As you now clarifying and chelating agents are used to remove product build up and hard water minerals that accumulate on the cuticle layer of the hair. The film that it creates around the hair prevents all moisture from getting in, thus making the hair dry and eventually leading to breakage. That is why you need to clarify your transitioning or natural hair (read Why You Should Clarify Natural Hair). However, how often you do it will vary since some people create more build up than others using the same products. Some may use a clarifying shampoo every month while others every 6 or 8 weeks. That is why you need to know when it’s time to use a clarifying Shampoo on your curly hair.
We all now that using a clarifying shampoo is drying for natural hair and should be kept to the minimum necessary. However, there are occasions when clarifying is the only thing to do to achieve the results you want with your hair. Let me list some situations when clarifying your hair can actually be the best thing you can do.
1| New Hair Regimen/Method
When starting a new hair regimen or hair care method, your hair will need time to adjust to all the new changes you’ll be implementing. It’s quite normal to feel like things ain’t working before you start to notice positive changes in your hair. Clarifying your hair before you start a new hair regimen or method will allow you to have a quicker assessment of whether it is working or not as your hard will be clear of build up and water minerals. It’s like starting with a blank canvas.
2| Chemical Treatment
Whenever you colour, bleach, relax or even use henna on your hair it is always a good idea to use a clarifying shampoo a week or so before your appointment. Many times people complain about the hairstylist’s service or the dyes used when the hair is just covered in a “protective layer”. This is even truer when you have low porosity hair as it tends to resist to this type of hair procedures and products will often just stay on the cuticle layer (read How To Improve Hair Porosity). By deeply cleaning your hair the chemical treatment will work better and the results will be as expected.
3| Ineffective Deep Conditioner
Whenever your favourite deep conditioner suddenly doesn’t give you that moisturising feeling you expect from it then it’s probably time for a clarifying session. It is possible that the emollient, moisturising and conditioning ingredients in your deep conditioner are incapable of penetrating through a layer of product/chemical residue.
4| Lack Of Volume In Fine Hair
Fine hair can be easily weighed down by the use of a moisturiser or a vegetable oil without it necessarily being build up. However, if you notice that even after washing and changing products your hair is still lacking its normal volume then check your calendar as it might be time to deeply cleanse your hair.
5| Protein Treatment
It is always good to remove build up and hard water chemicals from your hair before a protein treatment. Do it a week before your protein treatment and follow with a rich moisturising deep conditioner. What is the point of doing a protein treatment like Aphogee and not get the full benefits for your hair because it can’t penetrate properly to reach the cortex of the hair? Whatever you do please don’t clarify and do your protein treatment on the same day, I wouldn’t advise it. It might be too drying for your hair.
When do you clarify your hair?
Hi Monica..you are very right on clarifying shampoo is drying for natural hair. I follow heena routine for my hair and generally, I do it at home. Guess I should use a clarifying shampoo before doing Heena.
Hi Demi, it’s nice to see you here again! Yes, for better results with your henna hair dye routine it is best to clarify your hair a week before.
My hair is chemically relaxed and I have been doing this for many years. However, recently it has become very dull and the only method to brighten it up has been to use a semi-permanent hair dye.
So far as I am aware, I do not think that I have every clarified my hair. Based on your article and will definitely be looking into this.
Could you suggest a clarifier that you feel may suit me and how often should I carry this out?
Hi Lis, you might not necessarily need to clarify your hair just because it is dull. If you dye and relax your hair regularly the structure of your hair is damaged. The cuticle layers of your hair are open (hair is more porous) and the protein bonds in the cortex of the hair are weaken and exposed to further damage. This will give you dry, dull and brittle hair which will lead to hair breakage. You need to use a regular moisture and protein deep conditioner to help strengthen your hair, that way your hair will have more life. If you still notice that its dull, then it’s time to use the clarifying shampoo and remove build up. That way your hair dye will work better.
Another thing to consider is if your regular shampoo is colour safe. Meaning it won’t strip the colour away and make it look dull. You now have Shea Moisture Professional Color Care line that will help you with that.
You can use any clarifying shampoo just make sure do deep condition after you use it. Read this article to know more about clarifying natural hair.
Thank you so much for the advice. I will give the Shea Moisture Professional Color Care line a try and read the other article you recommended.
You’re welcome Lis!
Regarding Shea Moisture’s Professional Line they have 3 different lines: Curl Care, Color Care and Keratin Care. Because you dye and relax your hair you might want to shampoo with Shea Moisture Professional Vibrant Color Shampoo to prevents color fading and then follow with the Shea Moisture Professional Smooth Finish Conditioner to help reconstruct your hair’s interior.
This professional line is more expensive than the regular Shea Moisture, but with this one the formula is more concentrated, so you don’t need to use as much and it will last you longer. Additionally, all products come in 16oz/450gr.
I actually never acknowledge the importance behind a clarifying shampoo. My hair is very thin and actually is falling out. I did try no poo for a little more than a year, but I haven’t got the hair nirvana that is claimed (probably because I didn’t clarify my hair before starting). What type of clarifying shampoo do you recommend on a budget?
Hi Nelly, the thing with the no poo method is that you still need to clarify once in a while because of product build up, specially is you use serums or styling products that have silicone, vegetable oils or heavy butters. Another thing to consider is if you live in an area with hard water. The minerals in it will deposit on the hair and you also need to remove them. You can use any clarifying shampoo you want, make sure you deep condition after you use it. Read more about clarifying natural hair and hard water.
I hardly have any hair at all, so maybe I shouldn’t be comment on the content. I did learn some things though and my 3 year old may need to learn some of this stuff so I am glad I stopped by.
Chelating – had no clue – but thanks!
I really like the structure and layout of your site, as well.
Hi, Steve! I’m glad you endured through the whole post even without having hardly any hair. Hopefully, it means the info in here was engaging and interesting.
I’ve recently fallen in love with my clarifying shampoo.
I’ve always had tough greasy problems and hard water issues and never knew how to break down the product buildup. I only use it once in a while but man is it amazing.
I clarify when my shampoo isn’t doing the trick anymore.
Hi, Gina! Glad to know you found a shampoo that work for you. A clarifying shampoo main purpose is not meant to remove grease “per se”, although it does that better than a regular shampoo, it is meant to remove the tough build up from products like silicone, oils, water minerals and other ingredients that over time accumulate and become hard to remove with a regular shampoo. You can read these posts about product build up and hard water and how they affect your hair. Thanks for stopping by, I hope to see you here more often.
Coool a really well laid out page my friend and I can tell that a lot of research went in to making this page to, unless of course you are supremely knowledgeable on this particular subject. I found that the site was very informative and the refreshing change was that it was really very helpful to people with hair issues of that type. A job well done I think so give yourself a big pat on the back.
Hi Simon, I’m glad you really enjoyed my space here and thank you for your kind words.