It’s no secret that getting your hair professionally colored can be an expense, so it makes sense that you’d want to stretch out appointments (as well as at-home touch-ups) as long as possible. And one of the most important steps to protecting the life of your hair color starts with your shampoo. “Shampoos for color-treated hair will ideally function in a few essential (and kind of obvious) ways,” explains Brooke Jordan, co-owner and master stylist at the Bird House in Gowanus. “First, they should moisturize but never strip color. Second, they should provide UV protection to help shield the color from the sun. And finally, they should ideally add in ingredients that are color-protecting or color-depositing.” And when it comes to shampooing, Christine Thompson, master colorist and co-founder of Spoke & Weal, also has this essential tip: “Shampoo less.” Water is the biggest hair-color aggressor, and will cause it to fade faster than any other factor. We asked Jordan, Thompson, and four other experts to find the best shampoos for a variety of color treatments, textures, and types. Below, their picks, which include shampoos for repairing heat-style damage as well as ones formulated for shades from platinum blonde to red.
Best overall shampoo for color-treated hair
“Color processing of any sort can damage the bonds of your hair,” explains Blackstone NYC colorist Patti O’Gara. “This sulfate-free shampoo will rebuild the bonds damaged through coloring, gradually transforming dry, broken, and brittle hair back to a healthier state.” Fred Connors, the owner and creative director of FRED Salon, adds that this “game changer” shampoo also “eliminates frizz.” Both O’Gara and Connors agree that, although this product was originally intended for bleached hair, Olaplex No. 4 is actually suitable for all hair types. It’s especially for those who are dealing with hair that feels compromised by chemical processing, including those who have gone a nontraditional route with their hair dye. O’Gara also recommends pairing this with the Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance conditioner for an additional boost of repair. Olaplex was also a favorite of Rio’s, who relied on the No. 3 treatment to keep her double-processed hair healthy and happy.
Best affordable shampoo for color-treated hair
For those looking to inexpensively maintain their color in between appointments, Connors recommends the Love Beauty and Planet Blooming Color Shampoo. “This shampoo is formulated like much more expensive designer brands with ethically sourced ingredients,” including Bulgarian rose and Amazonian murumuru butter, which nourishes hair and gives loads of shine. It’s also vegan, plant-based, and cruelty-free.
Best color-safe shampoo for bleached blondes
Blonde hair has a tendency to take on yellow or green tones over time. To protect blondes from getting brassy, Thompson’s go-to is Rahua Color Full Shampoo, which deposits violet color into the hair’s cuticle to counteract the brassiness. “It’s the purple shampoo you have been looking for,” she promises. The formula also gives a healthy lather that comes from a coconut oil surfactant rather than a detergent (which can be drying), “so it’s very gentle on the hair,” adds Anessa Daviero of Headdress Hair Salon. The formula is also chemical-free and plant-based.
Best color-safe shampoo for highlighted blondes
“This super-lightweight formula detoxifies hair from pollution and removes dullness,” says Connors, who adds that “it’s perfect for blondes with a bright, sun-kissed, highlighted look. It is also chock-full of antioxidants to prevent damage and protect hair. “Highlights are instantly brighter and loaded with natural shine.”
Best color-safe shampoo for balayage
Gregorio Ruggeri of Salon Ruggeri loves this shampoo from David Mallett for clients who have had a balayage treatment, or are heavily highlighted, and need to add an extra dose of hydration after the extra stress of these particular services. “This whole range is as light as a feather but nourishes, heals, and revitalizes effectively.”
Best color-safe shampoo for brunettes
O’Gara typically tells her clients to wash once a week with a toning shampoo, to “stay ahead of the brass that will naturally set in as the oxidation process unfolds in between color services.” She loves Fanola No Orange, a blue-pigmented shampoo for brunettes struggling with unwanted orange tones. “One to two applications should subtly tone the hair, extending the life of those pricey highlights,” she adds. However, it’s best to use such shampoos no more than once a week, as excessive use can not only dry the hair but cause an overload of purple or blue pigment within the hair, leaving the intended color looking drab.
Best color-safe shampoo for redheads
“The most important thing for redheads is to ensure that the color pigment stays put and does not get washed out of the hair,” which can happen with products that have too many sulfates or too many detergents, says Ruggeri. He likes Shu Uemura Color Lustre that is infused with musk rose oil and antioxidant-rich goji-berry extract to protect hair from fading.
Best shampoo for color-treated dry hair
O’Gara calls this her “go-to for dry hair” because it is formulated with a reparative compound that will “mend your frizz, leaving hair soft, shiny, and healthy.” And while Living Proof Restore Shampoo is sulfate-free — which typically is synonymous with suds-free — it will still “work up a nice lather” for those who prefer the clean feeling that comes from a deeper cleansing. The formula is also cruelty-, SLS-, and silicone-free.
Best shampoo for color-treated oily hair
Sachajuan Colour Protect Shampoo can add serious shine to oily hair without weighing it down; the formula is designed to pump hair full of volume and nourishment. It’s also a “super-gentle cleanser that does not strip color” and is formulated with a UV protectant, says Jordan.
Best shampoo for color-treated fine hair
Connors suggests Kevin Murphy’s Angel Wash for fine hair types because it contains green-tea extract, which “increases hair elasticity,” and oat protein, which “adds fullness while protecting color and giving fine hair body and shine.” As an added plus, their packaging is made from recycled ocean-waste plastic making it good for both your hair and the earth, he says.
Best shampoo for color-treated curly hair
For highly textured, curly, and coarse hair, Thompson suggests Innersense Hydrating Cream Hairbath. It contains a blend of coconut oil, shea butter, tamanu-seed oil, and jojoba oil to pump hair full of moisture, as well as sage and ylang-ylang essential oil to cleanse and balance the scalp.
Best vegan shampoo for color-treated hair
R+Co Gemstone Color Shampoo is a great vegan option that contains a color-protection complex, which, Jordan says, keeps color super vibrant. She calls it a “very high-tech color-protecting product” that is highly moisturizing but also lightweight and is suitable for most hair textures.
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