Clarifying Shampoos For Natural Hair

If your hair feels unusually dry, difficult to manage or style, then your hair is in need of a deep cleanse. Because of the incredible amount of styling products we apply to our natural hair each day, these products build up on the surface of the hair and start to weigh down your roots. The resultant effect means that your moisturizing and styling products won't work like they used to. Your kinky coils won't flourish or look their best either.

This is when deep cleansing your hair with a clarifying shampoo comes into the big picture.

What is a clarifying shampoo?

A clarifying shampoo acts as a deep cleanse which can easily remove product buildup, dirt, grease and silicones from the surface of the hair and scalp. Unlike your regular shampoos, clarifying shampoos are sulfate-free and gentler on the hair. When shopping for a clarifying shampoo, look out for ones that are;

  • Sulfate-free
  • Contains emollients
  • moisturizing agents
  • and has plenty of slip

You can also use your clarifying shampoo as an exfoliative for your skin. 

Why do you need a clarifying shampoo for your natural hair?

For extremely dry hair: Kinky hair is naturally dry which makes it more prone to breakage. However, your hair can also get extremely dry as a result of product build up or gunk on the surface of your hair. To enable your natural hair to effectively take in your moisturizing and deep conditioning products, you need to clarify your hair with a clarifying shampoo.

Staying in an area with hard water: Hard water is water that contains large amounts of minerals and metals like calcium and magnesium. Some naturals who live in areas with hard water, wash their hair with it. These minerals in the water can stick to the hair shafts, causing build up which keeps moisture out of the hair and makes it excessively dry. A clarifying shampoo helps to get rid of these minerals and let in moisture back into your strands.

For naturals who swim often: Taking a quick dip in the ocean or pool can be more than just fun and games. The chlorine and salt water in the water can stick to your hair and make it really dry. The best way to remove these harsh chemicals and give your hair a fresh clean is by clarifying your hair.

How often should you use a clarifying shampoo on natural hair?

Incorporating a clarifying treatment into your natural hair routine too often can be drying for your hair. So you should use your clarifying shampoo moderately, at least once a month. How often you can clarify your hair could also be based on factors like if you have excessively dry hair or swim often.

It is recommended that you follow up your clarifying shampoo with a deep conditioning treatment so your hair isn't stripped of all its moisture.

What is the best clarifying shampoo for natural hair?

Clarifying shampoos can be drying so it is important to buy ones that are much gentler on the hair and scalp. Here are 5 best clarifying shampoos you can use for your natural hair.

Kinky Curly Come Clean Moisturizing Shampoo

This is a sulfate-free cleanser made with Mandarin orange extract, white willow bark and sea kelp which remove buildup from the scalp and restore  moisture into the hair. This blend of organic plant and fruit extracts gently cleanse the scalp and hair.

3 honest reviews of the Kinky Curly Come Clean Moisturizing Shampoo

@thecurldiva on Instagram said,"So I took the hair type quiz on naturally curly.com a few months ago and discovered that I have low porosity hair and products with protein are not my friend. So these two new products Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo and Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Conditioner are protein free and leave my hair soft clean and finally WITHOUT buildup."

@ayymoi on Instagram said, "I first used Kinky Curly Come Clean over the weekend for wash day. It has a pleasant orange fragrance that isn’t overwhelming and is very light. A little goes a long way because it lathers so easily as well. Upon massaging my scalp with it, my hair was stripped completely of any and all buildup from dirt, oils, sweat etc. I know this because my hair felt coarse (& even a little dry) and I could literally HEAR how clean my hair was. This shampoo DEFINITELY puts the squeak in squeaky clean!"

Estelle on NaturallyCurly said, "This item is very nice to use and can detangle as it is cleaning. I like the lather it has and it does have a very nice fragrance. It does moisturize like it says."

Shea Moisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo

This deep cleansing shampoo is packed with plantain extract, willow bark extract and tea tree oil which acts as a gentle cleanser to remove buildup from styling products and moisturize dry itchy scalp.

3 honest reviews of Shea Moisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo

Shelly of GlamNaturalLife said, "This African soap shampoo left my hair feeling a little stripped but my scalp was clean and all signs of flakes from my eczema had disappeared. Most of the time when I shampoo my hair I have to do it twice because some part of my scalp would be white, that’s just a problem that people who suffer with eczema experience. However, after one wash with a very small amount my scalp was really clean and I can go right into the conditioning process."

Patrice of Afrobella said, "Shea Moisture’s Black Soap shampoo lathers but not to excess, just enough to make your scalp feel sudsy. The scent might not be for everyone – to me it’s mild, inoffensive and “clean”, but if you’re used to highly scented hair cleansing products it may take you by surprise. I rinse my hair and especially my scalp with lukewarm water."

"I'm loving this shampoo so far, it doesn't foam up like other shampoos, it feels more like a cleansing conditioner. It cleans my hair, but at the same time detangles when I shampoo so I lose less hair when I wash. It smells like slightly herbal but disappears after your hair dries. I recommend this for people with both dry scalp and hair, and people with oily scalps! I will purchase again."-Cassandra on Amazon.

Devacurl Buildup Buster Hair Cleanser

This hair cleanser with micellar water cleansing serum gently removes buildup from the scalp and hair without stripping the hair of its much needed moisture.

3 honest reviews of Devacurl Buildup Buster Hair Cleanser

Daily of DailyCurlz said, "Most clarifying shampoos contain non- safe ingredients but DevaCurl Buildup Buster has ingredients that not only clean your scalp and hair but also leaves the hair super soft, while the jojoba oil helps balance your scalp’s natural oil."

Deena of Allure said, "I put the product to work, and to my surprise, micellar water was just as effective on my scalp and hair as it is on my skin. My tight curls were squeaky-clean, but not in an annoying oil-stripping way that’s hard to recover from. And the Buildup Buster was loaded with abyssinian-seed oil and jojoba that also delivered moisture and shine. I was pleased."

Jessica of Jessoshii said, "Another amazing thing is that the formula doesn’t dry out my scalp or cause flaking after my shower (which has always been an issue for me).  What it does is make my hair dry faster, leaves it feeling more lightweight and bouncier than usual, and also adds a healthy amount of shine and smoothness."

Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo

With a natural blend of ginseng root, rosemary leaf and sage leaf extracts, this clarifying shampoo removes harsh chemicals, dirt and products build up from the hair while soothing the scalp.

3 honest reviews of Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo

Lily of LilyPebbles said, "I wish I could actually use this every Sunday as the name suggests but I hate washing my hair so therefore would not ruin my perfectly good Sunday doing so. I will be using this every other or every third wash from now on as it was fab! I really worked it into the roots of the hair and then followed with a conditioner on the ends. It didn’t strip or dry out my hair at all but it did give it that clarifying feeling and remove any excess product build up from all the masks and heat protectors I pile onto my hair."

Anna of TheAnnaEdit said, "This super clarifying shampoo leaves my hair feeling squeaky clean. I don’t use a lot of product in my hair but it does get quite greasy quickly and since using this I have been able to wash my hair only twice a week which would have been unheard of before."

Sfbeautyxo of Debenhams said, "Online it is described that “Sunday Shampoo is perfect for product junkies, as it gently absolves your hair of sins without leaving it unmanageable” - which I totally agree with! Before using it I thought it would leave my hair really dry and tangled but it didn’t! My scalp felt really refreshed, my hair was left so clean and it didn’t feel dry at all."

Avalon Organics Clarifying Lemon Shampoo

Made from a rich combo of natural ingredients like aloe, vitamin E and lemon oil, this shampoo can be added to your natural hair regimen for removing product build up and gunk from the hair.

3 honest reviews of Avalon Organics Clarifying Lemon Shampoo

Lindsey of SustainablySavvy said, "The Avalon Organics Shampoo smells like pure lemon (what a surprise, right?) but not like the Mr.Clean lemon scent… It lathers relatively well, though you can tell that it is lacking the nasty SLS + SLES to strip your hair of oils. I have very thin hairs on their own, but I have a lot of them which makes my hair super thick – with this shampoo it can certainly feel like you haven’t put enough on to clean your hair."

Leah of LeahatHome said, "It promises to bring out natural highlights in your hair and it actually delivers! I started to see honey gold highlights come out in my hair after only a week of use."

Roberta of Lololi740 said, "It cleans superbly. It definitely removes a month's worth of product, sebum, and pollution from my hair. My hair feels rough to the touch after using it. That is to say that I can feel that there is no product remaining on my hair. That being said my hair does not tangle and knot up after the wash."