Clarifying shampoos are specifically designed to cleanse the scalp and hair thoroughly. They are used to remove build-up caused by hair products such as oils, gels, sprays, and conditioners.
The buildup can clog pores and weigh down the hair, making it look dull and lifeless. Clarifying shampoos work by stripping away the accumulated build-up, leaving hair feeling refreshed, and allowing it to breathe.
People who use a lot of hair products, swim in chlorinated pools, or have oily hair may benefit from using clarifying shampoos. However, there is a concern that frequent use of clarifying shampoos can damage hair.
How clarifying shampoos work on hair
Clarifying shampoos contain a high concentration of surfactants that help to remove dirt, oil, and product buildup. Surfactants are molecules that have a hydrophobic (water-repelling) and hydrophilic (water-attracting) end.
When shampoo is applied to the hair, these molecules surround the dirt and oil, allowing them to be lifted away from the hair shaft.
Clarifying shampoos are usually more acidic than regular shampoos, which helps to break down and remove the buildup from the hair. However, the high concentration of surfactants and acidic pH can strip natural oils from the hair and scalp, resulting in dryness and damage.
Chemicals present in clarifying shampoos
Clarifying shampoos contain a range of chemicals that can be harmful to hair when used frequently. Some of the common chemicals found in clarifying shampoos include:
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
- Sodium chloride
- Cocamidopropyl betaine
- Ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS)
These chemicals can cause dryness, breakage, and weaken the hair over time. However, not all clarifying shampoos contain the same chemicals, and some may be gentler on the hair than others. It is essential to read the label before purchasing a clarifying shampoo and choose one that is free from harsh chemicals.
|Common chemicals found in clarifying shampoos||Harmful effects on hair|
|Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)||Can strip natural oils from the hair and scalp, resulting in dryness and damage|
|Sodium chloride||Can cause dryness and breakage|
|Cocamidopropyl betaine||Can cause scalp irritation and allergic reactions|
|Dimethicone||Can cause product buildup on the hair and scalp, resulting in heavy and greasy hair|
|Ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS)||Can cause dryness and irritation|
|Polyquaternium-10||Can cause product buildup on the hair and scalp, resulting in heavy and greasy hair|
Does frequent use of clarifying shampoos damage hair?
Frequent use of clarifying shampoos can damage hair by stripping it of its natural oils, causing dryness, breakage, and split ends. Clarifying shampoos should not be used more than once a week, as they are formulated to remove buildup and not meant for everyday use. People with dry or curly hair should avoid using clarifying shampoos altogether or use them sparingly, as these hair types are more susceptible to dryness and damage.
Hair that is already damaged or weakened should also avoid clarifying shampoos, as they can further damage it. People who have recently undergone chemical treatments such as coloring, relaxers, or perms should avoid clarifying shampoos for at least two weeks after the treatment, as they can strip the color and weaken the hair.
The effects of clarifying shampoos on colored hair
Clarifying shampoos can be particularly damaging to colored hair, as they can strip the color and cause it to fade. Colored hair needs special care, and clarifying shampoos can cause it to become dry and brittle. It is recommended to use a clarifying shampoo that is specifically designed for colored hair, as it will be gentler on the hair and scalp.
People who have recently colored their hair should wait at least two weeks before using a clarifying shampoo, as the color needs time to set. After that, clarifying shampoos should be used sparingly and no more than once a week. It is also essential to condition colored hair regularly to keep it hydrated and healthy.
Natural alternatives to clarifying shampoos
If you want to avoid using clarifying shampoos, there are several natural alternatives that you can try. Apple cider vinegar is an excellent natural clarifier that can remove buildup and restore the pH balance of the hair. To use it, mix one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water and apply it to the hair. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing it off with water.
Baking soda is another natural alternative that can remove buildup from the hair. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one cup of hot water, and apply it to the hair. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing it off with water. However, baking soda can be harsh on the hair if used too frequently, so use it sparingly.
Conclusion: Clarifying shampoos and hair care
Clarifying shampoos can be a useful tool in hair care, but they should not be used too frequently or by people with dry or chemically treated hair. It is essential to read the label before purchasing a clarifying shampoo and choose one that is free from harsh chemicals.
Colored hair needs special care and should use a clarifying shampoo that is specifically designed for colored hair. People who want to avoid using clarifying shampoos can try natural alternatives such as apple cider vinegar and baking soda.