The Best Clarifying Shampoos

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What to Look For

Clarifying shampoo, sometimes referred to as deep-cleansing shampoo, is specially designed to deep clean hair and scalp and remove styling product buildup from the use of mousse, gel, hairspray and hard water residue. Clarifying shampoos contain more cleansing agents, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, than traditional shampoo. Look for the shampoo bottle to state clarifying or deep cleansing on the package and read the ingredient label to check for sodium lauryl sulfate. For a natural alternative, wheat grass removes product buildup in hair and is generally more gentle.

Common Pitfalls

The most common downside to clarifying shampoo is that it can dry out hair because of the increased amount of cleansing agents. Some users complain of dry, itchy scalps as a side effect of using a clarifying shampoo too frequently. They also can fade hair color more quickly than traditional shampoo.

Where to Buy

Many hair care brands have a clarifying or deep-cleansing shampoo in their product lineup, and therefore these shampoo types are available at drugstores, salons and spas and natural food specialty stores. If you already have a favorite hair care brand, check the company's website to see if they have a clarifying shampoo in their collection.


Clarifying shampoo, like many hair care products, have a large range in cost depending on where the product was purchased. Drugstore clarifying shampoo, for example, typically retails for $1 to $10. Professional salon clarifying shampoos are more expensive and usually retail for $15 to $30 and natural and organic clarifying shampoo can retail from $10 to $20.

Insider Tips

If hair is very dry or damaged but you still need to remove product buildup, try a volumizing shampoo instead of a clarifying shampoo. The volumizing formula will help remove the product buildup that can dull hair and weigh it down, while being gentler on hair and scalp.