19 Best Clarifying Shampoos For Curly Hair: Find Your Favorite!

Looking for the best clarifying shampoos for curly hair to reset your curls?

Clarifying shampoos to see if they can solve some of your curly hair problems, like dull lymph curls or itchy scalp.

I’ve tried quite a few over the years and have found my favorites. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my top 19 picks for clarifying shampoos for curly hair.

There are a few sulfate free clarifying shampoos on the market that will gently cleanse your scalp and hair without stripping away its natural oils.

However, some curly girls do like to use sulfates from time to time, so I’ve included some clarifying shampoos that have sulfates in them.

Whether you’re following the curly girl method and need a sulfate free clarifying shampoo, or you’re looking for one that has sulfates, I’m sure you’ll find your favorite clarifying shampoo for your curly hair.

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Curly Girl Method Approved Clarifying Shampoos

Bounce Curl Gentle Clarifying Shampoo

This cleanser contains the surfactant sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate that clarifies your hair and removes product build up.

This cleanser exfoliates your scalp and is gentle enough that it should not strip your hair of its natural oils.

Curl Smith wash & Scrub Detox Pro Biotic

This curly girl method approved and contains plant derived sodium methyl cocoyl taurate to clarify your hair and scalp.

This detox shampoo lathers well and removed product build up like silicones from hair and scalp.

Depending on the heaviness of your styling products, you can choose to use this detox cleanser about twice a month for best results.

Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating Claifying Shampoo

This affordable drugstore curly girl method approved clarifying shampoo is ph balanced and contains sodium cocoyl glutamate and no harmful sulfates.

It’s a great option for overworked, processed, and dyed curly hair as it leaves hair feeling clean, reset but not dry.

Malibu C Un-Do-Goo Shampoo

This sulfate free, vegan shampoo contains the surfactant sodium c14-16 olefin sulfonate to remove silicone product build up.

It’s gentle and keeps hair feeling hydrated after cleansing.

Malibu C Hard Water Wellness

This is my favorite clarifying shampoo for hard water! Great curly girl method clarifying shampoo for hard water buildup.

This clarifier contains sodium laurly sulfoacetate and sodium c14-16 olefin sulfonate and cleanses your hair from minerals from hard water.

Mixed chicks gentle Clarifying Shampoo

This clarifying shampoo contains non-sulfate surfactant sodium c14-16 olefin sulfonate that gentle removes product build up and leaves hair feeling clean and healthy. Curly girls love this shampoo to reset and restore their waves and curls.

MopTop Detox Shampoo 

Cg method approved shampoo contains non sulfate cleansers like sodium c14-16 olefin sulfonate that removes silicones, shea butter, and chlorine builup. The company recommends that you use this product every 4-6 weeks for best results.

Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo

This cg approved shampoo with sodium laurly sulfoacetate and sodium lauroyl sarcosinate will remove build up and bring your hair back to life.

Its formula works to reset your hair by cleansing and hydrating your curls, leaving your curls feeling and looking great.

Noughty Wave Hello Curl Defining Shampoo

This affordable drugstore gentle clarifying shampoo contains surfactant sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate and lathers pretty well.

It’s vegan friendly, silicone, paraben and sulfate free making it a great option for curly girls.

It removes silicones and other product build up and is safe to be used more frequently than a shampoo with harsh sulfates.

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo

This popular curly girl approved clarifying shampoo will give you amazing results with just one use.

It’s a favorite with girls who have chemically, color treated and heat damaged curls as it removes product build-up, hydrates, and strengthens your curls.

Verb clarifying shampoo

Cg approved shampoo that gently removes product build-up and clarifies your scalp.

It’s a low lathering cleanser that doesn’t leave your hair feeling dry and instead leaves you with clean, soft, shiny curls.

Clarifying Shampoos With Sulfates

AG Renew Shampoo

This clarifying shampoo contains ammonium laureth sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate which are considered harsh surfactants and so should be used sparingly.

This shampoo is best for swimmers as it removed chlorine build up and those with severe product buildup to give your curls a boost if you’re now starting to transition.

Kenra Clarifying Shampoo

This clarifier contains sodium laureth sulfate and sodium laurel sulfate which can damage your hair if used frequently.

Use this cleanser when your hair feels heavy and looks dull and lymph to restore your natural curls and restore shine.

Ouidad Water works Clarifying Shampoo

This cleansing shampoo contains ammonium laureth sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate but curly girls love it and say that it removes product residue and leaves hair feeling soft and looking shiny.

Redken Hair Cleansing Cream Clarifying Shampoo

This shampoo contains sodium laureth sulfate and is not cg approved but curly girls love it and say that it removes residue left by products and leaves their curls looking and feeling healthy.

Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo

This is not a curly girl method approved shampoo but it’s a great, affordable drugstore option for curly girls.

Even though the name suggests that you can use it daily, it’s not recommended for curly girls.

Use when your curls need to be cleansed from product build up.

Twist Hit Reset Light Clarifying Shampoo

I really love Twist by Ouidad products and this clarifying shampoo did not disappoint – it really gave my curls the reset they needed.

It contains ammonium laureth sulfate, sodium coco sulfate, and humectants to give you a balanced cleanse.

It doesn’t lather very much but does remove build up and clean hair very well.

After using this my hair felt clean but not stripped of moisture.

What is Clarifying Curly Hair?

Clarifying curly hair is the process of removing build up from your scalp and hair.

This can be caused by a number of things, such as using products with silicones or sulfates, not clarifying your hair often enough, or living in an area with hard water.

Build up on your scalp and hair can cause a number of problems, such as an itchy scalp, weighed down hair, or frizzy curls.

When you clarify your hair, you’re essentially giving it a reset. This will help to solve any build-up issues you may be having and leave your scalp and hair feeling refreshed.

Benefits of Clarifying Hair

Here are some reasons why You Might Need a Clarifying Shampoo:

  • If you feel like your scalp is itchy or your curls are weighed down, it might be time for a clarifying shampoo.
  • Another reason you might need to clarify is if you notice build up on your scalp or in your hair. This can happen if you use a lot of styling products, like gels or mousses.
  • A good clarifying shampoo will gently remove the build up and give your scalp and hair a fresh start.
  • Finally, if you have frizzy curls, clarifying can help with that too. If you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked, clarifying might be the answer.

Gentle clarifying ingredients In Shampoos

Sulfates in Shampoos

If you follow the curly girl method, then you know that sulfates are a big no-no. Sulfates are harsh cleansing agents that can strip your hair of its natural oils.

This can leave your hair feeling dry and brittle and can cause your scalp to become irritated.

The harshest sulfates in shampoos are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) will remove all build up but can also strip your hair and damage your curls.

Clarifying ingredients in sulfate free shampoos

  • Cocamidopropyl betaine
  • olefin sulfonate 
  • sodium c14-16 olefin sulfonate
  • sodium laurly sulfoacetate
  • sodium lauroyl sarcosinate
  • sodium cocoyl glutamate

When To Clarify Your Natural Hair

You should clarify your natural hair every four to six weeks. If you feel like you need to clarify more often, you can.

Just be sure to follow up with a deep conditioning treatment to restore moisture to your hair.

If you have color-treated hair, you’ll need to be careful not to clarify too often as this can strip away the color. Once a month should be sufficient.

Now that you know all about clarifying shampoos, let’s take a look at some of the best clarifying shampoos on the market today.

How Often Should You Clarify Your Curly Hair?

Most curly girls clarify their hair every month or two. If you feel like you need to clarify more often, you can certainly do that.

Just be sure not to over clarifying your hair, as that can strip your hair of its natural oils and leave it feeling dry and frizzy.

If you clarify your hair and find that it’s too drying, follow up with a deep conditioner or hair mask to help replenish your curls.

How To Clarify Your Hair

To clarify your curly hair:

  • pre poo ends first to protect from clarifier
  • Cleanse clarifying shampoo
  • deep condition 
  • style as usual

If you clarify your hair with a clarifying shampoo, be sure to follow the directions on the bottle.

Most clarifying shampoos should be left on your scalp and hair for three to five minutes before rinsing.


There are a lot of great clarifying shampoos on the market that can help improve the health and appearance of your curly hair.

Be sure to clarify your hair when necessary to remove build up and keep your scalp healthy.

This will help your curls to look curlier and voluminous.

Do you have a favorite clarifying shampoo? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy clarifying!

Before You Go, You Will Love These Other Posts For Curly Hair:

Product recommendations
Product Reviews
Important Information To Care For Curls & Waves
Dyeing Textured Hair At Home Without Damaging It
Wavy & Curly Hair Routines & hairstyles

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