21 Best Clarifying Shampoos For Silky, Smooth Hair That Takes Product Well

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best clarifying shampoo

If you ever see your hair products not working as well as they used to, you may need to invest in a clarifying shampoo. The buildup of oils, styling products, dry shampoo, and even residue from normal shampoos and conditioners, all of which can cling to hair and scalp,  cause serious buildup and weigh your hair down.

Choosing the best clarifying shampoo can help by removing that excess buildup, which will make all your styling products do the job they are intended to do, and keep your hair looking healthy and shiny like you want.

Be careful, though! Dry hair may get more dry if you clarify too often, so don’t get carried away. There can be too much of a good thing. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite clarifying shampoos of all price points.

RELATED: 21 Best Shampoos For An Itchy Scalp

Under $20

1. HASK Charcoal Clarifying Shampoo

Charcoal, derived from coconut shells, combined with lemon and grapefruit oils, thoroughly cleanses and clarifies while helping to eliminate impurities from your hair and scalp.


2. TRESemme Cleanse & Replenish Deep Cleansing Shampoo

This shampoo clarifies and gently removes build-up and heavy residues that diminish your hair's shine. This formula, containing vitamin C, is gentle enough for daily use and will purify your hair so you have that just-left-the-salon fresh feel.

(Walgreens, $5)

3. L'Oréal Paris Hair Expert Extraordinary Clay Rebalancing Shampoo

This silicone-free shampoo and conditioner system, with 3 refined clays, is specifically formulated to purify oily roots and hydrate dry lengths, leaving hair looking beautifully fresh from root-to-tip for up to 48 hours.


4. SheaMoisture Sacha Inchi Oil Omega 3, 6, 9 Rescue + Repair Clarifying Shampoo

A deep cleansing sulfate-free shampoo that removes residue and buildup from styling products. Certified organic Shea Butter, Quinoa and Rose of Jericho Extracts combine to help repair damaged, distressed hair with ultimate moisturization.


5. Neutrogena Anti-Residue Gentle Clarifying Shampoo

This non-irritating clarifying shampoo cleans your hair and instantly rinses away build-up. It also  works to boost hair volume, and who couldn't use a good hair day?

(Target, $4.89)

6. ACURE Curiously Clarifying Lemongrass Shampoo

Wash away buildup and treat your hair to a double dose of organic oils infused with lemongrass by using this shampoo. It's also gentle enough for everyday cleansing.


7. ROAM Shampoo by William Roam

Made with a blend of earthy ingredients like Maine Blueberries, Kansas Wheatgrass and Napa Valley Red Wine Grape extracts, ROAM Shampoo is expertly crafted with clarifying antioxidants, phytonutrients, amino acids, vitamins and minerals to lather away dirt and grime without compromising the hair’s natural shine.

(William Roam, $19.99)

8. Creme of Nature Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Rinse

The first purifying, deep cleansing over-the-counter treatment with 100 percent pure Apple Cider Vinegar, it's designed specifically to remove product build-up, smooth the cuticle, refresh the scalp and protect the natural pH of the hair. Apple cider vinegar isn't just for drinking anymore.


9. Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo

A cleansing shampoo with non-stripping citrus extracts that target, break down, and remove heavy residue build-up without depleting essential moisture and nutrients.

(Sephora, $18)

Over $20

10. 100% PURE Grow More Shampoo

Formulated to minimize shedding and stimulate new hair growth, this vegan shampoo deeply cleans and clarifies the scalp without stripping or dehydrating hair. The nourishing formula makes hair stronger, healthier and revitalized. It's also safe and gentle enough for color-treated hair.


11. Drybar On-the-Rocks Charcoal Clarifying Shampoo

Clarify hair and scalp and remove any product build-up with this must-have shampoo that features activated charcoal. Also formulated with Vegetable Protein to strengthen hair and features notes of ginger, mint and sandalwood for a fresh and clean scent. 

(Sephora, $26)

RELATED: The Best Hair Products For Scalp Build-Up: 15 Solutions That Actually Work

12. MoroccanOil Clarifying Shampoo

Rich in argan and avocado oils, keratin, lavender, chamomile, and jojoba extracts, this Clarifying Shampoo nourishes your hair and removes everyday buildup without stripping hair.


13. Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo

A deep, weekly cleanser that lifts away product residue and built-up pollutants for more vibrant, healthy-looking hair.

(Sephora, $26)

14. Fekkai Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo

A clarifying and renewing shampoo that contains age-old French formula that gently cleanses and clarifies hair, scalp. It also removes build-up and adds shine. This shampoo has extracts of apple, sage, rosemary, verbena lightly moisturize hair. 

(Walmart, $20)

15. Pureology Purify Shampoo

A sulfate-free, clarifying shampoo that cleanses hair while removing build-up from Swimmer's Green, and protects color-treated hair. Put a cap over your hair and place under a dryer for 20 minutes, then rinse. The Purify Shampoo gently cleanses without stripping.


16. R+Co Oblivion Clarifying Shampoo

This great shampoo locks in the moisture, leaving your hair looking naturally lustrous and feeling soft. It can be used daily, so be sure to add it to your everyday routine.


17. Oribe 'The Cleanse' Clarifying Shampoo

Volcanic ash powers this detoxifying mousse, which polishes away dirt and oil. Unique aerosol mousse formula transforms into a beautiful, creamy, rich lather as it mixes with water.


18. Ouai Clean Shampoo

This gentle cleanser is infused with Ouai’s unique Smart Technology Complex™ to refresh overworked hair, leaving strands super-soft and clean while enhancing shine.

(Sephora, $28)

19. Christophe Robin Clarifying Shampoo

This shampoo gently eliminates residues and excess of pigments from a recent or overly heavy dye job. The camomile and cornflower delicately lighten natural, colored, or highlighted hair.

(Sephora, $34)

20. Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo

This shampoo contains Neola Essential Oil, an emollient extracted from the Bitter Orange Tree, and helps maintain the right moisture and oil balance in skin and hair.


21. Pai-Shau Replenishing Hair Cleanser

Formulated with advanced technology, Replenishing Hair Cleanser restores your hair back to its youthful appearance with a unique combination of amino acids and essential vitamins and minerals. The Signature Tea Complex ,a blend of five different steeped teas, deeply infuses hair with moisture, restoring its natural shine. 

(Pai-Shau, $26)

RELATED: 20 Best Purple Shampoos And Conditioners For Blonde Hair (So It Stays Blonde!)

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her at

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