Does clarifying shampoo work to lighten dyed hair?

her hair was very dark

Clarifying shampoo works very well if you want to lighten your dyed hair, but there are other issues that you should keep in mind.


For example, you won’t be able to go from a dark brown to an ashy blonde. And you also won’t be able to lighten your dyed hair in just one wash.

Well, after all, we are talking about a solution, not a miracle.

However, in my case, I almost, almost consider it a miracle.


A few weeks ago, I decided to darken my light brown hair to a chocolate tone.

But the truth is, I didn’t like it at all. I don’t know if I applied it wrong or if I left it in for too short of time. The thing is that at the end, when my hair dried after dyeing it, the color that I saw in the mirror was far from what I wanted.

And that’s when I started kicking myself because I had been a victim of the dye box models’ photos.


 Why did the model have that chocolate color that made you want to eat it, shiny and deep, and I had ended up with a milk chocolate color?  


And then, my cell phone rang. And my sister was the poor victim of my mourning.

She let me talk because she knew that when I needed to vent, I go into fourth gear, like in the car, and I don’t stop, and when I finish, she simply said two words: clarifying shampoo.

And what is that, I managed to murmur in a tone of voice that had a hint of hope.


She then gave me a master class on the benefits of clarifying shampoo to lighten a dye that didn’t turn out right.

So, I ran out to buy one of those miracle shampoos, and I used it.

Do you want to know how I lightened my dyed hair?


Now, I’ll tell you, but first let me tell you:

  • What are clarifying shampoos
  • How to use clarifying shampoos to lighten dyed hair
  • Recommendations for clarifying shampoo: one common brand and another homemade


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Why clarifying shampoo is useful to lighten hair

How to wash your hair before ironing

Clarifying shampoo is designed to be strong enough to eliminate residues and accumulations that end up in your hair after using styling products, oils, etc. And if it can erase these types of residues, why can’t it eliminate the dye in your hair too?


 Regular use of this shampoo will make your dye hair fade faster than if you use shampoos for dyed hair, for example. 


Clarifying shampoos contain a high content of acetic acid, which is known for its decalcification process.

That means it deeply cleans the build-up in the hair caused by excessive use of styling products, like gels, lacquers, mousse, dyes, and conditioners.

My hair, in addition to not having the color that I wanted, looked opaque and lifeless.

Do you want me to tell you something?


  • The accumulation of all the products that I mentioned before overload your hair makes it flat, sticky and prevents the light from reflecting off of it, which makes your hair look opaque and lifeless.
  • Meaning that clarifying shampoo could help me get rid of the dye in my hair and eliminate the accumulation of other products, giving it a clean, shiny, and silky look.


It was time to get to work and try out clarifying shampoo for myself to see if it would help get rid of the dye.


How to use clarifying shampoo on dyed hair

The Good news is that using clarifying shampoo is just as simple as using your normal shampoo.


  • First, you should wet your hair with warm water. That way, you’ll open the cuticles of the hair so that the shampoo can better penetrate.
  • Apply a generous amount of the shampoo and rub it well over your whole head.

What’s more, do you want to know a small trick that I discovered?


If you have time, take advantage and do a thermal treatment with clarifying shampoo.

It’s very simple. Don’t rinse your hair once you’ve applied the shampoo and cover it with a shower cap. Use the hairdryer for a minute at maximum hot air power.

Let the shampoo sit for 15 to 20 minutes and rinse well.

How often should you wash your hair to lighten it?


This will depend exclusively on your hair. If you want to eliminate very dark tones, you will definitely have to wash it more until you see that you have the tone that you want.

 Also, you must keep in mind that the more time you wait to use the clarifying shampoo after you dye your hair, the more difficult it will be to lighten the color of the dye. 


In my case, I used it for two weeks, twice a week, and I could really lighten that horrible milk chocolate color that had ended up in my hair.


Do you want to know what shampoo I used to lighten my dyed hair?

I will tell you, and I will also tell you how to make your own clarifying shampoo.


One store-bought and one homemade clarifying shampoo

You should keep in mind that this type of shampoo can dry out your hair a lot.

But, don’t worry. I found a shampoo that not only lightened my hair well but didn’t dry it out too much.


Fekkai Apple Cider shampoo

clarifies and removes buildup

Check shampoo price on Amazon


My greatest fear was that in addition to not lightening my hair’s color, the odor would be absolutely intolerable. I had already put up with enough terrible smells from the ammonia.

So, I was happy when I used this shampoo, and it left a pleasant, fruity smell, a mix of apples and pears.

Finally, I had gone from chocolate to fruit. My nutritionist was going to jump for joy.


Also, it contained hydrating elements that make your hair not end up dry and even can leave it feeling soft without needing conditioner.

Now, maybe you are one of those that like to make your own hair products and cosmetics.


The Good news is that you can also prepare your own clarifying shampoo.


Recipe for homemade clarifying shampoo

When it comes to lightening dyed hair naturally, nothing can beat the power of baking soda.

This is the most basic recipe for clarifying shampoos that you can make at home, and it’s as easy as 1-2-3!



  • Two tablespoons baking soda
  • Two tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • One tablespoon of your regular shampoo



  • Pour your regular shampoo in a plastic bowl
  • Add the two tablespoons of baking soda and mix well.
  • Apply the mixture to your whole head and massage for a few minutes.
  • Like I recommended before, if you have time, put on a shower cap and apply the heat of a hairdryer for a minute.
  • Let the shampoo sit for twenty minutes, and finally, rinse with cold water.


The bad part about this clarifying shampoo is that it is alkaline, meaning it can strip out your hair’s natural oils and leave it dry and dull.

That’s why you must balance out the high pH of the baking soda with an acid rinse after rinsing.

I recommend that you dilute the tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar in 2 cups of water and do a final rinse with it.


Conclusions: does the shampoo really lighten your hair?

My experience using this type of shampoo taught me two important things.


The first is that ultimately, the clarifying shampoo works to lighten dyed hair one to two tones when the dye doesn’t work the way you want.

And the second, don’t believe those model’s smiling faces on the box of dye.


Have you ever used these types of shampoos to lighten your dyed hair?

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