Hair styling product build up can occur on both natural and color treated hair; a clarifying shampoo is the best way to clear it up. But if you do have color-treated hair, you will want to choose a clarifying shampoo that won’t fade your color or stress hair already weakened by processing. This means choosing a shampoo that is both gentle and effective at removing build-up.
Not every clarifying shampoo on the market is right for color treated hair. Due to the stress that the coloring process can put on hair – especially if you lighten your hair – the ingredients in many shampoos can be too harsh. Finding a clarifying shampoo designed specifically for color treated hair is a challenge, but some of the choices on the market will still work well even if they aren’t labeled for color treated or processed hair.
The important thing to remember about clarifying shampoo is that it is not designed to be used every day. No matter which shampoo you chose, you should stick to using it to remove product buildup once a week at most. Most shampoos on the market today, including the clarifying type, contain sulfates, which are used to clean dirt and oil from hair. Because a clarifying shampoo is designed to remove even more dirt and build up, they can contain even more of the sulfates, which unfortunately are drying to hair and can strip away color. In addition to this, clarifying shampoos contain a different alkaline balance and can further fade your color.
If you can, seek out a shampoo that does not contain sulfates. There are several lines on the market today that do not have these harsh detergents. Remember, however, that if you have a lot of product build up in your hair, a sulfate free shampoo may not be strong enough to remove it. For people who use a lot of product, it is a good idea to use a sulfate free shampoo as your regular daily choice, and then add a clarifying shampoo once weekly to remove that build up. Using the sulfate free shampoo the rest of the week will mitigate the damage from the weekly clarifying wash.
There are clarifying shampoos on the market designed specifically for color treated hair. They contain ingredients to protect the color and moisturize the hair. Some of these might be in the higher price range and sold through salons. There are also cheaper drugstore brands which can be very effective as well. No matter which clarifying shampoo you use, be sure to follow it with a good conditioner that will add moisture back into the hair.
Using a clarifying shampoo once a week on color treated hair may still have some effect on how long your color lasts, but if you use it carefully you should be able to balance your need to remove build up with your desire to keep your color vibrant. Color treated hair needs a little extra caution, but can still look its best with the right mix of products.