It is 2010 and my curly hair has a holiday hangover. All the products that I used for the updos, twenties-style curls and big waves are now making my hair feel limp and lifeless. I want to get all the 2009 gunk out of my hair. I know I need to use a clarifying shampoo. I follow a shampoo free routine, so the word “shampoo” doesn’t really excite me. I immediately start worrying about how dry my curls might feel. Then I remember my hair is already dull, dry and I have poor curl definition. Why am I hesitating? My hair looks bad, and I need to deal with it.

Dealing with it means that I actually need to buy some hair products. I am usually shopping for hair products out of curiosity or hopefulness that some truly amazing discovery is still out there waiting for me.

There are a lot of clarifying options. One is to go to the CurlTalk thread about hair care recipes.

I like the baking soda recipe for a mild cause of product build-up and for cleansing the scalp. I also think the apple cider vinegar rinses can be a good solution. Mix 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar with a cup of water and use the rinse before you cleanse, condition and deep condition. Using the rinse first is best for curlies with very brittle, dry hair. You can also use the ACV rinse after you cleanse and condition if your curls aren't as moisture-deprived. It can be a nice finishing rinse.

My favorite contributor, Tonya McKay Becker, aka CurlChemist, writes "Vinegar is very useful as a rinse for the hair for several reasons. Acetic acid is a mild chelating agent, so it can be useful in removing mineral deposits on the hair that accumulate over time due to impurities in the air and hard water. The clarifying properties of ACV and other vinegars also extend to the removal of accumulated sebum or other waxy buildup from products."

The clarifying shampoo options are limitless if you don't want to involve your kitchen in the process. If the buildup isn’t too severe, you can use a cleanser with cocamidopropyl betaine and cocobetaine in them. Cocamidopropyl betaine is a medium-strength surfactant, while cocobetaine is a milder one. These surfactants help make the cleanser foam and bubble without stripping too much oil or irritating your scalp.

If you are going to use a clarifying shampoo that contains the big bad harsh anionic surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, and ammonium lauryl ether sulfate, it is extremely important to deep condition those precious locks for 30 minutes with heat and then follow with a cool rinse to close the hair cuticle.

I want to get the bounce back in my curls for 2010. I am going to clarify my hair and start the New Year with happy fresh curls.

Here is my shopping list for clarifying shampoos and cleansers and few other goodies:

Curl Friends Clarifying Shampoo

Curlisto Aqualizer

CURLS Clarifying Shampoo

Elucence Volume Clarifying Shampoo

Hair Rules Aloe Grapefruit Purifying Shampoo

Greenridge Herbals Herbal Vinegar Rinse

HPO Happy Scalp