15 Chelating Shampoos That Will Save Your Hair From Hard Water

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Hard water contains a buildup of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals that coat the hair and prevent moisture in our shampoos and conditioners from penetrating how they are supposed to. This leads to dryer strands that are prone to frizziness, dullness, brassiness, and breakage. It can even affect our scalps by creating dry, flaky, and irritated skin under our hair.


There are a few different ways to combat the ramifications of hard water. This includes buying a water softener shower head, using hair masks frequently, or trying a homemade rinse with vinegar. However, one quick and effective way to remove mineral buildup and reverse some of the damage that's already been done is to use a chelating shampoo.

Chelating shampoos, which are often branded as detoxing shampoos, clarifying shampoos, or mineral-removing shampoos, use a formula with a high amount of chelating agents to pull buildup from your strands and scalp. This buildup is often caused by hard water, but it can also be from the styling products you use, swimming in chemically-treated pools, and dust and debris from your environment. When choosing a chelating shampoo for you, take into account your hair type, daily activities, hair concerns, and the hair care ingredients that have worked for you in the past.


How we selected products

Hair chelation may seem like an unnecessary step to add to your beauty routine. Every day we see new products advertised that promise to change your hair, but few of them actually deliver. Chelating shampoos do not fall into this category, however, as the process has proved itself over and over as being effective at banishing dullness, brassiness, frizziness, mineral buildup, and more. Still, not all chelating shampoos are built the same. Some are better for fine and straight hair while others work best on thick and textured hair. Not to mention, depending on the formula, they can all target different concerns such as oily, damaged, or color-treated hair.


In this collection of chelating shampoos, we made it our mission to intently sift through numerous recommendations, reviews, and rants, to find you the best of the best. We eventually found ourselves with a narrowed list of shampoos that rose to the top against many others. Then, we categorized each one based on popular hair concerns that they target. From our efforts, we hope you can begin your journey to find healthier, shinier, softer, and more radiant hair.

Best overall shampoo for hard water

The Ion Hard Water Shampoo is our top pick to save your hair from hard water. If your hair is noticeably dull and dry, we think you'll quickly see the difference. One Amazon reviewer puts it best, saying, "I moved to a rural area from a big city and my water source is now well water ... I found this shampoo online and even my hair stylist has noticed the change. My hair is healthier, shinier, and no brassy weird color."


Buy Ion Hard Water Shampoo at Amazon for approximately $19.

Best affordable shampoo for hard water

When you aren't completely sure that your hair's problems are coming from your shower head, consider the Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Shampoo. This shampoo is very reasonably priced and it does much more than simply cleanse your hair of mineral buildup from hard water. For less than $10, this ACV blend is worth a shot.


Buy Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend Shampoo at Amazon for approximately $7.

Best luxury shampoo for hard water

Oribe's The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo is pricey, but it sure does deliver. This popular chelating shampoo clarifies your hair and scalp with skincare exfoliants that cleanse deeply. However, unlike some other shampoos that promise the same thing, Oribe's version does all of this without stripping the natural oils from your strands. Afterward, you are left with seriously clean and shiny hair that feels much healthier.


Buy Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo at Sephora for $49.

Best chelating shampoo for wavy to curly hair

Neutrogena's Clarifying Shampoo reportedly removes almost all of the residue from dry shampoos, leave-conditioners, and a multitude of styling products to give your tresses a fresh start. Made with non-irritating ingredients, the shampoo is safe for color-treated or chemically-treated hair as well as most hair types. For curly and wavy hair, reviews indicate that the removal of buildup creates more volume, bounce, and shine.


Buy Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo at Amazon for approximately $20.

Best chelating shampoo for straight hair

For straight hair, Herbal Essences Clarifying Tea Tree Shampoo is a great choice. As explained by a Walmart customer, "I've been fighting shampoos for a year and this one is perfect...it leaves hair squeaky clean. I comb my hair with the conditioner in it and put a leave-in conditioner in when I get out of the shower...perfection." Not only does this shampoo create cleaner hair with less buildup, but it smells great and it can reduce dandruff and breakage, too.


Buy Herbal Essences Clarifying Tea Tree Shampoo at Walmart for approximately $10.

Best chelating shampoo for color-treated hair

Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo is a fan-favorite for many hair types and hair concerns. The shampoo naturally removes mineral build-up from hard water as well as other things that may be weighing down your hair, such as styling products. The result is voluminous and shinier hair. According to one Amazon reviewer, "This product is perfect for those with colored hair and home water [that] is hard with heavy calcium. Use this product once a week and your hair will love you."


Buy Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Shampoo at Amazon for $38.

Best chelating shampoo for textured hair

Textured hair is best cared for with products that offer hydrating yet powerfully cleansing ingredients to remove buildup while leaving hair's natural oils intact. Pattern's Cleansing Shampoo does exactly this. Formulated with matcha green tea, aloe vera, and panthenol, this product promotes stronger, shinier, and healthier hair that shows off your natural curl pattern at its best. As a bonus, it's scented with jasmine, bergamot, and sweet sandalwood notes that you'll fall in love with.


Buy PATTERN Cleansing Shampoo at Ulta Beauty for $20.

Best chelating shampoo for a sensitive scalp

The Kenra brand puts out amazing hair products, again and again, that leaves us stunned. This is also true for their Clarifying Shampoo which cleanses and brightens for healthier-looking hair with more volume and radiance. As one Amazon reviewer noted, "I have very hard water which leaves my hair looking dull, dry, and discolored. This shampoo made a difference after one use. I will continue to use it to keep my hair looking its best!"


Buy Kenra Clarifying Shampoo at Amazon for approximately $15.

Best chelating shampoo for blond hair

Blond hair can benefit from a good chelating shampoo. Color Wow's Dream Filter Pre-Shampoo Mineral Remover is among the best if you want to illuminate any kind of blond, gray, or platinum color. Take it from this Amazon customer who says, "I bought this because we have hard water and I needed to refresh my beige blonde hair from turning corn-colored yellow. [I] saw immediate results! Everyone else noticed too and asked me if I just had my hair done."


Buy Color Wow Dream Filter Pre-Shampoo Mineral Remover at Amazon for $24.

Best chelating shampoo for damaged hair

When your hair has damage from too much heat or dyeing, Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Exfoliating Shampoo can help to reverse it. It can be used on all hair types, but dry and color-treated hair will show the largest change. For those looking for more hydration, more protection, and less buildup, this shampoo will get the job done.


Buy Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Exfoliating Shampoo at Amazon for approximately $9.

Best chelating shampoo for people with dandruff

SACHAJUAN Scalp Shampoo is formulated with salicylic acid to get rid of dead skin build-up on your scalp and to promote new cell growth. Removal of dead skin or dandruff relieves scalp irritation to free you from itchiness and inflammation. Even though it's on the pricier side, this shampoo can be used occasionally in rotation with your normal hair care products to avoid needing to repurchase it frequently.


Buy SACHAJUAN Scalp Shampoo at Amazon for $28.

Best chelating shampoo for thick hair

People are loving Living Proof's Perfect hair Day (PhD) Triple Detox Shampoo. It provides gentle yet thorough cleansing for all your strands, and it removes buildup commonly caused by styling products, pollution, and hard water. A Sephora customer said, "I noticed as I lathered this shampoo that it was able to penetrate the layers of dry shampoo and hairspray ... It was an invigorating cleansing experience! I was super happy with how clean and healthy my hair was afterward!"


Buy Living Proof Perfect hair Day (PhD) Triple Detox Shampoo at Sephora for $32.

Best chelating shampoo for fine hair

OUAI's Detox Shampoo has certainly had its moment this year. While it works great on all hair types, people with fine, thin, or thinning hair have been showing their love for it extra hard. As one Ulta Beauty reviewer put it, "This stuff smells so good, and helped heal my hair after having post-COVID hair loss! I finally have my natural curls back and it just keeps growing! I use it about 3 times a week."


Buy OUAI Detox Shampoo at Ulta Beauty for $32.

Best chelating shampoo for people with extensions or braids

Braids and extensions can be difficult to shampoo, so it's normal for buildup to occur quickly. Shampoo bottles are not exactly designed to focus on just our scalps. Except for this one. Girl+Hair's Cleanse+ Shampoo is designed to give you a deep clean without ruining your hairstyle. A Target review mentioned, "I love the pointed nozzle ... I used it for the first time tonight ... My scalp was left clean after one wash!"


Buy Girl+Hair Cleanse+ Shampoo with Shea Butter & Tea Tree Oil at Target for approximately $14.

Best chelating shampoo with a great scent

Many of the chelating shampoos we've listed so far already smell amazing, but none are praised for this as much as the Kristin Ess Scalp Purifying Micellar Shampoo. The micellar water formulation washes away buildup without harming your scalp, and it leaves your natural oils intact. This product also contains Kristin Ess' Zip-Up Technology which is said to "zip-up" split ends. It smooths damaged strands and cuticles to help protect your locks from further damage.


Buy Kristin Ess Scalp Purifying Micellar Shampoo at Target for $15.