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13 best clarifying shampoos for curly hair

What is the best clarifying shampoo for curly hair?

A clarifying shampoo is designed to clear residue and buildup on your scalp or hair. If you have curly hair that feels limp, heavy or weighed down, using a clarifying shampoo at least once or twice a month can restore your curls, making them soft, shiny and healthy.

The best clarifying shampoos thoroughly cleanse your hair and scalp, cut through excess oil and dirt, and leave your hair squeaky clean and lustrous. They can also help your curls look and feel fuller while giving your hair a major boost of volume.

Best clarifying shampoos for curly hair

Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo

This nourishing blend of argan oil, lavender, rosemary and keratin is gentle on your hair and gives dry and dull curls new life. It not only strips away gunk and everyday buildup but also helps soften and strengthen dry hair while restoring the hair and scalp to a healthy balance. The formula is also free of sulfates and safe for color-treated hair.

Sold by Sephora

Ouai Detox Shampoo

If you're dealing with damaged curls, buildup or a flaky, itchy scalp, this clarifying shampoo is infused with apple cider vinegar to remove excess oil and dirt, plus a dose of hydrolyzed keratin to strengthen and repair your hair for a soft, shiny finish. It also smells amazing and leaves your curls feeling clean and refreshed.

Sold by Amazon

Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo

This shampoo from Bumble and Bumble is the ultimate detox for greasy hair. In addition to removing oil and product buildup, it also helps get rid of mineral deposits and environmental pollutants, which is great if you live in an area with hard water and high air pollution. Keep in mind that this product is not meant to be used on color-treated hair.

Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty

Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo

Give your curls a fresh start with this gentle formula that's infused with a blend of lemon, grapefruit and orange flower extracts to break down oil and stubborn residue without depleting your hair’s moisture. It also enhances volume and shine and is ideal for color-treated hair or anyone dealing with the effects of chlorine or hard water.

Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Triple Detox Shampoo

This shampoo uses activated charcoal to absorb dirt and excess oil and a patented molecule that helps keep your hair clean and fresh long after you wash it. Its rich formula effectively removes buildup from pollution, product and hard water for softer, more manageable curls. It's free of both sulfates and silicones, making it safe for color-treated and dry hair.

Sold by Ulta Beauty

Verb Reset Clarifying Shampoo

Verb's clarifying shampoo is sulfate-free and uses gentle cleansers and seawater to remove buildup, oils and dirt without stripping your color. It contains honey and aloe vera to moisturize your curly hair and enhance its shine and elasticity. It also stimulates and soothes the scalp to reduce itchiness and dandruff while restoring essential minerals back to damaged hair.

Sold by Amazon

SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Shampoo

​​This formula delivers a clarifying dose of Jamaican black castor oil to eliminate buildup and support hair elasticity. It's formulated with just the right balance of cleansing and hydrating ingredients to bust oil and product residue while infusing your curls with nourishing moisture. It's especially great for those who regularly color, perm, straighten or heat style their hair.

Sold by Amazon

Eden BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Clarifying Shampoo

If you're dealing with an itchy scalp, this invigorating shampoo uses peppermint oil and tea tree oil to help soothe the scalp, along with gentle surfactants to deeply cleanse your roots and remove all traces of oil and buildup. It's perfect for balancing pH levels to help stimulate the scalp and promote hair growth. The cool, tingling effect of peppermint leaves your curls feeling fresh and renewed. 

Sold by Amazon

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo

This formula from Neutrogena is great for both your buildup and your budget. It softens and smooths the hair, leaving it super clean and fresh. It packs a major punch, instantly removing up to 90% of the residue left behind from your styling products. The shampoo is also easy to rinse out and helps brighten dull hair.

Sold by Amazon

Malibu C Un-Do-Goo Shampoo

Malibu C's vegan clarifying shampoo is a solid pick for swimmers who want to get rid of chlorine from their hair. It's made with a blend of conditioning ingredients like glycerin and butylene glycol that help soften the hair and improve its texture. Its gentle, sulfate-free formula removes resin buildup from styling products and restores your curls' shine and elasticity.

Sold by Amazon

Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Clarifying Shampoo

This shampoo is especially great for dry, overworked and frizzy hair. The vegan-friendly formula leaves your curls feeling clean, balanced and rejuvenated. It lathers well and clarifies your hair without drying it out or leaving it feeling parched. Instead, it adds shine and makes your hair soft and manageable. It's also sulfate-free, so it won't strip color or damage your hair.

Sold by Amazon

Avalon Organics Clarifying Lemon Shampoo

Made with a medley of all-natural ingredients like aloe, lemon oil, quinoa protein and vitamin E, this organic shampoo is perfect for those looking to gently dissolve product buildup and revitalize dull, lackluster hair. Its formula not just leaves your scalp feeling fresh and clean, but it also puts the bounce and spring right back into your curls. Plus, it smells incredible.

Sold by Amazon

Biolage Normalizing Clean Reset Shampoo

This powerful formula is a great option if you want to reset your hair back to square one. It helps cleanse, nourish and treat damaged curls and is infused with lemongrass, sage leaf extract and cucumber extract to draw out buildup and impurities from your hair without drying it out. It also does wonders for oily roots and leaves your curls feeling soft and glossy.

Sold by Ulta Beauty and Amazon

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Esha Saxena writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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