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Do Your Curls Need Clarifying?

Posted on 01 August 2018

What is Clarifying?

Clarifying is a deep cleaning of both your hair and scalp that's meant to give your curls a fresh start.

The result? Curls that feel weightless, look shiny and are easier to style. More importantly, clarifying improves the overall health of your hair because a healthy scalp = healthy hair follicles! And healthy hair follicles means faster growth and more luscious curls.

When Should I Clarify?

Your hair still feels dirty after washing.

Your hair shouldn’t be filling gritty on wash day. If you find that your hair feels filmy or greasy right after washing it, you could be experiencing product build-up (especially if you come from the world of piling multiple styling products on your hair). Residual product coating your strands can cause increased oil production at your roots. Clarifying can help get rid of any residual product in your hair that your regular wash routine can’t tackle.

Your curls are looking dull.

This one is different for everyone because the level of shine or sheen of hair will vary from person to person. Curly hair doesn't normally shine as much as straight hair because of all the twist and turns. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with dull curls! If you’re having a hard time achieving a little shine, try clarifying to get rid of any filminess—your curls will be poppin’ in no time!

You've been swimming.

If you’ve been hanging poolside to beat the summer heat you may need to clarify. When you take a dip in chlorinated water, the chemicals can stick around in your curls even after rinsing with fresh water. This will cause your hair to look dry and lacklustre. Clarifying is good way to makes sure that chlorine is gone for good! 🙅🏽

Your products stop working.

Have you ever been using a product for soooo long and always gotten bomb results, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, your curls don’t seem as magical? Or have you ever tried out a new product and can’t manage to nail the results that other curly girls have?

Often times if you’re trying a new product after using a cocktail of different products, the residual build-up from previous styles can affect your results with the new product. Clarifying is a good way to give your curls a clean slate.

You've been co-washing your curls.

In fear that most shampoos are too drying for their curls, some curlies choose to co-wash their hair, aka use a conditioner to wash instead of a shampoo (more on that here). Sometimes, though, the conditioner can be the exact cause of build-up after using it for an extended time (especially if the intended use of that conditioner was not meant for co-washing). Clarifying is the perfect way to make sure that your hair gets a fresh start every now and then before resuming your regular wash routine.

Your curls aren't bouncing back.

What happened to those springy curls??? As much as we complain about the shrinkage that comes from bouncy curls we know that it’s a sign of happy and healthy hair. If you know that the lack of life in your curls isn’t caused by the usual culprits such as heat or colour, it may be a sign of product build-up weighing them down.

Your scalp is itchy, dry, or flaky.

If your scalp is feeling itchy the same day after washing, this is a major sign of build-up (either product or dead skin—eeek!). Clarifying will help lift dirt, dandruff, and residual product from your scalp and leave it feeling squeaky clean.

How do I Clarify?


Our sulfate-free shampoo, while very gentle, is still very cleansing and clarifying. Adding an extra 'rinse and repeat' will help to get your curls and scalp extra clean. But for those days where your curls are feeling extra gunky, try this home remedy:

DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

Mix 3 parts of raw apple cider vinegar to 1 part warm water in a spray bottle (a bottle with an applicator tip can work too). Shake to mix well. Apply directly to the scalp, making sure you’ve covered the entirety of your head. Then begin massaging it in with your fingers to lift dirt and build up. Once you've got your scalp clarified, you can also spritz a little bit on the actual hair shaft. Rinse the mixture out with warm water and follow up with a sulfate-free shampoo + silicone-free conditioner.

How Often Should I Clarify My Curls?

While clarifying is a great way to give your curls a fresh start when they've fallen into a bit of a slump, it's definitely not something you want to do every day.

Clarifying too often can strip moisture from your hair and scalp and disrupt the natural oil production that keeps your curls nourished and healthy. Try clarifying once a month or on a need-to basis—this should be enough to do the trick in helping to maintain the health and look of your curls!

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  • Nanette: October 10, 2019

    I have learned so much about my curly hair since finding LUS!! I got personalized help at first, and now I am a very happy curly girl! I got a new layered cut and am thrilled that I only need to wash, condition and use ONE product!! I love the line! I plan to try this clarifying tip too!! Thanks LUS for helping me love my curls again!!

  • Shannon : September 16, 2019

    I have recently started using your products and at first was a bit skeptical about only needing one styling product. For the last few years I have used a curly haired line that needs multiple products until recently when my hair became damaged and it was falling out. Out of desperation I went on the hunt for new products but couldn’t find anything I liked….I found your products on Instagram so went to the website and started reading and watching the videos. I thought why not try it and I’m so glad I did! I LOVE the products, my hair has volume everywhere while still looking defined and not frizzy, and I love only having to use one styler. Thank you!!

  • Kerri S: August 15, 2019

    You are my new fave company, I LOVE all your education and tips. At first I thought your emails would just be sales pitches or the exact same content over and over but I am so pleased that is not the case. Love your products, but love your corporate ethics more, wish more corporations were so beneficial. Thanks LUS!

  • Amber Reyes : July 29, 2019

    Thank you for this simple tip! I’m so greatful you responded to my quest in messanger! We will try this on both of our hair this week.

  • Colleen: July 29, 2019

    Limp dull and sad. They were. After the repeat suggestion I got s bigger lather (tells me its penetrating the buildup) and I could see my clumps getting fatter! Thank you Ladies of lus!

    For hold what do you suggest? My curls go sooooo soft and lovely but don’t stick around long when using your three step system. I would hate to layer on a gel that counteracts your beautiful poo condish leave in process

  • fatema khan: October 16, 2018

    Thanks for the great tips!

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