Protect yourself! If you think you’ve been targeted by a scam, click here to get information and assistance from the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline!
Sisters Site Logo.svg
Oh no!
It looks like you aren't logged in to the Sisters community. Log in to get the best user experience, save your favorite articles and quotes, and follow our authors.
Don't have an Online Account? Subscribe here

5 Gentle Clarifying Shampoos to Banish Product Buildup, Flakes and Itches

Softness. Shine. Body. Bounce. These affordable cleansers offer nourishing benefits for many hair types, but especially for us naturalistas.

Comment Icon
Sisters Staff
Comment Icon

Why does our choice of shampoo matter? For one, if you look at retail shelves, you might notice that the natural-hair-care section is stocked with a variety of oils, butters and heavy creams with decadent food-related names like “souffle,” “jam” and “pudding.” 

Hair styling products derived from shea butter, coconut oil and castor seed oil can help natural hair feel soft and moisturized; however, ingredients like these also can coat the scalp and hair shaft and create product buildup. Over time, that can lead to scalp flakes and hair that is dull and limp. 

A good clarifying shampoo that acts to cut through excess oils and product buildup can make a difference when it comes to healthy natural hair and a clean scalp.

So, check out this list of gentle clarifying shampoos, which can help you have less itching and fewer flakes (if that’s an issue for you), as well as hair that looks and feels fluffy, nourished and free. Some brands are Black-owned or Black-founded. And all of these shampoos could be options to help you cater to the needs of your scalp and not just your beautiful natural hair.  

Eden BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Clarifying Shampoo
This independent, Black-woman-owned hair care line is known for botanical ingredients based on founder Jasmine Lawrence’s research, knowledge and understanding of natural hair. Their Peppermint Tea Tree Clarifying Shampoo is a light gel that offers a highly scented and slightly cooling experience for your scalp, while helping to break down product build up. (, $9.25) 

 Carol’s Daughter Wash Day Delight With Aloe
Legendary Black-founded beauty brand Carol’s Daughter has been acquired by L’Oréal, but it continues to create products of quality with natural hair in mind. Wash Day Delight has a more watery consistency than most shampoos because it is a micellar water formulation, meaning it is made with purified water and cleaning molecules that gently remove dirt and oil. This formula transforms from water into a soft foam to gently give your natural hair the deep cleaning it needs. Plus, it has a targeted nozzle to get right to your roots. (, $7.69)

Kinky-Curly Come Clean
Kinky-Curly is a Black- and woman-owned natural hair brand that continues to give kinky, curly hair textures the kind of tender loving care required to thrive. This water-based formula will gently coax heavy oils, butters, grease and silicone-based styling products from natural hair without leaving the hair stripped of natural moisture. (, $9.99)

Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal and Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo
Black-owned indie hair brand Briogeo specializes in products with ingredient blends intended to target hair care needs such as dryness, frizz and tangles. Its Scalp Revival line features Binchotan charcoal, a white variety of charcoal traditionally used in Japanese cooking. The charcoal is intended to detoxify the scalp and absorb impurities, and the combination of peppermint and tea tree oil can help soothe an itchy scalp and reduce flakiness. (, $42)

Creme of Nature Pure Honey Scalp Refresh Cleansing Scalp Treatment
Creme of Nature features a variety of product ranges that benefit hair textures from straight styles to natural coils. The Scalp Refresh Cleansing Scalp Treatment is unusual in the marketplace in that it doesn’t require water or rinsing away to give the benefits of a cleansed scalp. The targeted applicator makes this ideal for the maintenance of locs or protective styles. The idea is to cleanse and clarify your hair every two weeks or as needed, to remove detrimental excess oil, grease and general styling product buildup. (, $7.28)