Best Shampoo for Color Treated Hair, According to 7 Experts

It’s no secret that getting your hair done by professionals can be expensive.

So after spending all that time, money, and effort at the salon, you don’t want your hair color to slowly disappear just because you used a product that stripped off its vibrant color.

That’s why using a color-safe shampoo that’s specifically intended for dyed hair is key to keeping your hair color fresh and healthy-looking.

To help you decide which products to use, we’ve rounded up the best shampoo for color-treated hair, as recommended by experts.

Erum Ilyas, MD, MBE, FAAD

Erum Ilyas

Board-Certified Dermatologist, Montgomery Dermatology

To answer this question, it is important to consider how hair color works and which direction you are coloring in!

Most hair dyes work by opening the outermost part of the hair follicle called the cuticle to lighten your natural color and deposit artificial pigment. Some hair dyes, usually ones that contain peroxide, work by lightening your natural hair pigment.

Regardless, once artificial pigment or color is deposited in your cuticles, it undergoes a reaction that makes the particle too large to just come out on its own. It needs a pH change in your hair and heat to open the cuticles back up to release the pigment.

That being said, the goal of shampoo for color-treated hair is to maintain a pH that allows your hair to hold onto its pigment and to avoid stripping color with harsh detergents that can strip the cuticle and the color along with it.

Ingredients to avoid:

  • Sulfates: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Formaldehyde
  • Parabens

If you don’t use a color-treated shampoo, you will need to color your hair more frequently since your hair simply won’t hold the color as long!

Tonia Jost

Tonia Jost

Owner, Tonia Salon

Elumen Wash by Goldwell

$41.99 ($1.04 / Ounce)
Buy on Amazon
09/23/2023 09:05 pm GMT

In an ocean of options, how does one know which shampoo will keep the beautiful color from fading?

Firstly, we must understand the nature of color-treated hair. All hair color will lighten and fade over time. Not all color is created equal as there are many options out there. This can get very technical and I advise that you discuss your options with an educated colorist to find out which type of hair color will best suit you.

The general rule is that hair color will fade regardless so it’s important that you take appropriate steps to ensure longevity.

Use lukewarm to cool water

Color molecules don’t like water to begin with and the hotter the water the quicker the fade. You can wipe out a toner, with one hot washing regardless of which shampoo you use.

Shampoo your scalp, not your hair

Place your shampoo at the scalp area only. Try going from underneath. Most people dump shampoo on the top and crown of the head and try to agitate it in and through to the scalp. This method will not only fade your color but also damage those delicate hairs. The hair itself will get clean when the water rinses the shampoo out.

Now that you understand a bit more about the nature of hair color let’s move on to the second topic…the nature of hair.

Are you familiar with the pH scale? Everything on our planet has a pH(potential of hydrogen). The scale is 0-14: acid-alkaline Our hair, skin, and nails are 4.5 to 5.5. When we color the hair, we alter the pH. When we wash the hair, we alter the pH.

Most excellent salon-quality shampoos are between 4.5-5.5 the same as your hair, skin, and nails. That having been said, the best shampoo on the market for color longevity is. the Elumen Wash by Goldwell with a pH of 3. This shampoo is the best choice. It is so gentle on the hair and designed to keep those color molecules where they belong.

Frank James Dibrino

Frank James Dibrino

Owner, Twisted Bangz Salon

Renewal Shampoo & Conditioner by Scruples

$31.99 ($31.99 / Count)
Buy on Amazon
09/24/2023 03:55 am GMT

Science is sexy and that’s why I recommend Renewal Shampoo & Conditioner by Scruples. The products contain Scruples Protective Barrier Complex (PBX) which is comprised of mucopolysaccharides, a key moisture-binding ingredient to keep the hair flexible & healthy, hydrolyzed proteins for strength, silicone conditioners for shine, and UV absorbers to protect the hair from the sun.

For additional protection, monthly intensive treatment with Scruples Complete Recovery Masque is also recommended.

Fae Norris

Fae Norris

Stylist and Colorist, Rock Paper Salon

We can spend a lot of money on quality coloring but there are ways to keep the color green in our pockets when it comes to maintenance. If you’re not wanting to shell out for expensive, color-maintenance shampoos, I don’t think there’s a better choice than Color Me Happy by Herbal Essence.

Free of parabens and PH-balanced to allow for daily use without stripping hair of oil, it keeps colored hair looking fresh and radiant while delivering a clean, rosy smell.

On top of that, the company is now using recycled plastic, renewable energy and reducing its impact on landfills. It’s PETA stamped cruelty-free, widely available and has a great price point. What’s not to like?

Danielle Valdez

Danielle Valdez

Hair Colorist

As people realized that bathing and washing one’s hair was more desirable than dousing oneself with cologne, herbalists and hair stylists started concocting hair washing products.

In the 1800s, English hairdressers experimented with mixtures of boiled water and soap, often adding herbs for fragrance and shine.

At the turn of the 20th century, “shampoo” became commercially available, just about the same time as synthetic hair color. Consumers had few choices as well as the dilemma of how to keep hair clean without harming and washing out color.

Ashes, grains, and other harmful additives were used in the production of commercially available products. Later, sulfates (made from salt) were added for their ability to strip hair and create lather. These harsh additives destroy the surface layer of hair color or keratin treatments.

Other ingredients to avoid are parabens (made from wax). They will make your hair feel soft until they build up, creating hair that looks and feels brittle and dry.

Today, we are overwhelmed with choices, but I am loving Verb Products. Available in a range of formulations for different hair types, they are sulfate, paraben, and gluten-free. They lather beautifully, preserve color, and leave hair feeling luxuriously soft. As an added bonus, they smell light, fresh, and clean!

Adina Mahalli


Hair and Skincare Expert, Maple Holistics

If you’re looking to preserve your hair color and bring life back to dye-damaged locks, this natural-color preservation shampoo is for you. It maintains the vibrancy of your color while nourishing your tresses with botanicals such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, and raspberry seed oil.

These powerful oils work in synergy to hydrate each strand and provide your scalp with antioxidant protection. Additionally, the formula is sulfate-free to prevent fading and ensure that your color lasts for longer than you can imagine!

Lina Buk

Polina Bukovza

Beauty Expert | Founder, Nail Art Gear

NexxusColor Assure for Color Treated Hair Shampoo

This gentle shampoo is infused with elastin protein which helps nourish dry hair and is also helping keep your color looking vibrant for longer. Additionally, the shampoo doesn’t fade hair color, Instead, it leaves it shiny and soft.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use regular shampoo on color treated hair?

No, it’s not recommended to use regular shampoo for color treated hair. Regular shampoos can strip the hair of natural oils and cause the color to fade faster. Using a shampoo specifically formulated for color treated hair is important to keep the color vibrant and prevent damage.

How often should I use shampoo for color treated hair?

It’s recommended to shampoo your color treated hair every 2-3 days or as often as necessary to keep your hair and scalp clean. However, it’s important to avoid shampooing too often as it can cause dryness and fade color faster.

Can a shampoo for color treated hair damage my hair?

No, a good shampoo for color treated hair should not damage your hair. However, it’s important to choose a shampoo that is gentle and specially formulated for color treated hair to prevent damage and enhance the health of your hair.

Is it okay to switch shampoos for color treated hair frequently?

No, changing shampoos frequently isn’t recommended for color treated hair. If you change shampoos, you risk stripping your hair of its natural oils and causing the color to fade faster. It’s best to find a shampoo that works well for your hair and stick with it so that the color stays vibrant and healthy.

How do I store my shampoo for color treated hair?

It’s important to store your shampoo for color treated hair in a cool, dry place to prevent spoilage and preserve its effectiveness. Avoid storing it in direct sunlight or in an area with high humidity, as this can cause the shampoo to deteriorate over time. To avoid contamination, keep the shampoo in its original container with a tightly closed lid.

Can shampoo for color treated hair be used during pregnancy?

A shampoo for color-treated hair can be used during pregnancy. However, it’s important to choose a product free of harsh chemicals and ingredients that may not be safe during pregnancy.

Ingredients that should be avoided during pregnancy include sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. It’s also a good idea to consult your doctor before using any new hair care product during pregnancy.

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