How Clarifying Shampoo Can Help Lighten Your Hair

If you've had a bad dye job on your hair and don't want to spend the money to have it color corrected, there may be a simple way to remove some of the color so that your hair doesn't look so dark and striking. All you have to do to lighten your hair is wash it with a simple product that you can find in any drug store or supermarket – clarifying shampoo.

Perhaps you've been told not to use clarifying shampoo after having your hair colored because it can strip the color out. Well, that's exactly the point when you don't want so much color in your hair. According to Byrdie, clarifying shampoo helps reset your hair, removing chemical build up that can leave it looking natural and not over-processed. Not only will it strip away hair color, it will remove other styling products built up in your hair like mousse and hairspray. However, you want to be cautious before using clarifying shampoo to lighten a color job gone wrong.

Clarifying shampoos are typically used to achieve a deep clean

More than just styling products can build up in your hair, so if you want to get deep into the follicle and flush out chemicals from water — including hard water in your pipes and chlorine water from a swimming pool — use a clarifying shampoo every once in a while. "In a way, it's like a hair detox," dermatologist Iris Rubin told Byrdie.

While Byrdie recommends washing three to four times in one shower with a clarifying shampoo to get the deepest clean possible, Salon Worthy Hair suggests leaving the shampoo in your hair for 30 seconds before thoroughly rinsing, but not to repeat multiple times in a row. Instead, space out how often you use clarifying shampoo and be patient, as stripping the dye and lightening your hair won't just take one day. For best results, make sure to use a clarifying shampoo that does not say "color safe."

However, both outlets advise you to use a deep conditioner afterwards, as clarifying shampoos tend to dry out hair.

This is when you should not use a clarifying shampoo

Although using a clarifying shampoo is an inexpensive way to color-correct a bad dye job without having to return to the salon, it can still have some drawbacks that have nothing to do with color and everything to do with hair and scalp health. Since clarifying shampoos dry out hair, it can cause your scalp to overcompensate for the dryness and produce more oil. Your hair may be dry, but your scalp won't be and that greasy feeling can cause a whole vicious cycle of using clarifying shampoo to dry out your scalp, not realizing the product is what is causing that greasy feeling (via Byrdie).

Clarifying shampoo can also make already existing skin conditions worse, so if you have eczema, dandruff, psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis, stay away from this product. In addition, Byrdie advises that people with curly hair or other hair textures that are naturally prone to dryness should use a clarifying shampoo sparingly.