Chelating or Clarifying: What's the Best Shampoo for Your Hair?

Lindsey Metrus

Time for a little beauty vocab lesson. We're betting you've heard of clarifying shampoos, but what about chelating shampoos? While similar in purpose, these shampoos are meant for different situations, such as fighting off hair-related issues brought on by hard water and product buildup. While these closely related words may be confusing in the shampoo aisles, we're here to help you decipher when you need each shampoo.

Hairstylist Eugene Toye explains that clarifying shampoos are generally for removing residue: "Clarifying shampoo removes buildup that collects on the surface of the hair over time, like hairsprays and other products." He says that they work by exfoliating the cuticle and breaking down residual product. On the other hand, chelating shampoos are actually stronger and used to remove minerals, metals, and chlorine (often from hard water) that cause damage and color fading.

So which shampoo should you use? According to Toye, it depends on your lifestyle: "Swimmers and people that live close to water sources that are higher in mineral content may want to opt for chelating shampoos over clarifying. Alternatively, if you're a heavy product user whose hair is weighed down and greasy, clarifying shampoos are your best bet. However, Toye says to "be careful not to use either type of shampoo too often (and never daily!), as they are stronger cleaning agents and can dry out the hair if used too frequently." He suggests choosing one type of shampoo (depending on your needs) no more than twice a week. 

To shop our favorite clarifying and chelating shampoos, keep scrolling!

Have you ever tried a clarifying or chelating shampoo? Which brand is your favorite? Share with us below!

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