Is your hair too greasy? You probably need to use clarifying products

If your strands are feeling weighed-down, greasy or extra tough to comb through, you might need to give your scalp a clean break

If you’re letting more than your regular amount of time go between washes, or relying on dry shampoo for your AM Zoom calls, you’ll see debris and buildup on the scalp that may not wash out with a regular shampoo. This buildup can leave your hair feeling weighed down and looking dull, which reduces the overall quality of the strands.

Even the waxes and emulsifiers in your favourite haircare products can leave residue in your hair, which when mixed with the natural oils, can feel like a sludge that causes hair to look greasy and limp. For some hair textures, strands might get crispy and dry too. A quick fix? Clarifying shampoo, which can cut through all the grime and product and leave the scalp clean—an optimum environment for new hair to grow as well.

Who should use a clarifying haircare product?
“Shampoos are classified by the amounts of surfactants in them. Deep-cleansing or clarifying shampoos have a lot of surfactants that can cut through all the grime and cleanse everything,” says Dr Batul Patel, medical director and dermatologist, The Bombay Skin Clinic. Adding it to your routine is appropriate if you use styling products that can clog the pores on the scalp. Dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis also impacts hair growth, so using a clarifying shampoo in tandem with a soothing one can help. “It’s also a good product for those with an excessively oily scalp,” says Dr Rinky Kapoor, consultant dermatologist, The Esthetic Clinics. Clarifying shampoo may not suds up as much as other shampoo, but applying it and massaging it onto the scalp is crucial. Leaving it on for a few minutes will let it get to work and remove product buildup.

Scrubs work similarly, by physically removing all those layers of buildup and grime on the scalp. “I prefer natural scrubs as they do the work without using harsh products like acetyl alcohol,” says Dr Patel. “Scrubs contain essential oils and an oil base, and use fine salt or sugar for exfoliation. Some scrubs also come with exfoliating agents like glycolic acid or lactic acid which adds to a physical plus chemical clean. You could also make your own hair scrub by mixing honey, finely ground sugar, mixed with olive or almond oil,” says Dr Patel.

These hair types should skip clarifying shampoos
If your hair is damaged and too porous, clarifying shampoos can be too drying. “You can use it very rarely to reduce buildup. But otherwise, wash with apple cider vinegar or baking soda instead,” says Dr Patel. “The high concentration of detergents in these shampoos means that not everyone can use it. Those who have coloured hair, dry, frizzy, brittle hair should avoid it,” confirms Dr Kapoor. Clarifying shampoos can reduce the vibrancy of coloured hair (which makes it a great add-on if you have a botched at-home hair dye job you want to fix). “Those with scalp issues like psoriasis and eczema should not use it as it can completely suck out the natural oils and make your scalp drier, causing the issue to flare,” she says. “Because of its stripping nature, always use a conditioner which is cream-based or a hair mask post a wash,” finishes Dr Kapoor.

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