Is head and shoulders a clarifying shampoo? Short answer: No

  • No. Head and Shoulders shampoo is not a clarifying shampoo.
  • Head and Shoulders has a wide range of shampoos. However, none of them are clarifying.
  • Though they fight against oily, itchy scalp and dandruff problems, none is a clarifying shampoo.
  • If what you want is to remove a hair dye or perform a deep scalp and hair cleaning look for a clarifying shampoo because Head and Shoulders won’t give you that result.


head and shoulders

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Have you ever heard of “fake news”?

They’re fake stories that spread through social networks or digital media so repeatedly that they seem real.

Something like that happens with the belief that Head and Shoulders shampoo is a clarifying shampoo.

As my grandmother would say, “lie, lie, something will remain in the end.”


However, here I am, debunking myths.  Head and Shoulders is an anti-dandruff shampoo. All its products fight dandruff. They are not clarifying. 

The history of Head and Shoulders is related to dandruff and the fungus that causes it. It started in 1961, when a distinguished scientist, Dr. Parran, managed to create a potent compound to fight the damn flakes.


Of course, many scientific and technological advances later have arisen since then. Head and Shoulders has developed a complete line of shampoos and conditioners to fight dandruff for many hair needs.

They are still what they were born for: anti-dandruff shampoos.


So,  if your problem is dandruff, itchy scalp, or the need to control oiliness, you’re on the right track. In that case, Head and Shoulders is for you. 

Now, if you want to remove hair dye or deep clean your hair, my advice is to choose a clarifying shampoo. I’ll tell you why.


Stay with me because I’ll tell you:

  • Difference between a clarifying and Head and Shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo.
  • Why use clarifying shampoo

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Difference between a clarifying and Head and Shoulders anti-dandruff shampoo


Clarifying shampoos were designed to remove product build-up and oils to deeply clean your hair.

If you ever straightened your hair or had a keratin treatment at a salon, your hair was probably washed with a clarifying shampoo.


That’s fine because your stylist made sure to remove any product residue that could interfere with the straightening or keratin products.

Many swimmers, who train for hours and hours in pools, even use it to remove the green shades that can appear on blonde hair after swimming in chlorinated water.


 In other words, when you use the clarifying shampoo, you reset your hair. 

Regardless of how much you rinse the hair products, there’s always something left. If you apply weekly hair masks, the build-up is inevitable.

Washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo will remove all traces of all the hair products you’ve used on your hair.


 All shampoos in the Head and Shoulders line fight dandruff. They eliminate visible discomfort and fight against the main cause of dandruff: the Malassezia globosa fungus. 


If they are so different, why do people confuse Head and Shoulders with a clarifying shampoo?

uses dry shampoo between washes

It’s simple. Head and Shoulders shampoo has a large number of astringent products to fight dandruff. So, it’s corrosive to the hair dye pigments.

As for clarifying shampoo, it’s used to remove artificial pigments from the hair.


 As you can see, clarifying and Head and Shoulders shampoo are not even similar in that aspect. One expels the artificial pigment from the hair and the other strips the color by chemical action. 


Personally, I think the confusion arises because both products can alter hair color.

When a client wants to lighten her hair color a few shades, I always recommend washing out her color with anti-dandruff shampoo. Then, she can apply the new shade without pigment residue. The same goes for those clients who applied semi-permanent hair dyes.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to remove your color without bleaching or going through any damaging chemical process, I recommend using a clarifying shampoo.


Why use a clarifying shampoo?

clarifying shampoo

  • If you want to perform a detox treatment on your hair, there’s nothing better than a clarifying shampoo. But be careful because you shouldn’t use it as a regular shampoo.

Ideally,  if you want to deeply cleanse your hair fiber, you should use it once a month to avoid the loss of the scalp’s natural oils. 


  • If you want to remove a hair dye, you can use it up to three times in one day, leaving it to act according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  I assure you, one or two washes will be more than enough to remove the hair dye. 

Once you remove the natural pigments, I recommend that you apply an intensive nourishing treatment to restore your hair’s moisture.


Which clarifying shampoo to choose?

washing removes color

There are so many. Almost all brands have their clarifying shampoo. Here are three well-known brands. However, any other you choose will also be fine.

  • REDKEN DETOX: are you feeling your hair weak? This is your best option. Apart from cleaning your hair fiber deeply and removing the hair dye, it’ll strengthen your cuticles.
  • NEUTROGENA: do you use a lot of styling products and feel your hair dull and lifeless? This clarifying shampoo will remove 90% of hair products residues. Your hair will result shinier.
  • OGX: Is your hair dry? Have no fear. You can use this shampoo to detoxify your hair fiber. You’ll also moisturize it with the coconut charcoal and kaolin clay.


Head and Shoulders, on the other hand, also offers a detox alternative. However, it won’t remove the artificial pigments in the hair dye.

You can use it if you want to fight dandruff. At the same time, it’ll perform a slightly deeper cleansing than a regular shampoo would. However, it doesn’t have the power of a clarifying shampoo.

You should choose the Head and Shoulders Hair Purification line with activated charcoal and mint, which is also for frequent use.



All Head and Shoulders brand alternatives fight dandruff. They have nothing to do with clarifying shampoos.

If you need to remove a hair dye or the residues of hair products, you should use a clarifying shampoo.

However, if your problem is itchy scalp or dandruff, a good alternative is Head and Shoulders.

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