15 Sulfate Free Clarifying Shampoos For Curly Hair 2024

15 Sulfate Free Clarifying Shampoos For Curly Hair 2024

Got those lovely curls? Keep them well-cleaned with these top clarifying shampoos for curly hair. Read on for the reviews!

Has your curly hair suddenly stopped responding to all the hair care products you use? It's probably cause of all the product build-up on your tresses.

If the products are no longer making your hair softer, glossier, fun and playful, it’s time to use a clarifying shampoo to get rid of all the build-up.

Use a gentle clarifying shampoo that will clean your scalp and hair, remove all the build-up and get your hair ready to absorb the best of the all products you put in.

So what is a clarifying shampoo? 

Clarifying shampoos are extraordinary products that have no chemicals in them and deep cleanses the roots and takes off the build-up that is accumulated deep in them. It is especially great for women with curly hair since it is great to tame curly hair when it gets uncontrollable and frizzy.


How to pick the best shampoo for Curly Hair

Before looking at the best shampoo for curly hair, let’s look at what to look for in a such a shampoo. Check it out:


Most regular shampoos are packed with sulfates. While this is generally bad for your hair (Asian or not), sulfates become a bigger problem with color-treated hair.

The most common sulfates are Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. These are surfactants that cleanse your hair and leave them squeaky clean.

We still love Videri Peppermint Shampoo with no sulfate the best

How I tested the other clarifying shampoos for curly hair?

I used these shampoos myself as I have 3c curls and then rated them on a scale of 1-5 based on the parameters I've explained below.

  • Clarifying Power - I first checked if the shampoos were clarifying enough and had ingredients like surfactants, charcoal, exfoliants, etc. that can remove oil, dirt and buildup from curls.
  • Gentleness on Curls - Most clarifying shampoos can get too harsh for curls sometimes, especially if they have sulfates. So I checked if the products were gentle enough.
  • Frizz Control - Clarifying shampoos for curls should also be moisturizing as this helps control frizz.

Top clarifying shampoos for curly hair 2024

Best Clarifying Shampoo For Curly Hair Best For Chief Ingredients
ACURE Curiously Clarifying Shampoo Sensitive Scalp Aloe Vera, Lemongrass, SeaBuckthorn
SheaMoisture African Black Soap Shampoo African American Hair Activated Charcoal, Tea Tree Oil, Willow Bark Extract, Bamboo Extract
Creme Of Nature Argan Oil Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse Dry Curly Hair Argan Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar
Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo Type 3 Curly Hair Mandarin Orange, Sea Kelp
Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo Frizzy Hair Argan Oil, Rosemary Extract, Lavender Extract
Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo Damaged Curly Hair Colloidal Oatmeal, Apple Cider Vinegar
Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo Oily Curly Hair Grapefruit Extact, Sugar Cane Extract, Lemon Peel Extract

#1- TRESemmé Clean and Replenish Clarifying Shampoo

best drugstore clarifying shampoo for curly hair

What I like best about TRESemme’s line of shampoos is that these give you salon-like effects at home for a very affordable price.

This particular shampoo is just what you'd expect from a drugstore clarifying shampoo. The cleansing power of the product is good and I loved how it lathered up so well.

But the reason behind this is the use of sulfates. So I'd think twice before using this shampoo on color-treated curly hair or very dry curly hair. It will definitely strip both moisture and hair dye from your tresses.

It does contain ingredients like green tea which is good for scalp inflammation and panthenol which again soothes your scalp. But to be honest, I couldn't see any of the effects of those ingredients when I used the product.

how to use clarifying shampoos for curly hair

If you just want a good clarifying cleanse on wash day, without spending a lot of money, I'd suggest go for it. But if you want some hair benefits along with, the SheaMoisture or Kinky Curly shampoo would be better.


  • Green tea is also a calming agent as it soothes any inflammation in your scalp. 
  • Vitamin C nourishes the scalp by fighting off free-radical damage and helps the cells repair.
  • Very affordable price


  • Contains sulfates that can be rough on dry and color-treated hair
  • Shampoo has a weird chemical-like smell to it
  • The packaging is very flimsy and cap breaks easily

My Ratings:

  • Clarifying Power - 5/5
  • Gentleness on Curls - 3.5/5
  • Frizz Control - 3.5/5

#2- Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo

kinky curly clarifying shampoo

I was always on the lookout for a sulfate-free shampoo for clarifying my curls and I found one in this Kinky Curly product.

There's no SLS and SLES in this shampoo instead it uses a milder surfactant called Cocomidopropyl Betaine and Sulfonates which cleanse hair without causing too much dryness or stripping hair color.

What I loved most about this shampoo however is that it contains mandarin orange. Not only did I love the citrusy scent but the vitamin C in it really helped exfoliate my scalp.

I found it reduced the amount of flaking on my scalp too which was a huge plus!

Also this is an exellent shampoo if you have oily curly hair. It has astringents like white willow bark that help control excess greasiness on scalp.

The only misgiving I had about this product was that it contains perfume which was really unnecessary in my opinion.

It won't cause much trouble normally but if you have a very sensitive scalp than you can experience some reactions in the long run.


  • Contains a milder form of sulfate called sulfonate which is gentle on curly hair
  • Vitamin C-enriched mandarin formula gently exfoliates scalp


  • Added fragrances can trigger inflammation if you have a very sensitive scalp

My Ratings:

  • Clarifying Power - 5/5
  • Gentleness on Curls - 4.5/5
  • Frizz Control - 4/5

#3- Shea Moisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo

clarifying shampoo for natural hair

Clarifying shampoos have the bad rep of drying your hair, making it look terrible. Well, not all are so bad. 

I was really impressed with this SheaMoisture shampoo for being superbly clarifying and moisturizing at the same time.

My curly hair type is 3c but if you have type 4 curls (generally known as Afro hair) this shampoo is a total blessing. Natural hair tends to dry out more than other curl types so it's good that there's a clarifying shampoo that doesn't use strong sulfates.

The reason for the shampoo's clarifying power is the use of bamboo and charcoal which absorb dirt, oil, and other impurities from scalp without removing necessary moisture.

I could feel my hair feeling very soft and volumized right after using this shampoo.

The only drawback I could find was that it contains perfumes. This wasn't the case with the original formula that made use of essential oils. But the perfume isn't too strong and you can still use this shampoo unless you have a really inflamed scalp.


  • Uses bamboo charcoal formula to clarifying hair without chemicals
  • Good for dry hair as it has a blend of avocado oil, mango seed oil and coconut oil nourish the hair
  • Doesn't contain sulfates so it won't fade hair color
  • The tea tree oil gets rid of the gunk while the willow bark extract gently exfoliates the scalp and gets rid of flakiness.


  • Added fragrances can trigger inflammation if you have a very sensitive scalp

My Ratings:

  • Clarifying Power - 4.5/5
  • Gentleness on Curls - 5/5
  • Frizz Control - 5/5

#4- Devacurl Buildup Buster Hair clarifying shampoo

In the past few years, Micellar water has quickly become the magic potion for our skin.

  • Those teeny tiny bobbles have the ability to cleanse like nothing else, while also making your skin soft and smooth. 
  • The Devacurl Buildup Buster Hair Cleanser uses this miracle ingredient to remove all the grime that is built up in your hair and clog it from absorbing all the good stuff. 
  • It also hydrates the strands of your hair and micellar leaves behind a fine coating. 
  • This helps revive damaged hair, making it soft and shiny again. 

#5- EDEN BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Clear clarifying Shampoo

Just the thought of peppermint leaves you with this fresh feeling in your mind, doesn’t it? That’s how the Peppermint Tea Tree Clear Shampoo by Eden BodyWorks leaves your hair and scalp. 

  • While the tea tree extracts gently exfoliate your scalp getting rid of residue, dead skin cells as well as dandruff, the peppermint extracts refresh your scalp, purify it and leave it squeaky clean. 
  • This combination also keeps acne and scalp infections at bay and soothe inflammations.
  •  This is light, foams well and is easy to spread into the hair and scalp with your fingertips. 

#6- Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo for curly hair 

Neutrogena anti-residue clarifying shampoo is something you can use once a week to clean your scalp of all the build-up from haircare products. 

  • This has a mild formula that is light, foams well and leaves your hair feeling squeaky clean. 
  • It is gentle, non-irritating and can be used by any type of hair, oily, normal or dry. It contains a bit of glycerin and castor oil that don’t end up drying up your hair and leave it soft and glossy.
  •  It also manages to give your hair some volume and bounce. 

#7- ACURE Curiously Clarifying Shampoo for curly hair

Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo is perfect for oily hair that needs a bit of a wash every other day. 

  • It’s super gentle with its ingredients that are free of sulphates and parabens.
  •  The active ingredient, lemongrass is blended with extracts of acai berries, pomegranate and blackberry to not only cleanse but also nourish the hair with necessary vitamins and antioxidants. 
  • These ensure that the free radicals and damage is fought off, leaving you with glossy, gorgeous hair. 
  • The shampoo has hydrating ingredients like argan oil and avocado to ensure that your hair gets vitamin E and other fatty acids. 

#8- Creme Of Nature Argan Oil Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Rinse

An ideal clarifying shampoo for thick and curly hair, the Creme Of Nature Argan Oil Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Rinse combines the best of ingredients needed for maintaining hair health.

  •  With apple cider vinegar that naturally removes all the leftover residue while also acting as a good conditioner for the hair, you are left with soft, bouncy curls with loads of volume. 
  • If you are worried that clarifying shampoos leave your hair feeling dry, this shampoo solves that with its argan oil that moisturises your hair plenty, making it shiny and lustrous. 

#9- Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle clarifying Shampoo for curly hair

As the name goes, the Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo by Trader Joe’s leaves you feeling refreshed and tingly!

  •  Blending organically sourced extracts of tea tree, peppermint and eucalyptus, this is like an elixir for your hair. 
  • The tea tree oil cleanses your hair, reduces inflammation, and acts as an antifungal agent, keeping rashes and infections at bay. 
  • Eucalyptus has properties that reduce the itchiness of the scalp, get rid of dandruff, lice and improves the health of the hair follicles.
  •  Peppermint freshens the scalp, cools it and encourages circulation, thereby stimulating hair growth and making it healthier.

#10- Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo

Extracts of lemon, grapefruit and orange flowers in the Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo not only cleanse the scalp gently but also infuse antioxidants and other nutrients required for improving its health. 

  • They detoxify and purify the scalp and keep it free of dandruff. This shampoo is delicate on the hair and is a great option if you have coloured treated locks. 
  • This clarifying shampoo is free of sulphates and is safe on your hair.
  •  It gives you softness and shine without stripping it off its natural moisture and oil. 

#11- Suave Naturals Daily Clarifying Shampoo for curly hair 

If you have a tight budget but want something that clarifies your curly hair, we suggest you give the Daily Clarifying Shampoo by Suave Naturals a try. 

  • A good drug store brand, this shampoo efficiently gets rid of build-up and leaves you with very clean hair. 
  • It is not suitable for dry hair as it can leave the hair very dry. 
  • This is recommended more for oily hair as it removes the oil while it cleanses the scalp. 
  • We recommend the use of a hydrating conditioner to follow up as this can remove the natural oils in your hair. 

#12- Giovanni 50:50 pH Balanced Hydrating & Clarifying Lightweight Shampoo

Giovanni 50:50 pH balanced shampoo is just what you need if you have hair that is damaged and dry due to chemical treatments. 

  • With the nourishment from aloe vera and sunflower seed oil, your hair gets plenty of moisture. 
  • The extracts of lavender, rosemary and thyme help cleanse the scalp, encourage blood circulation and improve the growth and texture of your hair.
  •  The shampoo also contains soybean to rejuvenate it, add strength and help it revive its health.
  •  This shampoo is purely vegan and safe to be used on coloured hair. 

#13- VO5 Herbal Escapes Kiwi Lime Squeeze Clarifying Shampoo

VO5 is a good low-cost option for a clarifying shampoo that works the way a professional salon brand does. 

  • The Herbal Escapes Kiwi Lime Squeeze shampoo uses the goodness of kiwi and lime to cleanse the scalp and hair.
  •  It removes excess oil and is therefore perfect if you have a very oily scalp
  • . It also contains rosemary extracts that help blood circulation and stimulate hair growth. 
  • This is a good option to use once a week, between your regular shampoos to ensure that your scalp is rid of all the build-up. 

#14- Aveeno Clarifying Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

Aveeno is always associated with gentleness as a lot of their products are made for babies, new mothers and for people with sensitive skin.

  •  The Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse is absolutely gentle for curly hair as it is free of sulphates and contains oats and natural apple cider vinegar to do the job of cleaning the scalp of build-up. 
  • This combination balances the pH of your hair, adds shine, volume and bounce while also improving its softness and texture.
  •  Oats soothes the scalp and helps bring down inflammation and rashes while acting as a mild exfoliant to get rid of dead skin cells.

#15- Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo for curly hair

Moroccanoil Clarifying Shampoo is something we highly recommend if your hair is dry.

  • This intensely moisturising shampoo is fantastic to hydrate your hair, make it soft and glossy, while also cleaning it and getting rid of all the build-up. 
  • This clarifying shampoo contains a blend of lavender, rosemary and chamomile extracts to clean your hair and scalp, nourish it and stimulate hair growth. 
  • It also contains argan oil and jojoba seed oil to moisturise your hair and lock in the hydration. 
  • Keratin is another ingredient in the shampoo that strengthens your hair and reduces breakage. 

When should you use a clarifying shampoo?

Like we mentioned above, using a clarifying shampoo is like clearing the blockages that enclose your scalp due to buildups, remains of products and other elements.
Using a clarifying shampoo can unblock them and give your scalp some air while also nourishing them and giving them healthy strands.
Wash your scalp with a clarifying shampoo at least once a month and not more than that for the best results. 

How often should you use a clarifying shampoo on curly hair? 

Using a clarifying shampoo is quite powerful so you don’t have to use it too much. So we would recommend you use it only once every 4 weeks for the best of results. 
Even when you are using it we would advise you not to have it long time. Massage your head with the clarifying shampoo for about 5 minutes and then wash it off. 

How do you naturally clarify curly hair? 

While it can be quite intimidating to use a product for clarifying your curly hair. We have a recipe for you that can be easily feasible with curly hair.
It is not too strong but good enough to remove buildups and oils in your scalp. 
A mixture of lemon and white vinegar will do the job of clarifying and cleanses the scalp from deep within the roots. If this mixture is too strong you can use only baking soda and water.
You could scrub it on the scalp and wash it off with the right shampoo and conditioner. 

These were the top clarifying shampoos for curly hair. Since curls require a lot more product for their upkeep the chances of product buildup is more.

All that hair serum, leave-in conditioner, hairspray, etc. can leave a lot of flaky residue on both scalp and hair especially if they contain silicones.

This buildup can weigh down hair, prevent absorption of moisturizers and other products and cause dandruff.

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