Finally, A Clarifying Shampoo That Doesn't Dry the Hell Out of My Hair

Erin Lukas

Whenever I find a new shampoo I like, the first few washes are magical.

My hair is soft, shiny and full of volume. But for some reason, the shampoo always stops working by the time I get halfway through the bottle. Instead, it leaves my hair feeling weighed down and dirty post-wash — even if I lather, rinse, repeat.

My solution is to move on to a new shampoo or alternate between the bottles in my shower to keep my hair from getting goopy and gross.

As it turns out, the problem isn't just my shampoo. Hard water and styling products produce buildup that sits on your hair even after you wash it. Eventually, the residue gets to be too much and results in limp, greasy hair like mine. That's where a clarifying shampoo comes in.

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Think of clarifying shampoos as a deep cleanser that removes water mineral residue and product buildup from your hair. Given that these formulas essentially act as a reset for your strands, you only need to wash your hair with one once a week if you cleanse your hair frequently. If you space out your washes, aim for about once a month.

The catch is that some clarifying shampoos work too well and have a reputation for stripping hair of all of its essential moisture and can even alter color-treated hair. As someone who dyes their hair, the latter is a big reason why I typically avoid using them.

However, Ouai's Detox Shampoo is the one clarifying shampoo I can get behind.

When the shampoo launched this spring, it was kismet. I have been quarantining at my mom's house where the water is very hard and tends to leave a greasy film on my hair whenever I wash it. So, I gave it a shot.

Courtesy

To buy: $30; sephora.com.

Unlike the past deep-cleaning formulas I've tried, this one makes my hair just as soft and shiny as regular shampoo. It also feels luxurious to use because it lathers despite being sulfate-free and is scented with the brand's signature Melrose fragrance, a mix of rose, bergamot, lychee, cedarwood, and white musk notes. By incorporating it into my haircare routine throughout quarantine, my hair hasn't become "immune" to my regular shampoo and feels silky whenever I run my fingers through it.

In addition to chelating agents that remove hard water mineral deposits from hair, the formula's hero ingredient is apple cider vinegar, which helps exfoliate the scalp and remove dead skin flakes and product buildup. Hydrolyzed keratin strengthens and smooths strands.

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Now, my biggest gripe with clarifying shampoos is that I like this Ouai one so much, I wish I could use it every time I wash my hair.

Good to Go used to be the column where we'd share the beauty products we can't travel without. But while travel's off the table, we'll be focusing on products that make us feel good in quarantine. This month, why Ouai Detox Shampoo makes me feel like I'm back at the salon.

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