The 18 Best Clarifying Shampoos to Beat Build-Up

Because nobody has time for an itchy, irritated scalp.

Get Rid of Build-Up With a Clarifying Shampoo
(Image credit: Getty/Moyo Studio)

If you're anything like me, dry shampoos, hair oils, leave-in conditioners, and other hair products are saviors for making your hairstyle last longer. (Look, I didn't spend an hour blow-drying my hair only to have the style collapse on me a few days later.) Here's the thing: There's nothing wrong with using these products—pry my dry shampoo out of my cold, dead hands, I dare you—but that's only if you're effectively cleaning those products out of your hair on wash days with a clarifying shampoo. If your regular shampoo isn't working super hard, you might develop what's called "build-up."

What does a clarifying shampoo do for your hair?

Let me introduce you to my nightmare of a symptom list: flaky scalp, excessive oiliness, dull-looking strands. Hair products aren't the only offenders, either: Sweat, pollution, products, and dirty water can all cause build-up over time. If you're thinking, "Well then what the hell is my regular shampoo doing?", let me explain: It's not that your regular shampoo is terrible and should be thrown out. A standard shampoo is great...most of the time. But if you start noticing build-up, a clarifying shampoo should be used once a week or once a month, depending on your individual hair type, as a deep-clean. If you're not sure which clarifying shampoo to reach for, don't worry, I did the work for you. From color-treated hair to excessively damaged ends, there's a clarifying shampoo that will suit your needs.