The Best Clarifying Shampoos To Remove Color

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If you recently used a temporary or semi-permanent hair dye and aren’t thrilled with the results — or maybe you’ve wound up with a greenish tint from swimming in chlorine — certain clarifying shampoos can help.

What To Look For In A Clarifying Shampoo

Generally, the best clarifying shampoos to remove color contain powerful surfactants that remove all sorts of things from your hair and scalp, including dirt, oil, pollution, dry skin and flakes, and semi-permanent hair dyes. Be mindful that to lift permanent color, you’ll need to see a pro. And clarifying shampoos won’t always be able to successfully remove your color, so you may need to call in the professionals regardless (but first, you can try washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo a few times, leaving it on for five to 10 minutes before rinsing it out).

Another thing to keep in mind when using a clarifying shampoo is that it might leave your hair feeling drier than usual, so be sure to follow up with a deep conditioner or hair mask in the shower, and perhaps even a leave-in conditioner or oil once you’ve gotten out.

How To Protect Your Hair From Chlorine And Dye Damage

To prevent your hair from turning an unwanted color in the future, there are a few measures you can take. If your hair has turned green from swimming, wear a swimming cap next time, or, use a product like AquaGuard to prevent chlorine from damaging your hair. If you use temporary or semi-permanent hair dyes often, consider dyeing just a small piece of hair first to see if you really like the color, rather than your whole head. (There are also apps that you can use to try out new colors without any commitment, too).

But for now, if you’re trying to correct a color-related mishap, keep scrolling to shop the best clarifying shampoos to get the job done.

Shop The Best Clarifying Shampoos To Remove Color

In a hurry? Here are the best picks for clarifying shampoos to remove color.

1. The Overall Best Clarifying Shampoo To Remove Color: Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo

2. The Best Extra-Strength Clarifying Shampoo To Remove Color: Color Oops Extra Conditioning Hair Color Remover

3. Best Clarifying Shampoo For Swimmers: Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo

4. Best Clarifying Shampoo For Curly Hair: Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo

5. Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoo To Remove Color: Head & Shoulders Classic Clean 2 In 1 (2-Pack)

You May Also Like: It's Just Vitamin C Powder

1. The Overall Best Clarifying Shampoo To Remove Color

When it comes to clarifying shampoos, Neutrogena’s anti-residue shampoo is about as classic and low-frills as you can get. Made with super-sudsing surfactants that create an impressive and satisfying lather, this inexpensive shampoo gets hair extremely clean, removes all types of buildup, and can help fade color — although as with any clarifying shampoo, that means over time. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to wash your hair once and have your semi-permanent color disappear.

A glowing review: “I love this shampoo as for once-a-month use to remove excess products such as leave-on conditioners etc. I have dry, curly hair and need very moisturizing conditioners and leave-on products, but those can build up over time (even washing hair three times a week). This anti-residue shampoo resets the air and makes it feel so light and clean. I've been using it for over two decades.”

2. The Best Extra-Strength Clarifying Shampoo To Remove Color

Color Oops Extra Conditioning Hair Color Remover is a one-time wash for dyed hair to remove pigment before you dye it again, but you can also use it anytime you want a fresh start with your hair, even if you don’t plan on dyeing it again. Made with soy protein and aloe, it’s a bleach- and ammonia-free product, so it isn’t too harsh against your skin. Some at-home color-removing products do contain bleach, so be sure to read labels carefully, and steer clear if you stumble upon one that does. Attempting to use any hair lightening system is best left to professionals.

A glowing review: “It works. My hair is light brown and during summer it gets very light in some areas. I went to a hairdresser and asked to try to make my color even. Unfortunately she left the dye for too long and my hair turned into black. After days feeling uncomfortable with the color, I applied this product and it went back to my natural color.”

3. Best Clarifying Shampoo For Swimmers

Got green, damaged hair from swimming in a pool with chlorine? Turn to swimmers’ favorite Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo. It replenishes moisture and adds shine to dry, damaged hair, and helps remove the green tint that lighter-haired people typically experience from swimming in chlorine. The sulfate-free shampoo is made with allantoin, panthenol, flax protein, and other nourishing ingredients to strengthen and moisturize your hair. Since it’s such a gentle formula, it can be used on a regular basis, unlike most other clarifying shampoos, which are designed for occasional use.

A glowing review: “Great swim shampoo. My daughter is on the swim team and has color treated hair. This shampoo did a great job keeping her blonde looking good all season. Did not dry out her hair and smells great! Used it with the conditioner.”

4. Best Clarifying Shampoo For Curly Hair

If you want to clarify your hair and remove your color quickly but are concerned about dryness, Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo is a good compromise. Designed for curls, the shampoo still has those effective surfactants that lather up and deep clean your hair, but the shampoo also contains nourishing ingredients like panthenol and vitamin E to keep it from feeling like straw when you’re done washing.

Though this lemon-scented shampoo is pricey, you do get a massive 33.8-ounce bottle, so it will last you a while — probably a good year or even longer. Even when you don’t have any color correcting to do, it’s a great clarifying shampoo to use to remove product buildup and residue, which can in turn make your curls appear bouncier and shinier.

A glowing review: “We use this shampoo even though we don't have curly hair in my family. It works wonders on my daughters' chlorine-damaged hair (they are both swimmers, in the pool for at least 10 hours a week). I have recommended this to other swimmer families and have yet to find anyone who doesn't like the effects. It cleans the hair thoroughly without stripping.”

5. Best Anti-Dandruff Shampoo To Remove Color

When you’ve got a hair question, there’s a wealth of information to be found on beauty message boards. For example, they’re full of suggestions for removing hair dye, and Head & Shoulders Classic Clean is a product that pops up often. Commenters say that this two-in-one shampoo and conditioner not only fights dandruff, itching, and flakes, but also removes color quickly and efficiently. Though there’s more anecdotal evidence than science behind this method, people swear Head & Shoulders gets their color out instantly, so it’s certainly worth a try.

A glowing review: “I’ve tried the other 2 in 1 shampoos and conditioners on the market, but they just don’t compare to head and shoulders. They all leave my hair feeling greasy and heavy, and make my scalp itch like crazy. But with head and shoulders, my hair always feels clean and light.”

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One more suggestion from the beauty boards: vitamin C powder. People suggest that you mix the powder with your shampoo to really strip color from your hair. You can either crush up vitamin C tablets or use vitamin C powder, mix it in with your shampoo, then apply the paste to your hair. Leave in for a while to do its work, then rinse it out. (This person found success by using a vitamin C and shampoo blend multiple times.) Brilliant, right?

A glowing review: “I was looking for vitamin c to use in my homemade beauty recipes to remove hair color. This was just Vitamin C and no other ingredients. I mixed this up with some conditioner and applied on my hair that was too dark and left it on for about 2 hours. When I washed out my hair the color was much lighter! This definitely works if your hair is too dark from hairdye and you want a gentle way to lighten the color.”

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