How to Clarify Your Hair at Home

With the consistent application of styling products and other chemical treatments, how do we give our hair a reset and allow it to take a breather? The answer is clarifying shampoos! You heard that correctly; the how, when, and why to use a clarifying shampoo will be discussed in this article.

What is a Clarifying Shampoo?

Clarifying Shampoo
Instagram / @verbproducts

Clarifying shampoo removes product build-up, grime, excess oils, minerals, and anything else that could weigh your hair down. It’s a way to cleanse your hair more thoroughly than regular shampoo or cleansing conditioner.

Clarifying shampoos also helps to get rid of emollient. Emollients, which work to lock in moisture and are beneficial for our hair, are present in most hair products. However, too much sealing causes the hair shaft to suffocate and become unable to absorb any more moisture, which leads to dryness from the inside out, brittle ends, and hair damage.

Clarifying is very different from shampooing because it addresses several scalp and dry hair problems. And also, If you have previously damaged, straightened, treated, or generally unhealthy hair and are trying to return to your natural curl pattern, clarifying is the first step.

Clarifying Vs. Chelating Shampoos

A cleaning component called surfactants is present in clarifying shampoo. Surfactants work well as cleansers. 

The main drawback is that they remove natural oils from hair during the cleaning process; as much as it is advised to steer clear from sulfate-containing shampoo but to get your hair rid of product build-up properly, you would have to incorporate using a clarifier in your wash routine.

Clarifying shampoos is sometimes not considered deep cleaning because it is limited to removing product buildup, excess oils, and dirt. Now, this is where a chelating shampoo comes in. 

A chelating shampoo removes heavy buildup from hard water minerals, pool water chemicals, and regular hair product residue. Chelating shampoos have independents like the EDTA complex that works by binding to the impurities, minerals, and toxins that are then washed away.

Common Ingredients in Clarifying Shampoos

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Sodium Laureth sulfate 
  • Ammonium lauryl sulfate
  • Ammonium laureth sulfate
  • Disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate
  • Disodium Laureth sulfosuccinate
  • Sodium coco sulfate
  • Sodium cocoyl isethionate
  • Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate
  • Sodium C14- C16 olefin sulfonate

Signs that you need to Clarify your Curly Hair

Clarify Hair
Instagram / @taming.waves

The sheer volume of signage can surprise you! Although many people know these symptoms, they turn to protein treatments to alleviate them when all they need is to clarify.

Instead of being deficient in protein or moisture, curls are frequently trapped beneath debris, oil, product build-up, and mineral build-up layers.

  1. You swim either in the saltwater or chlorine-filled pool or in the sea.
  2. You’re not obtaining the same outcomes with the same products as before, almost as if your products are no longer effective.
  3. Hair feels heavy, and conditioner and other moisturizing products are no longer absorbed.
  4. You only co-wash, and you have fine low-density hair.
  5. Frizz, dandruff, and a dry, itchy, and flaky scalp. Frizziness can also be an indication of build-up in addition to being caused by a lack of moisture.
  6. Oily and greasy roots even after using a co-wash or low poo. 
  7. More hair is falling out of you than usual. The accumulation of product build-up in the hair follicles might obstruct growth and result in hair loss.
  8. Hair breakage and dull-looking, lifeless, limp curls that lack definition and bounce.
  9. Your hair is becoming increasingly drier and straw-like.
  10. Your hair has low porosity. Compared to other varieties of porous hair, this hair develops product buildup puffers more frequently. Low porosity curlies require clarifying to function correctly!
  11. Get ready to color, highlight, low light, or find chemical treatment for your hair; if the cuticle is coated with oils, it might interfere with the treatments.

Pre-poo Treatment before Clarifying

Pre-poo vs. no pre-poo / Instagram @ciara_chanel

Pre-pooing involves utilizing an oil treatment to soften, detangle, and improve the manageability of your hair as you get ready to shampoo it. Most curlies avoid clarifying because they feel that it would make their hair dry out and also feel it’s meaningless to put oils in only to wash them out later but pre-treating your hair before washing it hydrates and protects it from harm.

Choose the oil you want to use to begin the oil treatment process. Almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, argan oil, and olive oil are all preferred options; if your scalp or hair is greasy, you might want to use a less fatty oil. Because they are easily absorbed, jojoba and almond are great choices.

Heat 3 to 6 tablespoons of the oil in the microwave for 10 seconds, or you may warm the oil up a little by dipping a bowl of it into hot water. After the oil has warmed, divide your hair into manageable sections and distribute it evenly throughout. Next, massage the oil into your scalp.

The scalp is massaged to increase blood flow, which encourages hair growth. A shower cap should be worn over your hair for 30 to 60 minutes, or you can add a silk or satin bonnet and leave it on overnight.

How to Clarify Curly Hair

Clarify Hair before and after
Instagram / @coffeecurlygirl

Drench your hair in the water, and add a clarifying shampoo massaging into the scalp. Give your hair a thorough rinse, and if you feel like your hair needs more wash, go in for a second cleanse. Several homemade products could serve as clarifiers; adding a little baking soda, sugar, or salt to the shampoo and gently massaging the scalp would do the trick based on their exfoliating properties. 

Apple cider vinegar also works; mix raw apple cider vinegar(ACV) and water in a nozzled bottle at a 3:1 ratio, shake it, and wait a little while. Add conventional shampoo first in this situation, then after washing, apply ACV directly to the scalp and rinse. After clarifying, deep condition to moisturize and nourish your curls.

Apple cider vinegar is an acid, neither a chelating substance nor a detergent, yet it adjusts pH levels and gives shine. Consequently, it has a limited capacity to remove oil, debris, or buildup.

It could rinse out some of that product residue because acidic treatments may temporarily expel the charged particles found in conditioners and some styling products. If not applied carefully, it can potentially harm your hair.

Using a Deep Conditioner

Conditioners are great for detangling hair, reducing friction, eliminating frizz, and overall improving hair health. They are also great for repairing split ends and preventing hair damage.

Apply your deep conditioner to your hair shaft after shampooing, working your way up from the tips to the roots. The conditioner should be distributed evenly into the hair ends using a wide-tooth comb.

Put your hair in a bun and cover it with a shower cap. Keep the deep conditioner in your hair for 30 minutes or more, depending on the directions for the specific product. After washing the deep conditioner out of your hair, let it air dry.

How often to Clarify? 

It depends on your hair type, needs, and lifestyle. So, listen and pay attention to how your hair responds to products and how it feels. I’d recommend clarifying your hair between 3- 5 washes.

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