What Does Clarifying Shampoo Do?

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Looking to reinvent your hair routine? In that case, you might be wondering, what does clarifying shampoo do? Find out all the basics about this important product with our guide.

Benefits of This Product

The main point of this product is in the name: it’s meant to clarify your scalp.

But what does that mean, exactly? Turns out, there’s several different ways that this product can help your hair.

The main way, is that it clears out product buildup and oil.

Take a second to think of everything you can put on your hair.

There are your regular washing products, like conditioner. Then there’s any leave-in serums or oils. And you may even use styling products, like gel, mousse, pomade, or hair spray.

And that’s not even including the natural oil that your scalp produces.

Even just one of these things can leave behind build-up. And build-up leads to dull, weighed-down, greasy looking hair.

And the worst part is, a regular washing routine isn’t going to get rid of all of that. Normal shampoo can help clear away some oils and some product residue, but it won’t get everything. In fact, it can even leave its own residue behind!

Clarifiers get rid of all of that.

They’re designed to break up any residue, oil, or build-up, to leave you with hair that’s truly clean.

In doing so, they’re also the perfect prep step, before you deep condition or do a mask. By getting rid of all the old stuff, clarifiers make way for your new treatments. That helps make them more effective.

Other Benefits

In addition to getting rid of residue and oils, these products can also help clear out other things as well.

If you live in an area with hard water, definitely try out these products. They can help get rid of any residual minerals in your hair.

In the same way, they can also get rid of chlorine! For anyone who loves to swim, this is a great product.

Lastly, by getting rid of everything that weighs your hair down, clarifiers can make hair more voluminous.


The main downside to clarifying is that it can dry out your scalp if used too often.

Some level of oiliness is necessary to keep your hair shiny and healthy. Take that away, and your hair will become brittle, dull, and damage prone.

That’s why it’s important not to clarify too often. Stick to once a week, at most. (Although you can go for twice a week, if you have excess oiliness, or use lots of products.)

Another downside to clarifying is that it can make hair more staticky. It’s a minor inconvenience, but it’s something to keep in mind if you plan on styling after using this product.

Natural Options

If you’re not ready to try out different products, go the natural route instead.

Apple cider vinegar is a natural clarifier that you can use. Just put some in a spray bottle or condiment bottle, and apply it to your hair in the shower.

This option has the added benefit of promoting scalp health as well.

Why Clarify?

Clarifiers are the perfect product to work into your hair routine. They can help keep your hair volumized and healthy if you:

  • Use lots of hair products
  • Have a naturally oily scalp
  • Swim often
  • Live in a hard water area

But even if you don’t see yourself on this list, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to clarify. Clarifying is still the best way to get clean hair, and also to prep hair for different treatments.

Plus, if you’re not interested in testing out or using new products, you can even do it naturally! Just use apple cider vinegar instead of a shampoo or product.

Just remember that you can’t use these options too often. Stick to around once a week, depending on how often you wash your hair.

Overall, there’s no reason not to try adding this step into your hair routine. If you were wondering, what does clarifying shampoo do, now you know why it’s such an important product.

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