clarifying shampoo to deeply cleanse and get rid of residue in hair
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How Often Do You Need to Use Clarifying Shampoo?

We get questions all the time about what a clarifying shampoo is and whether or not you need one. Clarifying shampoo can be amazing. Here’s why: over time, minerals, hair product residue, and excess oils cling to hair leaving it dull, heavy, and unresponsive to styling. Clarifying shampoos are formulated specifically to trap those impurities and wash them away. It is an excellent addition to your hair care routine if you are an infrequent washer, swimmer, have problems with oily hair, or simply need a scalp refresh. Detoxifying your hair is also great if you have hard water in your area as the minerals can collect and leave residue, if you are looking for more volume, and for uncovering your hair’s natural radiance.

Generally, we recommend using a clarifying shampoo one to four times a month to revitalize your hair and start afresh, but it isn’t for everyone! Read on as we answer frequently asked questions about clarifying shampoos and find out if it is truly right for you.

Is clarifying shampoo the best shampoo for oily hair?

A good clarifying shampoo can be a great shampoo for oily hair. It captures excess sebum at the scalp and rinses it away. However, scalp balance is an essential component to hair health, so watch out for harsh ingredients that clean effectively but leave your scalp dry and irritated. For instance, sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate (a.k.a. sulfates) clean the scalp well but can be too aggressive. They create skin dryness which your scalp will over compensate for by producing more oils. That ultimately leads to oily hair again! The best shampoo for oily hair will always contain balancing, gentle ingredients. Scroll down to see a few of our favorites.

A woman using a shampoo formulated for scalp care.

Will clarifying shampoo give me more volume?

Yes. Sebum, the natural oil at the scalp, weighs hair down starting at the root. Clarification collects excess oils and rinses them away, perking up hair that was once weighed down by sebum and impurities. You will notice the root boost immediately.

Will clarifying shampoo dry out my hair?

All clarifying shampoos are going to be formulated for a deep clean, so they should always be followed by a deep conditioner. We love pairing Cubica® CLARIFY shampoo with the Kente® BOND hair mask. This match made in heaven gently detoxifies the scalp and eliminates buildup, then imbibes hair with restorative moisture.

How often should I use a clarifying shampoo?

We recommend every other week for most, but it depends on how often you are cleansing and what secondary factors you are dealing with. Infrequent washers, those with excess oils, and anyone wanting a regular scalp cleanse may opt for weekly, while others will find that a monthly refresh is all they need.

Is clarifying shampoo safe for color treated hair?

Minerals and product buildup dim your color. Clarifying brightens tone by clearing out residues. That said, clarifying shampoos in general take some color along with the minerals and impurities. If you just colored your hair a vivid hue, got corrective color, or went from blonde to dark, we would not recommend clarifying your hair unless directed by your stylist to do so (she or he may recommend using it just before you come in for a new color service, for instance).

If you are looking for a shampoo for color-treated hair, your best bet would be Rinzu® COLOR shampoo which is specifically formulated to cleanse well while retaining your hair color.

Can I use clarifying shampoo on blonde hair?

If you are a natural blonde or have taken your hair lighter, clarifying shampoos can brighten your tresses right up. Alternate cleansing with CLARIFY and Rinzu® HELIO violet shampoo for optimal color, brightness, and a healthy scalp.  Follow with the Kente® BOND hair mask or Rinzu® HELIO violet conditioner to seal in tone and add reparative shine.

Can I use clarifying shampoo on hair extensions?

Yes, though we have some specific recommendations: Since they are not attached to your head, hair extensions do not have sebum (the natural oil from your scalp) traveling down the hair shaft to moisturize it. Here is how we use clarifying shampoo on extensions: 

clarifying shampoo for hair extensions
  • Prior to installation, shampoo with CLARIFY to clean the hair and provide a strong bond. 
  • When you first have your extensions installed, they have a coating on them which makes hair hard to style. Wash with CLARIFY to remove that coating. 
  • Following removal, use CLARIFY to remove dead hair and residue. 
  • Ongoing, it is important to keep your scalp healthy when you have extensions because dead skin cells collect at the base, so use CLARIFY as often as weekly to detox the scalp.

What are the best ingredients to look for in a clarifying shampoo?

First here is what should not be on the label: Sulfates (SLS/SLES) & parabens. All SEVEN haircare products are sulfate free, paraben free, and cruelty free. As for what should be there, here are a few of our favorites for a deep clean:

  • Eucalyptus: Widely used as for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, eucalyptus oil stimulates and soothes the scalp
  • Rosemary: An anti-inflammatory, antibacterial essential oil that increases circulation to the scalp to stimulate hair growth
  • Willow Bark: Balancing sebum levels and relieving dandruff, willow bark clears pores on the scalp
  • Dog Rose: Often used in skin care to stimulate collagen production, the extract from wild rose hips (rosa canina or dog rose) is high in vitamin C along with other antioxidants and essential fatty acids, making it excellent for cleansing and care
  • Ginseng: An herbal extract that invigorates the scalp and hair follicle to add volume at the root
  • Sage: Rich with antioxidants, sage increases circulation and improves hair follicle formation

What is the best clarifying shampoo?

We may be a little biased, but we think Cubica® CLARIFY shampoo is the best clarifying shampoo out there. Sulfate free, cruelty free, and vegan, CLARIFY is a gentle, essential oil rich shampoo that stimulates the scalp and eliminates buildup from hard water minerals, pollutants, excess oils, and styling product residue.

Is Cubica® CLARIFY shampoo good for hard water or for swimming in chlorine?

Yes, CLARIFY acts as a mild chelating agent. The shampoo collects impurities like minerals from hard water and chlorine from swimming pools and rinses them from hair.

What does chelating mean?

Chelating (KEY-lay-teeng) is the process by which minerals, dirt, oils, bacteria, and impurities are drawn from hair into the droplets of shampoo. They then easily rinse out as you cleanse.

Do I have hard water?

The “hardness” of water refers to the relative levels of minerals in the water. These minerals can include magnesium, calcium, lime, copper, and iron, among others. The harder your water, the more likely your hair will be affected. As hard water dries and evaporates, it leaves behind trace amounts of minerals, leading to moisture being unable to enter or exit your hair easily. To see how hard your local water is, check this reference guide.

Is CLARIFY ok for curly hair that tends to be dry?

Yes. As a deep cleanser, CLARIFY is excellent for scalp health—this is especially important if you wait a few days between washes. That said, even a gentle, sulfate free clarifying shampoo will be less hydrating than shampoos formulated for repair or moisture, so you will want to follow CLARIFY with a deep conditioning treatment like Kente® BOND hair mask

Why does CLARIFY smell so much herby-er than other SEVEN® shampoos?

CLARIFY has no added fragrance. Instead, the scent comes from its key ingredients – aromatic rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils.

Is CLARIFY shampoo good for dandruff?

While Clarify is not specifically formulated as a dandruff shampoo, willow bark treats flakiness while rosemary, eucalyptus, and sage stimulate scalp for ongoing scalp health.

Why does CLARIFY tingle my scalp?

CLARIFY detoxes your hair and scalp. Rosemary, eucalyptus, and sage essential oils stimulate the scalp and clean hair from the follicle. The tingling means it is working!

Still have questions? Discover the right shampoo for you here, dig into the facts on sulfates here, and if you have trouble with breakage, read here to learn what the underlying issue may be.

Related products
Fresh Start kit – CUBICA clarifying shampoo and BOND hair mask
CLARIFY shampoo – an oil rich clarifying shampoo for scalp detox
BOND hair mask - seals and protects hair cuticles
KENTE® BOND hair mask