The Great Debate: How Long Should You Leave Clarifying Shampoo On?

There are two main types of clarifying shampoos – the ones you leave on your hair and the ones you rinse out immediately. While it’s easy to see why they both have their advantages, there’s also an ongoing debate over which one provides better results. This article will take you through the different types of clarifying shampoos, what purpose they serve, and how long you should leave them on your hair before rinsing them out and deciding which type best suits your needs.

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Before Use

The next time you’re getting ready to use a clarifying shampoo, remember that they’re formulated to be left on your hair for a specific amount of time. When using any product with harsh ingredients—especially those that have sulfates—it’s best to read and follow all instructions carefully. Failing to do so could mean over-stripping your scalp or damaging your hair by letting it sit too long (read: hours). It’s also important to make sure that there are no other chemical ingredients listed in order to avoid any allergic reactions or irritation. Always check ingredients before trying out a new product, even if you’re using one that’s regularly on your regimen.

After Use

Some shampoos are clarifying in nature, meaning they remove excess oils and product buildup from your hair. If you use one of these types of shampoos, you’ll want to leave it on for several minutes before rinsing it out. The label will indicate how long to leave it on, but most suggest two minutes or so. However, if your scalp starts feeling dry or irritated after using a clarifying shampoo, stop immediately and rinse with water (even if time hasn’t elapsed). Because your scalp may be sensitive at first (especially if you have dandruff), a good rule of thumb is to wash twice and let sit once when using a clarifying shampoo.

What Else Can I Clarify?

If you’ve ever used a clarifying shampoo, you know that it’s an effective way to remove product buildup and gunk from your hair. But how long should you keep it on? Many stylists swear by keeping clarifying shampoos on for at least 30 minutes.

When Should I Clarify My Hair Again?

While you can clarify your hair any time, many people do it once or twice a month. If you have fine hair and wash daily (which is typically more drying for finer-haired heads), then clarifying every other week will work well for you. Thicker-haired folks can use clarifying products every few weeks, which will help eliminate build-up from your shampoo/conditioner combo. Everyone else falls somewhere in between. With that said, let’s look at some of our options.

Does clarifying shampoo remove semi-permanent?

It all depends on how long you’ve used color depositing products. If you haven’t used color depositing products, then a few minutes should be fine. However, if you have used semi-permanent or permanent colors in your hair, then leave it on for at least 15 minutes.

How long should I leave clarifying shampoo in to remove the color?

The debate over how long to leave clarifying shampoo in your hair has been raging for years. One camp argues that leaving it on for as little as 20 minutes is enough, while others say it should be left on overnight. In reality, there’s a happy medium between these two techniques that will give you fantastic results with less effort! Here’s what you need to know about when to use clarifying shampoo, and for how long.

Will clarifying shampoo lighten my hair?

A lot of people ask us whether clarifying shampoos will lighten the hair. The short answer is yes, but only in extreme cases. If you have extremely thick or dark hair and are looking to lighten it significantly, you should go to a salon and get it professionally bleached or get ready for damage. But if you’re just trying to get rid of some buildup, clarify away! Many clarifying shampoos contain ingredients that strip your scalp and hair of oil buildups without damaging your strands as much as harsher products like sulfates do. To avoid dryness, follow up with a deep conditioner after using a clarifying shampoo—and always use a heat protectant on your hair before blow-drying or styling with hot tools.

How many washes does it take for clarifying shampoo to work?

The more washes you have to go through with clarifying shampoo, the better. The idea behind clarifying shampoo is that it lifts impurities and gunk from your scalp so that they can be washed away without stripping all of your hair’s natural oils. If you go through one or two washes and still feel like there are some issues left to address, stick with it for another week or two.

How do you fade hair dye with clarifying shampoo?

Hair dyes are powerful chemicals, so it’s not surprising that they can leave a lasting mark on your hair if you aren’t careful. The secret to getting rid of stubborn dye—and how long you should wait to wash it out—can be found in your clarifying shampoo.


The length of time you leave clarifying shampoo on your hair will be different depending on your hair type. However, most people with normal to oily hair should only leave it on for 2-3 minutes maximum. If you have really thick or long hair, you may need to use more than one application to get all of your buildups off. Try using a deep conditioning treatment in between clarifying shampoos to keep your strands soft and hydrated while they clear up!

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