Five Sulfate-Free Shampoos for Colored Hair

Beautiful yang woman with red colored hair

Color Fading Due to Shampooing

Everybody wants to keep their luscious hair color for as long as possible while saving money on frequent salon visits. Unfortunately, all artificial hair colors are prone to fading over time.

The main factors that cause color fading include washing, sunlight, heat, and both salt and chlorine water, but they’re not the only ones.

Red colors are especially prone to fading due to hair washing. Red pigments have a smaller molecular weight and easily leak out of the hair shaft with shampooing.

When shampooed, damaged and over-processed hair loses more color than healthy hair. Repeated coloring and bleaching leave cuticles damaged and inflexible. The shampooing process easily lifts the damaged cuticles, causing the color molecules to wash out.

Most commercial shampoos contain sulfate-based cleansers such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). They have exceptional foaming and cleansing capabilities. Yet, they also speed up the color fading process.

The hair color industry is looking for a solution that provides permanent protection for dyed hair. Most hair care brands have developed products that help to extend the life of hair color, including color-safe shampoos and conditioners.

Color Safe Shampoos

Studies have shown that using sulfate-free shampoos can slow down the color fading process. Hair shampoos formulated without sulfates don’t disturb the cuticles at the same rate as ordinary shampoos.

Most sulfate-free shampoos have a poor foaming capacity compared to sulfate-containing shampoo formulas. But they provide better color protection.

Shampoos without sulfates help maintain the natural protective oils of the scalp and hair. Also, these shampoos keep the cuticle sealed, enhance shine, and leave hair touchably soft. The sealed cuticle ensures that color pigments are locked inside the hair shaft.

If you read the shampoo label, you may notice that some „color-safe shampoos“ are actually laden with chemicals.

Following is a list of several gentle color-friendly shampoos. They will keep your hair hydrated and healthy while protecting your color from premature fading.

1. L’ANZA Healing Colorcare Color-Preserving Shampoo claims to provide the greatest color protection and up to 107% longer-lasting hair color.

Flower Shield Complex contains strong anti-fade ingredients that are naturally found in flowers.  These plant-delivered sunscreens protect hair from sunlight damage and help reduce color fading.

Keratin Healing System, plus UVA/UVB/UVC Protectors help you to enjoy a radiant hair color for longer. This shampoo also makes hair feel healthy, soft, and shiny.

The low pH (5.5) keeps the cuticle closed to keep color molecules inside the hair and extend the life of your color.

L’ANZA Healing Colorcare Color-Preserving Shampoo is free of sulfates, parabens, and sodium chloride and is safe for colored and keratin-treated hair.

2. Hydrate Moisturizing Shampoo by Pureology (Product from Amazon) (or visit: is a concentrated moisturizing formula that uses a blend of corn, coconut, and sugar to gently cleanse your dry hair without stripping color. The lack of harsh sulfate cleansers and the presence of Pureology’s exclusive AntiFade Complex protect color vibrancy and slow down the fading process.

You need only a small quarter size amount to create a rich leather. The aromatherapy blend of ylang-ylang, bergamot, and patchouli creates a pleasant herbal soothing scent. It leaves your hair feeling clean, soft, and silky.

The Hydrate Shampoo helps to restore moisture balance to dry hair, so it can be used either as a shampoo for dry hair and as a shampoo for color-treated hair. It is best suited for dry, normal to thick hair, while Pureology Hydrate Sheer is formulated for fine to normal dry hair.

3. Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner Set for Color-Treated, Dry Hair is designed to cleanse, moisturize, and strengthen dry and damaged hair. It makes hair soft, healthy-looking, and less frizzy.

This duo is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, proteins, and plant oils such as Argan Oil and Jojoba Oil. It hydrates your hair and scalp, boosts shine and volume, and reduces dryness and flaking.

4. Framesi Color Lover Curl Define Shampoo is especially suitable for curly, color-treated hair. It claims to protect color vibrancy up to 95% longer.

The formula uses Hydrolyzed Quinoa Protein and Keratin Amino Acids to repair damaged hair and deliver moisture and shine.

The antioxidative properties of vitamins C and E prevent free radical damage and protect hair color.

Aloe Vera Leaf Juice offers scalp-soothing properties and gives softness and shine to curly hair.

5. Keracolor Clenditioner Hair Cleanser is a non-lather conditioning cleanser designed to be used on colored hair, replacing hair shampoo. It gently removes away the dirt and pollutants and neutralizes chlorine and trace minerals, while protecting hair color and natural oils from stripping. This conditioning cleanser enhances the color vibrancy and leaves hair softer, smoother, and shinier than regular shampoos. You can wash your hair daily without stripping it. The product is free of sulfates, parabens, gluten. It is also vegan and not tested on animals.

Shampoo for Fine Color Treated Hair

Hair Thickening Shampoo for Women by Get Back Gorgeous provides gentle cleansing and makes your locks instantly appear fuller while keeping hair color from fading.

Apple, lemon, and horsetail plant extracts reduce hair loss, increase elasticity for less breakage, and help to control sebum production for longer-lasting volume.

White tea antioxidants help reduce color fading and protect hair against environmental damage.

The formula is 100% Vegan and free of sulfates, parabens, and harsh chemicals. The product is not tested on animals.

What Shampoo Ingredients Help Retain Hair Color?

The right combination of surfactants in a shampoo formula can minimize color fading due to washing and lead to improved color retention.

Polymers and silicones provide a protective coating on the hair shaft to prevent the dye from dissolving in water.

Antioxidants protect cuticle lipids from oxidation, which keeps the cuticles healthy for improved color retention. They also protect the hair from environmental factors that cause fading.

UV inhibitors in shampoo reduce the effects of harmful UV rays that cause fading.

pH level adjusters in the hair shampoo keep the cuticle layer sealed to hold pigments in the hair.

Hydrolyzed proteins and amino acids help repair damaged hair and decrease high porosity to enable hair to hold the color better.

Medical Disclaimer

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