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How to Use Clarifying Shampoo on Curly Hair

These sudsy formulas are like the SuperMan of hair cleansers.
20 Jul 2022
Shampoo and natural hair are, well, frenemies at best. And when it comes to clarifying shampoo for curly hair, well that’s just downright scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Clarifying shampoo for curly hair is a must, but there’s definitely a time and place for this supercharged formula. When curls start looking limp, lifeless, dry, frizzy or even greasy, clarifying shampoo is the way to go. Adding a clarifying shampoo to your curly hair product routine can eliminate bad hair days, wiry texture and give your curls a little life. Keep reading to learn more about clarifying shampoos for curly hair including what they are, how to use them, when to layer them with other products like a hair mask, and how to find the best clarifying shampoo for curly hair.

What is a clarifying shampoo?

Clarifying shampoos are the superhero of all shampoos. Traditional shampoo is like a mini broom that cleans up messes and spills, but clarifying shampoos are like the most powerful vacuum on the market. Like regular shampoos, clarifying shampoos cleanse the hair and scalp of dirt and debris, but they also are powerhouses when it comes to removing build up. These deep cleaning formulas are often laced with harsh cleansers like sulfates that can break down and wash away even the deepest of oils, dirt, grime and product buildup, so strands can reset to the baseline of clean.

Do I need clarifying shampoo for curly hair?

This is a tricky question. In most cases, sulfate-free shampoos are best for curly hair. But there are specific times and occasions when clarifying shampoos are needed. If your strands look or feel oily, greasy or limp after shampooing or if you lean on a half-dozen products to perfect your daily wash-and-go routine, chances are you may want to consider using a clarifying conditioner from time to time.

There aren’t any specific rules when it comes to using these sulfate-infused shampoos, except they shouldn’t be your go-to cleanser. Reach for a clarifying conditioner once a week or a few times a month, if needed, but don’t overdo it. Clarifying shampoo formulations are drying and even though they can help to get your hair squeaky clean, overuse will result in dry, hay-like hair in a matter of days. The rest of the time, use a formula like Monoi Repairing Sulfate Free Shampoo or Black Vanilla Sulfate-Free Shampoo Bar.

Clarifying Shampoo for Curly Hair


What should I look for in a clarifying shampoo for curly hair?

Choosing the best clarifying shampoo for your hair type comes down to a few key points. Keep reading to learn how to find your perfect clarifying shampoo for curly hair.

Look for moisturizing ingredients

Not all clarifying shampoos have sulfates, but most do, so you want to look for formulas that are chock-full of other hydrating ingredients to offset the extreme dryness that sulfates can have on your curls. Things like shea butter, coconut oil, castor oil for hair or even hyaluronic acid can impart extra moisture to your strands, so they’re not left dry and fragile. The Goddess Strength Fortifying Shampoo with Castor Oil is a great option that helps to minimize breakage, moisturizes and cleanses the hair with each use.

Use a pre-poo

Pre-poos are a great way to ensure all product build-up is removed during your next deep cleansing session. The Goddess Strength Ultra-Shield Pre-Poo helps to detangle and add moisture thanks to the blend of castor oil, ginger and black cumin seed. Simply apply it to dry hair, leave it to sit for 10 minutes, rinse and follow with shampoo and conditioner.

Tips for properly using clarifying shampoo

Now that you’ve picked your perfect formula, it’s time to lock down the method. And while this may seem mundane, proper washing technique will help you from overdoing it when using such a powerful formula.

Work it through your scalp

Instead of slathering clarifying shampoo all over your curly hair, focus on the roots. That’s where most of the buildup and excess oils are found and the rest of the hair will get cleansed as your rinse. But remember to be gentle. Work the shampoo in with your fingertips (not fingernails) and gently massage all around the hair.

Massage as you rinse

Once the shampoo has been worked through your scalp, it’s time to rinse and cleanse the rest of the hair. Rub the hair from root-to-tip as you rinse to ensure all of the shampoo and cleanse the mid-shaft to ends, too.

Don't skip conditioner

After such a thorough clean, conditioner is a must. Once all of the shampoo is rinsed out, apply your conditioner (liberally). We like to stick to the same system for cleansing and conditioning hair so reaching for the Goddess Strength Fortifying Conditioner with Castor Oil would be your best bet. It’s moisturizing and helps to strengthen weak strands by reducing breakage by 94% after just one use.

Layer a Leave-In Conditioner for Curly Hair

Finish off your routine with a leave-in conditioner before styling. One of our favorite leave-in conditioners for curly hair is Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Leave-in Conditioner. It will protect curly hair from damage and ensure it looks its best.

To learn more about cleansing natural hair, check out Everything You Need To Know About Pre-Poo For Natural Curls.

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