Hit refresh on your hair with these 9 clarifying shampoos
The product you need to bring dull, lacklustre hair back to life
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / November 18 2018
Ever get the feeling like some days your shampoo just stops working? While your first instinct is to blame the shampoo itself, the culprit is likely your hairstyling products (among other factors). You see, your regular shampoo does a great job of cleaning away everyday products, dirt and oils, but sometimes it needs to call upon a friend that has a little more oomph. That’s where a clarifying shampoo comes in.
What is a clarifying shampoo?
Also known as a deep cleansing shampoo, think of them as an exfoliant to your cleanser, or a mask to your moisturiser. They work harder and deeper than your shampoo, but...they can be too much for everyday use. Overuse one and you might strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving your tresses dry and unbalanced. Use it on occasion and you will get that just-stepped-out-of-a-salon, refreshed hair feeling on the regular.
We’ll take the latter, thanks.
So what does clarifying shampoo do? It removes an excess build-up of all those styling product and even hair treatments you apply every week, as well as other hair-dulling elements like pollution and daily grime; in addition to excess sebum that can leave your roots oily and limp. And if you have coloured hair, it may be just the ticket to refresh and brighten your colour in between salon visits, too.
Good to know: While you may think your dry shampoo has your oily roots issue covered, it might actually be contributing to the problem. Regular use of dry shampoo causes build-up on the scalp, which - you guessed it - requires a clarifying shampoo to clear.
Who should use a clarifying shampoo?
Clarifying shampoo is best for oily hair (because it rebalances excess oil) and fine hair (because your hair is more prone to being weighed down by product build-up). Dry hair can use one, too, but just remember that since clarifying shampoos have one job - giving your hair and scalp a super clean - most don’t contain conditioning agents like normal shampoos do. So, you should either look for one that does (we’ve found some for you below!) or follow up with a hair mask to replenish natural oils.
How to use a clarifying shampoo
The way to use a clarifying shampoo is the same as a regular shampoo, although the more care you take to really massage it into your scalp, the move effectively it will remove everything that’s not supposed to be there. Clarifying shampoos aren’t meant to be used daily, or even weekly. Except maybe in summer when your influx of water-based activities cause an additional build-up of chlorine and saltwater. Rather than stick to a timetable, let your hair tell you. When it’s dull, unmanageable, limp or extra greasy, it’s time to use a clarifying shampoo.
Ok, so now that you’re well-versed in all the good deeds a clarifying shampoo can do, it’s time to equip yourself with one that actually works. We asked our Beauty Crew team and SUPERcrew members to share their picks for the best clarifying shampoo in Australia - these are the ones they love.
#9 / Green People Clarifying Vitamin Shampoo
Formulated with 82 per cent certified organic ingredients, this purifying shampoo works to rid hair of a build-up of styling products like hair gel, hairspray and hair wax, as well as chlorine. It restores dull hair back to shiny and nourished. The soothing formula is suitable for scalps prone to eczema and psoriasis.
The review: “A shampoo that cleans deeply as well as adding shine! My hair feels clean and fresh without being stripped of natural oils. This is also ethical and kind - no SLS, vegan, cruelty-free, no alcohol, and 10% of net profits go to charity!” Milan, SUPERcrew member
#8 / Noughty Detox Dynamo Clarifying Shampoo
This sulfate-free clarifying shampoo has no nasties in its 97 per cent natural formula. It contains peppermint and sorrel leaf extract to gently detox hair, removing a build-up of products, hard water and pollution, all while keeping strands moisturised. A blend of plant oils help reduce damage to leave hair strong and smooth, while the peppermint scent makes for a nice wake up call in the morning.
The review: “I love this for many reasons - firstly, no animal testing, no parabens, no sulphates and no silicones. Secondly, it is actually a great shampoo that cleans deeply but doesn't strip my hair, it adds moisture and makes my hair feel smooth and really clean. Also, it is a great price!” Georgia, SUPERcrew member
#7 / L’Oréal Professionnel Instant Clear Pure Shampoo
Normal to oily hair types, this one’s for you. More than just a great anti-dandruff shampoo, it shifts excess oil, styling product residue and hard water build-up so you’re left with a clean slate. Without causing irritation. Also suitable for colour treated hair and dry strands, the formula is enriched with a hydrolipidic film that cares for the scalp with an anti-greasy effect while anti-calcareous citramine handles the clarifying duties.
The review: “L'Oréal Professionnel Série Expert Instant Clear Scalp Care is an anti-dandruff shampoo that is designed to rid the scalp of any residue, dandruff and oil. I personally don't suffer from too much dandruff, I just love how this feels and the results it gives. This feels like it actually gets deep down and exfoliates the scalp but does not feel harsh or irritating at all. While the scalp is clean it surely does not dry out the hair. It is left completely balanced and soft.” Becka, SUPERcrew member
#6 / Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt
This detoxifying formula may come in the form of a scrub, but it works just like a deep cleaning shampoo. Working on any hair and scalp type, from sensitive to oily, the formula contains 100 per cent plant actives, including the hero ingredient sea salt, which gently exfoliates away build-up and gives the scalp a luxurious massage to boost circulation and rebalance natural oil production.
The review: “While technically not a shampoo, this cleansing and purifying scrub is perfect for my fine and oily hair. Formulated with sea salt, the scrub effectively removes any build-up of product or impurities from my scalp, leaving it feeling squeaky clean and refreshed. Because it is such an effective detox treatment, you will need to apply a hair mask or nourishing conditioner after rinsing to rehydrate your ends.” Kate Niven, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Writer
#5 / Hair Recipe Strawberry & Mint Cleanse Shampoo
A great cheap buy that smells heavenly, you won’t find any silicones, parabens, gluten or mineral oil in this formula. Instead, what you will find is your hair finally looks and feels thoroughly cleaned, rebalanced and dull locks are replaced with a glossy, healthy sheen.
The review: “Every time I use this shampoo, I receive a barrage of questions such as ‘did you just get your hair done?’, which is a true testament to how effective its deep cleansing formula really is. Plus, who can resist a sweet fruity scent like strawberry and mint in the lead up to summer?!” Iantha Yu, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Editor
#4 / Moroccanoil Deep Cleansing Shampoo
If you put your hair through the works - be it using a lot of hair treatments and styling products, or exposing it to environmental elements like pollution, chlorine, mineral impurities and so on, then you’ll find this formula the multitasking hard-worker you need. The addition of argan oil and avocado oil in this shampoo also means it nourishes hair while it deeply cleans, so as not to strip hair of its natural oils.
The review: “I find I need to use a cleansing shampoo about once a month, just to remove excess oils and return to a clean slate. I like this one from Moroccanoil because I only need to apply it once (I find I need two washes with many other deep cleansing shampoos) and it doesn’t leave my hair feeling dry. The formula is effective, gentle and nourishing - everything you need in a clarifying shampoo.” Chelsea Tromans, Beauty Crew’s Contributing Editor
#3 / Redken Clean Maniac Micellar Clean-Touch Shampoo
Yep, micellar water is an excellent cleanser for your hair, too. The micelles in this sulphate-free and silicone-free formula attract product build-up, dirt and impurities like a magnet to gently yet effectively clean hair. It does a beautiful job of restoring your mane back to its swishy, shiny glory. It also neutralises bad odours (regular gym-goers, you’ll especially love it).
The review: “My favourite deep cleansing shampoo is Redken Clean Maniac. It cleans out oil-based dyes with ease and any other product residues in your hair, but it doesn't make the hair feel brittle.” Aneta, SUPERcrew member
#2 / Christophe Robin Clarifying Shampoo
Christophe Robin is one of our favourite clarifying shampoo brands, with more than one product in their range that gives hair that deep-clean feeling. This one is particularly great for coloured hair - chamomile and cornflower in the formula help to brighten hair colour by boosting highlights. We also love it because it gently washes away hard water residue, chemical products and silicone. Hello, vibrant, bouncy, shiny tresses.
The review: “This gentle clarifying shampoo from French brand Christophe Robin gets rid of dullness, product build-up and excess pigment to leave hair shining. It’s also free from parabens and phthalates. Win.” Sally Hunwick, marie claire’s Beauty Director
#1 / TRESemmé Deep Cleansing Shampoo
Gotta love a product that costs this little and that you can pick up at your local Coles or Woolworths during your weekly grocery shop. Especially when it works as hard as its luxe counterparts. Suitable for all hair types, this shampoo contains vitamin C, grapefruit and lemon for a thorough but gentle clean.
The reviews: “I am loving the Deep Cleansing Shampoo by TRESemmé to eliminate any build-up of previous products I've used, such as heat protectant sprays or even dry shampoo, which can leave my hair looking a little dull. After using at least once a week, my hair is more vibrant, looks shinier and feels softer!” Alex, SUPERcrew member
“I have very oily hair and TRESemmé is the only shampoo that has ever left me looking clean and fresh for more than 20 mins. It’s not harsh on your hair or scalp and doesn’t strip essential oils. If they ever discontinue I'll be knocking on their door until it’s remade!” Anne, SUPERcrew member
For the guys out there looking for the best clarifying shampoo for men, check out this list.
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Do you use a clarifying shampoo? What’s your favourite deep cleansing shampoo?
Main image credit: Getty
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.