Five Sulfate-Free Shampoos for Colored Hair

Everybody wants to keep their luscious dyed 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.

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

Color Fading Due to Shampoo

The main factors that contribute to color fading on permanently died hair are washing, sunlight, heat, and both salt and chlorine water, but they’re not the only ones.

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

Damaged hair also loses color faster than healthy hair due to washing. Repeated coloring and bleaching leaves cuticles damaged and inflexible, and the shampooing process lifts the cuticles, which causes the color molecules to wash out.

Most commercial shampoos contain anionic surfactants such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), which have exceptional foaming and cleansing abilities. However, they speed up the fading process. Anionic surfactants are negatively charged during shampooing, just like hair fibers. They repel each other, raising hair cuticles and allowing color molecules to escape easily. 

How Can Shampoo Help with Color Retention?

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 adjustments to the 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.

Sulfate-Free Color Safe Shampoos


1. L’ANZA Healing Colorcare Color-Preserving Shampoo claims to provide maximum 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 to 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. Tri Hydrating Shampoo Color Protector is made to repair damaged hair and ensure a vibrant and long-lasting color.

The formula uses sunflower extract and vitamins C and E to protect hair from damaging UV rays and prolong color vibrancy.

Targeted natural ingredients moisturize and strengthen the hair shaft for better color maintenance.

This color-friendly shampoo is suitable for daily use.

3. Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner Set for Color-Treated, Dry Hair is designed to cleanse and 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. Juice Organics Color Protect Shampoo may be the perfect choice for those who prefer chemical-free products. The formula uses plant-based certified organic ingredients to revitalize hair, add shine, and prolong color vibrancy. Organic botanical oils and nourishing plant extracts help protect color-treated hair from damaging UV rays and prevent color fading.

Studies have shown that using sulfate-free shampoos can slow down the color fading process. Sulfate-free shampoos don’t disturb the cuticles at the same rate as ordinary shampoos because they use mild, non-ionic surfactants.

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

Sulfate-free shampoos also help maintain the natural protective oils in the scalp and hair. In addition, these shampoos keep the cuticle sealed, enhance shine, and leave hair touchably soft.

If you read the ingredient list, you can see that some of the popular „color-safe shampoo“ brands are actually laden with chemicals. Following is a list of several gentle color-friendly shampoos made with natural ingredients to keep your hair hydrated and healthy while protecting your color from premature fading.








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