My hair’s been crying out for help this past week: looking limp, feeling lethargic, acting withdrawn, and behaving inappropriately in company. Here in the South, we have hot humid summers, and I’m slapping more than the usual amount of gunk and product onto my hair to make it behave. I’ve been burning the hairdryer at both ends and tapping my arsenal of frizz-fighters, curl boosters, and volume-pumpers with increasing desperation. But the time for denial has passed. The product abuse must stop. My hair needs some tender loving clarifying shampoo.
These shampoos—sometimes called detoxing or chelating shampoo—work wonders in eliminating build up from hair products like mousse, gel, serums, leave in conditioners, as well as environmental impurities and chlorine too. While hair products can help get your hair behaving the way you think or dream it should, they can also cling to your hair shaft and produce dull, lackluster strands. Hairsprays and any wax-based hair products build up quickly to steal and dull your natural glossy-headed thunder. Clarifying shampoos contain residue-fighting ingredients to dissolve all the layers of gunk and give your hair a second, and third, and fourth (hair-product habits are hard to break) chance at staying clean.
Professional stylists often use chelating shampoos or treatments prior to chemical services, as color, perms, and even straighteners take better to hair that is void of build up. In-salon treatments (often paired with a conditioning treatment afterward) run about $25–$45. DIY types should take a page out the salon’s pricey book and use a clarifying shampoo before applying a color treatment.
If you have an oily scalp, like I do, a once a week use of a detox shampoo will help rid your scalp and hair of excess oil. I’ve tested both high and lower end clarifying shampoos and I get good results regardless of price. For example, Phyto Phytoneutre Rebalancing Cream Shampoo  ($22) is a great choice to bring back shine and thoroughly cleanse hair and scalp but Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo  ($5.50) has been around forever, is equally effective, and more affordably priced. Ojon Detox Recovery Cleanser  ($24) however, is worth its price tag as its hydrating ojon oil ensures my hair doesn’t dry out while undergoing the clarifying process.
Now that I’ve heard my hair’s cry for help I can’t help but see that my hair pays for my summertime fun in the water and sun. Chlorine and salt can wreck hair havoc if I don’t vacuum pack my head into one of those oh-so-stylish swim caps on a regular basis. For the times that I forget my swim cap, Terax Latte Clarifying Shampoo  ($20) will remove chlorine and salt buildup from my hair while keeping it soft with added silk proteins. Frequent swimmers should deep condition at least once a week, too, to keep hair in optimum condition. I like Tigi S Factor Serious Conditioner  for intense conditioning and hair therapy with sunflower seed oil.
Coming clean does not come easy. I went a few days with shiny happy hair before I started hitting up the mousse bottle again. I felt annoyed and even angry at myself for relapsing on my hairy promises to stay clean. The thing is that I don’t have to banish the bottles to stay clean. I can still linger in the beauty aisles of my local pharmacy and I can still slap on the serums and sprays, just as long as I use a clarifying shampoo once a week to fight grime.
So, while you might think the last thing you need in your shower is another bottle of something, I highly recommend you squeeze in a little clarity.
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