The Best Clarifying Shampoo for Curly Hair

In this article, you will discover the best Clarifying Shampoo for Curly Hair. Clarifying is one of the most critical and often overlooked components of a healthy hair routine, this is why in this post, I’ll show you the best deep cleansing shampoos for curly hair. The fragility of curly hair, more infrequent shampooing sessions and thick products can lead to excessive product build-up, adversely affecting our hair and scalp health. Today we will discuss what clarifying is, when you should do it, and how to incorporate clarifying shampoos into your Curly Girl Method routine to optimize your hair’s health.

Curly hair, while beautiful and unique, requires special attention and care to be in its healthiest state. Our hair is often drier and more fragile than other hair types. We often need to use thicker styling products and layer several products to keep our hair properly hydrated and to enhance our hair’s natural texture. Excessive shampooing can dramatically dry curly hair, so wash days are often completed only once a week or every other week.

The best clarifying shampoo for curly hair

With so many clarifying shampoos on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide, what is the best clarifying shampoo for curly hair?

It’s essential to look at your products’ ingredients before purchasing them. While avoiding formulas containing drying alcohols is best, it may not always be avoidable. As long as the alcohol is in lower concentrations, it will be okay.

  1. KinkyCurlyComeClean

    01 Kinky Curly Come Clean

    This sulfate-free shampoo is perfect for dehydrated hair that’s been damaged from exposure to hard water. This innovative shampoo is powered with Phytic Acid, a natural chelating agent that will remove damaging minerals caused by hard water. Mandarin orange extract will power through build-up while nourishing Sea Kelp will restore moisture.

    Brand: Kinky Curly
    Size: 237 ml
    Curly Girl Method suitable: Yes

  2. BounceCurlGentleClarifyingShampoo

    02 Bounce Curl Gentle Clarifying Shampoo

    If your hair has product build-up and you need a deep cleanse, this gentle clarifying shampoo is perfect! Unlike traditional clarifying shampoos, this is powered by powerful enzymes and active ingredients.

    For example, pumpkin, pomegranate enzymes, and lactic acid will gently exfoliate the scalp and effortlessly clear away sebum, dirt, and product build-up. Instead of traditional sulfates such as SLS and SLES, this shampoo uses a gentler alternative called Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate that gives the shampoo its high-lather texture without it being too stripping. This shampoo is suitable for all hair types but is especially beneficial to individuals with oily scalp or fine hair.

    Brand: Bounce Curl
    Size: 238 ml
    Curly Girl Method suitable: Yes

  3. Curlsmith_DetoxScrub_150x150 Kopie

    03 Curlsmith Wash & Scrub Detox Pro-Biotic

    Curlsmith has developed a range of products especially for sensitive scalps. This scalp scrub cleanses your scalp and creates a healthy scalp environment with a blend of live probiotics and microorganisms, so that you have the best conditions for your hair growth.
    Brand: Curlsmith
    Size: 237 ml
    Curly Girl method suitable: yes

  4. Bouclème Clarifying Shampoo

    04 Bouclème Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo

    The Bouclème Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo is a luxurious haircare treatment designed to rejuvenate and nourish your curls from the roots to the ends. Enriched with the stimulating properties of Spearmint, moisturising qualities of Sweet Orange, and soothing Marjoram, it provides a calming, cooling sensation to stressed hair. This clarifying shampoo gently exfoliates using hydrogenated castor beads, eliminating product build-up and dead skin cells from the scalp. It also effectively purifies by removing unhelpful bacteria and impurities, setting the stage for stronger, healthier, and more vibrant hair. With its spa-like detox effect, it ensures your locks remain bouncy and resilient while sporting a fresh, shiny appearance.

    Brand: Bouclème
    Size: 250ml
    Curly Girl Method suitable: yes

  5. Aromatica Rosemary Scalp Scaling Shampoo

    05 Aromatica Rosemary Scalp Scaling Shampoo

    Aromatica Rosemary Scalp Scaling Shampoo is a haircare product designed to rejuvenate the scalp. It gently removes stubborn dead skin cells and infuses each hair strand with essential moisture for a softer feel. This Clarifying Shampoo formulation includes rosemary, a well-known ingredient for its scalp and hair benefits.

    Brand: Aromatica
    Size: 13,53 oz / 400ml
    Curly Girl Method suitable: yes

  6. Mixed Chicks Clarifying Shampoo

    06 Mixed Chicks Clarifying Shampoo

    If you need a deep cleanse to remove build-up, the Clarifying Shampoo is the best option. However, you should only use this shampoo once a month or for a deep cleanse. It has a rich lather and is enriched with nourishing oils and moisturizers to balance moisture levels within the hair shaft. It also contains a low percentage of silk amino acids and biotin to strengthen the hair.

    It’s perfect for all curly types of porosity.

    Brand: Mixed Chicks
    Size: 300 ml
    Curly Girl Method Suitable: No, contains sulfates

  7. Carols Daughter Clarifying Shampoo

    07 Carol's Daughter Wash Day Delight Clarifying Shampoo

    Carol’s Daughter Wash Day Delight Clarifying Shampoo represents a game-changer in the industry. This product features a unique water-to-foam formula that utilizes micellar technology and aloe to cleanse the scalp and hair efficiently without stripping moisture. Initially, it might appear as water, but once applied, it transforms into a lightweight, airy foam that deeply purifies the scalp and hair, removing build-up, oil and impurities while maintaining hydration.

    The sulfate-free formula is designed to make wash days a delight rather than a chore, offering a quick, thorough clean that leaves curls feeling refreshed and hydrated. Its innovative micellar technology acts like a magnet to attract and lift away dirt and buildup, ensuring a deep clean without harshness, making it an ideal choice for anyone seeking a gentle yet effective clarifying shampoo.

    Brand: Carol’s Daughter
    Size: 16,9 oz / 500 ml
    Curly Girl Method suitable: yes

Don’t be afraid to look at reviews online! Find your hair twin (someone with a similar curl pattern and porosity) on social media and see what products they love.

Kinky Curly Come Clean is one of the most popular clarifying shampoos on the market, and Bounce Curl Gentle Clarifying Shampoo is also an excellent choice.

What is clarifying?

In the simplest terms, clarifying is like hitting the reset button for your hair. Clarifying dissolves and removes built-up deposits from the hair shaft and scalp. These deposits include residual product build-up, excess sebum, environmental pollutants, and dead skin cells. All these deposits gradually leave a coating on the strands of your hair and scalp. This build-up can cause irritation and inflammation of the scalp and cause weak, brittle hair.

Why is it important to clarify?

Excess build-up can cause your hair to look dull. But even worse, it can prevent your products from fully penetrating the hair shaft, resulting in dryer hair that becomes more fragile and increases your risk for excessive breakage.

Clarifying your hair removes the residual coating left on the scalp and hair strands and allows you to obtain a deeper and more thorough cleanse.

How do I clarify my curly hair?

There are several ways that you can clarify your hair. For example, some curly girls use apple cider vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice. However, the easiest and perhaps safest method is to use a clarifying shampoo.

What does a clarifying shampoo do?

Several brands use terms interchangeably, such as deep cleansing, purifying, detox, or balancing. However, no matter the term, the goal is to cleanse and clarify the scalp and hair shaft thoroughly.

These shampoos contain more surfactants (cleansing agents) and fewer conditioning agents than traditional shampoo. In addition, the intensity of the formula allows the clarifying shampoo to dissolve excess sebum, product build-up, and debris to cleanse the scalp and hair more efficiently and thoroughly.

Clarifying shampoos can also contain unique active ingredients to provide further treatment. Standard components include:

  • Salicylic acid exfoliates the scalp deeply
  • Tea tree oil to combat bacteria and fungi
  • Charcoal to absorb impurities and grease

How do I incorporate clarifying shampoo into my Curly Girl Method routine?

Shampooing is the first step in the Curly Girl Method routine. Clarifying falls underneath that step and is an essential part of the routine you shouldn’t ignore! Incorporating clarifying shampoo into your Curly Girl Method routine is very simple.

Firstly, before beginning the Curly Girl Method, it’s essential to use a clarifying shampoo to purify your hair and scalp thoroughly. A proper cleanse will help your hair adapt quicker and more readily to your new routine.

Once you’ve adopted the Curly Girl Method, you only need a clarifying shampoo instead of your regular shampoo or co-washes for deep cleansing sessions. However, you shouldn’t use it every wash day.

Remember that clarifying shampoo can also cause your hair to become more prone to tangles and knots. After using it, follow up with a great conditioner with a lot of slip so you can properly and efficiently detangle your hair. Finish up with a nourishing hair mask to restore moisture to your strands.

How often should I use a clarifying shampoo in my Curly Girl Method routine?

While the frequency largely depends on the styling products you use, a good rule of thumb is to clarify at least once every one to two months. You may need to clarify your hair bi-weekly if you’re heavy-handed with your styling products.

However, the best way to determine your hair’s specific needs is by paying close attention to it and the warning signs.

clarifying shampoo

How do I know if my curly hair needs clarifying?

It’s essential to pay close attention to your hair to pinpoint when it’s time to clarify. Here are some crucial indicators that it might be time to clarify:

  • Your hair looks unusually dull or dry
  • Your conditioning products are not penetrating as deeply as they used to
  • Your hair seems unusually frizzy
  • our hair will not hold its shape or style
  • Your hair looks greasy and dirty even after washing
  • Your scalp is feeling congested, itchy, or irritated

When you notice these signs, giving your hair a good clarifying treatment can solve these issues.

Is clarifying shampoo okay for curly hair?

Yes! It’s vital for all hair types, and curly hair is no exception.

There is no need to be afraid of clarifying shampoo if you’re a curly girl. However, built-up deposits on the hair shaft can be even more damaging in the long run than a single wash with a clarifying shampoo. It can prevent the hair from absorbing the moisture from your products, leaving you with brittle curls.

However, it’s crucial not to go overboard with clarifying. The intense cleansing agents in clarifying shampoo can dry out your hair if you use it too often.

What is the difference between shampoo, chelating shampoo, and clarifying shampoo?

Think of the three as products with different intensities, with regular shampoo being the gentlest and chelating shampoo being the most extreme. Regular shampoo is perfect for a weekly or biweekly wash. It’s not too aggressive and will dissolve sebum, dirt, and styling products without stripping the hair.

The difference between clarifying and chelating shampoo is a bit more intricate. While the primary goal of the two products is essentially the same, there is a key difference between a chelating shampoo and clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoo strips away build-up that coats the scalp and hair strands and is sufficient for most Curly Girl Method routines.  On the other hand, a chelating shampoo deeply penetrates the hair strands’ inner layers to remove the build-up of mineral deposits inside the hair. This treatment is best for hair that has absorbed and been affected by recurrent contact with hard water, chlorine, or salt water.

When should you avoid using a clarifying shampoo?

You should avoid using a clarifying shampoo if you’ve recently colored your hair within the past week. Clarifying shampoo can strip away color deposits in the hair, zapping your fresh new color’s vibrancy and leaving behind dullness and unevenness.

It might be a process of trial and error, but once you find something you love, you’ll be all set!

The Curly Girl Method: Clarifying Shampoo

It’s crucial not to overlook clarifying as it’s one of the most critical steps in a healthy hair and scalp routine.

Because the Curly Girl Method requires layering of styling products, keeping an eye on your hair and identifying the signs of build-up is essential. Knowing when and how to clarify your curly hair properly will ensure it’s at its optimum health, so it stays strong, healthy, and bouncy.

Profilbild Laura
About the author

I've been a curly girl since I was little. 💝 But it wasn't until I discovered the right curl care for me that I learned to understand my curls. I'm happy to pass all this on to you - so that you too can learn to love your curls.

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