Getting rid of product buildup in natural hair is a royal pain. The best clarifying shampoos for natural and curly hair can help give your hair a fresh start on wash day.

If you use an overly stripping shampoo, your scalp starts to flake – which isn’t great for scalp health. However, if you don’t use a shampoo that’s clarifying enough, then there can still be hints of residue left behind. The best clarifying shampoos for natural hair are able to both clear the build-up from your strands while providing a bit of moisture to avoid over-stripping. 

Even if your curls are in a protective style, or your hair is chemically or color-treated, you still need to remove the styling products that have built up on your hair  – including the grease you apply to your scalp. Ahead, check out 21Ninety’s roundup of the best clarifying shampoos for natural and curly hair to help effectively clear product build-up and dead skin. 

Balance your scalp

Photo Courtesy of Act+Acre

Act+Acre’s Curl Cleanse Shampoo is a clarifying formula specifically made for natural and chemically treated hair. Fulvic acid is the primary ingredient in this vegan shampoo. It helps balance the scalp’s microbiome and ensure that gunk and product build-up go down the drain with the suds. This color-safe shampoo is not made with silicones, parabens, phthalates, petroleum, synthetic fragrance, or gluten. Due to the blend of floral and fruity oils there is a subtle scent to this shampoo. Best of all, a little goes a long way, so just use a couple pumps at a time to build up a cleansing foam. Make sure to rinse and repeat for maximum clean.

For low porosity hair

Photo Courtesy of Pattern

Pattern’s Cleansing Shampoo has a vegan formula that is designed to clarify low porosity hair types. By the way, low porosity hair is usually resistant to absorbing water and treatments. To keep your hair balanced, there’s also matcha green tea and aloe vera to promote strong healthy hair. It’s free of parabens, mineral oil, sodium lauryl sulfate, and sodium laureth sulfate . As for scents, you can expect to smell a blend of jasmine, bergamot, and sweet sandalwood. Want to get the best clean possible with this shampoo? Make sure to add enough water for you to work the product through your hair. Then, rinse and repeat. This definitely makes the cut for best clarifying shampoo for natural and curly hair.

Deep-clean for wash day

When wash-day calls for a deep clean, reach for the Briogeo Scalp Revival Micro-exfoliating Scalp Scrub Shampoo. Charcoal, peppermint, ginger, and spearmint help power this sulfate-free shampoo’s ability to blast through any residue on the scalp. So, you will definitely smell some minty notes. Tea tree and coconut oil help to keep your scalp balanced. To use this scrub, section your hair so that you can apply it directly to your scalp. Then work through, rinse, and repeat. Note: since this product has oil in it you may need to give it a stir every once and a while.

Invigorating cleanse

Camille Rose’s Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse is a moisturizing and clarifying shampoo that uses a blend of ginger along with anise seed, cassia, and castor oils to clean your natural hair. This cleansing shampoo is made without aluminum, phthalates, formaldehydes, SLS, parabens, and dyes. A one-step wonder, all you have to do is section and wet your natural hair. Then, apply as much of the product as you need per section, work it in thoroughly, and rinse. Plus, you’ll be able to inhale invigorating notes of ginger and lemon peel while you spend some much needed me-time in the shower.

For all natural hair types

If your hair has been through it, give SheaMoisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo a try. The cruelty-free shampoo is made for color-treated, chemically-processed, heat-styled, and natural hair. This no-nonsense clarifying shampoo doesn’t include what your hair won’t benefit from. That means no silicones, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, or petroleum at all in this ingredient list. Peppermint oil helps to invigorate your scalp while castor oil and fair-trade shea butter help strengthen your hair. If you smell hints of mint, while you wash your hair, you know it’s all a part of the cleansing experience. To use, apply to wet hair, massage the product in from roots-to-ends, rinse, and repeat.

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