Hair: Detox vs Clarifying

Hair care products are formulated in a way that they coat each hair strand to create a varying degree of volume, hold and control. If you have read the ingredient list of the product and ever gotten curious about the nature and aftereffect of use of some of the ingredients, you probably know that not all product formulations are created equal. There are plenty of ingredients that are damaging to your hair or that are water in-soluble (hello, silicones!) which eventually leads to product buildup. There is no need to use aggressive cleansing solutions; however, some hair cleansers are so gentle that they result in eventual residue buildup. Due to the exposure of the hair to toxins as well as aggressive and non – water soluble ingredients, the world of hair care welcomed detox and clarifying products.



Introduction to hair detox and clarifying:

Toxins Product build-up Residue build-up
Why does it happen? –          Toxins from the hair dyes and relaxers

–        Toxins in the air

–          Use of chlorinated pools

–          Mineral build – up due to hard water

–          Non – porous hair

–          Use of water insoluble silicones, mineral oils, waxes, petrolatum, heavy butters and heavy oils

–         Infrequent washing



–          Co-washing, cleansing conditioners, no – poo method might not provide adequate cleansing for the hair

–          Failure to rinse out all your product


How do you know that your hair / scalp have been affected? Hard water damage is ambiguous and is worth a separate investigative research!


As for toxins, according to some studies they do not directly disturb the structure of the hair. That said, one of the ways to evaluate your body’s toxicity is through hair strand analysis.  As such, your hair knows exactly what toxic things you did last summer…


Toxins are said to affect scalp the most. Keeping in mind that scalp is the birth place of hair, it is easy to deduce that scalp feels and does its best when healthy and unclogged



–          Hair looks dull and dirty with no shine even when freshly washed

–          Hair is flat and feels coated

–          Hair is not responsive to products and  is difficult to style

–          Clogged scalp

–          Dry and itchy scalp

–          Flakes

–          Hair loss and slow hair growth


What is the solution? Detox / Chelating Clarifying

It is important to detox and clarify the hair and scalp in order to:


–          Allow proper functioning of the scalp for better hair growth

–          Allow water (moisture) and nutrients to absorb into the hair to avoid breakage

–          Allow hair care and styling products to work best


Why is it important to solve the problem?




Hair/ scalp  detox and clarifying in practical terms:

Hair clarifying and chelating schedule:

Your hair clarifying schedule will depend on the current condition of your hair as well as your hair care regimen and products you use. There are few things to remember about clarifying shampoos:

–          Clarifying shampoos don’t have specific target so they will dry up your oils if used in excess (i.e. welcome dry hair and scalp)

–          Clarifying shampoos might dull /strip the dye from color treated hair so please approach with care


Generally speaking, mineral buildup takes longer to accumulate on the hair which means that you do not need to chelate / detox your hair as often as you might consider clarifying. That said, the bonds that minerals make with the hair are much stronger compared to bonds made between the haircare products and the hair. As such, chelating shampoos are more potent cleansing solutions that are able to bind to toxins / minerals and lift them away. One thing to remember:

–          Hair detox / chelating solutions focus their work on the inside of the hair shaft. As such, it is best that you clear the outside of hair strand (clarify your hair) before you chelate


Whether you clarify or chelate your hair, please do make sure to follow up with a good deep conditioning session.


Available product options:

  Chelating / Detox Clarifying
Main objective To draw out environmental toxins and lingering synthetic chemicals from hair and scalp


To cleanse of  dust or product   build-up/ residue from the hair and scalp


Focus of cleansing Inside the hair shaft Outside of the hair strand
Ingredients –          Disodium EDTA

–          EDTA

–          HEDTA

–          Oxalic Acid

–          Sodium Citrate

–          Sodium Oxalate

–          TEA-EDTA

–         Testrasodium EDTA

–          Trisodium EDTA

–          Trisodium HEDTA


There is no particular “clarifying” ingredient. Clarifying shampoos do the job because they have strong concentration of surfactants which is why clarifying shampoos are stripping for the hair.
Product options Bentonite clay – Detoxifying cleanser but not a clarifier


Rhassoul clay – Detoxifying cleanser which is more gently compared to bentonite clay but less cleansing as well


Moroccan Method Detox

Clarifying Shampoo Options:

–          Davines Solu Clarifying Solution Shampoo

–          Rapunzel Organic Clarifying Shampoo

–          Pureology Purify Shampoo* (color safe)

–          ACV Rinse


* Some sources suggest baking soda as a natural clarifier. Please research “pH balanced haircare” and baking soda will not look as promising



Something to think about:

Have you noticed how shiny the scalp of hair loss sufferers usually is? Pores of the scalp clogged by sebum based plaque and product residue are often the cause for unhealthy scalp condition and hair loss.



Thanks for reading,


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