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Best Budget Clarifying Shampoos and Reviews

When the "yuck" builds up on your hair what you need is the best cheap clarifying shampoo. This specialized hair-wash product rescues hair by stripping the build-up caused by natural oiliness and residue from hairsprays, gels, swimming-pool chlorine, and even your favorite shampoo and conditioner.

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The moment your hair has lost its shine, you know it's time. But be forewarned: cheap clarifying shampoos can clean out the good, like moisture and hair color, along with the bad. So use it sparingly -- a few times a month -- and try to time things so you're not using it right after an application of hair color.

As we pored through shampoo reviews, it was soon clear that the evidence pointed to Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo (starting at 9 cents/oz.) and Neutrogena Anti-residue Shampoo (starting at $1.06/oz.) as the best products for hair that's oily or weighed down by residual build-up.

Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo is a deep-cleaning shampoo formulated to rid your hair of product build-up and natural residues. Clarifying shampoos normally are recommended for less frequent use, but Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo is pH balanced and marketed as suitable for daily use. Ingredients include the detergents ammonium lauryl sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate, which also work for oily hair. Although these two ammonium components can be harsh for some scalps, we didn't come across Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo reviews reporting this problem. Consumers are largely thrilled with this cheap clarifying shampoo, and many women report that they do, indeed, use it every day. Reviews on sites like Viewpoints praise the effectiveness of Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo, describing the end result as hair that feels light, full, shiny, and clean and a scalp that doesn't itch. One woman with long, wavy hair that requires a daily wash writes on Walgreens that it makes her hair soft and bouncy, and another with long, thick, dyed hair says it removes build-up and leaves her hair without knots. A shampoo review on Amazon posted by an African-American woman comments on the deep cleaning from weekly shampoos that don't disturb her palm-rolled locs. We also found reports of its usefulness during the summer season for removing the build-up of sweat and swimming pool chlorine, not to mention smoke from all those campfires.

Some less than enthusiastic Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo reviews also surfaced during our research. One consumer writes on the Walgreens site that it turned her fine, wavy hair into a thick, straight oil slick. And an editor at Total Beauty says that she likes the lather but doesn't appreciate the stripped and wiry feeling of her hair after shampooing. One woman who posted a Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo review on that site notes that her favorite guys use the product to remove the grit and grime that accumulates during the work day but cautions that the heavy-duty stripping action may not be for everyone. Indeed, various review sites suggest pairing this best clarifying shampoo with a conditioner.

Reviewers of Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo are divided about the fragrance. As noted above, men use this product, as well, and part of the attraction may be the scent, which one post claims is decidedly not "girly." On the other hand, the Total Beauty editor considers the fragrance off-putting.

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo is a once-a-week treatment that supposedly removes nearly all the dulling build-up left by shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. This anti-residue shampoo isn't exactly cheap, but it's one of few clarifying shampoos on the market that garners good reviews and is formulated to complement, not replace, your regular shampoo. Manufacturer's usage recommendations aside, we found that some consumers with oily hair apply Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo daily, to no ill effect, and others indulge just a couple of times a month. Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo is suitable for all hair types and contains ammonium lauryl sulfate and glycerin.

Review continues below

Despite its perch far above our budgetary scale, we didn't notice much griping about price in reviews of this best clarifying shampoo. Rather, we read numerous comments about the results being worth the cost. In Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo reviews on Amazon, for example, one user mentions that it holds her curls better than similar products and another says her hair stays clean longer. Shampoos reviews on Drugstore.com note the refreshing after-effects; that is, fluffy, shiny, and healthy hair. Although one long-term user writes in a Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo review that it doesn't give much body, she says it keeps her scalp itch- and flake-free. Another consumer reports it's one of few products that don't cause her scalp to break out, and others say it makes their scalps feel clean and tingly. Users also comment in shampoo reviews that weekly use allows conditioners to better penetrate hair follicles, and application before a color treatment has a similar effect.

But some consumers are not entirely satisfied. Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo reviews on Makeup Alley and Total Beauty are mixed. One reviewer with self-described thick, oily hair calls this anti-residue shampoo her hands-down favorite while another muses that it does what it claims to do with ingredients that aren't so special given a price that seems high. Where one writer raves about the shampoo, another with dry hair says she was hoping it would help control her oily scalp but actually made her hair seem drier. We also read comments about needing a heavy-duty conditioner after shampooing because so much natural oil is removed.

A pleasing scent and good lather are hallmarks of Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo, according to shampoo reviews. Posts also indicate that some loyal fans (including guys) have used this product for 10 years or more.

by Maralyn Edid (Google+ Profile)

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