Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo Review

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If you’re feeling like your hair is dull and lifeless, or better yet – if you actually see your hair is dull and lifeless, those symptoms may indicate a case of clogged pores and/or product buildup, or lack of maintenance. When you try to maintain your hair but still experience such conditions, your scalp and locks may be in need of more serious cleaning. This is our Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo review, because serious cleanliness is what this hair product is all about.

What Is Clarifying Shampoo?

Woman washing her hair.

Woman showering.

True to its name, this is the kind of shampoo which is in the business of making things clear. By “things” I mean your scalp and hair, and by “clear” I mean squeaky clean and thoroughly stripped. Since this is exactly as intense as it sounds, it is a shampoo which you should use judiciously and sporadically. In most cases, it does not take the place of your everyday shampoo.

The traits which make a clarifying shampoo so great are the very same ones which make it not so great. There are a couple of drawbacks to this shampoo, and due to these you need to be extra careful and keep a schedule, as far as routine use is concerned.

Buildup tends to focus itself around the roots, although it can also make its way from the scalp down to the actual strands. Because of this, it is best to start massaging and working the shampoo at the roots. If you know of places where buildup accumulates on your head, make sure to treat them properly.

By the way, there are also DIY clarifying options. You can use baking soda with essential oils, followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse to condition and soften the hair. You can also find a multitude of other DIY options to try. Fine-tune any recipe or formula to better suit your wants and needs!

Paul Mitchell Company Overview

Paul Mitchell is one of those company names that has a cool factor attached to it. The late Paul Mitchell got together with his business partner, John Paul DeJoria, and they both established John Paul Mitchell Systems (JPMS) in 1980. The company is best known for its professional hair care products.

Aside from those, there are also beauty schools and other cosmetics- or beauty-related initiatives the two had begun. Furthermore, there are salons all over the country which carry Paul Mitchell products exclusively, although JPMS products are available in other salons too, which are non-exclusive.

Right then, to the issue at hand. Let’s clarify the goal of this shampoo. Ugh… dad jokes.

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Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo Line Breakdown

This line consists of Shampoo One, Two, and Three.

The main difference between them is this:

Shampoo One is actually not your classic clarifying shampoo. It is gentler and not as intense, and because of that it’s considered better for general, day-to-day use for all hair types, and can even be used on color-treated hair. Incidentally, whether or not you should be shampooing every day is a topic which we have addressed several times before. Professionals recommend washing once every two or three days, although there are always exceptions to the rule.

Shampoo Two is clarifying shampoo formulated specifically for color-treated hair. The issue with shampoos and color is that the shampoo often strips more than just oil and dirt. Plus, it manages to take some of the hair’s color along with it. Colored hair can be so much fun, but it can also be a pain in the neck to maintain and manage. Whether you get your hair dyed at home or at a salon, you want to get your money’s worth. This means that you want the color to last, and that’s what Shampoo Two is about.


Shampoo Three is for hair which is not colored, and it’s probably the most “aggressive” of the three variants. It removes product buildup, mineral and chemical buildup of all sorts, and is also meant to strengthen the strands and keep buildup from occurring in the future. It’s a deeply cleansing product, and even though it is technically suitable for daily use according to the company (on non-colored hair), it is best to not use this every day.

Also, with all three of these shampoos, remember that a little can go a long way. Use small amounts at first, depending on the situation your scalp is in, and your amount of hair. Be sure to err on the side of caution whenever possible. The last thing you want or need is an irritated or overly-oily scalp, fading color pigments, and hair damage. Use the shampoo that is properly formulated for you and your hair situation.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that this series of shampoos is vegan, cruelty-free, and free of parabens.

Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo One Review

Paul Mitchell clarifying shampoo one.

Paul Mitchell clarifying shampoo one.

You know how it says “lather, rinse, repeat” on some shampoo bottles? Well, with Shampoo One, no repetition is necessary. It’s as if in a single pass, this shampoo manages to achieve what many other shampoos would need two washings to accomplish.

It leaves the hair clean, without drying it out too much. There is a fine line here, I know. Some would certainly consider this shampoo overly-drying, but that was not my experience. It’s possible to reintroduce some of the lost moisture through use of a proper conditioner afterwards, so if you can find a good conditioner to follow the shampoo, you should definitely give this product a try. This brand has always been somewhat high-end, but their products are always offered at a reasonable price.

Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo Two Review

Paul Mitchell clarifying shampoo two.

Paul Mitchell clarifying shampoo two.

As I mentioned, colored hair can be a lot of fun, but it takes a toll on you and your locks. You need to maintain it, because if you spent the money on a color treatment or home dye job, you probably want to keep that around for a while, and you want it to look its best, and not become a lifeless, flattened piece of protein.

Shampoo Two is for colored hair, and it manages to provide a deep cleanse without stripping away every single thing in the vicinity. Clarifying shampoos are known to do just that – strip everything – and that is the original idea behind them. But on the other hand, you want to keep a certain amount of oil and dirt for future use. Yes – even the dirt on your scalp serves a good purpose if it’s in proper measure!

So, this shampoo is a real lifesaver. It can remove buildup without removing every little slice of life from your scalp and strands. The best part is that it does so without removing color from your head. Obviously, there is the possibility of over-use and/or abuse. That said, if you take it easy and don’t use it too often, Shampoo Two can be a great addition to your colored hair routine. Get it here.

Paul Mitchell Clarifying Shampoo Three Review

Paul Mitchell clarifying shampoo three.

Paul Mitchell clarifying shampoo three.

Being the most “hands-on” shampoo of the lot, Shampoo Three works hard to make it feel and look as though you just went through a real salon treatment. I know, you can’t really compare the experience, but you can compare results. And as far as the results are concerned, there is definitely something to this product. I can see why some Paul Mitchell products were salon-exclusives for the time that they were.

Also, since this shampoo targets minerals and other tough substances, it is ideal for those who live in an area where tap water is hard water. The different elements in the water might be good for your body, but over time some of them can become harmful to the scalp and hair. When you don’t clean your scalp properly, you run the risk of serious buildup. I also read that swimmers are fond of this type of shampoo (though not necessarily this specific one). That’s because it helps to remove chlorine and other swimming-pool residues.

Like I said, this third shampoo is considered the more aggressive one of the three. Handle it with care, and remember to give special attention to areas where you experience any particular buildup, heaviness, and/or oiliness. These areas can be anywhere on the head, but the popular locations are the front and back hairline, and the zone surrounding the crown.

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Conclusion

I feel you need to think long term with shampoos such as these. It’s not just about what feels good now and looks good today. If anything, it’s mainly about tomorrow and the next week, and the week after that. Consider what will help your hair look good here and now, and also help it out time and again, as needed.

While using these clarifying shampoos, you can experiment and see what types of conditioners and leave-ins work best. Far be it for me to know that particular nugget of information – that’s on you completely. But what I can do is recommend this product, whether you have color in your hair or are just looking for a way to get your scalp in order.

Sometimes, you just need to wipe the slate clean, and let the body do its thing. After clarifying the scalp, your hair and roots are ready for something new. Think of your scalp and hair as a blank canvas. Obviously, the analogy is incomplete, but you know what I mean. After using this type of shampoo, you’re able to see your hair in a fresh, healthy light.

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