Daily and Clarifying Shampoos: What's difference & how to you know which one you need?

With so many shampoos on the market it can be overwhelming trying to pick the best one for your hair and scalp. When shopping around do you find yourself second guessing if you need a daily or clarifying shampoo? Not sure what's the difference or which one will give you the best results. No worries, we are here to break it down for you. 

Lower concentrations of more gentle surfactants (cleansers) are present in a “daily” shampoo. Professional quality daily shampoo won't strip all of the hair’s natural oils. This becomes important and beneficial, since the hair is not living, it has no means of repairing itself, as it grows out of the follicle. The oil that is released from the sebaceous gland provides a protective barrier to the hair. When the hair’s lipid layer becomes compromised hair damage occurs.

Clarifying shampoos are designed to CLEAN your hair and scalp - they generally have less conditioning properties, as compared to daily shampoos, as well as higher concentrations of more aggressive surfactants like (SLS) designed to remove buildup and oils for a deep clean.

When you should use a daily shampoo:

If you wash once a week or more

For most of us a daily shampoo is all we need. Especially, if you wash a 1-2 times a week and don't use a lot of styling products. A good daily shampoo can effectively remove oil and buildup, without stripping the hair or irritating the scalp. We always recommend double cleansing since oiliness will reduce any shampoo’s ability to suds. The second wash gives you a deep clean, keeps the hair cleaner for longer and creates more volume.

If your hair is colour treated

Colour safe daily shampoos are more conditioning will decrease the chance of damage leading to accidental colour removal or tonal shifting. 

If you're prone itchy scalp or dry/damaged hair

Professional daily shampoos are pH balance will avoid disrupting the scalp barrier.  A daily shampoo will be less drying on your hair compared to a clarifying shampoo and well help reduce damage. 


When you should use a true clarifying shampoo:

If you are an infrequent washer

If your hair wash day falls in a 1-2 week cycle and you use products or are prone to buildup, using a clarifying formula as your first wash can be beneficial. This will help remove any product, skin, oil, or environmental buildup. You will want to follow the second wash with a daily shampoo and conditioner. This will allow your hair to stay clean for longer, and your conditioners and styling products do their jobs properly.

Before seeing your Stylist or Colourist

Clarifying shampoo can be used prior to appointments with your colourist if you know your hair has buildup, in order to avoid issues with your colour uptaking, or lifting properly.


True clarifying shampoos are not meant for regular use - as they can be drying for your hair and scalp. Overuse of clarifiers, or shampoos containing harsh surfactants can cause your sebum [oil] glands to produce more oils, in an effort to counteract the dryness. Thus, beginning a cycle of over-washing.

Also this is important to consider when looking for a shampoo bar. Since the bars are concentrated using more aggressive surfactant can cause your hair to become dry and damaged over time or lead to accidental color removal. 

At The High-End Hippie all of our shampoo bars are daily shampoos, even the Clarify Shampoo. We call this bar Clarify since it performs the closest to a true clarifying shampoo, due to the detoxifying properties of the activated charcoal and kaolin clay. It can be used daily because we use gentle surfactants to keep the pH balanced and avoid colour fading. 


Written by Amy Hamilton & Sarah Byer, co-owner & Senior Stylist at InGoodCo. Toronto 

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