What’s The Best Shampoo for Colored Hair?
So, you’ve just spent half of your paycheck on a primo cut and color at the salon, and you’re stressed about taking that first, fateful shower. Which shampoo is best for your recently colored hair?
We get it, coloring your hair can be expensive, and the last thing you want to do is lose it within just a few washes.
Colored hair fades easily, and that’s especially true when using ordinary shampoos.
If you’re sick of your colored hair losing its vibrancy in as little as a couple of weeks, then it’s time to switch to a color-preserving shampoo.
Unlike ordinary shampoos, color-preserving shampoos use ingredients that won’t strip your hair of that gorgeous color, helping you keep your color for longer.
We go in-depth on how and why colored hair fades so easily, below.
But first…here are our contenders for the best shampoo for colored hair!
Best Shampoos for Colored Hair
This color-preserving shampoo from Matrix Biolage uses a low pH formula, helping to keep your pigment sealed within your hair.
It uses orchid as an active ingredient; which helps to maintain color strength and depth, enhancing the vibrancy and freshness of your hair color.
If you’re concerned about harsh chemicals, this shampoo is paraben-free, making it a less stripping way of cleaning your colored hair.
If your hair is both colored, and coarse, then it’s important you use a shampoo with both smoothing (moisturizing), and color-preserving ingredients. Luckily for you, we’ve found one.
WELLA’s Brilliance Shampoo does the job, in a word, brilliantly. Formulated with Vitamin E, this shampoo will bring out the natural radiance of your color, whilst soothing and protecting your hair from color-fading free radicals.
If you like to treat yourself with luxurious goods, then you’ll love the other ingredient in this Brilliance Shampoo: diamond dust.
Oh yeah – you read that right.
This shampoo will hydrate, protect, and enhance the coloring in your hair. All in all, a great choice for those colored, coarse heads of hair out there.
Nexxus Color Assure Shampoo nourishes and strengthens your hair, using concentrated elastin protein. The white orchid extract helps to bring out the vibrancy in your color, whilst protecting it from premature fading.
If you’re looking for a color-preserving shampoo that doesn’t dry you out, this shampoo is formulated to produce a creamy, moisturizing lather; shielding your hair not just from a loss of color vibrancy, but also a loss of much-needed vitality.
Plus, this shampoo is both sulfate and silicone-free – making it easy on color-treated hair, which is notoriously fragile.
Aveda is well known for its botanical formulations which use as many natural, organic ingredients as possible. If you’re looking to not only preserve your hair color but also prevent further drying out and overall damage, then Aveda’s Color Conserve could be for you.
With plant-derived ingredients, and 100% organic natural fragrances, this shampoo is both luxurious, and gentle – all while conserving the brightness of your color. Plus, like many Aveda products, it smells great.
If you’ve found your hair frizzy, dull, and full of split ends when using other, harsher color-preserving shampoos, then Aveda’s formula is well worth the modest investment.
This nourishing, color-preserving shampoo from Tigi Bed Head is chock full of vitamins and hair-health-boosting ingredients. Formulated with vitamins B5, and E, as well as coconut oil, sweet almond oil, and keratin (your hair’s most needed protein) this shampoo promises to cleanse your hair of build-up, and reinvigorate your color, all while protecting you from further fading and damage.
The oils in this shampoo help to create a defensive layer, protecting your color from free radicals, and the elements. If you’re used to seeing your hair break, shed, and split at even the sight of a brush, then the keratin in Tigi Bed Head Color Goddess will help to strengthen your dry hair from the inside out, bringing back smoothness and protecting against breakage.
You’ll often find Redken products on the shelves of your local stylist – and there’s a reason why: they work. If you’re looking for salon-grade color preservation, then try Redken’s Color Extend shampoo.
Formulated with ingredients that protect your color against fading, and using Redken’s patented interlocking protein network, this shampoo will extend the life of your color, and nurse your treated hair back to full health.
Kiehl’s color-preserving shampoo utilizes the best natural ingredients to formulate a fortified blend with UV-filtering qualities.
Sunflower oil, apricot, and plenty of vitamins (B3, B5, and B6) make this shampoo a powerhouse of UV protection and reinvigoration.
Kiehl’s Sunflower Color Preserving Shampoo helps your hair color keep its vibrancy between salon visits, all while conditioning your hair to improve the strength of its cuticle and leaving you with more natural-feeling, smooth hair post-coloration.
Paraben-free, silicone-free, and sulfate-free, this shampoo performs color preservation without using harsh chemicals which is why we love it.
KMS provides plenty of salon-grade hair care products that plenty of stylists swear by, and their Color Vitality Shampoo is no different.
KMS’ California Color Vitality Shampoo promises to cleanse your hair using mild, gentle ingredients while sealing in color by keeping that cuticle hydrated and closed.
Lilac and ginger help to nurture and reinvigorate your scalp, improving your hair’s health from the roots up.
Formulated with flavonoids, this shampoo shields your hair against the elements; improving your chance of avoiding the color-fading effects of free radicals.
Suave Professionals Color Care Shampoo is formulated with their patented Keralock Technology, a way to infuse your hair with keratin, locking it in, and leaving your hair smooth, and easy to manage.
A color guard complex of ingredients helps to keep your color pigments sealed in your hair, while additional antioxidant ingredients prevent further fading. This shampoo also includes UV protection, keeping your color safe from environmental stressors.
If you’re in need of a color-preserving shampoo that also infuses your hair with helpful proteins, such as keratin, then Suave Professionals’ Color Care line is for you. Color-treated hair is damaged hair, and it needs hydration and protein to help to fully regain its colorful glory.
If you’re looking for a color preserving shampoo from a familiar brand you can easily find in your local drug store, then why not give L’Oreal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Protecting Shampoo a try?
This shampoo nourishes hair damaged by color treatments, and is formulated to provide shine whileprotecting your color from fading.
The antioxidants, and ceramides in this shampoo will cleanse, and protect your hair from UV and other color-fading elements.
L’Oreal promises to keep your color sealed in for 60 days using this shampoo, all whilst repairing your damaged ends and cuticle.
Another color-preserving shampoo favorite from L’Oreal, the EverPure range uses rosemary as its active ingredient, to deliver hydration, and replenish dry hair.
This shampoo promises to keep your color vibrant for up to four weeks with regular usage, and with a formula that includes no sulfates, salts, or surfactants, this shampoo gently cleanses all while keeping pigments locked in and safe from fading.
The EverPure line is full of botanical ingredients, and is completely vegan as well as cruelty-free and not tested on animals. If animal rights are right up there on your consumer consideration list, then this is a great drugstore buy.
Thermafuse’s color-preserving shampoo is ideal for redheads, which also happens to be the most difficult color to preserve. This shampoo has been designed with reds and browns in mind, aiming to prevent fading in the most easy-to-fade pigments.
It protects color by filtering out UVA and UVB – these are some of the most damaging waves of the UV spectrum – so by filtering them out with a botanical complex, this shampoo will protect both your hair’s health and color from damaging UV rays.
Using a sulfate-free formula, this shampoo will gently cleanse without stripping you of pigment, or much-needed moisture. This will work for all hair types, including the most fragile and fine hair, as well as the driest and coarsest.
Restore your hair’s shine, and color vibrancy, with Thermafuse’s unique blend of marine ingredients which keep your cuticle smooth, sealed, and healthy. This shampoo has a pH of 5.5 – giving it that extra boost to restore your hair to its healthiest state.
If you’re all about beautiful fragrance, then this shampoo might be the delicious nose-pleaser you’re looking for. With scents such as Fuji apples, pineapple, white peaches, and kiwi fruit, you’ll not only lock in that color and moisture, but you’ll smell amazing to boot.
This shampoo is described as ultra-mild, and is great for those with colored hair and sensitive scalps. If you have fragile hair, or a scalp prone to skin issues, then this color preserving shampoo from Bumble and Bumble might be a smart purchase.
Using their very own Color Preserving Complex, Bumble and Bumble’s Color Minded shampoo fights against color washout and fading, keeping your color fresher for longer.
If you prefer to use shampoos with natural, herbal ingredients, then this color preserving shampoo from Hempz may be your holy grail cleanser.
Using 100% pure, natural hemp seed oil as its main ingredient, this shampoo will help seal in pigment, and enhance the natural beauty of your colored hair by smoothing it out and protecting it against the elements.
Other essential oil ingredients help to maintain your hair’s smoothness, and manageability, meaning you can rock your colored ‘do in all sorts of styles.
Extend the life of your color treated hair by using this herbal, gentle cleanser.
Boost your Color with Color Depositing Shampoo
Sometimes the best way to enhance your colored hair is to maintain it using toners, or gentle dyes.
Luckily, there are plenty of shampoos on the market that promise to re-infuse hair with color, and bring color back to vibrancy even after it’s faded, or dulled.
Here are some of the best color depositing (and toning) shampoos:
Joico Color Infuse comes in a variety of colors, ranging from golden brown to red.
This shampoo will breathe life back into your color, by providing a bit of dye infusion every time you cleanse. Naturally, it’s best practice to leave this type of shampoo in your hair for at least five minutes before rinsing, to allow for maximum color penetration.
Because this shampoo works as a gentle dye, you’ll want to use it sparingly on your hair – as it contains harsher ingredients. For example, stick to your roots and the middle of your hair, rather than applying to ends which may already be fragile after your color treatment.
Joico’s Color Infuse Shampoo comes in brown, golden brown, copper, red, and more. Depending on your unique coloring, you may find mixing shampoos can help produce the right affect for you. Or, using a shampoo that’s not necessarily for your color (for example, the brown color infuse shampoo might help to deepen your strawberry blonde).
It might be worth asking your stylist what kind of color infusion would work best for bringing out the best in your color before adding an infuse shampoo to your routine.
If you’re rocking a blonde, or silver ‘do, a purple shampoo will help you keep your coloring platinum and fresh, rather than yellowed and dull.
Purple falls on the exact opposite side of the color wheel in comparison to brassy colors such as yellow, and orange, which is why infusing your hair with a bit of purple toner during a cleanse brings your blonde (or silver) hair back to life.
Clairol Shimmer Lights’ purple shampoo is an affordable and sworn-by product, and will bring your blonde or silver hair back to its former glory no matter how yellow or dull it’s gotten.
If you’re looking to keep your bright colored hair perfect between salon visits, then this purple shampoo is a must-have.
If you’re a natural, or dyed grey haired individual, then your grey deserves the best toning purple shampoos have to offer. Fanola No Yellow Shampoo was designed with grey/silver haired people in mind, and as it says in the name, promises to rid your hair of unsightly brassy tones.
Silver and grey hair can dull easily, resulting in a yellowish tone – it’s no wonder that grey hair can easily feel like an unsightly burden.
But with the right purple shampoo, such as Fanola No Yellow Shampoo, your grey can go from dull to shimmering brilliance.
The violet pigments in this shampoo will deposit into your individual hair strands as you cleanse; helping to rid your hair of warmer tones, and restoring your silver to its cool, bright glory.
John Frieda’s Brilliant Brunette Color Deepening Shampoo offers a range of color depositing shampoo for those on the brunette spectrum.
This shampoo will cleanse your hair just as a shampoo should, all whilst delivering rich, deep tones into your color-treated hair. Such color infusion will provide the richness a brunette coloration deserves.
Formulated with primrose oil and cocoa, this shampoo will moisturize as it cleanses, and reinvigorates your color. An all-in-one, if you will (which we will!).
If you have highlights amongst your brunette hair, don’t worry: this shampoo won’t affect them.
John Frieda’s Brilliant Brunette line is safe enough to use every time you shower, so if you’re brunette, this might be the way to go if you want to maintain your color for the long run.
Pure Blends’ color depositing shampoo comes in a variety of tones to help maintain the richness and vibrancy of your hair color.
Formulated with herbal actives, keratin and collagen, and avoiding the use of harsh chemical sulfates and sodium chloride, this shampoo deposits pigmentation all whilst hydrating and repairing your hair.
Eliminate your color fade by using Pure Blends’ Hydrating Color Depositing Shampoo during your usual wash routine. You don’t have to allow the dye to process for a long time, and its formula is compatible with all permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes, as well as hair relaxers.
Color Mask Shampoos come in a range of tones best used on brunette hair (although mixing it up to see how it enriches whatever color you’re rocking is never discouraged).
This shampoo will deliver rich brown pigments to your hair, restoring the salon vibrancy of your color.
Avoid further drying out by using this sulfate-free formula, which promises to cleanse, restore your color, and repair the coarseness of your damaged hair.
This shampoo uses ingredients which provide UV-protection (to prevent further color loss) as well as boosts the shine of your hair while preventing unwanted static.
If you’re concerned about the ethics of your product, the Color Mask line is cruelty-free; none of their products are tested on animals. So you can treat your hair without feeling bad about it!
How Does Colored Hair Fade?
When you get your hair dyed, pigments penetrate your hair, and are trapped within the shafts of your hair strands. This means that pigment can escape whenever the hair cuticle (outer layer) is compromised.
What causes the hair cuticle to lift up?
Heat, water, and even UV exposure.
So it suffices to say that keeping your color fresh can be a real task. Even something as inevitable as a daily shower with hot water will strip your hair of color faster than you can say ‘wash out’.
If you’re keen on the details, it’s the free radicals that we come into contact with every day that compromise your cuticle, and therefore your pigmentation.
These free radicals are molecules, and other small elements, that cause loss of pigmentation in your colored hair.
That’s why choosing a color preserving shampoo with ingredients that protect against or filter out free radicals is important in keeping your color fresher for longer.
Besides using the right shampoo, there are other things you can do to extend the life of your colored hair.
Tips for Keeping your Hair Color Fresh
Get your color done professionally.
DIY hair dyes are great, precisely because they’re accessible, but just like with most things in life: the pros do it better.
Most supermarket dyes are semi-permanent, whilst the dyes at the salon are permanent. This means a salon color treatment will last longer. A stylist will also be able to get your coloring just right, if you have specific color goals.
As previously mentioned, water is a major culprit when it comes to the fading of your hair color.
Obviously, it’s best not to avoid water completely, as basic hygiene is a necessity, but you can limit how often you wash your hair.
Really, unless you are strenuously exercising every day, washing your hair on a daily basis is overkill – and a surefire way to see your bright colors fade to nothing.
It depends on your own level of comfort, but try washing your hair just once or twice a week. That doesn’t mean you need to skip showers altogether, simply use a shower cap!
Protect that noggin.
Wear a hat on sunny, windy, and rainy days.
Protect your color from the elements whenever you head outside. Wear a hat, or other head covering (such as a scarf or beanie), to ensure you don’t lose color by exposing your hair to UV, water, and other pigment-fading elements.
If the thought of covering up your beautiful locks is too much to bear, then try protecting your hair against UV by using a UV-protecting leave-in conditioner.
Some leave-ins include UV-filtering ingredients. Simply be on the lookout for UV-protecting leave-in products in your local hair care aisle.
If you swim in chlorinated water regularly, then you need to put extra effort into protecting your color because chlorinated water is a recipe for super fast color fade.
To protect your hair, use a leave-in conditioner mixed with some regular water and douse your hair in it. Put a swimming cap on for extra protection, or simply tie your hair up.
If you can, stick to swimming styles that keep your head above water, such as a side stroke.
(See? Who says we can’t give sports advice?)
Use color depositing hair treatments.
We covered color depositing shampoos above in our Best Of list, but if you’re wanting to make that color stretch, including a color depositing (or toning) hair treatment in your product collection will give you a definite advantage.
Lots of color depositing hair treatments work the same as other nurturing hair treatments: simply work it through your hair, let it sit, then rinse out. Color depositing treatments also often include reparative, hydrating ingredients, leaving you with super soft, healthy looking hair.
Really, any hair treatment is an absolute must-have for color-treated hair, as damaged hair needs to be cared for to maintain that sleek, straight-out-of-the-salon look.
Try working color depositing treatments into your hair color maintenance routine to keep your color salon-fresh for as long as possible.
Avoid alcohol-based styling products.
Plenty of gels, mouses, and waxes have alcohol as a main ingredient.
Unfortunately, alcohol is a very drying ingredient, which means that when you use an alcohol-based styling product, you’ll compromise the strength of your cuticle, and lose that locked seal that keeps your hair pigments from escaping.
You should especially avoid alcohol-based products when you’re spending a lot of time in the sun. The drying effect of alcohol will make your hair even more vulnerable to UV rays and, therefore, to color fade.
Keep in mind which colors are hardest to maintain.
The unfortunate truth is that certain hair dyes are going to give you more trouble than others.
Here’s The Deal Based on Hair Coloring
Red is the color that tends to fade the quickest. Red pigment molecules are a lot larger than other pigments, and as such are easier to lose when exposed to any cuticle compromising elements, such as a bit of rain, or too much sun on a summer’s day.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid red if that’s your choice color, it just means you need to lower your expectations when it comes to how long it’ll last – and also be prepared to spend a bit more money on upkeep and salon visits.
Rocking a platinum blonde or silver ‘do can look positively bad-ass, but unless you want to go through the extra hassle of toning your hair, this might also be a color best reserved for those who have the money and time to maintain it.
If you do have blonde or silver hair, then make sure you’re using a purple (toning) shampoo.
Bright Colors (e.g. Blue)
Bright colors such as electrifying blues and baby-cute lavenders are the hardest of all colors to maintain. Unless you’re willing to re-dye your hair at home often, or have the cash to splash out on regular salon visits, you might want to put your rainbow hair dreams on hold.
Blue in particular tends to fade quicker than others. The biggest bummer about experiencing wash-out with blue coloring is that it can look bad, fast.
Nobody enjoys the faded out green look.
If you have blue hair (or want to) then consider using color depositing shampoos and toners/treatments to keep your blue blue for as long as possible – avoid the green monster with all your might!
Brown and Black: the longest lasting colors
As for what color is the easiest to maintain?
It has to be brown. Going brunette has plenty of benefits, ans the lack of upkeep is definitely one of them.
Brown pigments penetrate hair on a deeper level than other dyes, making it harder for them to escape. If you want to go swimming, have hot showers, and avoid wearing hats, then brunette may be the way to go.
Black is also a pigment with staying power, and like brown, is a good choice for anyone looking for a cheap and easy to maintain coloring.
Make Your Color Count
Coloring your hair is an exciting way to drastically change your look, and whether you’re achieving your color at home, or with the help of a stylist, your colored hair will only turn heads if you learn how to maintain it.
Maintaining your color takes an arsenal of color preserving, and color depositing products – most important of which is your shampoo.
Regular shampoos might as well be paint-strippers when it comes to washing your hair. No one wants to see their pigment wash down the drain during a hot shower.
Look after your color, and it’ll stay vibrant, and beautiful, for longer.
Take heed of our advice, and make that color count!
We promise the results will look great.