What Is A Clarifying Shampoo, And Why You Need One In Your Routine

Bye, bye build-up.

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The humble shampoo has definitely come a long way. We're now using purple shampoos to nix brassy tones in blonde hair, blue shampoos to ditch warm colours in brunette hair, and we've even stumbled across a couple of amazing anti-thinning ones. Not to mention the strides that dry shampoos have made lately.

But while we're blissfully applying product to our hair, we're not exactly thinking about what's getting left behind. Not to mention the 'hard water' that's lurking in our pipes and settling into our hair follicles.

In comes the clarifying shampoo. Also known as detoxifying, or purifying, shampoos, these particular products has been developed to detox the scalp, and eliminate build-up.

Here, we spoke to hair guru Christophe Robin, Founder of Christophe Robin haircare, and Barney Martin, the Australian Creative Director for R+Co, to find out exactly how clarifying shampoos work, and if we should totally ditch our regular shampoos for the cleansing kind.

WHAT IS A CLARIFYING SHAMPOO?

Of course, all shampoos are geared towards cleaning your hair and removing excess oils, but they tend to leave a lot behind. "Clarifying shampoos deeply cleanse and reset the hair fibre to eliminate residues such as dry shampoos, serums and styling product build-ups," says Robin.

According to Martin, clarifying shampoos also work to remove chlorine and any hard water residue from the hair.

HOW DOES A CLARIFYING SHAMPOO COMPARE TO A REGULAR SHAMPOO?

While your stock-standard shampoo will revert to powerful detergents to clean the hair, there are many different clarifying shampoos on the market that turn to gentle but effective natural ingredients for their incredible detox properties.

They also ditch any extra ingredients that are totally unnecessary when it comes to cleaning the hair and scalp. "Clarifying shampoos contain fewer conditioning agents as they are designed to remove deposits, not add new ones," says Robin.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING A CLARIFYING SHAMPOO?

"Clarifying Shampoos are formulated to remove stubborn build-ups from hair like slippery silicones, hard waxes, moisturisers, oil serums and styling products," says Robin. Apparently, even standard shampoo and conditioner can build up their own residue on the hair and scalp over time if not washed out properly.

As mentioned before, clarifiers will also remove mineral deposits from the hair left by hard water, chlorine and other harsh chemicals that stick to the hair, which often affects hair colour, and "make hair look and feel heavy, and overtime, dull."

"Using a clarifying shampoo removes any environmental build up, and simply gets your hair to the cleanest place," says Martin.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU USE A CLARIFYING SHAMPOO?

While Robin believes that one cleanse a week is enough, Martin is a little more flexible with his clarifying routine. "You should use a clarifying shampoo right after you've been swimming in either chlorine or saltwater, or if you have an excess of styling product in your hair."

ARE THERE ANY NEGATIVES TO USING A CLARIFYING SHAMPOO?

There are very few negatives to using a clarifying shampoo, but one shortfall of clarifier is its habit to leave your hair a little dry. Both Martin and Robin agree that clarifying shampoos containing minimal conditioning ingredients. "As clarifying shampoos contain less moisturising agent and more cleansing agent, with overuse hair can feel dry," says Robin.

Martin also adds that if you do require any extra conditioning, simply follow your clarifier with a conditioning product that suits your hair needs.

SHOULD A CLARIFYING SHAMPOO REPLACE YOUR REGULAR SHAMPOO?

A clarifying shampoo is sounding pretty damn appealing by now, right? So should we ditch our regular shampoos completely? "Our hair washing routine is very similar to our face cleansing routine, and a facemask or exfoliator once a week for a deeper cleanse to stimulate skin cell renewal and purify our skin," says Robin.

He believes that you should think of your clarifying shampoo, or even scrub (like Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub), as your once-weekly exfoliating ritual in tandem with your regular shampoo regime.

IS THERE A SPECIFIC HAIR TYPE THAT WOULD BENEFIT FROM A CLARIFYING SHAMPOO?

If one particular hair type would benefit from using a clarifier in particular, both Robin and Martin agree that a clarifying shampoo is would work wonders for those with oily hair. "The idea is to rebalance the scalp and avoid it getting oily again," says Robin. "Oily scalps are one of the main reasons for hair loss, so it's important to do a deep cleanse once a week."

Martin also believes that those with fine hair would thrive with the use of a clarifier. Considering how sparse fine hair can be, excess oil tends to show up more in finer hair in comparison to other hair types.


This story first appeared on ELLE.com.au.

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