“Buildup is something that can loosen your curl pattern and flatten hair,” she says. “If you have a lot of oils, sweat, dirt, and product on your scalp it’s going to pull the hair down. You’ll see flat roots and a looser texture. If your hair is heavy, it’s not going to have that bounce.”
The easiest way to remove buildup on the scalp and strand is via a clarifying number. Clarifying shampoos are extra strong washes that blast open the cuticle to remove any buildup trapped on the strand—as well as deep cleaning the scalp.
Essentially: These are the shampoos turned way up. There’s really nothing too different in the formula that makes it clarifying, specifically other than a higher concentration of the surfactants. In the clean space, they may also include astringent and detoxing ingredients like charcoal, tea tree, and salicylic acid in the place of sulfates.
We should also note here that clarifying shampoos are not for daily use: In fact, only whip these out when you need a seriously thorough cleanse. Because they are so strong, they will be too stripping for hair and may bother the scalp. Ultimately, you'll be the judge of how often you need one based on your hair type or scalp condition, but just know that these likely shouldn't be your go-to.
Looking for one to add to your routine? Check out our favorite clarifying shampoos here.