The Best Clarifying Shampoos For Your Curls

By Sabrina Perkins
If your hair continues to feel dry after consistently applying moisturizers, oils, and styling products, it could be a sign that your curls need to be cleansed. I know it sounds backwards, but when your curls don't seem to absorb any of the products you are applying, clarifying shampoos are necessary for removing the severe build-up of product, dirt, and oil, which are preventing your strands from absorbing moisture. Sometimes moisturizing shampoos or cleansing conditioners do not cleanse effectively enough.
Clarifying shampoos should be used sparingly in a curly-hair regimen, as they can dry out your hair and strip it of the necessary oils, but if you're using heavy products or notice your hair has become limp or lifeless, it may be time for a thorough cleaning. Don’t get me wrong: Some curlies have eliminated shampoos that no longer contain ingredients like silicones and even mineral oil. If your freshly washed hair feels sticky or coated, you should try a clarifying shampoo.
What Is A Clarifying Shampoo?
The main ingredients in many clarifying shampoos are surfactants. Surfactants are used to remove dirt and oil from the hair. Many clarifying shampoos contain tea tree oil, peppermint oil, or eucalyptus oil. Even better, the cleansing and anti-bacterial properties of these oils aid scalp conditions. Click through for more clarification on our top 20 clarifying shampoos.
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NaturallyCurly’s 2014 Editor’s Choice is a sulfate-free powerhouse shampoo. It gets its superior ability to cleanse from the blend of mandarin orange extract while the sea kelp provides moisture.
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This dual-purpose shampoo removes the dirt, product, and oil necessary to clarify the hair, which allows your curls to transform from limp and flat to full of body. White willow bark extract along with other purifying agents help to remove all the residue that make your curls looks dull and weighed down.
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Another scalp tingling favorite, this shampoo is salon-quality at your fingertips. It’s got a blend of certified organic botanicals (tea tree oil and peppermint) that clarify while moisturizing your hair and scalp.
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This shampoo contains fruit acids that gently remove salt-water residue, chlorine, and hard-water minerals. There is a special blend of lemon, grapefruit, and orange flower extracts that remove all the pollutants while staying gentle to your tresses. This is a great option for color-treated curls.
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This triple threat shampoo will have your scalp tingling, rejuvenated, and refreshed as it strengthens the hair with a three-organic-oil-blend to clarify and condition the hair while stimulating the scalp.
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Remove the heavy build-up and debris with the powerful pineapple and grapefruit extracts in this shampoo. They also add sheen to your curls!
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This sulfate-free cleanser adds shine and removes debris without stripping your hair. It is safe for color-treated hair and allows easy absorption of other styling products.
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Armed with honey, hemp oil, and green tea extract, this shampoo bar both clarifies and moisturizes your hair. Made from all natural ingredients, it’s an antiseptic and humectant wrapped into a bar.
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This gentle plant-derived shampoo is enriched with vitamin E, wheat protein, aloe, chamomile, and lemon to clarify your hair without stripping it of its essential oils and moisture.
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This affordable clarifier revitalizes dry hair while removing build-up. It’s perfect for all hair types and has an intoxicating fragrance.
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With aloe barbadensis leaf juice, sunflower seed extract, and grapefruit extract, this clarifier hydrates, protects, and cleanses all hair types. It removes buildup, pollution, chlorine, and hard water. This clarifier is highly recommended for use after swimming.
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Another milder clarifying shampoo, Sebastian Stark Naked Unisex Shampoo is extremely gentle and suitable for curlies with dry hair.
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With a deep cleansing formula that boasts of not stripping your hair’s natural moisture, this exfoliator removes dirt, excessive oil, and build-up in order to reveal the natural shine of your curls.
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Specially formulated with rosemary and quillaja bark, this detoxifying shampoo will re-vamp your hair with its deep cleansing abilities.
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This product is amazing for scalp issues like dandruff, eczema, and psoriasis. It is sulfate-free and uses only natural and certified organic ingredients. It also removes product build-up with calm scalp irritants like tea tree oil and willow bark extract.
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You get a no-frizz finish with this definer that holds your curls and your style for days. This creates optimum wash and go styling and it’s great for any hair length.
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Infused with herbal extracts to reduce drying time, this green tea clarifying shampoo gets your tresses immaculately clean with only one application. It will leave your curls shiny, bouncy, and full of life.