When it comes to giving your hair a good clean, sometimes your regular go-to products simply aren’t enough. Enter the clarifying shampoo, which is like your average shampoo, only on steroids. It gets better, because the best clarifying shampoos don’t just leave your hair feeling thoroughly cleansed, they leave it brighter, fuller and healthier, too.
What is a clarifying shampoo?
“Clarifying shampoos are formulated to remove ingredients or environmental deposits that a regular shampoo may not fully get rid of,” says Anabel Kingsley, trichologist and brand president at Philip Kingsley. “For instance, water-insoluble ingredients and hard water minerals.” That’s your styling products, grease, flakes, and anything your hair might have accumulated from simply being out and about—the build up of which is causing your hair to look dull and lifeless.
How do you use a clarifying shampoo?
Like other hair cleansers, clarifying shampoos are mostly made up of water, however, what sets them apart from other shampoos is the amount of heavy surfactants they contain. Surfactants are soap-like ingredients that remove the build up of impurities in your hair. It’s powerful stuff which means that you shouldn’t overdo it. “Any clarifying products should be used every two weeks or so,” says Kingsley. “More often is not necessary.” Otherwise the effects could be drying. In fact, those with coloured hair and sensitive scalps should be particularly careful, so always read the label.
Below, Vogue selects the best clarifying shampoos for your hair, whatever your hair type.
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Best clarifying shampoo for build-up
Give your hair a total overhaul with Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Triple Detox Shampoo, whose nourishing and revitalising formula gently dissolves excessive build-up caused by pollution, products and hard water. Cleansing and refreshing from the roots down to the ends, it will leave your hair feeling clean and full of life.
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Triple Detox Shampoo, available at LookFantastic
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Best clarifying shampoo for coloured hair
An effective lightening treatment for natural, coloured or highlighted hair, Christophe Robin’s Clarifying Shampoo With Camomile And Cornflower works to gently eliminate residue and excess pigments on coloured hair that has dulled over time.
Christophe Robin Clarifying Shampoo With Camomile And Cornflower, $36, available at Shopee
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Best weekly clarifying shampoo
Removing product residue, excess oil, and built-up pollutants for a fresh and clean finish, Bumble and Bumble’s Sunday Shampoo is the perfect fix for those with fine to medium hair.
Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo, $47.95, available at Shopee
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Best smelling clarifying shampoo
With the hypnotic scent of rose, bergamot, lychee and musk, the lightweight Ouai Detox Shampoo is perfect to use on all hair types and textures, including hair that is coloured and keratin-treated.
Ouai Detox Shampoo, $48 for 300ml, available at Sephora
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Best mousse formula clarifying shampoo
Powered by volcanic ash, Oribe’s The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo has a gentle yet effective formula that removes dirt, oil and product build-up, while added sea kelp works to clear your pores and purify the scalp. Use as and when, and your hair will thank you for it.
Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo, US$44, available at Dermstore
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Best Post-Swim Clarifying Shampoo
Swimming fanatic? This one is for you. Paul Mitchell’s Clarifying Shampoo Three penetrates the hair shaft to remove residual chlorine, iron and fatty acids left behind after regular dips, leaving hair looking soft and shiny.
Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo Three, $61, available at Lazada
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Best clarifying shampoo for dandruff
Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo will give your hair an intense cleanse, and is enriched with naturally-derived coconut oil and amino acids that add body and fullness to your tresses.
Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo, $61 for 500ml, available at Kiehl’s
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Best budget clarifying shampoo
Suffering from damaged hair that’s also prone to grease? Try the Kérastase Specifique Bain Divalent Shampoo. Intensely purifying, this cleanser removes excess sebum whilst purifying the scalp and repairing dehydrated and damaged fibres.
Kérastase Specifique Bain Divalent Shampoo, $43, available at Sephora
This story originally appeared in British Vogue.