The Best Clarifying Shampoos

Clarifying shampoo doesn't sound fun. It doesn't promise enlivened bounce, dazzling shine, or a surge of hydration. It promises clean hair and scalp—and therein lies it's value. I discovered this back in my ballet dancer days where "performance hair" meant multiple layers of L.A Looks Hair Gel, matted down with a boar bristle brush, spray painted with Suave Hair Spray, and finished off with a toothbrush on the baby hairs. Post-performance was decidedly less glamourous; looking like a human again required several shampooings using the basic, yet effective Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo.

Now that the "go as long as possible without washing your hair" method is less trend and more just normal behavior, clarifying shampoo on the whole has leveled up. If you're only washing your hair once or twice a week, you're going to want clarifying shampoo's ability to remove dirt, oil, and product build-up from your scalp and roots. It'll keep your hair healthier—not to mention easier to style. If you've ever asked yourself, "Has my shampoo stopped working?" you're going to want try one of the shampoos listed below:

The one that is the Gloffice favorite: Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt was Sephora's best-selling shampoo in France last year. Now, it's well on its way to being their best-seller in America, too. We'd like to say that it's because it's stationed in the showers of most French Top Shelves, but it's probably because of its gentle grit. The salt scrubs off buildup, while also tending to sensitive scalps. Bonus: The tub lasts for ages.

The one that's most fun to use: Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo (the conditioner pairing is excellent). This was first introduced to me a few months ago by James Pecis. He stopped by the office with a tiny sample can, asked us to put out our hands, and blasted us with the gray-black mousse. It foams up just like shaving cream, and contains ~volcanic ash powder~. Points for originality here.

The one that smells like sweet, sweet youth: Frederic Fekkai Apple Cider. The bright green color and juicy green apple scent reminds me of Garnier Fructis, but a whole lot chicer. Recommended usage is once a week. A little goes a long way with this one, therefore expect it to be a happy mainstay in your shower for 6-12 months.

The one that looks grown up: Davines Solu. Great, simple, utilitarian packaging. I used this guy after a night out wearing a super slick, shellacked high pony à la Balmain S/S '16. The smell is whatever, but I can fully attest that there was not a single strand of hair on my head that felt crunchy or crusty after using.

The one that I already mentioned: Neutrogena Anti-Residue. Under $10, and a product that does the job. Tried and true, 'nuff said.

The one that makes your hair shiny: Moroccanoil Clarify. You know how your hair feels terrific when you get an amazing shampooing at the salon? That soft, shiny, smooth effect is attainable with just one use of this shampoo. No conditioner needed, if you can believe it.

—Eva Alt

Photographed by Tom Newton.

Into the Shower: The best-smelling gels for bathing are right this way.