When to Use Clarifying Shampoo

When to use clarifying shampoo is a question that my hair clients ask me all the time, especially those who use more than their fair share of hairstyling aids such as gel, mousse and hairspray. I have been a hairstylist since 1983 and lost count a long time ago how many times I have answered said question. The answer is that it won’t be the same for everybody due to amount and type of hairstyling aids used as well as the texture of the hair.

Those with fine hair should be mindful of hair product buildup as it weighs hair down rendering it limp and lifeless. A hair clarifying shampoo can fix this problem, but may add another problem, which is drying hair out. The solution here is use mousse after the clarifier, since it has conditioning as well as hair managing properties. Those who use a ton of hairstyling products need to use clarifying shampoos more often than those who do not.

The only exception that to go by when it comes to the use of clarifiers is before a hair chemical service. It is recommended to use a clarifying shampoo before color or perm, so that there is no build up to hinder penetration of the chemicals into the hair. This helps the color or perm to take better and last longer.

To add to this, when hair has other sources of build up such as chlorine, well water, hard water deposits or anything stronger than hairstyling aids it is better to get a Malibu treatment to completely remove them. These build ups cause hair damage and should be removed before color, perm or any chemical service.

Then, there is the choice of salon clarifying shampoos vs drugstore clarifying shampoos. I use salon hair products more than drugstore products on my own hair due to the fact that I color my hair and I prefer them. The trick is to alternate them with the salon hair products being dominant. Drugstore hair products can’t do much damage when alternated with salon products, especially when you use a salon clarifying shampoo to remove the build up.

There are good and bad salon hair brands just as there are good and bad drugstore brands. It takes trial and error to find the good and bad of both. Of course, what works for one person may not for another depending on hair care factors and hair texture.

It also takes trial and error to know when to use clarifying shampoo. If it is making hair too dry then you may need to do it less often or apply mousse or light conditioner afterward. When hair is oily, weighed down and not responsive to styling it’s probably time to use a clarifying shampoo as well as alternate hair products.

In other words, sometimes good old common sense is our best guide.

Articles of interest:

Hair Color Precautions and Preparation

Good Shampoos for Chemically Treated Hair