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Bye bye dandruff
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Ever wanted to pick the brain of a beauty editor? Or get beauty product recommendations from someone who has tried them all? You've come to the right place. In our weekly series, beauty editor Hana Hong answers your biggest skincare, hair care, and makeup questions, all submitted by Real Simple readers. Tune in every Tuesday and submit your own burning beauty questions here for a chance to be featured.

Reader question: Can you recommend some good clarifying shampoos? —@shannon.albright

Sorry to break it to you, but if you use dry shampoo and other styling products, go a few days between washes, or rinse your hair with tap water (i.e. all of us), you have a lot of buildup in your hair—even if you can't see it.

And no, the solution isn't just to wash your hair more. In fact, your shampoo actually contributes to the problem. Product buildup from ingredients like silicones can weigh your hair down over time, getting in the way of your volume and shine goals. 

But no sweat; the secret to cleaner and overall better-looking hair lies in adding just one more product to your haircare routine—and that's clarifying shampoo. Essentially a regular shampoo on steroids, a clarifying shampoo is buffed with extra ingredients like apple cider vinegar, charcoal, or mineral salts that are powerful enough to remove residue that your normal formula can't. As a good rule of thumb, you should be aiming to wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo at least once a week. With consistent use, you should find that your hair has more sheen instead of grease—meaning less frequent washing for you.

To clear up (ha) your search, I've tapped the best clarifying shampoos for every hair type that won't strip or dry out your hair.

Best Clarifying Shampoos

best-clarifying-shampoo-Olaplex Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo

1 Best Clarifying Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair: Olaplex Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo

$30, olaplex.com

The latest from Olaplex, this pH-balanced potion contains the brand's famous bond-building technology to remove the silent impurities that secretly damage hair over time.

best-clarifying-shampoo-Neutrogena Scalp Therapy Anti-Dandruff Buildup Control

2 Best Clarifying Shampoo for Dandruff: Neutrogena Scalp Therapy Anti-Dandruff Buildup Control

$9, walmart.com

Not sure if your flakes are from dandruff or a dry scalp? Formulated with 2.5% salicylic acid and apple cider vinegar, this shampoo penetrates deep into the skin surface to help get rid of dandruff while moisturizing a dry scalp (we call that a win-win).

best-clarifying-shampoo-Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Hair Reset Clarifying Shampoo

3 Best Clean Clarifying Shampoo: Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Hair Reset Clarifying Shampoo

$7, walmart.com

Natural ingredients like aloe vera, charcoal, peppermint team up with powerful technologies like micro-exfoliants and cooling scalp technology to make that refreshing ahh- feeling on the scalp and hair last for up to 96 hours.

best-clarifying-shampoo-r co oblivion clarifying shampoo

4 Best Clarifying Shampoo for Dry Hair: R + Co Oblivion Clarifying Shampoo

$19, amazon.com

Clarifying shampoos often come with a bad rap of being drying, but that doesn't have to be the case. Case in point: While witch hazel and rosemary leaf extract purify the hair and remove unwanted buildup, amino acids increase your hair's ability to retain moisture.

best-clarifying-shampoo-Ouai Detox Clarifying Shampoo

5 Best Clarifying Shampoo for Curly Hair: Ouai Detox Clarifying Shampoo

$30, amazon.com

The word detox may be intimidating when used in the context of hair, but think about it this way: Apple cider vinegar rinses away product residue while chelating agents remove hard-water deposits. The rosy fragrance and hydrolyzed keratin is a nice plus. 

best-clarifying-shampoo-Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Sulfate-Free Shampoo

6 Best Clarifying Shampoo for Dull Hair: Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Sulfate-Free Shampoo 

$8, target.com

Got a stressed-out scalp? Colloidal oat extract is the feature ingredient in this scalp-soothing, farm-fresh shampoo. But that doesn't keep it from being a heavy-hitting treatment—the infusion of apple cider vinegar clarifies hair while leaving behind mega-watt shine.

best-clarifying-shampoo-Davines Clarifying Solu Shampoo

7 Best Overall Clarifying Shampoo: Davines Clarifying Solu Shampoo

$32, davines.com

We all love an airy foam—and this formula produces one that any ASMR enthusiast would appreciate. One squeeze swiftly transforms into a luxe lather that whisks away any trace of oil and grime.