Undo Hair Color Blunders With These 5 Best Clarifying Shampoos

These clarifying shampoos help remove your hair color and help you deal with any color mishap.

Reviewed by Alexandro VasquezAlexandro Vasquez, Hairdresser
By Shiboli ChakrabortiShiboli Chakraborti, Certified Skin Care Coach  • 
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If you are going through some hair color mishap and want to get rid of that unflattering hue, here is some good news for you. The best clarifying shampoo to remove hair color is here to help. Clarifying shampoos clean your hair gently by removing excess oil from the scalp, styling products, and color pigments from your hair. As a result, they leave your hair soft and your scalp clean. The shampoo also fades the color of your hair with each wash. There are several brands available on the market that offer different clarifying shampoos. In this article, we have listed the best clarifying shampoos to remove hair color available online. Keep scrolling to check them out!

Note: Before you invest in a clarifying shampoo, remember that it is advised to use a good conditioner or mask after using the shampoo. Most clarifying shampoos have Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate that dries out the hair.

Top Picks
Best Gentle Formula: Neutrogena The Anti-Residue Formula
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Best For All Hair Types: Matrix Biolage Normalizing CleanReset Shampoo
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Best Nourishing: Matrix Biolage Normalizing CleanReset ShampooPrice on Amazon
Best Keratin-Infused Formula: Matrix Biolage Normalizing CleanReset Shampoo
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Best Vegan: Manic Panic Prepare To Dye Clarifying Shampoo
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5 Best Clarifying Shampoo To Remove Color

1. Best Gentle Formula: Neutrogena The Anti-Residue Formula

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo Image: Neutrogena

The non-irritating Neutrogena The Anti-Residue Shampoo is designed as a weekly treatment to clean away grease, oil buildup, and residue from the scalp and hair shaft. The Sodium Laureth Sulfate in the formula washes off the color from your hair while glycerin, a humectant, prevents moisture loss and keeps your hair soft and hydrated. It also boosts hair volume and add bounce to dull hair. Check out this video on YouTube for a detailed review of Neutrogena Anti-Residue Formula.

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, SLS


  •  Non-irritating
  •  Artificial colorant-free
  •  Artificial dye-free
  •  Gentle formula
  •  Suitable for all hair types


  •  Unpleasant smell
  •  Can cause hairfall
Price at the time of publication: $1.05

2. Best For All Hair Types: Matrix Biolage Normalizing CleanReset Shampoo

BIOLAGE Normalizing Clean Reset Shampoo Image: Biolage

The refreshing Matrix Biolage Normalizing CleanReset Shampoo is formulated with lemongrass extract that strips off the color and chemical buildups from the hair. Cleansing agents Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate gently lighten the hair color, while sage extracts add shine to the tresses. This intense cleansing treatment has antibacterial and antiseptic properties to help control oil production and scalp acne. It promotes healthy hair growth. If you want to know more about the Matrix Biolage Normalizing CleanReset Shampoo, go ahead and check out this video on YouTube.

Key Ingredients: Lemongrass and Sage


  •  Antibacterial
  •  Lathers well
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Refreshing fragrance
  •  Suitable for all hair types


  •  Dries out the hair
Pro Tip
Apply a hydrating conditioner, the Biolage conditioner, after washing the hair with this shampoo to nourish the strands.
Price at the time of publication: $37

3. Best Nourishing: Nexxus Clean & Pure Nourishing Detox Shampoo


The lightweight Nexxus Clean & Pure Nourishing Detox Shampoo lightens the hair color while the exclusive ProteinFusion blend of elastin protein and marine minerals rebonds the hair shaft. This shampoo nourishes the hair and makes it smooth and silky. It is packed with ingredients like hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed keratin, and coconut oil that replenish essential nutrients to the hair. Plus, it seals in moisture to restore shine and bounce to dry, damaged hair. In this YouTube video, you will find a detailed review of the Nexxus Clean & Pure Nourishing Detox Shampoo.

Key Ingredients: Elastin protein, Marine mineral, Hydrolyzed wheat protein, Coconut oil, and Hydrolyzed keratin


  •  Lightweight
  •  Silicone-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Dye-free


  •  Overpowering fragrance
Pro Tip
For the ultimate detoxifying result, use the Clean & Clear Scalp scrub, then wash your hair with this shampoo.
Price at the time of publication: $15.99

4. Best Keratin-Infused Formula: OUAI Detox Shampoo


The concentrated formula of OUAI Detox Shampoo uses apple cider vinegar and chelating agents to wash away the stubborn color pigments as well as oil, dirt, flakes, hard water deposits, and product buildup from your hair. It is fortified with keratin to strengthen the hair strands and keep hair soft, shiny, and frizz-free. It is infused with hints of bergamot, cedarwood, lychee, and white musk that leaves you with a long-lasting refreshing experience. This quick-foaming shampoo nourishes and conditions the hair.

Key Ingredients: Apple cider vinegar, Hydrolyzed keratin, Tamarind seed extracts, and Chelating agents


  •  Lightweight
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  SLS/SLES-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Formaldehyde-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Mineral oil-free
  •  Triclosan-free
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Gluten-free


  •  Not suitable for fine hair
Pro Tip
Apply this shampoo to your scalp, and wait for three minutes. Then, rinse your hair with cold water to close the cuticles and prevent free radicals from entering the hair shaft.
Price at the time of publication: $60

5. Best Vegan: Manic Panic Prepare To Dye Clarifying Shampoo

MANIC PANIC Prepare to Dye Clarifying Shampoo Image: Manic Panic

The special blend of surfactants and bonding ingredients in the Manic Panic Prepare To Dye Clarifying Shampoo helps to remove styling product buildup, excess oils, and hard water residues from the hair. It is crafted using organic ginseng root, sage extract, and rosemary extract to promote healthy flake-free scalp. The high pH level of this shampoo opens up the hair cuticles to prepare it for the next color. Its mild grapefruit fragrance uplifts your mood.

Key Ingredients: Organic ginseng root extract, Rosemary extract, and Sage extract


  •  Organic ingredients
  •  UV protectant
  •  Pleasant fragrance
  •  Vegan
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Ammonia-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Gluten-free
  •  Resorcinol-free
  •  Phthalate-free



Price at the time of publication: $14.99

Unlike professional-grade color stripping agents that loaded with harsh chemical agents, clarifying shampoo strips off the color pigments from the hair comparatively gently. It clears off deep-rooted dirt and grime from the hair, making the tresses squeaky clean. And if you use it the right way, it can even be a healthy detox for your scalp and hair.

Alexandro Vasquez, a hairdresser, says, “I normally recommend these types of shampoo for customers that want to get rid of those strong pigments like red, blue, purple and black. It helps to remove those colors giving opportunity for a good change in the future. Another one is for customers that want to see some kind of sun-kissed hair color for natural hair in beach areas due the sun exposure.”

How To Use A Clarifying Shampoo To Remove Hair Color

Using a clarifying shampoo to remove hair color is as simple as using a regular shampoo. But the following tips can enhance the effectiveness of the shampoo in removing the color.

  •  Take some shampoo in your palms and rub it well until it lathers. Now, massage it on your wet scalp and along the lengths of your hair.
  •  Leave it in for at least two to five minutes so that the cleansing agents can dissolve the color pigments attached to the cuticles. Pay special attention to the inner and bottom layers of your hair, as those tresses tend to hold more color than the top layers.
  •  Use warm water to rinse the shampoo.
  •  Remember to use a deep conditioner or a leave-in conditioner to prevent your hair from drying out.

To get the best benefits from a clarifying shampoo, you also have to ensure you have the right formula. Read below some factors you should consider before buying a clarifying shampoo.

How To Choose The Best Clarifying Shampoo To Remove Color

  1.  Anti-residue formulas: Since this is the basic purpose of a clarifying shampoo, make sure it will cleanse away all residues from your scalp and hair to leave it squeaky clean. The stronger the anti-residue factor is the better it will cleanse away color pigments.
  1.  Ingredients: Pay close attention to the ingredients list while picking up a clarifying shampoo. Among other ingredients, a clarifying shampoo contains sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. These are cleansing agents that give your clarifying shampoo the power to fade colors as well as remove dirt and grime from your hair.
  1.  Nourishment: Color-treated hair needs special care, so while you are trying to strip the color off, make sure the shampoo does not strip off the natural oils and nutrients from your hair. Choose a shampoo that will nourish and strengthen the strands while it removes the color.

Infographic: Things To Consider When Buying A Clarifying Shampoo To Remove Color

The probability of mishaps while coloring your hair is quite high, especially if you experiment frequently or are a beginner. To undo the damage without harming your hair, you need a good-quality clarifying shampoo. It is also the go-to solution for those who deal with excess oil and product buildup. Check out the infographic below to learn about the things you should keep in mind while buying a clarifying shampoo to get rid of color.

Things To Consider When Buying A Clarifying Shampoo To Remove Color

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Clarifying shampoos are one of the safest and gentlest tools for lightening or removing hair color. Always remember to support your hair with a good conditioner to preserve the health and shine of your tresses. For quick results, we recommend the Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo. Its anti-residue formula gently fades the color while adding volume to your hair, making it the best clarifying shampoos to remove color.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

The author, Shiboli Chakraborti, is a hair care enthusiast who loves to experiment with different hair care products. She went through numerous reviews and feedback on multiple forums and websites to curate a list of the best clarifying shampoos. These products help remove excess oil from the scalp, residue of styling products, and color pigments from your hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for a clarifying shampoo to fade hair dye?

A clarifying shampoo may take up to five washes to remove semi-permanent hair dyes. The time will vary depending on the strength of the color and your hair’s texture.

Will clarifying shampoo lighten hair dye?

Yes, clarifying shampoos can lighten hair dyes if used well. These shampoos have been formulated to remove product buildup and keep your strands clean.’

What does clarifying shampoo remove hair color?

Clarifying shampoos remove stubborn product buildup and lighten semi-permanent hair color to bring back the original color of your tresses. These shampoos often use a higher pH formula to lift the cuticles and remove color pigments or residues.

Are clarifying shampoos safe for color-treated hair?

No. Clarifying shampoos can often lighten semi-permanent colors on your hair. If used too much, they might also dry your tresses and damage cuticles.

Should I use clarifying shampoo before coloring?

Yes, you can use a clarifying shampoo on your tresses before coloring. These shampoos can help enhance the effect of new dyes while making your hair feel cleaner than usual.

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