Do you ever have days when your hair feels greasy or heavy and simply won’t behave? If you swim in a chlorinated pool, does your hair feel tangled and hard to comb? If so, it’s probably time for a clarifying treatment.
Hair products, minerals from tap water, swimming pool chemicals, you name it – over time they can all build up in your hair. All of this gunk can make hair look weighed down, limp, oily and dull. Clarifying shampoos will remove these built-up deposits, giving hair a new start and leaving it shiny and healthy-looking.
How Frequently Do You Need to Clarify?
It really depends on what you put your hair through from day to day. If your tap water is very hard or you use lots of product, it may be best to use a clarifying treatment every week or maybe even twice weekly. Swimmers who expose their hair to pool chemicals on a daily basis may even clarify more than twice per week. But if your water is soft and you don’t use much product, you can get away with clarifying only once every two months. On average, most people should probably be clarifying once or twice every month.
How to Clarify?
Clarifying shampoos are used the same way as regular shampoos, more or less. Use a quarter or nickel sized amount and massage it into just your scalp for at least one minute. There may not be much of a lather, especially if there is a lot of oil and build-up in your hair, but this is not a problem.
Once you’ve completed this step, pour out a smaller quantity and work it into the rest of your hair. This time you should see plenty of lather. Then, allow the lather to stay in your hair for one or two minutes (just enough time for a quick leg shave). This resting time allows the clarifying shampoo to dissolve all the built-up hair product. Next, be sure to rinse very, very thoroughly. If your locks are in particularly bad shape, you can repeat the whole process.
Use conditioner as normal, though you may find you need a little more than usual. Clarifying shampoos do not contain any hydrating ingredients, unlike regular shampoos, so conditioner will help prevent drying.
Which Clarifying Shampoos Work the Best?
Almost all lines of professional hair products include a clarifying treatment, and the same is true of store brands. There is not really a noticeable difference in how well they work. At my salon and at home, I use the Cleansing Cream by Redken. Kenra also makes a good clarifier that is so gentle it can be used as your daily shampoo, and it won’t cause colored hair to fade. Your own stylist probably has a favorite, and can tell you which one is the most appropriate for your particular hair and lifestyle.
Are Clarifying Shampoos Safe for Colored Hair?
In general, yes. Just be sure not to use them too often, as they can make the color fade faster if overused. Wait a few weeks after coloring, and then only clarify once per month at the most.
What Should You Do If Clarifying Doesn’t Help?
If you try clarifying your hair and it doesn’t seem to be making a difference, it’s probably time to see your stylist, who can use a stronger clarifying treatment. This is especially true if you are a dedicated swimmer or if your tap water is very hard.