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Will Clarifying Shampoo Remove Color?

Commonly, that clarifying shampoos fade the hair color is considered as the product’s disadvantage. So for instance, when the result of hair dyeing is not what we expected, will clarifying shampoo remove color as we need?

It’s not the original purpose of these products, but we might as well take advantage of this “side effect” and repurpose it for good. Let’s see how they can help you in this case.

A lot of things can go wrong when coloring hair
A lot of things can go wrong when coloring hair.

Will Clarifying Shampoo Remove Color?

Yes. Color removal is a surprising application of their strong cleansing effect. This isn’t the main purpose manufacturers have in mind when making clarifying shampoos.

The right shampoo can come in handy when you need to strip a semi-permanent hair color at home, for instance. A few washes can make your hair look less over-treated, flamboyant, brassy, and more natural.

There’re many aspects you should pay attention to. But in general, these shampoos can be a wonderful workaround.

How Does Clarifying Shampoos Work?

Clarifying shampoos (or purifying shampoos) are products designed to remove buildup and residue from hair products. For the most part, they’re like regular shampoos. The main difference is their high content of heavy surfactants and cleansing agents.

These active ingredients have stronger cleansing effects than traditional shampoos. They allow you to deep-clean your strands and lift away all the gunk that can build up quickly without attention.

These products aren’t meant to be the direct substitute for traditional shampoos.

You should only resort to them when the buildup and residue bother you too much. A few times of use per month and they can restore the shine, add volume to your locks, as well as make them cleaner and healthier.

How Does Clarifying Shampoos Work On Color-treated Hair?

Usually, tiny molecules of dyes are only attached loosely around your hair cuticles. You can eventually wash them out after several regular washes. But clarifying shampoos can speed up the process.

Strong ingredients can remove buildup from your strands
Strong ingredients can remove buildup from your strands.

Many super cleansing agents in clarifying shampoos see dyes as their targets. They attack those molecules and break them down without lifting the cuticles. This effect is strongest within the first week of the color treatment.

These shampoos have harsh ingredients and may have unpleasant effects on your strands and sensitive scalp. But they’re still much gentler than many removal methods like color strippers.

Benefits Of Using Clarifying Shampoo On Color-treated Hair

In addition to getting rid of the dye, these cleansing products also come with a whole host of benefits that may come in handy in many situations.

  • They can remove excess oil. An oily scalp may still feel dirty after washing with a regular shampoo, which is usually not strong enough to get rid of excess oil, leaving your strands oily and dirty. Many ingredients in clarifying shampoos can target this natural oil and prevent it from weighing heavy on your hair.
  • They help your hair hold its style. If your blow-dries fall flat, updos are undone, and curls drop faster than they’re supposed to, the culprit can be the oil or product buildup that your normal shampoo can’t strip away.  It’s time to add a clarifying product into your routine. 
  • They can prevent hard water buildup. Mineral deposits in the water can make your hair feel dry and look dull. Clarifying shampoos with chelating agents like EDTA, raw apple cider vinegar, or vitamin C can get rid of them and 
  • They can prevent green tints if you swim often. Chlorine in swimming pools can tint your hair green as well as make it dry and dense. There’re many post-swim shampoos that can give it a fresh start and look healthier.
  • When your blonde hair turns brassy, both natural and chemically treated blondes are incredibly porous. They absorb everything easily from the environment and make the toner wear off. Clarifying products can help correct their tone.

How To Use A Clarifying Shampoo To Remove Color?

Using a clarifying shampoo for removing hair dye is fairly straightforward.

  • Wet your hair and scalp thoroughly so the shampoo can lather and do the job effectively. Warm water can open the cuticles. This lets the ingredients penetrate into your shaft deeper.
  • Dispense some and apply the shampoo to your locks.
  • Massage your wet hair with your fingers to allow the shampoo to lather. Make sure every colored strand is covered with it. 
  • Leave the shampoo there no more than 30 seconds, then rinse it out.
  • Follow up with a conditioner. Apply and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing.

The process isn’t hard to follow, but there are some things you should keep in mind.

  • Apply conditioner afterward. Cleansing ingredients may whisk away too much oil and make your locks too dried out. Adding back moisture with a conditioner is the best way to evade the issue.
  • The sooner, the better. Once you’ve decided to rely on purifying products as your dye removal method, do it as soon as possible (ideally within a week after the color treatment).
  • Be mindful of your choice if you have damaged hair. It is already in dire need of moisture, and purifying products can worsen the situation.
  • Not all dyes are the same. This method works best on semi-permanent color but may do the trick with permanent or demi-permanent dyes as well.
Remember to use a conditioner afterward
Remember to use a conditioner afterward.

Which Clarifying Shampoos Are Best For Removing Hair Dye?

How To Choose A Good Shampoo To Remove Hair Color

Avoid Products For Color-Treated Hair

Remove “color-safe” shampoos from your shortlist if you want to remove hair dye. They’re designed to work safely with color-treated hair.

As a result, they have little to no effects on the dye, and you will end up wasting time with them.

Prefer A High Sulfate Content

The general idea for choosing these hair products is to use low-sulfate or sulfate-free products whenever possible, as these chemicals come with a high risk of irritation.

However, for the best color removal result, opt for shampoos with a high content of strong surfactants such as sulfates. They have strong deep cleansing capabilities, which in turn, can loosen your dye more quickly.

Choose a shampoo that doesn’t irritate your scalp
Choose a shampoo that doesn’t irritate your scalp.

Choose A High-pH Formula

Alkaline creates the most favorable environment to open your hair’s cuticles, which doesn’t only get more moisture into your hair but also makes it easier to remove hair dye.

Some Of The Best Clarifying Shampoos For Removing Hair Dye

Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three 

With many sulfate-based ingredients in the formula (Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Magnesium Sulfate, Sodium Thiosulfate, and Sulfated Castor Oil) and a super high pH level (9), the Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three is mainly made for green tints caused by swimming water.

But this works if you want to fade your dye too, proven by the fact this product is advised against use for color-treated hair.

Keragen Hair Clarifying Shampoo

Much of the Keragen shampoo’s cleansing capability comes from its high pH level, which helps open the hair’s cuticle as much as possible for better penetration and absorption of chemicals during the smoothing treatment.

You can take advantage of this to release the dye particles from your hair as well.

GKhair pH+ Shampoo

Another product made for pre-treatment hair, the GKhair pH+ Shampoo relies on an alkaline environment and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate to deep-clean and prepare the hair.

For this reason, many people have tried to use it to get the dye out with great success.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should You Use Clarify Shampoos?

The most popular recommendation is to use purifying shampoos once a week in addition to your regular routine. Their strong cleansing capability makes them too harsh to use more often.

How Long Does It Take For Clarifying Shampoos To Remove Hair Dye?

Depending on the dye’s strength, your hair condition, and the clarifying product, it may need up to five washes to completely fade the color.

Low-porosity hair may need more time as it’s harder for the shampoo to remove hair dye from its tightly-packed cuticles.

Is It Okay To Use Clarifying Shampoos On Colored Hair?

It depends on the specific product and the reason why you’re choosing.

When you just need to eliminate the residue of styling products from your color-treated hair, the color removal ability will be an unwanted effect. Unless it’s a color-safe product, clarifying shampoos are a big no.

However, if you want to lighten or fully strip the color of your locks, it’s a different story. Clarifying products advised against using dyed hair isn’t just okay to use but also your best way to get your desired effect.

You may need to clarify your hair after swimming
You may need to clarify your hair after swimming.


Hair discoloration may not be the outcome most people look for when using clarifying shampoos. But if you need to remove your dye bit by bit, it turns out to be a surprisingly good capability you can give a shot.

That said, buildup or color removal, always use them with care. Will clarifying shampoo remove color? Yes. But they can also bring unwelcome effects to your locks. Choose only products compatible with your hair and scalp. And don’t overuse them while working your way toward your desired color shade.



I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty & make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!

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