Let’s face it: Coloring your hair on a regular basis can cost a small fortune. But we believe it’s a worthwhile beauty investment — your hair is your main accessory, after all, and when it looks good, you feel good. However in order to keep that feeling, it’s key to use shampoos that are formulated for color-treated hair in between your visits to the salon. Harsh cleansing chemicals (especially sulfates, your hair color’s number-one enemy) can strip your strands of its intended hue, cause brassiness in blondes and generally dull the shiny shade that you paid so much for.
There’s also the issue of price point when it comes to “after-care.” One school of thought is that you’ve already paid so much for your hair color, why spend even more money on a color-shaving shampoo? The other is that because you paid so much for your magnificent mane, you might as well buy the very best color-protecting shampoos that are out there.
Both arguments are valid—it all depends on personal choice (and budget). And there are plenty of effective formulas that won’t break the bank. So we’ve rounded up nine top-notch shampoos for color-treated care, all of which fall within a wide range of prices. Plus, we’ve included one bonus shampoo, which is not specifically formulated for color-treated hair, but is so gentle (and sulfate-free), that it’s definitely a viable option.
1. TRESemmé Color Revitalize Shampoo, $6
According to TRESemmé, this shampoo’s Advanced Color Vibrancy technology will keep your shade vivid and bright for up to eight weeks. The formula includes green tea, rosemary and sunflower, all of which help to replenish vital moisture as well as gently remove dirt and oil. Plus, you can’t beat a salon-approved product that only costs six bucks.
2. Pantene Pro-V Color Preserve Shine Fade Defy Shampoo, $7
Boost shine and prevent color washout with this inexpensive option from Pantene. It’s created with the brand’s own “Liquid Crystal Formula,” which contains key antioxidants that help reduce protein loss, which keeps your hair strong and prevents damage. As a result, color is locked in, and fading and dullness are kept at bay.
3. L’Oréal Paris EverPure Moisture Shampoo in Rosemary Juniper, $6
L’Oréal has an entire line of EverPure Sulfate-Free shampoos and conditioners, all of which target various hair issues. The EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care Shampoo is specifically formulated for thin, color-treated hair, however every shampoo in the line protects and is safe for colored hair. That’s because they’re all sulfate-free, and they all contain gentle cleansers. So if your hair is dry, damaged and weak, try the EverStrong Sulfate-Free Fortify Hydrate Shampoo. Or if it’s super frizzy, use the Intense Smoothing Shampoo. All of them will keep your color intact. We love the EverPure Moisture Shampoo because your hair can always use extra hydration, and the rosemary juniper scent is wonderfully fresh and rejuvenating.
4. AG Hair Cosmetics Colour Care Savour Sulfate-Free Shampoo, $20
Infused with AG’s CARE complex, this sulfate-free cleanser gently removes dirt, oil and product buildup while also eliminating color-fading and hair-aging free radicals. The formula protects and prolongs your color, keeping it shiny and true for weeks after visiting the salon.
5. Frederic Fekkai Technician Color Care Shampoo, $20
Fekkai’s Color Care Shampoo contains a natural UV shield which protects your hair—and its color—from damage due to environmental elements such as the sun, dry air and humidity. It’s also packed with strand strengthening antioxidants to help keep color bold, vibrant and fade-free.
6. Matrix Biolage Color Care Shampoo, $17
This highly hydrating shampoo leaves your hair so soft and smooth, that’s reason enough to use it. But it’s also specially formulated to protect color-treated hair with its mild cleansing “Systeme,” which contains pure extracts of bee pollen, kelp and quillaja (soapbark tree extract), which are all ingredients that effectively cleanse without stripping color or bringing on brassiness.
7. Kevin Murphy Angel Wash, $39
So many people rave about Kevin Murphy’s Angel Wash for keeping their color vivid, vibrant and filled with bounce. Not an easy feat for hair that’s thin, dry and damaged, which is what this cleanser tackles, in addition to color protection. The sulfate-free formula contains milk proteins, which help repair fragile and/or broken hair that’s been exposed to years of coloring, chemical straightening, and any other harmful hair treatment. It also protects against free radicals and helps prevent UVA oxidation (a.k.a. another human hair harmer). Oh, and it smells great, too.
8. Bumble and bumble Color Minded Sulfate-Free Shampoo, $30
Maintain your mane’s color, luster and shine with Bumble and bumble’s color-protecting shampoo. It washes hair gently, is sulfate-free, and contains B&B’s “Color Preserving Complex,” which dutifully fights fading and washout. We also highly recommend the conditioner, which adds to the line’s color-preserving power, as well as the Protective Polish, which not only seals in style and showcases color, but also contains UV filters to protect your hair from the sun and other harmful environments factors.
9. Pureology Nano Works Shampoo (8.5 oz), $54
At $54, this is the priciest option, but this sulfate- and carcinogen-free shampoo claims to keep colored hair intact like no other. Part of Pureology’s Nano Works Luxury System for aging, color-treated hair, the shampoo contains high-end, antioxidant-rich ingredients (such as green tea, sugar cane, citrus, apple and wine extracts) to keep hair soft and protect it from damage (i.e. color fade). It’s ultra restorative, so it’s also perfect for thin or dry hair that’s damaged due to years of regular coloring. And it truly leaves your hair insanely soft—the “I-want-to-touch-it-all-day” kind of feeling.
And we have a BONUS #10!
Davines NaturalTech Well-Being Shampoo, $26
While not specifically formulated for color-treated hair, Davines Well-Being Shampoo is a mild (yet effective) cleanser that’s sulfate-free and great for dry, irritated scalps. It’s packed with vitamin C, which aids in reducing inflammation, but is also an antioxidant than can help prevent color fade, as well. It’s smells amazing, plus we love the packaging—both on the shampoo bottle and on its tube of excellent conditioner.
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