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Dull, Tired Hair? This Affordable Fix Works Wonders

DIY Clarifying Shampoo and Hair Detox

During the past few years I have been having a “hair crisis” of sorts. My hair is getting thinner with age, so to compensate I’ve started using more and more hairspray to try and get some of my hair’s old volume back. Not only was I using more hairspray than ever, but I had even starting buying the “industrial strength,” maximum-hold kind!

Related: 5 Simple Ways To Fight Thinning Hair

But shortly after I started using more products and sprays, my hair started looking tired and weighed down. My regular shampoo wasn’t making much of a difference, so I started searching for a solution that would detoxify and revive my sad, wilted hair, but wouldn’t cost a fortune (since I’ve name-brand clarifying shampoos that cost up to $60!) Little did I know how simple the solution would turn out to be.

After doing some digging online, I discovered that the main ingredient in most detoxifying or clarifying shampoos is actually just sea salt! The salt helps dissolve dirt and product buildup, which can restore volume and vitality to your hair, and using coarse sea salt specifically helps to scrub away dead skin for a healthier scalp.

Using that helpful information, I wrote up this “recipe” for the world’s easiest (and most affordable) clarifying shampoo.

DIY Hair Detox

DIY Clarifying Shampoo & Hair Detox


DIY Hair Detox

Optional Additions:

Add in one or more of the following ingredients for added hair benefits:

  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil (for added softness and conditioning)
  • 2 drops tea tree essential oil (to combat dryness and flaking)
  • 2 drops rosemary essential oil (to promote faster hair growth)
DIY Hair Detox


Stir ingredients together, apply to hair, and wash. Use once or twice a month to thoroughly clean your hair and scalp.

DIY Hair Detox

My daughter Britta gamely agreed to be our before-and-after model so we could show you how this clarifying shampoo works! Here’s what she had to say about it…

I don’t use a lot of hair products, but I did inherit my dad’s oily scalp. My hair starts looking visibly greasy just a couple of days after washing it, so I was interested to see if this detox shampoo treatment would help cut through all of that oil. And it definitely did! My hair was SUPER soft and clean afterwards, and my scalp felt great too.

DIY Hair Detox

I think these photos speak volumes about the benefits of using this easy detox shampoo. Britta’s hair is so shiny and radiant in the “after” side of the photos that it looks visibly lighter in color. All that for the price of a container of sea salt! :-)

So whether you’re battling product buildup, an oily scalp, or just want shinier, healthier hair, I definitely recommend giving this DIY option a try. And as always, I’d love to hear how you like it!

Do you have any tips or tricks for reviving lifeless hair?

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Beauty Tips

  • This is interesting. One of the girls at work was saying not use Pantene hair products- awhile back. Apparently I think according to hairdresser s it can cause a waxy buildup on hair.

  • Just raised the ladder for sea salt,added it to my shampoo Didn’t expect much in way of improvement in condition of hair.it made a difference in a good way and the saving on products is huge! By the way I live very close to the sea and thought salt sea air is a daily occurrence so was sceptical

  • Great article! Sorry I’m a bit late to the party. Does this keep well? I’d like to make it in “bulk,” but don’t want to risk the sea salt from dissolving.


  • From the pictures it looks like it not only helped get off the oil and build up, but the diy hair detox really seems to have made her hair softer and healthier! I never thought of trying salt. Great idea! Probably why my hair always looks so pretty after a trip to the beach.

  • I also have a problem with my scalp getting oil, and I’m glad to have stumbled upon this diy recipe for scalp detox. Definitely heading in for a try. Thanks, Jillee!

  • Verrry interesting!
    First, I threw this together using table salt, thinking I’d remembered the “recipe.” I did add some Himalayan pink salt when I caught my mistake, and then proceeded. Wasn’t sure if I should use conditioner afterwards, but my hair felt SO “clarified,” I did, and was surprised at how great my conditioner felt going on, as well as how nice my hair felt after. Next day, my hair feels wonderfully soft.
    Little observations: this is basically a salt scrub for hair (and I did use what was leftover on my arms and feet–nice!). Also left my hands feeling very soft.
    Several years ago, salt was considered to be really bad for hair. Interesting that the thinking has changed. Maybe?
    Had also heard that epsom salts were good used on the hair. I’m trying this next time.
    As always, Jill, thanks for sharing another fun thing to try. Can’t wait to see how this changes my hair in the long run!

  • Hello, I love your emails and suggestions and advices. I have tried some of your recommendations. However, I am wondering if the drain pipes will clog because of the grease in the coconut oil. Thank you very much!

  • Well, I tried this today. I didn’t really expect to see or feel any difference, but boy, was I surprised, and pleased. My hair looks better and behaves. I didn’t think it could be so easy. I will do this from now on. Love the results.

  • At 64 I was having similar issues with my hair. I searched quite some time for a reasonably priced natural shampoo and conditioner to deal with dull droopy hair. I love the brand I discovered: Acure. You can find it at their website: https://www.acureorganics.com/clarifying-shampoo.html. It’s about $10 for 8 fl oz on their website or even cheaper on Amazon. I use their conditioner with coconut oil. These products have been a life saver for my hair and I’m so pleased with the natural ingredients.

  • I use borax water (20 Mule Team) in water to wash my hair – 1 T. borax in 2 cups of water. I have short hair so it lasts for several washings. I don’t use shampoo anymore because of the sulphates, etc., and the ones without sulphates are very expensive. I then rinse with water mixed with vinegar. My 69 year old hair is soft and shiny and clean.

  • One time I dyed my hair and it came out WAY too dark. My hairdresser suggested washing a few times with Dawn and I got it to the right shade in a day! Now that my hair is gray and thinning, I think I will try to baking soda or sea salt trick. I swear some days my hair looks like Donald Trump and other days like Bernie Sanders. Lol

    • Lol!!! I am 65 and I sweat really bad sometimes, too! My hair gets soaked. I’m afraid of what I might do to myself if I looked in the mirror and looked ANYthing like Donald Trump!!! LOL!!

  • When I was in high school, my Mom worked at an upscale hair salon. This is where she learned about using Dawn (the plain blue kind) to deep clean and strip hair of product buildup. I have used it ever since. I don’t do it often, but whenever my hair feels dull I do a wash of this in the shower. Works wonders and is cheap, always something I have on hand anyways.

  • I’ve used the baking soda with the shampoo before and it does a good job with the build -up removal. No way would I ever use Aqua net.I tried it once.I couldn’t get a comb through my hair. Can’t believe people still use the stuff.Its so bad for your hair.

    • Well, on the bus, if you see a lady with a BIG, jet black beehive, bright red lips drawn on, and bright blue eye shadow, you can bet your sweet bippy that she’s an “Aqua-Net girl”!! Now, you know how today they have “easy-breezy beautiful Cover girls”…the “Aqua Net girls” were from MY era, which I will not reveal. But, only other people from that era will understand the “bet your sweet bippy” comment, as well. (Oh, God…I HOPE I haven’t accidentally hurt anyone’s feelings with my dumb humor!) LOL! I am so sorry if I did!

  • Thank you for all the comments! I have used salt spray to work curls in my hair and it got very dry. Twice a week I use a combo of castor oil and black seed oil massaged into my scalp and left on for one hour then washed out with Mane Tail. Is that a good treatment for hair growth?

  • Ditto on the comment from the person who said to add baking soda to your shampoo. That is what my stylist told me to do and it works to cut buildup from product use, even when the expensive clarifying shampoo doesn’t work. Salt would be very hard on your hair and scalp, whereas the soda plus shampoo, used only when your hair starts to get dirty quickly between shampoos, does not do damage.

  • Try the Chinese herb Fo Ti by Nature’s Miracles. I have a friend who lost a lot of hair due to illness and he began taking Fo Ti daily and now he’s got more hair and it’s healthier than before he got sick. I would even say he has luxurious hair. At 65.

    • I have been taking 20,000 units of Biotin everyday. It has stopped my hair from falling out and my hair is growing in thicker and fuller. I stopped taking the biotin for awhile and my hair started to fall out. I started back up the 20,000 units of biotin again and in a few days my hair stopped falling out. My husband says I should be taking 40,000 units. Maybe I will try it.

    • Thanks I have dyed my hair for many years 40 to be exact. My hair no longer shines. And the spray to make it shiny is awful. So I am going to try the baking soda and I already have shampoo. My lady who always cuts my hair the way I want and not how she wants told me to do.

  • After a long devastating illness and losing all my hair I resolved not to use anything toxic on my hair. When it regrew there was a marked change in texture (curly) and was a nice silver. No more coloring, mousse, hair spray etc. Once a month I use a minute amount of Dawn liquid and my hair is great; no hair spray needed. My hair dresser probably would faint if ever I shared this with him!

    • Ha this is funny! My stylist told me that she has an unmarked bottle of Dawn dish detergent on her shelf above her shampoo bowl for those people who come in with such dirty oily hair that regular shampoo won’t get it clean. She uses the Dawn first, then regular shampoo. You wouldn’t want to use the Dawn every time, but once a month like Eunice does is fine! Dawn works by stripping the oily buildup, just like it does on our pots and pans.

  • Oh gosh where do I start,
    I have been a licensed cosmetologist for 32 years.
    1) Salt will draw your color out and dry out your hair. Salt is found in most low end shampoos.
    2) If you are dealing with an oily scalp/hair salt is not the answer. Just as in skin, if you remove all the oil, your skin/hair will just product more because it thinks there is not enough oil ( and there isn’t and oil because it was just stripped off )
    FYI each hair follicle has its own little supply of oil
    3) A much gentler “clarifying shampoo” would be to mix a quality shampoo with baking soda,(1:1) yes it will foam. Apply to the hair and allow it to sit a few minutes. If you have a lot of build up you can leave it on longer.
    You can also cap the hair and sit with a towel wrapped around your head or under a dryer if you have one. I’ve used this “clarifying shampoo” since beauty school.

    I had a client who used aqua net hair spray every single day. She had her hair done in the salon once a week, and would Just hairspray everything in place until her weekly visit. She would get a perm every two months, that is when we would do a clarifying treatment on her, otherwise we could not get her perm to hold.

    Please above all else… don’t use salt on your hair… I know that sea salt spray is used by many… that too causes issues with color

    • What do you consider a “quality” shampoo? Preferably one that has a very mild scent. I have migraines that are triggered by scent so I can’t tolerate the scent in most shampoos. In fact, Dawn dish soap is what I’ve been using (once or twice a week usually) since the smell is not as intense and less likely to trigger a migraine.

      • I had always heard that dishwashing liquid is HORRIBLE for washing your hair! It, also, is made to totally strip away oils and grease. With all of the things we use today being made in a “scent-free” formula, I would think you could find something suitable to use. I would think “Johnson’s Baby Shampoo” would be great for you!

    • Ty for this! I usually just rub the baking soda in my hair , rinse , and use apple vinegar mixed with water afterwards. Will try this with shampoo too once a month.

    • Hi, Gail. I am not a professional (didn’t finish school…got pregnant) but when I read this, I had the same reaction as you! Since we use salt to cure meats I really wouldn’t want that for my hair. I am 65 now so my hair is quite thin and pretty wiry and lifeless but I frequently use baking soda on my hair and on my face as well to clean off life’s gook and gunk. Yesterday I was reading Jillee’s post about oil cleansing for facial skincare. THIS seems to be totally opposite to that whole theory to me. I really appreciate you speaking up and sharing your knowledge on this topic. (many times people immediately think that Jillee is being picked on!) You might just save someone from having a really disappointing “hair day”!

  • Great tips. My hair still fairly thick. I haven’t hit menopause yet.My moms hair has thinned a little, but it’s not noticeable. I’m hoping my genes will be good to me and I won’t lose a lot of hair. I inherited my Dads mothers hair and his Sisters still have thick hair. I did try the detox at least a year ago and it helped with the hair product build-up.

  • Love your hair tips! This and the coconut oil mask before washing gave me very impressive results. Can’t believe how soft my thick, coarse, curly, dyed hair has gotten. Thamk you!

  • Do you have a book? Many times I try to find an article I have read & have to search thru previous emails & I never find what i am looking for, if you have a book I will buy it!!

    • Google one good thing (or ogt) and the subject you’re looking for, or at ogt there’s a search bar and you can find things that way. The comments are often so helpful that I wouldn’t want to restrict myself to a book.

  • Your hair helps have saved my hair. Coconut oil hair masks, vitamins, no harsh hair sprays , wearing my hair down as much as possible and d’Oro shampoo…BINGO, my baby fine hair has bounced back !!! Thank you , Thank you !!!!

  • I started using prenatal vitamins, and my thinning hair changed immediately. My hairdresser noticed it within a couple of weeks and my nails grow so quickly. My hair is thicker again and full At age 68

    • I thought of doing that! I am going to be 60 soon! I feel like my Gummy Vitamins are doing nothing. I remember after a miscarriage when I was 30 my GYN put me on prenatal vitamins “before” the next pregnancy & I got pregnant soon after and had two healthy babies in a row. Years later doc found that I had severe endometriosis, resulting in a full hysterectomy. I wonder if I could have avoided 25 years of 24/7 pain from that if I had kept taking the prenatals. My nails are thinning and cracking vertically, I get extremely dry skin in which Cetaphil cream in a jar is the only thing that’s been helping after years of a prescription cream, or cortisone cream. My hair is brittle, breaks easily, & falls out. I’ve started taking magnesium & zinc but I need something more. Thanks for confirming what I’ve been wanting to try for years!

      • Have your dr test you for low thyroid (hypothyroid). It’s an easy fix and there’s tons of info online.

    • It’s not healthy to take prenatal vitamins when you’re not trying for a baby, pregnant or breastfeeding. They have much higher levels than what your body would need, you don’t want to be overdosing on certain vitamins. Biotin has been shown to help with hair and nail growth.

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