13 Best Chelating Shampoos to Clean Your Scalp And Remove Buildup

Written by Alvira Dsouza, Hair Expert
Updated on Apr 24, 2024
Best Chelating Shampoos
Best Chelating Shampoos
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Let your scalp experience freshness and your hair restore shine with the best chelating shampoos. Crafted with hair-friendly ingredients, these shampoos effectively purify your scalp and hair, restoring shine and radiance. They contain a mix of chelating agents that rid your hair and scalp of mineral deposits and product build-ups and shield your scalp from chlorine damage. 

Hard water minerals quickly build up and make your hair straw-like and limp, leaving it dry, brittle, and damaged. It also causes discoloration and fading of hair color, stripping the colors and highlights away. The chelating ingredients bind themselves to the minerals and metals and break them down, washing them away and leaving behind a clean and clarified scalp with moisturized hair. Our findings show that hair in regular contact with water with rust, hard water, or pool water is in dire need of chelating shampoos to protect the strands from the harsh minerals. We have put together a list of some of the best shampoos formulated to detoxify and clarify your hair and scalp. These products boast a potent formula that prevents sweat buildup, deep cleanses the scalp, and hydrates the hair.

13 Best Chelating Shampoos

Remove up to 90% of product build-ups left behind on your scalp with Neutrogena's Anti-residue shampoo. This chelating shampoo resets your flat and lifeless locks to clean and shiny tresses. Gentle on color-treated and thin hair, it truly revitalizes your hair by getting rid of the dirt and debris accumulated on the scalp. With just once a week of use, it can make your daily shampoo work better, stopping bad hair days.

Hair Type: Multicultural

Size: 6 fl oz

Pros
  • Gentle formula
  • Non-irritating
  • Boosts volume
  • Thoroughly cleanses hair and scalp
  • Suitable for all hair types
Cons
  • Overpowering smell
  • Best pH-balanced Formula

    Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Shampoo

    Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Shampoo
  • Aveeno's chelating shampoo has been clinically proven to help clarify the scalp of all the residues left behind by hair care products. Blended with nature-inspired ingredients — colloidal oats and apple cider vinegar, it helps to promote a healthy-looking scalp while revitalizing dull hair. The gentle formula soothes and nourishes your scalp and hydrates the hair, adding high shine and volume to the strands. With a light and pleasant smell, the shampoo works exceptionally well without stripping the hair of its moisture.

    Quick Tip:

    Pour shampoo on your hands, lather well, and massage it into a rich lather, working on all parts of your hair. Rinse it off with cool water and follow with a conditioner.

    Hair Type: All

    Size: 12 fl oz

    Pros
    • pH-balanced formula
    • Safe for colored hair
    • Elevates hair shine
    • Removes unwanted oiliness
    • Keeps hair soft and smooth
    Cons
    • Might cause itchiness
  • Most Affordable

    Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three

    Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three
  • Ideal for swimmers, this shampoo from Paul Mitchell is formulated to deep clean hair and remove chlorine, iron, and minerals that can turn hair into a greenish tint. It gently washes away residues and mineral buildups, strengthens strands, and minimizes future build-up. After trying out this product, we can say that this chelating shampoo works best when used along with a deep conditioning treatment. The cherry on the top — it is vegan and paraben-free. 

    Hair Type: All

    Size: 10.14 fl oz

    Pros
    • Suitable for all hair types
    • Keeps hair bouncy and soft
    • Removes dandruff
    • Affordable
    • Gentle formula
    Cons
    • Leaves hair dry
  • Best Vegan Pick

    Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo

    Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo
  • Eliminate toxins and impurities from your scalp with this hydrating shampoo from Malibu C. It is a clarifying shampoo for hard water damage and protects the hair from all the harsh minerals. It restores the hair's body, bounce, and radiance. Infused with vitamins and proteins, the shampoo serves as a dry hair treatment, revitalizing the texture and moisture of the strands without causing any discoloration. This carefully crafted cleansing formula battles build-ups and targets impurities, delivering deep cleansing for a pristine, clean scalp and soft, silky hair. For best results, use it along with Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Conditioner

    Hair Type: Chemically-treated

    Size: 33.8 fl oz

    Pros
    • Vegan
    • Sulfate-free
    • Gluten-free
    • Doesn’t contain parabens
    • Hydrating formula
    Cons
    • The bottle is not user-friendly
  • Best Color-safe Formula

    Kenra Professional Clarifying Shampoo

    Kenra Professional Clarifying Shampoo
  • Kenra Professional Clarifying Shampoo eliminates up to 99% of product deposits that can turn hair dull and lifeless. Ideal shampoo for well water as well as hard water, it takes out all the dirt and debris without harming your hair. It has over 4000 global ratings on Amazon, with people praising its quality. Here’s what one customer has to say about the product,  "This stuff is amazing! I know for a fact that my hair has been full of build-up because I use hairspray almost every day, and I was reluctant to buy a clarifying shampoo because they tend to be so expensive. But this stuff is absolutely worth it! I shampoo twice in a row with it, once a week, and it has absolutely made a huge difference!” 

    Hair Type: All

    Size: 10.1 fl oz

    Pros
    • Color-safe formula
    • Provides deep cleansing
    • Ideal for all hair types
    • Restores hair's natural radiance
    • Does not dry out hair
    Cons
    • Poor packaging
  • Best Cruelty-free Formula

    COLOR WOW Dream Filter For Picture-Perfect Color Pre Shampoo

    COLOR WOW Dream Filter For Picture-Perfect Color Pre Shampoo
  • This is a game-changing pre-shampoo treatment that detoxes hair and removes hard water minerals in just 3 minutes, leaving hair brighter, shinier, and silkier. The spray is formulated with 2 molecular filters and 2 polymeric filters that work like a magnet to extract calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, aluminum, and chlorine deposits that latch onto your hair and scalp from hard water, well water, and pool water. Being devoid of harsh chemicals like parabens and sulfates, it’s an ideal pick to get rid of brassy hair tones without heading to a salon!

    Hair Type: Color-treated

    Size: 6.7 fl oz

    Pros
    • Gentle formula
    • Vegan
    • Cruelty-free
    • Improves hair texture
    • Prevents color fade
    Cons
    • Does not smell nice
    • Overpriced
  • Best for Daily Use

    Ion Hard Water Shampoo

    Ion Hard Water Shampoo
  • Prevent build-ups of hard water and well water minerals by deeply cleansing hair with this shampoo from Ion. The build-ups produce a film on the hair, making it difficult for moisture to penetrate which results in hair breakage and hair loss. This chelating shampoo for hard water reduces dryness and dullness, adding shine and moisture. We have found from using this product that it increases the manageability of the hair and prevents discoloration.

    Hair Type: Dry, Color-treated

    Size: 10.5 fl oz

    Pros
    • Improves dull and brittle hair
    • Leaves hair soft and manageable
    • Gentle formula
    • Safe for color-treated hair
    • Safe for daily use
    Cons
    • Poor packaging
  • Best for Dandruff Relief

    Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo

    Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo
  • This shampoo combats scalp irritation and removes dandruff, all thanks to a blend of lactic acid and salicylic acid. This shampoo helps regulate oil production, shed dead skin, and promote new cell growth. The additional benefits of rosemary oil, menthol, and ginger extract soothe irritated scalp. This chelating shampoo is also infused with algae-based extracts that provide the benefits of proteins and minerals which helps in strengthening the hair. After putting it to the test, we can verify that this shampoo provides relief from an itchy, flaky scalp.

    Hair Type: Normal

    Size: 8.4 fl oz

    Pros
    • Infuses moisture into the scalp
    • Vegan & cruelty-free
    • Paraben-free
    • Protects hair's natural texture
    Cons
    • Less quantity for the price
    • Poor packaging
  • Best Sulfate-free Formula

    Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Exfoliating Shampoo

    Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Exfoliating Shampoo
  • Infused with almond oil, mongongo, and sacha inchi oils, Mielle Organics shampoo cleanses hair without stripping moisture. It clarifies hair by gently lifting away dirt and oil build-ups. Infused with hair-nourishing ingredients, this haircare product heals the inflamed scalp, reduces dandruff, minimizes itching, and improves dry, damaged, and rough hair. The high content of vitamin E in sacha inchi oil actively regenerates hair while the unsaturated fatty acids protect it from further damage.

    Hair Type: All

    Size: 8 fl oz

    Pros
    • Free of harmful chemicals and preservatives
    • Tames frizzy hair
    • Sulfate-free
    • Reduces hair damage
    • Makes hair soft and manageable
    • Prevents hair loss
    Cons
    • A few users didn’t like the smell
  • Best for Dull Hair

    Hairprint Chelating Shampoo

    Hairprint Chelating Shampoo
  • This is a plant-based chelating shampoo that’s designed to remove build-up on the scalp and hair caused by hard water and hair care products. When hard water deposits minerals on your hair and scalp, your hair tends to become lank, dull, and listless. This shampoo restores shine, body, and softness to the hair, and leaves the scalp squeaky clean.

    Hair Type: Dull

    Size: 8 fl oz

    Pros
    • 100% plant-based formula
    • Makes hair brighter and lighter
    • Boosts volume and softness
    • Promotes healthy hair
    • Reduces hair loss
    Cons
    • Might be drying for some
  • Aloxxi Clarifying Shampoo

    Aloxxi Clarifying Shampoo
  • Gently remove deposits from hard water, styling products, pool elements, oils, and environmental pollutants from your hair with the clarifying shampoo from ALOXXI. Formulated with a detox blend of deep cleansing extracts such as thyme, neem leaf, ginger root, and dandelion, it rinses hair and scalp thoroughly without removing essential moisture. The chelating agents remove pollutants, clarify and purify free radicals along with providing antiseptic benefits while a blend of antioxidants, oils, and botanicals offers color protection.

    Hair Type: Chemically-treated hair

    Size: 10.1 fl oz

    Pros
    • Leaves hair soft
    • Color-safe formula
    • Neutralizes free radical damage
    • Gentle formula
    • Ideal for color-treated hair
    • Smells nice
    Cons
    • Expensive
  • ClarpHx Clarify Shampoo

    ClarpHx Clarify Shampoo
  • Crafted with potent chelating agents, this plant-based formula removes hard water minerals such as iron, calcium, copper, and manganese. This shampoo is also powered to clarify and purify pool chemicals and residue build-ups. The additional ingredients, aloe vera leaf and amino acid complex nourish the hair, leaving it healthy and shiny. Devoid of parabens, gluten, betaine, DEA, and MEA, it’s a safe choice for all hair types. Users rave about its quality and smell. One happy user writes, “This product is natural and very gentle to your hair plus removing build-up products from hair. It also has a very clean smell.” 

    Hair Type: All

    Size: 12 oz

    Pros
    • Color-safe formula
    • Provides UV protection
    • Makes hair more manageable
    • Gentle formula
    • Sulfate-free
    • Does not dry out hair
    Cons
    • Less quantity for the price
  • Thermafuse Clear One Anti Residue Shampoo

    Thermafuse Clear One Anti Residue Shampoo
  • Specifically designed for heat-styled hair, Thermafuse's anti-residue shampoo provides maximum protection to hair against damage from heat styling. The chelating shampoo cleanses the hair and scalp from a build-up of product residue, mineral deposits, and environmental elements. It keeps the hair ready and prepared for salon services and styling products. Our research indicates that the chelating action formula ensures the chlorine color and smell are completely removed from your hair. This is a gentle shampoo and has a pH of 5.5 that easily cleans without over-stripping or hurting your hair and scalp.

    Hair Type: All

    Size: 10 fl oz

    Pros
    • Gentle formula
    • Certified organic ingredients
    • Leaves hair smooth and shiny
    • A little goes a long way
    • Suitable for all hair types
    Cons
    • Not very effective in boosting hair shine

    How to Choose the Best Chelating Shampoo?

    When choosing the best chelating shampoo, take into consideration the following factors:

    Hair Type: When looking to buy a chelating shampoo, select one based on your hair type. For dry hair, choose one that has moisturizing ingredients while for sensitive scalp, select one with a plant-based formula. For oily hair, choose a non-comedogenic formula.

    Ingredients to Look for: For the right chelating shampoo, opt for formulas that have natural chelating agents apart from the most common effective synthetic ingredient, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). Some of the natural ingredients that chelate hair are Vitamin C, apple cider vinegar, and citric acid. These components target mineral build-ups, clarifying them and purifying the scalp and hair.

    Ingredients to Avoid: The best chelating shampoos should be sulfate-free, and free from other harmful chemicals and artificial fragrances. These elements can make the scalp and hair dry, causing scalp irritation, hair breakage, and hair loss.

    Formula: Chelating shampoos contain strong ingredients that are required for stripping off the hard water mineral build-ups and residues. Look for one with a gentle formula that does not strip off the natural oil from your hair and scalp. 

    Additional Benefits: The chelating shampoos come with some additional benefits along with deep cleansing of the scalp and hair. They are also powered with UV protection and protection against heat styling. Additional ingredients like vitamins, proteins, and antioxidants provide anti-aging benefits, neutralize free radical damage, hydrate, and nourish the hair, making it healthy and shiny. 

    Customer Reviews: Customer reviews give you an idea about the performance and quality of the shampoo. Going through the reviews also lets you know which shampoo will best suit your hair type and requirements.

    How to Use a Chelating Shampoo?

    Follow these simple steps to use a chelating shampoo:

    1. Wet your hair.

    2. Take a dime-sized amount of the chelating shampoo into your hands and apply it on your scalp.

    3. Gentle massage it, working it into a rich lather.

    4. Leave the shampoo to work on your hair for about 3 minutes to help loosen the mineral deposits.

    5. Rinse with water.

    6. Repeat if necessary.

    7. Follow it up with a hydrating conditioner.

    Conclusion

    As we have gathered, chelating shampoos have strong ingredients that successfully eliminate the build-ups and residues on your hair and scalp in just one wash or two. Although intense on the residues, they are gentle on your hair, maintaining its natural moisture balance. But remember, chelating shampoos are not regular shampoos. Use them once a week or when necessary so that your regular shampoo can work better. 

    Also, using a chelating shampoo the day before color treatment will give a more consistent result and keep the hair color vibrant for a longer period. As per our expertise, the list that we have provided of the best chelating shampoos stands tall on their promise to chelate hair while keeping it hydrated and moisturized. These are an easy and affordable option to get rid of product build-ups at home without the need to visit a salon. Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three is the best budget-friendly option to clarify hair without burning a hole in your pocket.

    FAQ's

    What are chelating shampoos?
    Shampoos that contain ingredients such as ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) or citric acid have chelating properties. They remove mineral deposits, chlorine, and other impurities by binding with the impurities and washing them away.
    Are chelating and clarifying shampoos the same?
    Both chelating and clarifying shampoos are designed to remove product build-ups in hair and the scalp. But a chelating shampoo is stronger. It targets and breaks the bond between the mineral deposits and your hair strands, and prevents chlorine from damaging your hair.
    Are chelating shampoos good for hair?
    Chelating shampoos are highly effective at removing mineral deposits from hair and scalp but they should not be used too often. Overuse can leave your hair extremely dry.
    How to detox your hair from metal?
    You can detox your hair from metal by using a metal detox shampoo or spray at home or by visiting a salon to get a metal detox treatment.
    How can we remove metals from hair?
    Chelating shampoos with strong chelating agents helps in removing metals from hair. The additional benefits of antioxidants, vitamins, and proteins keep hair healthy, smooth, and shiny.
    Does apple cider vinegar chelate hair?
    Yes, apple cider vinegar helps to remove build-ups, chelate metals, control oxidative stress, and restore shine to hair.
    What are examples of chelating agents?
    The most common chelating agent is ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). Some of the natural chelating agents are citric acid, apple cider vinegar, lactic acid, and phytic acid.
    Do chelating shampoos damage hair?
    No, chelating shampoos don’t damage hair. Make sure to use one that suits your hair type for best results.
    When should I use a chelating shampoo?
    Use a chelating shampoo if you are a swimmer or if your hair is exposed to hard water. Use it once a week for best results.

    Why Trust Pinkvilla

    Alvira is our in-house hair care expert. Like every other woman, her hair, too, suffers from product build-ups and residue, not to mention the woes of hard water, well water, and swimming to hair and scalp. She has brought her readers a list of the best chelating shampoos to clean and clarify the mineral deposits and impurities accumulated on the scalp. These shampoos not only deliver a clear scalp and smooth hair but also maintain the moisture balance of hair. Before recommendation, she has gone through all of the products' formulations, ingredient lists, and hair types to ensure the safety of her readers.

    Our product experts study the specifications of every product we suggest and try them out to bring what’s proven to be worthy of your money, time, and energy. We also have subject matter experts from various fields like Fashion, Skincare, Haircare, Home Decor, and Health and fitness on board to make sure our suggestions are credible and trustworthy. You can trust Select to be your faithful shopping guide for all the right reasons!

    Author BIO
    reviewer
    Alvira Dsouza
    Hair Expert

    With a keen eye for detail and a passion for hairstyling, Alvira is a certified Hair Expert who brings the latest tre More