Friday, January 17, 2014

DIY Clarifying Shampoo

Did you know that every so often, you should use a clarifying shampoo to get rid of product and sebum build-up on your scalp and hair?

I know, I know. The shampoo alone ought to do the trick, right? For the most part it does, but there can still be some undesired build-up that the shampoo doesn't remove. This can lead to your hair getting/feeling greasy faster and lacking volume.

There are plenty of clarifying shampoos on the market. But you can make your own with your usual shampoo and one more thing that you most likely already have on hand: baking soda!

It's easy, and requires very little extra time or effort in the shower. All you have to do is mix some shampoo and baking soda together. No need to measure or be precise about things - I just aim for about equal parts of each. I pour some baking soda in the palm of my hand then add a squirt of shampoo and use my fingers to mix them up. Then massage the mixture into your hair at the scalp. There is no need to directly apply this to the length of your hair (a regular plain old shampoo doesn't need to be directly applied to the length either, usually) - just take a minute or two to massage it well at the roots. Then rinse thoroughly, and *apply conditioner. Let the conditioner do it's magic for a couple minutes before rinsing thoroughly with cool water, and you're done.

Obviously if you have very short hair, there's no avoiding applying shampoo directly to all the length; no big deal. But for those who, like me, have longer hair, the length will normally get clean enough just from what shampoo contacts the hair as you rinse it out. There are of course some exceptions and there are instances when you'll need to shampoo the length directly - if you've managed to get something unpleasant in your hair, or there's a harder to remove styling product in it for example. Most of the time though, the shampoo really needn't be applied directly to the length.

* Depending on your hair type and length, conditioning after clarifying may or may not be necessary. Some people find it very drying to the hair, and must condition well afterward, and some even recommend using a deep conditioner after using a clarifying product/treatment. I've personally never had an issue with this DIY clarifying leaving my hair dry, and I find that I am good to go with simply rinsing the shampoo from my hair then after towel drying my hair I apply a light leave-in just to the last few inches of my hair. (My hair is currently hip length.)

I will say that after rinsing the baking soda-shampoo from your hair, your hair might feel kind of weird while it's still wet. Don't freak out - just wait till your hair has dried to pass judgment on the results!

Another important thing I want to note here is that I do not know if it's cool to use baking soda on color or otherwise chemically treated hair. I've currently got 100% virgin hair (it has not been dyed, permed etc.) so I can only speak for my own personal experience that using this method to clarify works well for me. If you have dyed your hair, or had it relaxed, permed etc. please do some research before trying this. I don't think it would be problematic, but better to be sure before trying it out right? I am not responsible if you try this and experience undesired results - it is up to you to use your best judgment if this may work for you or not.

How often to use a clarifying shampoo is going to be completely dependent on your hair type and hair care habits. If you use lots of styling products you might need to clarify more often than someone who doesn't use products often. My own personal rule is to clarify whenever I notice my hair doesn't stay clean as long after a regular shampoo. I shampoo 2-3 times a week.Whenever I notice that it's starting to get too greasy for my preferences quickly after a regular shampoo, I'll do a clarifying treatment. Usually about once a month I will clarify; sometimes I need to do it again sooner and other times it's not necessary again for a few more weeks. I go by how my hair looks and feels - I've learned to "just know" when I need a little more "oomph" in washing (thus needing a clarifying wash with shampoo + baking soda) and when a regular wash (my usual shampoo, no baking soda) is going to be sufficient.  Again, use your best judgment in determining how often your hair needs to be "deep cleaned" with a clarifying treatment.

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