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From coating on the dry shampoo for an upcoming Zoom meeting, to styling your strands for those back-to-back holiday parties, to the oils that naturally form on your scalp, it’s safe to say your hair has been working overtime this season. But, if you don’t give your mane the TLC it deserves, there’s a good chance you’ll spot some major buildup. (Translation? It’s those chunky flakes or blobs that stick to your hair like glue.)

Don’t worry: just because you went a little too hard on the mousse, lotion, and aerosol spray doesn’t mean your hair will always be a breeding ground for buildup. To reverse the beauty curse, all you need is some clarifying shampoo. Think of clarifying shampoo as your one-stop-formula to give your hair some extra oomph. Not only can it obliterate buildup, but it can also add some moisture, prevent bacteria growth, and restore the natural pH balance of your hair. (Calling all blondes: it can also keep your hair from appearing brassy.)

If you’re dipping your strands into the world of clarifying shampoos for the very first time, you might be in need of some recommendations. That’s where we come in. Check out these three, top-rated options worth adding to your cart.

Paul Mitchell Shampoo Two Clarifying Cleanser

Paul Mitchell has been one of the leading haircare brands since its founding in 1980, so it’s no wonder that its clarifying shampoo is one of the best money can buy. Perfect for a vast array of hair types, this shampoo is specially designed to reduce oil production so your strands will become less oily over time. 

Biolage Normalizing Cleanreset Shampoo

Anyone who regularly colors your hair knows you have to be very specific about which formulas you put on your strands. Don’t worry: Biolage’s Normalizing Cleanrest Shampoo is here to help. Not only is this formula compatible with a bunch of hair types—coarse, curly, straight, and more— but it’ll remove excess buildup without leaving your scalp dry.


Biolage Normalizing Cleanreset Shampoo

$24.99


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Pattern Clarifying Shampoo

Think of Pattern’s clarifying formula as the perfect match for anyone with curled, coiled, or textured hair. Decked out with ingredients like matcha green tea, aloe vera, and panthenol, this option is designed to strengthen your strands and give your shower a moisture boost. Plus, it’s made without parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde.

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