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5 Best Drugstore Clarifying Shampoos

Updated on July 26, 2017

What is a clarifying shampoo

Ian Michael Black, Aveda Global Artistic Director for Hair Color,explains that a clarifying shampoo is a cleaning shampoo that is designed to deep cleanse your hair.It removes not just dirt and oil but all unwanted residue.

“Clarifying shampoo helps with the removal of any buildup of styling products that have been applied to the hair,” says Ian. “It can also remove chlorine, which is not usually removed from the hair by a softer, milder shampoo, and can build up in your hair, giving it a very wire-like texture.”

When to use clarifying shampoo

When you notice that your favorite regular shampoo is not working as good as it previously used to. It’s because it’s building up its own residue so you need to clean your hair thoroughly with a clarifying shampoo and then start over.

Ian says everyone can benefit from a clarifying shampoo once a week. “They generally make your hair feel ‘squeaky clean’ and can help bring back a better shine to your hair,” he says.

Using a clarifying shampoo before an intense conditioning treatment is a good idea. As it will remove all unwanted residue and product build up on your hair,leaving your hair free to absorb all the goodies from your conditioning treatment.

Are cheap shampoos bad for hair?

A shampoo is not one of those ‘’you get what you pay for products’’.How much you like a particular shampoo depends on your personal preferences and health and condition of your hair.A 4 $ shampoo may smell nice to you and leave your hair feeling fresh and smooth ,while someone else may feel the same way about a 30 $ bottle. Big companies that create drugstore brands put a lot of money and effort into research and technology, but they can keep prices low because they produce their products in mass quantities.

How important it is to use conditioner

A Conditioner finishes what a shampoo starts. Using a conditioner after a clarifying shampoo is good for hair because clarifying shampoos are usually drying .A conditioner brings back the moisture stripped from hair and also helps manage other hair problems like repair split ends. "Everyone's hair is damaged — the only question is how badly," says Cheri McMaster, senior research and development scientist for Pantene. You may go through many conditioners before you find the right one, but you'll know when you've met your match. "

Should warm water be used while shampooing?

Warm water helps the shampoo lather well and also removes the soap from hair easily.Avoid really hot water, which can actually damage your hair, warns David Edery, owner of Attitudes Paris Salon in Houston. Use lukewarm water to wash your hair.For the final rinse cold water is best.

Neutrogena Anti-Residue shampoo

It’s one of the best clarifying shampoos. It does contain some harsh ingredients ,which strip the hair, but it clarifies thoroughly. It is very effective in getting rid of any build up from grease, dirt, styling products, treatments gone wrong etc., leaving your hair clean and fresh. This shampoo doesn’t create a rich lather but saturates and spreads easily. You should work this into your hair for 3 minutes, with focus on the scalp, and then rinse your hair. Your hair will feel very lightweight and clean.

You don’t need to use this more than once a week. So a bottle should last you a couple of months, depending on the length of your hair and how much you need to thoroughly cleans your hair.

This shampoo can be rather drying, so don’t use it more than once a week, even if you get oily roots quickly. If you have dry hair, don’t be afraid to use it. You can combat excessive dryness by following up with a good moisturizing conditioner.

Neutrogena anti residue shampoo is gel like in consistency. The fragrance can be an issue for some people.


  • Cleanses thoroughly, removing even the hardest to remove buildup
  • Good for greasy, oily scalp.
  • Non irritating;Contains fewer ingredients so it’s suitable for those who have sensitivities.
  • Leaves hair shiny, bouncy and tangle free.
  • It intensifies the results of deep conditioning treatment.


  • Doesn’t lather well
  • Smell can be an issue for some people; it has the "traditional" Neutrogena smell.
  • Can be rather drying, but this could be fixed by using a good moisturizing conditioner.
  • packaging not satisfactory; it should come in larger bottles
  • People with colored hair should not use this frequently unless they actually want to strip out their color as fast as possible.

Herbal essence drama clean

Herbal essence drama clean shampoo is an amazing clarifying shampoo that’s also very cheap. It’s good for everyone especially for those who live in tropical areas and their scalps get oily easily. Washing with this shampoo will keep your hair feeling and smelling fresh. Herbal essence drama clean beats any higher end clarifying shampoo but unlike other clarifying shampoos, this doesn't completely strip the hair nor does it leave it with any coating ― it simply removes buildup very gently and leaves the hair soft and shiny. I don't mind paying a premium for something that works really well, but this shampoo is incredibly cheap. A little amount goes a long way, It makes really good lather and cleanses hair and greasy scalp thoroughly. It also protects hair from dandruff and falling out . If you find it too drying, then follow up with herbal essence hello hydration conditioner to restore some of moisture and smoothness.


  • Cleanse hair thoroughly
  • Nice fruity fragrance
  • Small amount of shampoo goes a long way.
  • Instantly removes dullness.
  • Perfect for normal and oily hair.
  • Contains green tea.
  • Leaves no residue.
  • Also it's dirt cheap,
  • Lathers really well.
  • It is a nice shade of green and does what it says it will


  • May damage extremely dry hair
  • Would be way too drying and harsh for everyday use

Garnier Fructis Pure Clean

A good clarifying shampoo from Garnier that will effectively remove build up and unwanted residue in your hair .It lathers well and doesn’t leave hair tangled or dry after washing ―just perfectly clean. If your hair gets greasy and oily easily, this shampoo will keep it clean and oil free for longer periods.Garnier fructis shampoo is perfect balance between clean but not stripped.

It smells of fresh apples.The formula is watery in texture and colorless. As a clarifying shampoo,this does a really nice job but if you are looking for a shampoo for daily or normal use, I would try something else.

Those with dry hair should follow up with conditioner.


  • Removes product build up without causing dryness.
  • Adds volume to hair
  • Silicon, paraben and dye free.
  • Good for Oily hair.
  • Leaves hair clean and shiny without frizz.
  • Lathers up so well.
  • Fruity smell.
  • Biodegradable.
  • Inexpensive.


  • Runny. As soon as you tip the bottle to dispense the product it pours right out!
  • Not for daily use.Use it once a week.
  • May not be suitable for those with very greasy and oily roots.

Alberto Vo5 Kiwi Lime Squeeze Clarifying Shampoo

If you want a good clarifying shampoo to use every once in a week to remove grease and product build up without stripping your hair of all color and moisture,and does it all without costing much ,thenVO5 shampoo is the right one for you.For amazing results,make sure to use a conditioner along with it.

VO5 shampoo is a simple cleanser;effective,lathers well,inexpensive and doesn’t leave gunky nastiness behind.It’s a good clarifying shampoo for Oily hair,and it smells really nice. Hair stays cleaner for longer periods. You could easily go without washing if you chose, for a couple days. I think they have recently updated the formula, because the ingredients list on the new bottles differs from that of the smaller containers. It’s better now. The cleaning power of previous formula was less potent. This shampoo will strip your hair and leave it dry if you forget to condition.

If you hair is starting to look frizzy and dry, it can be that you need a good clarifying product and I highly recommend VO5's clarifying shampoo and conditioner ―they are cheap and really work.


  • Smells great; fresh and fruity without being too sweet
  • Contains vitamin C,E,B3 and B5. so if you like to spoil your hair with some nutrients VO5has it!
  • Efficiently Removes product build up from hair.
  • Those with fine or oily hair will like this for its weightless, excellent cleansing abilities.
  • Gel formula Lathers really well.
  • Leaves hair clean,light and bouncy.
  • Very cheap.
  • rinses out very easily
  • perfect summer shampoo because of the consistency and fragrance.


  • Contains sulfates which can be an issue for some people.
  • The cleansing action may be too strong for dry and sensitive scalps. Try diluting the shampoo with distilled water if you have sensitive scalp.
  • Not for those who are allergic to scents and perfumes.
  • Not for daily use.
  • if you have color treated hair and want to maintain your color, don't use this.

L’Oreal Elvive Nutri-Gloss Light Shampoo

This is the right shampoo to use, if you have greasy roots and dry ends hair. The scent is enchanting and matching conditioner is awesome.

As far as removing oils from hair is concerned, it works very well. But you have to wash your hair very thoroughly or else it won’t rinse out properly and your hair will feel greasy and stringy. For those who are looking to increase volume L’Oreal elvive nutrsi gloss will help to achieve that too.

If you feel that it leaves your hair very dry, follow up with matching conditioner.


  • Beautiful girly packaging
  • Removes oil and grease
  • A sweet floral scent that lingers
  • Gives volume
  • Leaves hair silky, detangled and frizz free


  • Runny texture.
  • Hard to wash out.


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    Post Comment
    • passionatelearnr profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      yes, it's a very good shampoo.I also love herbal essence shampoos.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Thank you passiontelearnr for this artical.

    • passionatelearnr profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      Thank you Mary for sharing your knowledge.

    • profile image

      Mary Ware 

      4 years ago

      The best I have ever used for my oily and greasy hair is the GKhair pH+ clarifying shampoo. Totally removes an excess of styling products, dirt, residue, product build up and other impurities. Fantastic stuff. :)

    • passionatelearnr profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      You are welcome Dora.I use Neutrogena shampoo and like the results.Which one you use?

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Happy to see the shampoo I use in your article. Now I know that I made a good choice. Thank you doing the research and making the presentation.


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