How To Clarify Your Hair At Home: Why & When You Should Clarify Your Hair

Reviewed by Tiffany Young, Certified Trichology Practitioner Tiffany Young Tiffany YoungCertified Trichology Practitioner facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) Experience: 11 years
Edited by Eshna Das
Fact-checked by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Monomita Chakraborty MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Experience: 4 years
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Exfoliation is not limited to the face and body – your scalp too needs it. Thankfully, there are several ways to clarify your hair at home. The clarifying treatments work as a scalp detox and effectively remove impurities like dirt, oil, and product build-up to maintain scalp and hair health.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Medieval people mixed water with herbs and ashes to clarify their hair and achieve shiny locks.

This article explains why clarifying your hair is essential to your hair care routine and how to go about it. Take a look.

What Is A Hair Clarifying Treatment?

Hair clarifying treatments wash away all dirt, dust, product buildup from the scalp.

You can do it with clarifying shampoos or homemade clarifying recipes. Clarification makes your hair feel light, bouncy, and easy to style.

There are many reasons to include hair clarification in your hair care routine. Let’s take a look at them.

Benefits Of Clarifying Your Hair

1. Removes Buildup

Regular shampoos cannot clean all traces of hair products like conditioners, gels, mousse, and sprays that you use regularly. They attract dirt and dust, causing further buildup. Also, hard water can leave chlorine and other mineral deposits on the scalp. Clarifying shampoos and treatments can clear the buildup and keep the hair follicles healthy.

2. Restores Natural pH Balance

Hairstyling products and hard water can alter the optimal pH of your scalp. A disbalance in pH levels can irritate the scalp and promote bacterial and fungal growth. Clarifying the scalp once in a while helps maintain the optimal pH levels and maintains a healthy scalp.

3. Rejuvenates The Hair

Excess oil and dirt weigh the hair down, making it limp and flat

. Clarifying the scalp refreshes and rejuvenates the hair. Clean hair feels naturally bouncy and appears voluminous.

You should use a clarifying shampoo only when your hair and scalp need it. How do you know when to clarify your hair? Here are a few tell-tale signs to check.

Signs That Your Hair Needs Clarifying Treatment

  • If you swim often (in a swimming pool or in the ocean) and see a green tinge on your hair (caused by chlorine deposit).
  • Your hair feels weighed down.
  • Your hair products no longer work, and you are not getting the desired results. This happens because of excess residue on the scalp.
  • You have fine hair that becomes oily quite often.
  • Your scalp starts itching, and you notice flakiness.
  • Your hair becomes frizzy (because of excess buildup).
  • You experience excessive hair fall.
  • Your hair has become limp and lifeless.
  • Your hair looks dull.
  • Your hair feels weighed down and limp even after shampooing.
  • You often use products like oils and deep conditioners. In that case, you need to clarify your hair once every two weeks.

Once you know that your hair needs a clarifying treatment, here are a few ways to do it at home and maintain its natural beauty.

How To Clarify Your Hair At Home: DIY Recipes

You can always use a clarifying shampoo for cleaning your scalp and hair. Follow it up with a hydrating conditioner. Clarifying shampoos contain SLS that helps remove buildup. However, if you want to avoid SLS, you may use the following DIY clarifying recipes.

1. The Sea Salt Scrub

Sea salt scrub for clarifying hair
Image: IStock

The salt granules are excellent exfoliators, and lemon juice works as a clarifying agent and is often used in DIY remedies. Adding a vegetable oil ensures that your hair does not end up losing excess moisture.


  • 6 tablespoons of sea salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (use any hair oil of your choice)


  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Scrub your damp hair and scalp with the mixture for 10 minutes.
  3. Leave it on for another 10 minutes.
  4. Wash it off with a mild shampoo.

2. The Classic Clarifying Treatment

Baking soda is often used in DIY recipes for its exfoliating properties. Adding tea tree oil can help minimize dandruff (1). It can also keep the scalp healthy.


  • ¼ cup of liquid castile soap
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 2-4 drops of tea tree oil


  1. Mix all the ingredients.
  2. Apply the mixture to a damp scalp and massage.
  3. Leave it on for 10 minutes and wash it off.

3. Bentonite Clay And Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

Bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar rinse
Image: Shutterstock

Bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar are often used in traditional remedies and DIY masks for their oil-absorbing and clarifying properties. This clarifying mask can keep the scalp clean and healthy.


  • ½ cup of bentonite clay
  • ¼ cup of water
  • ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar


  1. Mix the bentonite clay and water to form a paste.
  2. Apply the paste to the scalp and hair.
  3. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes. Rinse well.
  4. Now, mix the ACV in a cup of water (100 ml).
  5. Use the ACV mix as a post-wash rinse.

4. Rhassoul Clay Mask

Woman applying rhassoul clay mask
Image: Shutterstock

Like bentonite clay, rhassoul clay or Moroccan lava clay is rich in minerals and is used in traditional recipes for its oil-absorbing and clarifying properties. The aloe vera juice keeps the scalp moisturized (2). Apple cider vinegar adds shine to the hair.


  • ½ cup of rhassoul clay
  • ½ cup aloe vera juice
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of any vegetable oil (coconut, argan, olive, or sweet almond oils)
  • 10 drops of any essential oil for fragrance (peppermint, ylang-ylang, or tea tree oils)


  1. Mix all the ingredients.
  2. Apply the solution to the scalp and massage for 10 minutes.
  3. Leave it on for another 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse well with water and then shampoo.

5. Baking Soda And Apple Cider Vinegar

Baking soda

exfoliates the scalp, and apple cider vinegar helps regulate sebum and make the hair shiny.


  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup of water


  1. Mix the baking soda and ACV.
  2. Apply the paste to your scalp and massage.
  3. Leave it on for 2-3 minutes and rinse with water.
  4. Wash off with a shampoo.

Use these DIY recipes to clarify your hair whenever you think it feels weighed down. However, you should not clarify frequently. Scroll down to learn how often you should do it.

How Often To Clarify Your Hair

If you sweat excessively and use many hair products, it is best to clarify your scalp once in two weeks. However, if your hair is healthy and your scalp is not oily, you can cleanse it once a month.

Georgina Pellow, a blogger, tried the bicarbonate and water mixture to clarify her hair and shared her experience. She says, “I’ve started using bicarbonate of soda mixed with water twice a week to help with the waxiness of my hair. I think that’s brought on by the hardness of my water. I’ve found that it’s really helped and my hair is so fluffy afterwards. I love it (i)!”

protip_icon Quick Tip
Since excessive use of clarifying shampoo may dry out your hair, it can make it appear dull and frizzy.

You may follow the tips below for choosing the best clarifying product.

Best Clarifying Products: How To Choose One

Woman enjoying a clarifying shampoo at salon
Image: Shutterstock

When choosing a clarifying shampoo, look for the following ingredients:

  • Ammonium lauryl sulfate
  • Ammonium laureth sulfate
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Sodium stearate
  • Alpha-olefin sulfonate

These are detergents and can clean residue and buildup in one wash. However, use the shampoos sparingly, or else they may dry out the hair.

Infographic: Simple And Natural Ways To Clarify Your Hair At Home

We often consider using thicker emollients and sealants to help our hair retain and preserve moisture over the winter. However, with their prolonged application, harmful chemicals might build up on our scalps. Worry not; revitalize your hair with these three easy at-home methods. Scroll down to the infographic for the big reveal!

simple and natural ways to clarify your hair at home (infographic)

Illustration: The Bridal Box Design Team

In short, clarifying treatments exfoliate the scalp and hair, thus removing impurities and providing detoxing benefits. They remove product buildup, dirt, grime, excess sebum, and other unwanted substances that clog your scalp pores. They help maintain the pH level of the scalp, which is important for healthy hair growth, and prevent fungal or bacterial infections. These treatments rejuvenate limp and flat hair, making it feel refreshed and look bouncy and beautiful. Depending on the ingredients used in these treatments, you can find ones that offer additional hair care benefits, like hydration and nourishment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Dawn dish soap clarify hair?

Dawn dish soap may strip your hair of natural oils. Therefore, it is better to avoid using it to clarify hair.

Can baby shampoo be used as a clarifying shampoo?

Baby shampoo is a safer hair washing product as it does not contain harsh cleansers and chemicals. But it may not provide you with deep clarifying benefits.

Does clarifying shampoo remove hair color?

Clarifying shampoo may gradually fade hair dye, but it wouldn’t remove it entirely.

Key Takeaways

  • Clarifying your hair helps remove product buildup, regulate pH levels, and rejuvenate the hair.
  • If your hair feels too weighed down, itchy, oily, or flaky, you need to clarify your hair.
  • You can prepare home remedies to clarify your hair with sea salt, baking soda, tea tree oil, ACV, bentonite clay, and rhassoul clay.

Learn how to clarify your hair and scalp with apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Watch this video to learn this simple method and achieve the best results.

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on thebridalbox are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo
  2. Aloe Vera: A Short Review
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Tiffany Young
Tiffany YoungTrichology
Tiffany Young is the founder and CEO of and a content writer for hair loss education. Her writing contributions have been featured in notable publications such as People Magazine, Martha Stewart and Teen Vogue.

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