Why Your Hair Needs Clarifying Shampoo

When I was home on spring break, I stopped in to see my hairdresser for a quick trim. I had been really trying to take it easy on my hair—straightener and curling iron reserved only for weekend styling. So you can imagine my surprise when my stylist merely touched my hair and was appalled by its condition.

She asked me if I had been going swimming. No. Had I had been color-treating my hair? No. Had I had been showering? Well, yes. But that turned out to be precisely the problem: the fact that I had been showering in State College water.

This is the best campus ever. I say that with an unabashed bias. It turns out that ‘best campus’ does not come with the ‘best water quality.’ The minerals in our water created a build-up in my scalp that was “similar to heavily chlorinated hair of a swimmer,” according to my hairdresser. This build-up was stifling growth and dulling my blonde hair to a yellowy-grey color.

My hairdresser then proceeded to put me through a rigorous shampooing and deep conditioning (I’m not complaining. We all know that the hair-washing is the best part of a haircut). Afterwards, she urged me to purchase a clarifying shampoo for myself to avoid this situation in the future.

I bought it, and my hair has improved drastically. I grabbed Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo from our local Wegmans. I’m sure any other trustworthy brand would deliver the same results.

This is the process:

  1. Only use this shampoo once or twice a week maximum. Its job is to strip your scalp of unwanted mineral build-up, but if you use the shampoo too much, it will strip your scalp of the healthy oils you need.
  2. Massage it in with the pads of your fingers for five minutes. This is also a great arm workout.
  3. Follow with a deep conditioner. I use Aussie Three-Minute Miracle. Massage conditioner in from just behind your scalp to the tips of hair. Allow at least three minutes for absorption.

Your color will be more vibrant and your hair will be more manageable—plus, super soft from the deep conditioning.

Clarifying Shampoo is a beauty staple that I only recently discovered. I don’t know how I hadn’t known about it, and it seems that I’m not the only one.

Penn State: great school, crappy water. Buy a clarifying shampoo, like, yesterday.

Photo by Ziyan Sha


  • Avatar Anna says:

    That little bottle changed my life! I thought my hair changed and become weak and it took my forever to find out about clarifying shampoo! Now, my hair is strong again and beautiful! 🙂

  • Avatar K$ says:

    WOW this is just what I needed to read! I live in Wisconsin (idk how I ended up at this article…you must be a pretty popular writer) and the water quality in my apt is terrible! Thanks for the great advice. I’ll be purchasing this shampoo TOMORROW!!

  • Avatar nicole says:

    TOTALLY AGREE PAIGE! I just used clarifying shampoo yesterday for the first time and WOW what a difference it makes! GREAT article, keep it up!

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