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12 Best Clarifying Shampoos That Will Leave Your Hair Healthier

Squeaky-clean hair is within reach.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

Clarifying Shampoo Ftrd.com, via amazon.com (2), via functionofbeauty.com

Bye-bye, buildup

If you’ve always thought that clarifying shampoos were only good for certain types of hair, think again. The best clarifying shampoos can have a place in every beauty routine to de-gunk overworked tresses, clear precious scalp follicles, and encourage growth. You can use one in rotation with your favorite shampoo or even as your go-to shampoo if you have oily hair.

“The best clarifying shampoos clear the scalp and hair so you start with a clean palette again,” explains dermatologist Papri Sarkar, MD. “In the past, clarifying shampoos often contained ingredients like sulfates or chelating agents like EDTA. Chelating ingredients bind and hold onto certain materials, which then get washed away. The newer, less-stripping shampoo ingredients may include charcoal, salicylic acid, apple cider vinegar, and other popular ingredients.”

There’s a great clarifying formula out there for everyone, whether you’re looking for a shampoo for color-treated hair, curly hair, or thinning hair. Just keep in mind that it’s essential to pair these products with conditioner so your locks are left manageable and smooth. Hair masks can also help ensure that your hair receives the right amount of hydration. Read on for the right clarifying suds for every hair type, and while you’re at it, find out how often you should be washing your hair in the first place.

Amika Reset Clarifying Gel Shampoovia amazon.com

Amika Reset Clarifying Gel Shampoo

This is one of Dr. Sarkar’s favorite shampoos for removing buildup and grime. “My patients who tend to exercise and use dry shampoo often are the ones I find reaching for a clarifying shampoo like this most often,” she notes. If that sounds like you, here’s what else you need to know: This fan-favorite purges hair of oil, dirt, and sweat while maintaining critical moisture levels and adding volume. It also features a unique dispensing method that takes it from gel to foam.

Pro tip: Using a shampoo with too many added oils is one of the fine hair mistakes you could be accidentally making. A clarifying shampoo can change that and give your hair surprising bounce.

What we love:

  • Ideal for fine hair
  • Adds volume
  • Gel-to-foam formula

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Puriya Scalp Therapy Shampoovia amazon.com

Puriya Scalp Therapy Shampoo

Until recently, all the best clarifying shampoos on the market were packed with color-stripping sulfates that were simply too harsh on colored or chemically treated hair. This Puriya sulfate-free shampoo is a clever solution to that age-old problem, and it can even be alternated with the best purple shampoo for blondes. It’s also great for people with sensitive scalps who are prone to irritation.

“I don’t like patients who have dandruff or dry scalp to use most clarifying shampoos, as they can make their condition worse,” says Dr. Sarkar. “Also, for some patients, especially if the shampoo contains sulfates, it can strip color or affect other chemical treatments like keratin.” If you’re dealing with scalp-related sensitivity or dye or highlight your hair, it’s best to steer clear of sulfates altogether. This relatively affordable formula features an herbal blend of tea tree oil, arnica, sage, and rosemary instead of harsher chemicals. Bonus: It may even improve flaky-scalp issues over time.

What we love:

  • Easy on sensitive scalps
  • Won’t strip hair color
  • Adds hydration through B-complex vitamins

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Loreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Rebalancing Shampoovia amazon.com

L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Rebalancing Shampoo

On a tight budget? If so, this L’Oreal Paris Elvive shampoo has your name written all over it. It costs less than $4, but it boasts a silicone-free formula that’s enriched with three different types of purifying clays to draw gunk out and rinse it away. It’s great from roots to tips, offering excellent hydration that protects against breakage and split ends. Verified reviewer Jessica M. swears that once you try it, you’ll never go back. “I realized just how effective this shampoo was when I ran out and tried another product for a couple weeks,” she writes. “Within 24 hours of washing with another product, my hair looked gross! I switched right back and haven’t had any issues.” Other fans love that it leaves hair soft and shiny, with the perfect amount of volume. Speaking of affordable options, check out these other cheap shampoos that stylists admit to using at home.

What we love:

  • Extremely affordable
  • Uses three types of clay to sop up impurities
  • Hydrates and strengthens hair

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Its A 10 Miracle Volumizing Shampoovia amazon.com

It’s a 10 Miracle Volumizing Shampoo

You probably already know and love this line of nourishing hair products. But you may not realize that the volumizing shampoo also happens to be one of the best clarifying shampoos for color-treated hair, thanks to a sulfate-free and nourishing, non-drying formula that adds elasticity and bounce. Alternate it with your regular shampoo for the perfect balance.

Generally speaking, Dr. Sarkar advises patients to use a clarifying shampoo no more than once a week. “I suggest applying the shampoo to the scalp and roots in particular and massage it in. Leave it on the scalp for at least five to 10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly,” she says, noting that clarifying shampoos can be used almost like a treatment versus the way we might normally think of a lather, rinse, repeat routine. If you don’t have the time or energy to have several bottles in your shower, this It’s a 10 formula is gentle enough to use during every wash, but you won’t want to do that prolonged 10-minute treatment every time.

What we love:

  • Safe for color-treated hair
  • Won’t dry, break, or damage hair
  • Easy to use as a treatment or regular shampoo

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Hibar Shampoo Barvia amazon.com

HiBAR Shampoo Bar

Pack this nifty little solid bar in your carry-on bag and go, because it is by far the best clarifying shampoo for travelers looking to pare down their luggage. It fits in the palm of your hand, lathers up like an old-school bar soap, has zero-waste packaging, and is great for normal and oily hair types. It’s also all-natural, plastic-free, and affordable.

“Fine, dry hair, oily scalp—I’ve tried all the shampoos,” writes one Amazon reviewer. “These little bars have changed my life. Honestly, I now always have good hair days. I went two rounds with just the shampoo and loved them. They last a pretty long time, and I love the fact that they are not in plastic bottles.” If you love this idea, you’ll also want to check out this list of the best all-around shampoo and conditioner bars.

What we love:

  • Perfect for travel or the gym
  • Eco-friendly, plastic-free packaging
  • Great for both men and women

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Headquarters Cleansing Shampoo For Oily Scalp And Rootsvia walmart.com

Headquarters Cleansing Shampoo for Oily Scalp & Roots

This Walmart wonder shampoo is the budget-friendly bottle of your dreams, thanks to naturally clarifying ingredients like grapefruit and basil. It rebalances hair, removes excess oils, purifies the scalp, and leaves that sought-after, squeaky-clean feeling that’s brimming with shine. It’s a relatively gentle formula that’s safe enough to use regularly or as a weekly treatment. Better yet, it ships same-day for Walmart Plus members.

“The lightweight formula leaves a slight tingle on your scalp after washing, making it feel extremely clean and hair feel feather-light,” says one happy reviewer. “I went ahead and discarded all my other shampoos and donated them. I no longer have to look for any other scalp and hair cleanser because Headquarters is far superior.”

What we love:

  • Budget-friendly
  • You can use it frequently or infrequently, depending on your hair
  • Refreshing, clean scent

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Pacifica Rosemary Purify Invigorating Shampoovia amazon.com

Pacifica Rosemary Purify Invigorating Shampoo

Let the natural rosemary in this sudsy, sulfate-free vegan formula clean and freshen your scalp and hair. Each cruelty-free bottle smells like fresh mint, is great for all hair types and congested scalps, and acts as a silky, bubbly magician to remove impurities and buildup from sweat, styling products, dirt, and pollution without stripping hair of added color, chemical treatments, or moisture. It’s also free of parabens and mineral oils.

“Folks, I’ve tried everything. Expensive shampoo. Cheap shampoo. No shampoo (no-poo). Natural shampoo. Essential oil rinses. Apple cider rinses,” writes verified Amazon reviewer Crystalynne. “I have fine hair, and a lot of it, and it is always oily. We are talking wash in the morning, dry shampoo along my hairline at the end of the day oily, and a hearty dry shampoo regimen if I’m going to try to go a day without washing. This shampoo has done what literally no other shampoo has done—I can go three days without washing, and it still looks amazing.”

What we love:

  • Tames oily hair
  • Lets you go longer without washing
  • Safe for color-treated hair

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Verb Reset Clarifying Shampoovia amazon.com

Verb Reset Clarifying Shampoo

This shine-enhancing shampoo is the first step in a three-step system that purifies, hydrates, and removes buildup while giving the scalp a much-needed detox, and it’s particularly good if you have an active lifestyle or workout schedule. It’s color-safe, clear, and great for most hair types, but especially effective for wavy, thick, and slightly dry hair in need of a deep cleaning.

“If you’re the type to wash your hair every day or several times a week, try this clarifying shampoo once a week,” says professional hairstylist Caitlyn Rauh. “If you’re more likely to shampoo your hair once a week, try it as a monthly treatment to reset and clear excess oils and product buildup.” Here are more hairstylist secrets you’ll definitely want to know.

What we love:

  • Good for thick, dry hair types
  • Color-safe
  • No added dyes

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Dr. Yates Md Reset Clarifying Shampoovia yourhairlossexpert.com

Dr. Yates MD Reset Clarifying Shampoo

This is one of the best clarifying shampoos for thinning hair, coarse hair, and curls beyond 3C, thanks to a light apple cider vinegar formula with added flax seed and hemp seed oils for hydration. Coarse, tightly coiled hair needs as much moisture as possible, which is why it’s important to remove debris while replenishing hydration at the same time.

This weekly treatment-style shampoo from Dr. Yates MD comes in a convenient foam pump dispenser to ensure a good lather, removes hard-water mineral deposits and chlorine, and helps balance your hair and scalp’s precious pH level for optimal growth. It adds natural body, shine, and movement while preventing split ends, breakage, and other dry hair-related issues that can cause hair to appear thin or unhealthy.

What we love:

  • Works on coarse, tightly coiled hair
  • Great for thinning hair
  • Convenient pump-style dispenser

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Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoovia amazon.com

Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo

With this formulation, you’ll go deep, purifying your hair and scalp without stripping either of vital hydration. It uses volcanic ash to remove dirt, oil, and product buildup, and the unique aerosol mousse delivery transforms into a rich lather when it hits water. Those are just a few of the reasons it’s one of Rauh’s favorite clarifying shampoos for her clients. “It’s a great luxury splurge option for clarifying, and you can use it as often as your hair needs,” she says.

Here’s one real-world account from a fan on Amazon, who also notes that a little goes a long way: “I get compliments daily on how shiny and healthy my hair looks. In the sunlight, its shine reflects nearly iridescent! That’s without weighing hair down, drying it out, or looking oily. You’ll be left with nothing but a soft, super clean, and healthy look and feel. No shine products required—just shampoo and conditioner, if you like.”

What we love:

  • Doesn’t dry out hair
  • Aerosol foam delivery system
  • A little goes a long way

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Function Of Beauty Custom Formulavia functionofbeauty.com

Function of Beauty Custom Formula

It’s a brave new world of shampoo and hair care options, and if you have combination-hair needs—like an oily scalp, product buildup problems, and the simultaneous need for color protection, curl definition, and hydration—a built-just-for-you shampoo from Function of Beauty could be your best bet. (It also makes a terrific personalized gift for beauty lovers.) If you want a clarifying shampoo, check the “oily” box when asked about your hair’s needs and the company will add gentle clarifying ingredients to that formulation.

You can also choose from your preferred scent and color (or none at all), and even give your customized formula a special name to remind those who may share your shower to keep their hands off.

What we love:

  • Addresses combination-hair needs
  • Totally customized for your hair and scalp
  • Premium function at real-world prices

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Joico K Pak Reconstructing Shampoovia amazon.com

Joico K-PAK Reconstructing Shampoo

This daily-use shampoo is made for especially thirsty, dry strands that need a deep cleaning after one too many leave-in conditioning treatments, oily conditioners, and styling products. It offers a rich lather, damage-repairing keratin, and protective guajava fruit extracts to fortify weak strands while removing impurities and dirt. Nearly 1,200 Amazon reviewers give it five stars, with one claiming that “it makes your hair feel thicker, scalp feel cleaner, and makes hair more manageable.” For another genius product that works similar magic, try this $10 Hairstory scalp brush.

What we love:

  • Repairs damaged hair
  • Rich lather coats every strand
  • Leaves hair soft and manageable

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Bryce Gruber
Bryce Gruber covers gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce at RD.com, although you've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting topics at TheLuxurySpot.com, Bravo, Parents.com, Martha Stewart, and on your TV screen through national talk shows including The Tamron Hall Show. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children. Find her on social media at @brycegruber.