What does clarifying shampoo do to colored hair?

use of clarifying shampoo on colored hair

Clarifying shampoo can do three things to colored hair:

  • Get rid of excess color when your hair is oversaturated with dye.
  • Completely remove semi-permanent dye.
  • Get rid of dirt, grease, powder, or residue from products in your hair.


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So, as you can see,  it could be a good or bad idea to use clarifying shampoo, depending on what you’re trying to do. 


I will go back to a concept I talk about pretty often.

There’s no such thing as bad hair products. What does exist is the right product or wrong product.

What does that mean?


Let’s say that someone always uses many hair products on their hair.

For example, it reminds me of Ariana’s case. She’s one of my clients who is a flight attendant. Because of her job, she needs her hair always to be neatly pulled up, almost 24 hours a day.


So, she uses gels, mousses, and holding products to keep her updos in place just about every day

Of course, as months passed, her hair started to lose its natural shine and became heavy and flat. She said it felt like it was still sticky even if she washed it three times a week.

What was happening to her hair?


All of the hair products she used day in and day out left residue in her hair. And getting rid of that residue with a regular shampoo is hard.

So, l recommended that she use a clarifying shampoo to do a deep clean on her hair and scalp at least once every 15 days.


A month later, Ariana’s hair was like new. It’d gotten back its natural shine and movement. So, Ariana started to include clarifying shampoo as a regular product in her hair care routine.

I also recommended that she use water-based holding products, like leave-in conditioners or mousse.

Because that way, she could avoid oil-based products, like creams and serums, that always leave a greasy residue in your hair.

And Ariana uses clarifying shampoo about once a month.


But,  Ariana doesn’t have colored hair.   If Ariana had used clarifying shampoo so often on colored hair, the color would have disappeared entirely, and she would have had to touch it up every fifteen days. That would be truly crazy!


So, having an obvious idea of what you want to do with clarifying shampoo is essential.

Because if you have colored hair, clarifying shampoo could be your worst enemy, except in two cases.

Want to know what those two cases are? Keep reading.

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If you oversaturated your hair with color when you dyed it, you could use clarifying shampoo to eliminate excess color.

remove the remains of purple shampoo

Color saturation? What is that?


My dear reader, we need to leave dye in our hair for a certain amount of time, usually 45 minutes.

 When you leave dye in your hair for more than 45 minutes, what happens is that you saturate your hair with pigment. 

That’s why you should leave dye in your hair for a maximum of 45 minutes. You can’t leave dye in all night or even for two hours.


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And when that happens, because nature is wise and so is your hair, it will start to expel excess color.

If you bought a color kit, when you opened that magic box, you probably noticed that inside there was a pretty big piece of water with some little drawings on it.

That piece of paper had all the instructions laid out for how you should apply the dye and how long to leave it in.


If you didn’t think it was important to read the instructions then you seem to have decided to accept the consequences. And so, probably, you leave the dye in your hair for more than 45 minutes.


Maybe it was only ten extra minutes. Yep, even just ten extra minutes can oversaturate your hair with pigments.

 Because the hair has a limit as to how much it can absorb . And after 45 minutes, it can’t absorb any more dye.


I probably don’t need to tell you what happens when you oversaturate your hair with dye because I can imagine that your clothes, sheets, and everything your hair touches is screaming it at you.

When you oversaturate your hair with dye, everything your hair touches will end up stained with dye.


If you left the dye in your hair for the correct amount of time and your hair is still oversaturated, what might have happened is that you chose a dye that is too dark or intense for your base color.


For example, if your hair is level 10 lightest blonde and you use a level 1 black dye, you’re saturating your hair with color.

The same will happen if you use an intense red or orange dye on light base colors.

Have you noticed that box dye kits also come with recommendations for choosing a color?


Those recommendations also usually come with photos, and they should show you how your hair will look before and after using the dye, with your base color in mind.

That’s why you won’t find any dye that will recommend using a blonde dye on black hair and you also won’t find one that recommends using a black dye on very light hair.


So, you know  why your hair is saturated with color/su_highlight]. And so, to end your suffering, you need to get rid of the excess pigment.

And here we come back to the clarifying shampoo. Because   clarifying shampoo is ideal for eliminating the saturation of color in your hair. 

Now, in this case, I ask that you please follow the pretty simple instructions:

  • Wet your hair and apply the clarifying shampoo.
  • Massage the ends of your hair, then your roots.
  • Leave the clarifying shampoo in for five to seven minutes.
  • Rinse with plenty of cool water.


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And here are some extra pieces of advice you can’t ignore:

  •  Only use clarifying shampoo one time , because if you use it two or three times in a row, your color will turn out completely faded.
  •  Wait 72 hours after applying the dye to use the clarifying shampoo . That way, your hair will absorb the color, and the clarifying shampoo will only eliminate the excess.


You can also use clarifying shampoo to get rid of semi-permanent dye

Clarifying shampoo removes traces of semi-permanent dye

You probably have heard of the benefits of using semi-permanent dye. Semi-permanent dye offers vibrant color with far less damage to your hair.

But not all that glitters is gold; if you’re unsure, just ask King Midas.

Because a lot of times, the semi-permanent dye takes longer to fade.

Why does it take longer?


Well, it all depends on the color you’ve picked.

 Some semi-permanent dyes have more intense pigments that take a long time to disappear completely. 


S0, if you used a semi-permanent dye and don’t like the color or want to change colors but still have some of the last dye you used in your hair, you can use clarifying shampoo.

How should you use it?


I’d recommend using it twice a week and leaving it in for 5-10 minutes.

If you still have the color residue after using it for a week, you can use it two more times during the week.

Most likely, after two weeks of using a clarifying shampoo on your dyed hair, the residue from the dye will have disappeared entirely.



You should only use clarifying shampoo on dyed hair if you want to eliminate semi-permanent dye or if you’ve oversaturated your hair with permanent dye.

It’s not a frequent-use product because it can dry out your hair.

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