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How Often Should You Use Clarifying Shampoo (& How to Use)

By Viktoria
February 23, 2023
7 minutes

Are you wondering why your hair feels so unhygienic even after you wash it often? Does your hair look dull and unhealthy and no oil or treatment is working well for it? Well, the excessive use of everyday shampoos, oils, hair treatments, and other hair styling products is building up in your scalp and making your hair lackluster.

But what to do when washing your hair is making them more unclean? Clarifying shampoos can save the day for you. They are specifically prepared to deal with the buildup and revitalize your hair and scalp.

Clarifying shampoos are formulated by using active agents to fight off such conditions and enliven your hair. Below, we are going to talk about what is a clarifying shampoo, how often you should use it, its benefits, how to use it, and its dos and don’ts.

What is Clarifying Shampoo?

Clarifying shampoo also called deep cleaning or purifying shampoo is a hair product formulated to deal with hair product residues, dirt buildup, excessive oils, and other impurities present in your hair and scalp.

Chlorine from swimming pools, the dissolved minerals of hard water, natural oil production from the scalp, and impurities of the environment tend to get stuck over your hair making them look sludgy, greasy, and lifeless. Clarifying shampoo consist of strong surfactants including chlorides, bromides, cetyl-fatty alcohol, and ammonium sodium lauryl sulfate.

These ingredients have deep cleansing properties along with hair-softening effects. However, these ingredients can also dry up your hair as they remove the nourishing oils as well.

What are the Benefits of Using a Clarifying Shampoo?

You must be wondering if you really need a clarifying shampoo or if it will be an unnecessary expense. Let us see how these strong shampoos can transform your hair for good.

Helps Remove Impurities and Product Buildup

The major effect of clarifying shampoo on hair is the removal of stuff your hair want to get rid of. Whether it is excess oil, product buildup, dust, mineral deposits, and other impurities, clarifying shampoo will wash it all away making your hair clean, happy, and healthy.

Makes Hair Fresh and New

Impurities form a layer over your hair and prevent the absorption of hydrating ingredients. As a result, hair become brittle, weak, and lifeless.

Once your hair is free from all such slimy substances, it will feel fresh, rejuvenated, and brand new. Moreover, it will help your hair get the best of the nourishing treatments.

Improves Scalp Health

Clarifying shampoo allows your scalp to breathe by removing dust, toxic agents, and dead epidermal layers. It also exfoliates the scalp and unclogs its pores. Furthermore, it improves the blood circulation in the scalp which helps in the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your hair resulting in hair growth and strengthening.

Maintains pH Balance

The optimum pH of scalp skin is 5.5. But regular use of alkaline hair products including shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks increases the pH. As a result, the scalp becomes more prone to the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms.

As clarifying shampoo removes the residues of these products, they also restore the natural acidic pH of the scalp.

Prevents Infection and Dandruff

pH imbalance and oily scalp give way to fungal and bacterial infections. These infections along with pH changes result in the formation of dandruff.

Clarifying shampoos contain antifungal and antibacterial agents like tea tree oil, salicylic acid, ketoconazole, and zinc pyrithione. These ingredients prevent dandruff and give you a clean scalp.

How Often Should You Use Clarifying Shampoo?

Clarifying shampoo is to remove the product leftovers from your hair. So, the usage of clarifying shampoo is determined by the frequency and quantity of hair styling and haircare products you use every day along with the air pollution level of your surroundings.

Recommended Routine Usage

If you are minimalist with your hair routine and you wash your hair with soft water, it is recommended to use clarifying shampoo once a month. However, hair experts recommend using clarifying shampoo once every 2 weeks if you use hair products adequately.

For Swimmers and People Using Hard Water

Swimmers go through chlorinated water frequently. The chlorine gets stuck to the hair and at times starts to decolorize them.

Similar is the case with people using hard water for hair. Minerals get stuck on the hair and make them dehydrated and dull. In such cases, using clarifying shampoo once or twice a week can do the job.

For Oily Scalps

You should use clarifying shampoo once a week if you have thick hair and an oily scalp. As thick hair requires more products to style them, it results in more buildup and a greater need of detoxifying it.

How To Use A Clarifying Shampoo?

Your hair can become worse if you are not using clarifying shampoo in the right way.

Step 1: Wet Your Hair

Just like using your regular shampoo, the first step is to make your hair damp. Run a good amount of lukewarm water over your hair and make them thoroughly wet.

Do not use hot water as it will burn the hair protein. Also, do not use cold water as it will make it difficult to remove the impurities from the hair.

Step 2: Create Lather

Take about one-fourth of a teaspoon of shampoo in your palm, put a few drops of water in it, and rub it between your hands to form a lather. Emulsifying the shampoo before applying it to your hair helps in getting the best out of it.

Step 3: Massage the Shampoo Gently onto Your Scalp

Apply the shampoo on your scalp using your hands. Massage the shampoo into the scalp gently with your fingertips. There is no need to apply the shampoo all the way to your hair length. Because, when you wash your hair, the shampoo will run down along the whole length and clean it all.

Step 4: Leave it for A Few Minutes

Leave the shampoo for 1-2 minutes so that it does its job. The active surfactants of the shampoo bind with the impurities on your scalp during this time.

Step 5: Rinse It Off

Then wash off all the shampoo from your scalp and hair. Use cold water for this purpose as it helps to hydrate the hair. Moreover, make sure that no shampoo is left on your hair roots, tips, or scalp.

Step 6: Apply A Nourishing Conditioner

Clarifying shampoo contains drying agents in it. So, apply a nourishing conditioner afterward. It hydrates the hair, makes them healthier, and prevents split ends.

You should apply conditioner from half the length of your hair to the tips and not all the way to the roots. The application of conditioner to the roots can make your scalp greasy.

Step 7: Wash Your Hair Again If Needed

If your hair is not thoroughly cleansed after using clarifying shampoo once, you can reapply it and wash your hair again. However, in most cases, one application is more than enough.

Do’s and Don’ts of A Clarifying Shampoo


Select the Right Shampoo according to Your Hair Type

Not all hair is the same. So, you should use a clarifying shampoo according to your hair type. Determine if your hair is straight or curly, thin or thick, oily or dry, and natural or treated. Then choose the shampoo that specifically targets your hair type.

Use A Pre-Shampoo Oil Mask

If you have dry hair, it is best to apply an oil mask one day before using a clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoo can leave your dry hair desiccated. So, make sure to provide your hair with extra hydration beforehand.

Checking the Ingredients Before Buying A Clarifying Shampoo

If you use hard or chlorinated water, get a shampoo that has chelating agents like EDTA. It will help in effectively dealing with the mineral and chlorine buildup.

If your hair is naturally thick and curly, choose a sulfate-free shampoo with oils in it. It will prevent frizzing of your hair.


Don’t Use It on Freshly Dyed Hair

Clarifying shampoo is prepared to remove everything that is not natural from your hair. As Dyes are artificial colors, clarifying shampoos can strip them off. So wait for 2 or more weeks after getting hair color.

Don’t Use It Every Other Day

Clarifying shampoos are to help with the buildup on your scalp not for cleaning it every day. So, use clarifying shampoo only when needed as its active ingredients are not suitable for daily use.

It is not for All People

Clarifying shampoo can exacerbate scalp eczema, dermatitis, and skin sensitivity. So, it is not for you if you are suffering from these conditions. However, you can get a mild clarifying shampoo after consulting your doctor.


You might need to use clarifying shampoo whether you are a model who has to use so many hair products, a swimmer who has to swim in chlorinated water often, or simply an office worker who has to travel through a polluted environment every day.

Clarifying shampoo can restore the health of your hair and scalp. However, they should only be used as recommended that is once/twice a month in most cases.

You must read out the precautions, ingredient list, and how-to-use guide of a clarifying shampoo before buying it. As you want to improve your hair texture not destroy it.

Lastly, clarifying shampoo works amazingly to make your lifeless hair lively, if used in the right way, right frequency, and right quantity.

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