How Often Should I Use Clarifying Shampoo?

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  • Written By: Anne Kostuchik
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2019
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How often a clarifying shampoo should be used primarily depends on the number of styling products a person applies to his hair and in what frequency. Hair-styling aids — including mousse, gel, spray, and conditioner — leave behind residue that builds up over time and can't always be eliminated by regular shampoo. Eventually, these excess deposits weigh down hair, making it appear lifeless, drab, and dull. Most professional stylists recommend using a clarifying shampoo once or twice a month to restore natural bounce and shine.

Hair care products typically contain silicone, a compound that forms a watertight seal around the hair shaft to protect it from heat and sun exposure. Over time, however, silicone buildup can clog hair follicle pores. Deep cleansing opens pores, preventing more serious scalp conditions. To maintain a healthy scalp, a person using multiple styling products on a daily basis should perform a clarifying wash once a week.

Situations that call for more frequent applications include swimming. Chlorine and pool chemicals are extremely harsh on hair. The same holds true for hard water, which contains damaging mineral deposits. After a swim, a person should shower immediately to minimize exposure.


Different hair textures call for varying amounts of styling material. Thicker hair usually needs more gel and spray, while thinner hair requires less. The same applies to hair that's too oily or dry. If a clarifying shampoo is used at least once a week, conditioner should be added afterward to lock in moisture.

This type of shampoo often contains acetic acid, a chemical compound made to strip away buildup from the hair shaft. Overuse can deplete moisture, making hair weak and brittle, while color-treated hair tends to fade more quickly after multiple washes. In these cases, a clarifying product should only be used once a month; someone who has just undergone a color process should wait several weeks.

All hair types — curly, straightened, fine, and chemically processed — can benefit from routine use of a clarifying shampoo. A stylist can narrow down which one will best meet an individual's needs. Professional brands, sold in most salons and beauty supply stores, generally are more highly concentrated than over-the-counter types available at grocery and department stores.

Shampoos with higher concentrations call for using smaller amounts. Hair thickness helps determine how much is needed. An average wash usually calls for a gob as small as a nickel, but no larger than a quarter.


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Post 4

Sometimes, if you go from a naturally darker hair color to a lighter one, you won't even need a clarifying shampoo. Since the chemical process strips your hair of color and moisture, using a strong shampoo like this could make your hair very tangled and dry.

I got blond highlights a few years ago, and my formerly oily hair that had to be washed every other day with clarifying shampoo no longer required so much maintenance. I liked being able to skip a day between shampoos.

However, once my roots started to show, I needed the clarifying shampoo again to keep the oil away. Still, I only used it a couple of times a week to spare the colored part of my hair from the stripping of moisture.

Post 3

I own a swimming pool, and I was using a clarifying hair shampoo every night to get the chlorine out. Since chlorine dries hair out, though, this was making my hair as dry as hay.

So, I started dampening my hair and slathering it with conditioner before entering the pool. This provided a barrier that most of the chemicals couldn't pass, and it saved me from having to use this harsh shampoo every night.

Now, I use the shampoo every two weeks. The conditioner I put on beforehand also keeps my blonde hair from turning green in the pool, so I don't have to worry about deep cleansing after each swim.

Post 2

@shell4life – You must have thick hair. Mine is pretty thin, so I only use a hair clarifying shampoo once a week.

I would like to use it more often, because my hair is very oily. However, the shampoo just makes my hair too fluffy if I use it more than once a week. It gets it so clean that it frizzes out, and I have to use conditioner, which I normally don't use, because it weighs down what little hair I have.

So, most of the time, I just use a shampoo formulated for normal to oily hair. This strikes a balance and tides me over until my weekly clarifying session.

Post 1

I used to use a heat activated spray on my hair. I had no idea that it could be clogging my pores!

I suppose it's a good thing that I was using a daily clarifying shampoo at the time. I'm pretty sure it must have had a low concentration of active ingredients, since it was safe to use every day.

I could tell that it really got my hair clean. In fact, there was no moisture left behind at all. I had to use a moisturizing conditioner afterward to be able to even comb through my hair.

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