Hair Routines & Growth

How To Clarify Curly Hair & How Often You Should Be

how to clarify curly hair

I know you’ve heard about clarifying your hair, and you may even wonder, do I need to clarify MY hair? And the answer is YES! Yes, you should be clarifying your curly hair.

You need to be clarifying your natural hair with a good clarifying shampoo once a month or every 4th wash day.

And no, a clarifying wash doesn’t just mean using your regular shampoo for a double wash and calling it a day.

What Is A Clarifying Wash?

A clarifying wash is a deep-cleansing shampoo specifically designed to remove heavy buildup, excess oil, and impurities from the hair and scalp.

Clarifying is the process of thoroughly cleansing the hair and scalp to eliminate any residue left behind by hair products, environmental pollutants, and natural oils.

Think of clarifying shampoo as a detox shampoo.

This type of wash is particularly beneficial for people with curly hair, as curly hair types are more prone to product buildup due to their tendency to trap moisture and product within the hair shaft.

When you have product build-up, your hair may feel weighed down, greasy, or dull, and your scalp may become itchy or irritated.

Traditional shampoo may not effectively remove this heavy buildup, as they often contain harsh sulfates and other ingredients that can strip the hair of its natural oils, leading to dryness and damage.

A clarifying treatment is needed to provide a deep cleanse to give your hair and scalp a clean slate.

By using a clarifying shampoo, you can effectively remove product residue, excess oil, and environmental pollutants, leaving your hair feeling clean and refreshed.

This is essential for maintaining the hair health and appearance of your curls, as product buildup can hinder curl definition, weigh down your hair, and lead to issues such as greasy hair, dry hair, or an itchy scalp.

What Is Product Buildup?

Product buildup occurs when a combination of factors, including hair type, excessive oil production, and the use of certain hair products, leads to a product residue accumulating on the scalp and hair shaft.

For people with curly hair, this buildup can be more pronounced due to the hair’s natural tendency to trap moisture and products within its spiraled strands.

Excessive oil production from the scalp, a common characteristic of curly hair types, can contribute to heavy buildup.

When natural oils mix with a ton of product, they can create a sticky residue that adheres to the hair shaft and scalp.

Additionally, the use of normal shampoo, which may not effectively cleanse the hair of heavy oils and product residue, can worsen the product build-up.

Certain ingredients found in hair products, such as silicones or waxes, can also contribute to buildup.

These ingredients coat the hair shaft, providing temporary smoothness and shine but can accumulate over time, leading to a heavy, greasy feeling.

Without proper cleansing, this buildup can weigh down curls and make hair appear dull and lifeless.

Exposure to pollutants and hard water minerals can contribute to buildup. These contaminants can adhere to the hair and scalp, further compounding the issue.

To address buildup effectively, it’s essential to incorporate a clarifying shampoo into your hair care regimen.

A good clarifying shampoo, free of harsh sulfates and enriched with ingredients like olefin sulfonate, tea tree oil, or salicylic acid, can penetrate the hair shaft and scalp to dissolve buildup and impurities without stripping away essential moisture.

Regular use of a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo, ideally on a monthly basis or as needed, can provide a fresh start for your curls, leaving them clean, bouncy, and free of buildup.

Causes Of Product Build-Up:

  • Excessive oil production from the scalp traps moisture and products, contributing to heavy buildup
  • Regular shampoo may not effectively cleanse heavy oils and product residue, exacerbating buildup
  • Ingredients like silicones and waxes in hair products coat the hair shaft, leading to accumulation
  • Environmental pollutants and hard water minerals can adhere to the hair and scalp, compounding buildup
  • Lack of proper cleansing leads to residue buildup, weighing down curls and disrupting curl pattern

How To Tell If Your Hair Needs To Be Clarified:

  • Hair feels heavy or weighed down, indicating excess product buildup
  • Curly hair loses its bounce and definition, suggesting product residue accumulation
  • Healthy scalp becomes itchy or irritated due to product buildup of excess oils and impurities
  • Natural hair appears dull, lackluster, or greasy despite regular washing
  • Hair products seem less effective or don’t absorb into the hair as well as usual
  • Increase in dandruff or flakiness on the scalp
  • Noticeable decrease in hair volume and movement
  • Overuse of styling products leads to difficulty in achieving the desired hairstyle
  • Hair feels rough or straw-like to the touch, indicating a need for deep cleansing

How To Clarify Curly Hair:

how to clarify curly hair

Now that you understand the importance of clarifying let’s dive into the steps for clarifying curly hair effectively:

Before you start to clarify your hair, make sure to do a pre-shampoo treatment on your hair.

Step 1: Wet your hair thoroughly with warm water. Warm water helps to open the hair cuticle, allowing the clarifying shampoo to penetrate deeply.

Step 2: Apply a generous amount of clarifying shampoo to your scalp and roots, focusing on areas with heavy buildup or greasiness. Gently massage the shampoo into your scalp using your fingertips, being careful not to rough up or tangle your curls.

Step 3: Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water, making sure to remove all traces of shampoo. Do a double wash if necessary, especially if you have a lot of product buildup or an oily scalp.

Step 4: Follow up with a deep conditioner or mask to replenish moisture and nourish your curls. Leave the conditioner on for at least 5-10 minutes before rinsing it out with cool water to seal the hair cuticle and lock in moisture.

Step 5: Style your curls as usual, using products that are compatible with your hair type and texture. Avoid heavy styling products that can weigh down your curls or cause buildup over time.

Remember, clarifying shampoo is not for daily use, it is for when you have heavy buildup on your hair and need a clean slate on your wash day.

What About Scalp Product Buildup?

If you have buildup on your scalp, a clarifying shampoo can still effectively remove it, as it is designed to penetrate deeply and cleanse both the hair and scalp.

However, for additional remedies for scalp buildup that you can do at home, I love these ones when I don’t have the right clarifying shampoo on hand:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse: Because an acv rinse has an acidic nature it helps to break down product buildup and restore the scalp’s natural pH balance.
  • Tea Tree Oil Scalp Treatment: Tea tree oil’s antimicrobial properties can help to eliminate excess oil and impurities on the scalp.
  • Lemon Juice Scalp Scrub: Lemon juice (or lemon oil) acts as a natural exfoliant, helping to slough off dead skin cells and reduce buildup.
  • Aloe Vera Scalp Mask: Aloe vera’s soothing properties can calm irritated scalp and remove buildup while promoting scalp health.
  • Peppermint Oil Scalp Massage: Peppermint oil stimulates circulation and has a cooling effect, helping to dissolve buildup and refresh the scalp.

These home remedies offer gentle yet effective ways to address scalp buildup, promoting a healthier scalp environment and revitalizing your hair.

How Often Should You Clarify Your Hair

You should clarify your hair at least once a month to maintain optimal scalp and hair health.

However, it’s important to listen to your hair and pay attention to signs of buildup, such as heaviness, dullness, or decreased curl definition.

It’s better to clarify when needed rather than strictly sticking to a schedule.

Additionally, there are certain times when you should clarify your hair, regardless of when you last clarified:

  • After swimming: Chlorine and other chemicals in pool water can strip away natural oils and leave behind residue on your hair and scalp.
  • After coloring your hair: Hair dye and chemical treatments can leave behind residue and cause buildup on the hair and scalp.
  • After wearing a protective style: Braids, weaves, and other protective styles can trap sweat, oil, and product residue, leading to buildup on the scalp.
  • If you sweat a lot: Sweat contains salt and other impurities that can accumulate on the scalp, leading to buildup and potential scalp issues.

By clarifying your hair as needed and paying attention to your hair’s signals, you can make sure that your scalp and curls remain clean, healthy, and vibrant.

Benefits Of Using Effective Clarifying Shampoos

Clarifying your curly hair offers many benefits that contribute to overall scalp and hair health, as well as the appearance and manageability of your curls:

  • Removes Buildup: Clarifying shampoos effectively removes product buildup, excess oils, and impurities from the hair and scalp, preventing dullness and heaviness.
  • Restores Bounce and Definition: By eliminating residue and buildup, clarifying helps restore the natural bounce and definition of your curls, enhancing their appearance and texture.
  • Prevents Scalp Issues: Regular clarifying prevents scalp issues such as itching, irritation, and dandruff by maintaining a clean and healthy scalp environment.
  • Promotes Hair Growth: A clean scalp free of buildup encourages healthy hair growth by creating an optimal environment for follicle stimulation and nourishment.
  • Improves Product Absorption: Clean hair and scalp allow for better absorption of moisturizing and conditioning products, maximizing their effectiveness and enhancing curl hydration.
  • Enhances Color Vibrancy: For color-treated hair, clarifying removes residue and buildup that can dull or distort color, helping to maintain vibrant and long-lasting hair color.
  • Prepares Hair for Styling: Clarifying your hair provides a clean canvas for styling products and techniques, ensuring better hold, definition, and longevity of your desired hairstyle.
  • Prevents Product Overload: By removing buildup regularly, you can prevent product overload, which can weigh down your curls, disrupt curl pattern, and lead to styling difficulties.
  • Promotes Scalp Health: Clarifying removes excess oils, dead skin cells, and impurities from the scalp, promoting a healthy scalp environment and reducing the risk of scalp issues.
  • Renews Hair Vitality: Regular clarifying gives your curls a fresh start, leaving them feeling revitalized, light, and full of life.

Are Clarifying Shampoos Safe To Use?

Yes, clarifying shampoos are excellent for maintaining healthy and vibrant curly hair.

They effectively remove product buildup, excess oils, and impurities from the hair and scalp, promoting scalp health and enhancing curl definition.

However, it’s essential to choose the right clarifying shampoo for your curly hair type and needs.

If you’re looking for recommendations on the best and most effective clarifying shampoos for curly hair, be sure to check out my blog post [insert link to your blog post on the best clarifying shampoos for curly hair].

In that post, I’ve curated a list of top-rated clarifying shampoos specifically formulated for curly hair, highlighting their benefits and features to help you make an informed decision.

With the right clarifying shampoo, you can give your curls the deep cleanse they need while maintaining their moisture balance and vitality.

So, head over to my blog post and discover the perfect clarifying shampoo to keep your curls looking their best!

Reasons Why You Should Stay Away From Clarifying Shampoos:

  • Strips Natural Oils: Clarifying shampoos can strip away natural oils from the hair and scalp, leading to dryness and potential damage.
  • Harsh Ingredients: Some clarifying shampoos contain harsh ingredients like sulfates, which can be drying and irritating, especially for sensitive scalps.
  • Fades Hair Color: Clarifying shampoos may strip away hair color, causing it to fade more quickly, especially for color-treated hair.
  • Potential for Over-Drying: Daily use of clarifying shampoos can over-dry the hair and scalp, leading to brittleness and hair breakage.
  • Disrupts Curl Pattern: Clarifying shampoos may disrupt the natural curl pattern of curly hair if used too frequently or if not followed by proper moisturizing and conditioning.
  • Not Suitable for Daily Use: Due to their deep-cleansing nature, clarifying shampoos are not suitable for daily use and should be used sparingly to avoid excessive dryness and damage.

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