How and Why You Should Clarify Your Hair (Plus a DIY Recipe!)

Your hair is exposed to toxins, chemicals and pollutants every day, just like your skin. However, hair is a little bit different; anything it’s exposed to can gradually build up, leading to dull, lifeless-looking hair. In addition to the chemicals and pollutants in the air, heat and styling products such as hair sprays, gels and creams can build up on your tresses.

With all of the potential for build-up, it’s no surprise that most beauty experts recommend a good cleaning for the hair every month or so… And that’s where clarifying shampoos come in.

What is Clarifying Shampoo?

Clarifying shampoos (as well as clarifying conditioners) are similar to regular shampoos and conditioners, only they are specially formulated to clean deeper. They help remove buildup from styling products, pollutants and hard water that can otherwise begin to weigh down your hair over time.

“These shampoos can be used by anyone, especially if you feel your hair is not cooperating or if it seems a bit lifeless. Those are signs of product buildup,” hair stylist Paul Labrecque of Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa told Harper’s Bazaar.

How to Clarify Your Hair

Unlike most shampoos and conditioners, you shouldn’t use clarifying shampoos and conditioners for every wash. Most experts recommend clarifying your hair once a month. Using these products too much can strip your hair of the natural oils it needs to stay healthy, moisturized and shiny.

Other than that, there isn’t much you need to know about how to clarify your hair. After finding a good natural shampoo and conditioner that are labeled as “clarifying,” simply follow the instructions on the bottle. That will usually mean washing your hair with a quarter-sized drop of shampoo, followed by a 2-3 minute conditioning treatment.

Best Natural Clarifying Shampoos

If you’re looking for a natural, cruelty-free clarifying shampoo, you have plenty of natural shampoo options. Here are a few of my favorite natural brands:

You can also clarify your hair once a month with this easy DIY at-home recipe:


Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 cups warm water
½ cup apple cider vinegar


  1. First, clean the hair with the baking soda and water combo. Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with 2 cups of warm water. Apply all over hair and scrub as you would when shampooing.
  2. Squeeze half of the lemon juice over the crown of your head. Now, apply the rest of the lemon juice over the strands of the hair. Work through the hair with your fingers so that the lemon juice is evenly applied. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes, as this will help break up residue and hard water.
  3. Rinse the lemon juice out of the hair. Your hair will probably now feel squeaky clean and a little bit dry. Pour the ½ cup of apple cider vinegar over the hair, and if necessary, dunk the ends of your hair into the ACV so that it is evenly applied. Rinse and you’re done.

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hELEN hEARFIELDabout a month ago


Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Shailja Mukhtyar
Shailja Mukhtyar9 months ago

gr8--easy to find/easy to use- no excuses!!!

Angela K
Angela K9 months ago

Aww .... so amazing and loving men :-)

heather g
heather g9 months ago

Apple cider vinegar has a tendency to get into my eyes - ouch!

Mike R
Mike R9 months ago


Cathy B
Cathy B9 months ago

Thank you for posting.

Winn A
Winn A9 months ago


Ruth S
Ruth S9 months ago


Chrissie R
Chrissie R10 months ago

Thank you for posting.