Best Japanese Clarifying Shampoo

Best Japanese Clarifying Shampoo

A lot of people find that their scalp remains sticky, oily and full of odor and dandruff despite washing it everyday.

In such cases, we recommend using a cleansing shampoo that thoroughly removes dirt from your scalp and hair to keep them clean. 

Therefore, this time we will introduce 10 popular cleansing shampoos recommended by our editorial team. 

Check out how to choose the shampoo that's right for you, according to head spa specialist Seki Kisui.

The person we spoke to this time was Seki Kisui, a head spa specialty store.

Worked at a beauty salon, makeup instructor at a cosmetics company, makeup instructor at a makeup school in Harajuku, and currently works as a makeup instructor at a beauty school and a head spa salon.

1. What is cleansing shampoo? What advantages and disadvantages are there?

A cleansing shampoo is a shampoo that is specifically designed to remove dirt and clogs from pores. Due to its formula, these products help improve the scalp environment. But first, let's review its advantages and disadvantages.


The advantage is that it can keep your scalp clean by adsorbing sebum and dirt and rinsing it away. 

If your hair has lost volume due to dirt clogged in your scalp, removing the dirt will make it easier for your hair to stand up from its roots, and you can also expect a fluffy increase in volume.



Cleansing shampoos generally have a high cleaning power, but using them frequently can put a strain on your scalp and hair. 

Particularly if you have had coloring or perms, the damage may be more noticeable. You need to keep in mind the appropriate frequency of use while monitoring

2. How to choose a cleansing shampoo

Find the cleansing shampoo that suits you by keeping in mind the key points to choose.

Choose a type based on your purpose

There are various types of cleansing shampoos. Choose according to your hair concerns and scalp condition.

Carbonated type: Cleans even the pores

A type that effectively removes stubborn dirt and sebum and lifts the dirt with carbonic acid foam. By thoroughly rinsing your scalp, you will maintain a clean feeling.

Recommended for people who are concerned about their scalp being oily or dirty, and for hair that has become heavy due to sweat and sebum in the summer.

Mud type: For people who are concerned about excess sebum 

Natural mud ingredients strongly adsorb and effectively remove sebum and dirt that make hair and scalp sticky.

Recommended for people who secrete a lot of sweat and sebum, and people who often work outside where dirt, dust, pollen, etc. tend to adhere to the scalp and hair.

Oil type: For those who value moisturizing power

The oil helps lift sebum and dirt clogged in pores, while also providing a moisturizing effect.

Easy to use for people who are concerned about itchy scalp, dandruff, and dry hair due to dryness.

Recommended for people who are concerned about hair damage or who frequently color or perm their hair.

Soap type: gently washes while minimizing irritation to the scalp

The main ingredients are natural ingredients, so there is little irritation to the scalp.

It is suitable for people with sensitive skin or scalp problems, but its high cleaning power may be a burden if your scalp is prone to dryness.

Check the condition of your scalp and use it accordingly.

Choose cleaning ingredients that suit your scalp condition

Choose the cleansing ingredients of your shampoo depending on the condition of your scalp and the quality of your hair.

High-grade alcohol-based products with high cleansing power are suitable for oily scalps, but are not so suitable for dry skin.

Naturally derived soaps are easy to use even on sensitive skin, but their cleaning power is high and can lead to dryness. 

Amino acid-based products are less irritating to the scalp and are recommended for people who are concerned about itching and dandruff caused by dryness. 

However, betaine-based products derived from plants can be expected to have a high moisturizing effect.

So they are especially suitable for people who are concerned about dryness and during seasons such as winter.

Check out the ingredients that take care of hair and scalp problems

Let's look at ingredients other than cleaning ingredients.

Moisturizing ingredients: Moisturizes hair and scalp

Especially for people whose hair tends to dry easily or who are concerned about the texture of their hair, we recommend shampoos that contain plenty of moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which protect hair and scalp from dryness while retaining moisture. Aim for a shiny, moist condition.

Repair ingredient: Repairs hair damage and gives firmness and body.

Damaged hair often has a disordered internal structure and is missing essential lipids and proteins. Check to see if it contains ingredients that repair damage and protect your hair, such as "alkyltrimethylammonium chloride'' and "hydrolyzed keratin (lecithin).''

We also recommend "behentrimonium chloride'' and "hydrolyzed keratin (lecithin),'' which adjust the cuticle and replenish lost protein. Repairs damage from within the hair, giving it shine and body.


If you are looking for something that is gentle on your scalp, pay attention to free prescriptions.

For those with sensitive skin or who value a gentle feel, you may want to consider additive-free or free formulations. 

However, if a product claims to have no additives or a free formula, what is free varies depending on the product. 

Whether the ingredients are suitable or not varies from person to person, so it is difficult to say with certainty that "because it does not contain”, “it is gentle on the skin.'' 

Figure out which ingredients don't suit you and try to avoid them as much as possible.

3. Recommended popular cleansing shampoos

Now that you understand how to choose a shampoo, we will introduce 10 recommended items carefully selected by our editorial team from among the popular cleansing shampoos. 


John masters organic S&M Scalp Shampoo N (Spearmint & Meadowsweet)

236ml 3350 yen

Key Features:

- A cleansing shampoo that thoroughly removes dirt and leaves a refreshing cleansing experience

- Tightens the scalp and makes it healthy

- A cleansing shampoo with a refreshing scent that

- Removes dirt and leaves a healthy scalp. 

- A refreshing wash.

Contains "Natsuyukisou flower extract" to tighten the scalp and improve texture.

It also contains moisturizing ingredients such as celery seed extract, aloe vera juice, sunflower seed oil, and evening primrose oil to moisturize and soothe your scalp.

The refreshing scent of spearmint oil and eucalyptus leaf oil will leave you feeling refreshed.

User's Review

・It smells good and moisturizes your hair. (Female in her 30s)

・What I received. I'm glad I tried it, so I continue to use it. Hair becomes smooth. I like that it doesn't leave my scalp sticky. (Female in her 40s)

See details on Amazon

Segreta Massage beauty cream that cleanses scalp and hair

360ml 1164 (Amazon) yen

Key Features:

・An item that performs 3 functions in one

・Removes excess sebum and dirt for a refreshing wash

・A multifunctional item that serves as a shampoo, conditioner, and massage cream

to moisturize the inside of the hair and scalp

The non-foaming cream-type texture reduces friction on the scalp and hair and removes excess sebum and dirt. A refreshing wash.

It also contains moisturizing ingredients such as "eucalyptus extract'', "Japanese flower extract'', and "royal jelly'', which moisturizes the inside of the hair and the stratum corneum of the scalp, leaving hair with firmness and elasticity.

User's Review

・It has good reviews and can be purchased online. Reasonable price for refills. (Female in her 50s)

 ・Hair is soft from the roots and stands up easily. (Female in her 40s)

See details on Amazon

L'Occitane Five Herbs Pure Freshness Shampoo

500ml 4180 yen

Key Features:

- A cleansing shampoo that thoroughly cleanses the pores and conditions the scalp .

- Conditions the cuticle for a smooth texture

- Suppresses stickiness and itchiness

- A cleansing shampoo that thoroughly cleanses the pores of the scalp.

Contains "sage leaf extract'' and "rosemary leaf extract'' to condition the hair cuticle and create smooth hair.

In addition, by incorporating the skin conditioning ingredient "Epilove Extract", it suppresses stickiness and itchiness of the scalp, creating a healthy scalp environment.

A fresh and refreshing scent made with high quality mint.

User's Review

  • The scent is soothing. (Female in her 40s)
  • I'm glad I tried it, so I'm using it. (Woman in her 30s)
  • Smooth finish. (Female in her 30s)

See details on Amazon

h&s Refresh Series Skin Care Shampoo

370ml 487 (Amazon) yen

Key Features:

- Suppresses odor and dandruff for a healthy condition

Cleansing shampoo that removes excess sebum and dirt from the scalp. Prevents odor and dandruff, and makes hair beautiful from the roots.

Contains the active ingredient "zinc pyrithione liquid'' and the refreshing herb "natural mint extract'' to maintain a healthy scalp.

We recommend using your thumbs on both temples and massaging them in a wrap-around motion.

User's Review

- Affordable price and good for the scalp. (Female in her 40s)

My family uses it and it suits me. (Female in her 20s)

- It feels like a head spa and seems to be good for both hair and scalp. (Female in her 40s)

See details on Amazon

Curel Shampoo 

420ml 1100 yen (Amazon)

Key Features:

・For a moisturized and healthy scalp

・Contains active ingredients to suppress dandruff and itchiness

・Removes excess sebum and dirt for a refreshing cleansing effect

Suppresses dandruff, itchiness, dryness, etc. A cleansing shampoo that gives your hair a nice finish. Removes excess sebum and dirt with fine, smooth foam.

Contains active ingredients such as "dipotassium glycyrrhizinate" and "ceramide" to maintain moisture and lead to a healthy scalp.

It is fragrance-free, color-free, easy to use, and mildly acidic, so it is gentle on the scalp.

User's Review

- Because it seemed to be gentle on the scalp. (Female in her 30s)

- Seems good for dry and sensitive skin. (Female in her 30s)

- Easy to use for dry skin. (Female in her 20s)

See details on Amazon

Minon medicated hair shampoo

450ml 1391 (Amazon) yen

Key Features:

- Gently cleanses the scalp while thoroughly removing dirt

- Contains active ingredients to condition the scalp and make it healthy

- Gentle on the scalp and hair

A cleansing shampoo that takes care of scalp problems such as dandruff and itching while maintaining moisture content.

Contains "vegetable amino acid-based cleansing ingredients" to gently cleanse the scalp while protecting moisture. Prevents sweat odor.

It also contains the active ingredient "glycyrrhizic acid 2K'' to prevent rough skin and maintain a healthy scalp.

It does not contain sulfuric surfactants and is slightly acidic, so it is gentle on the scalp and hair.

User's Review

- I use it because it doesn't make me itch. (Female in her 20s)

- Doesn't itch. (Female in her 40s)

- Looks good for the scalp. (Female in her 40s)

See details on Amazon

DHC Medicated scalp care shampoo

550ml 1676 yen

Key Features:

・Prevents stickiness, dandruff, and itchiness

・Cleanses the scalp while repairing damage

・Easy-to-use cleansing shampoo with 3 free formulations that prevents stickiness, odor, dandruff, and itchiness and keeps the scalp healthy.

Contains the sebum secretion suppressing ingredients "N-octanoylglycine" and "seaweed extract" to lead to clean hair from the roots.

It also contains dipotassium glycyrrhizinate, which helps maintain a healthy scalp environment.

The shampoo also contains triple care essences "collagen,'' "olive virgin oil,'' and "eucalyptus extract,'' which repairs damage and leads to beautiful hair.

It has three free formulations: color-free, paraben-free, and silicone-free, so it's gentle on the scalp.

See details on Amazon

Octo medicated shampoo

408 (Amazon) yen

Key Features:

・Suppresses dandruff and itchiness

・Prevents oxidation of sebum and protects from external damage

・Smooth finish

A cleansing shampoo that suppresses dandruff and itchiness and leads to a clean scalp.

Contains the active ingredient "Octopirox'' to suppress the growth of bacteria that cause itching and maintain a healthy condition. It also prevents excessive dryness and regulates the moisture content of the scalp.

Prevents sebum oxidation caused by UV rays and protects the scalp from external damage. It is comfortable to use as it can also be expected to have a deodorant effect.

Creates smooth hair without any creaks. Relax with a gentle, mild floral scent.

User's Review

- Suitable for the condition of the scalp. (Female in her 50s)

- No dandruff. (Female in her 30s)

- Doesn't itch. (Female in her 40s)

See details on Amazon

4. How to effectively use cleansing shampoo

First, comb your hair with a brush to loosen any dirt on the surface of your hair. After wetting your scalp, massage the shampoo into your scalp.

Too much will put a strain on your scalp, and too little will not be effective, so be sure to check the appropriate amount written on the package.

If you use it frequently, it may put excessive stress on your scalp and hair, so be careful about how often you use it.

Also, by gently massaging your hair and scalp when shampooing, you can promote blood circulation and maintain healthy hair and scalp.

5. How often to use clarifying shampoo

Be careful not to overuse. Make sure to use it appropriately

Cleansing shampoos with relatively high cleaning power can cause dry scalp and dry hair if used frequently. Recommended frequency of use varies by manufacturer, so check the product packaging.

When thinking about using it in conjunction with your daily shampoo, find the appropriate balance of use. Avoid excessive use, and determine the appropriate frequency of use while observing the condition of your scalp and hair.


6.Q&A regarding cleansing shampoo

Q. Will using cleansing shampoo make my color or perm last longer?

Cleansing shampoos have strong cleaning power, so they may make your color or perm last longer. However, if you follow the proper frequency and method of use, you can reduce the risk.

Q. Is treatment necessary after using cleansing shampoo?

Use a treatment or conditioner to prevent your scalp and hair from drying out after shampooing. If you are concerned about hair damage, we recommend choosing a treatment that contains repair ingredients.

Q. Can I use cleansing shampoo in the morning?

If you use shampoo in the morning, you may end up removing more sebum, which protects your scalp from external stimuli such as UV rays. If you really want to shampoo your hair in the morning, avoid using shampoo and wash your hair with just hot water and finish with a treatment.

Also, shampoo should be done once a day. We recommend shampooing at night rather than in the morning to prevent sebum and styling products from interfering with a healthy scalp environment while you sleep.

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