Hair, dirt and natural oils inevitably build up on the hair shaft, leaving locks looking dull and feeling weighed down. A clarifying treatment strips away the grime to reveal hair with body, shine and new life. When your hair starts to feel unmanageable or just plain blah, break out the home clarifying remedies for a fresh start.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a gentle clarifying treatment that removes buildup from the hair shaft and makes hair look shiny and clean. Mix 1 part ACV with 2 parts water and use as a conditioning rinse in the shower. (Close your eyes—vinegar stings!) If you're not a fan of the smell, don't worry—the scent vanishes as your hair dries.

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

Baking Soda

Baking soda is 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. Work 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. Mix equal parts shampoo and baking soda, and wash your hair as usual. For extra grimy hair, shampoo twice.


Clarifying treatments strip away everything, including moisture, so using them too frequently can really dry out hair. Limit treatment to no more than once a week. You'll know you're ready to clarify when your hair becomes dull, dirty, heavy, or when products aren't working as well as they should.

Condition or moisturize after clarifying to keep newly cleansed hair in prime condition.

To enhance the benefits of a deep conditioning treatment, clarify hair first so that buildup doesn't get in the way of the hydration.

About the Author

Autumn Jones

Autumn Jones has been working as a freelance writer since 2007 with work appearing on various websites. She majored in creative writing at Vassar College and continues to pursue her passion for the written word as much as possible.