
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