Clarifying: a big word for a simple concept. Throughout your day-to-day routine, your hair encounters products, dirt and natural oils that build up on the hair shaft. A clarifying treatment strips away the grime, leaving your hair with body, shine and new life. When your hair starts to feel dull, weighed down, or unmanageable, break out the home clarifying remedies for a fresh start.


Vinegar

Try vinegar–especially apple cider vinegar–which is a gentle clarifying treatment that removes grime from the hair shaft and leaves it shiny and clean. Mix 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water, and use it as a final rinse in the shower (close your eyes, though; vinegar stings). The smell vanishes as your hair dries.

For delicate or damaged hair, use less vinegar to avoid drying your hair out. Start with 1 tbsp. vinegar for every cup of water, and see how your hair responds. Increase or decrease as needed.

Baking Soda

Use baking soda, an amazingly cheap and easy treatment that works just like a clarifying shampoo. Mix 1/4 cup baking soda with just enough water to turn it into a paste. Rub this mixture into your scalp and hair–it won’t lather, so expect hair to feel a little gritty–and leave it in for 2 minutes. Rinse well.

You can also add baking soda to your regular shampoo to create your own clarifying shampoo. Mix together equal parts shampoo and baking soda, and wash your hair as usual. For extra grimy hair, shampoo twice.

After Clarifying

Be aware of downside: Because clarifying treatments strip away everything, including moisture, using them too frequently results in dried-out hair. You shouldn’t perform a clarifying treatment more than once a week. When your hair becomes dull, dirty, heavy, or when your products aren’t working as well as they used to, you’re probably ready for a clarifying treatment.

To enhance the benefits of a deep conditioning treatment, clarify hair beforehand so that no unnecessary buildup gets in the way of the hydration. Even if you’re not using a deep conditioner, condition or moisturize after clarifying to keep your newly cleansed hair in prime condition.