Five Sulfate-Free Shampoos for Colored Hair

Last Updated on December 29, 2022 by Gaga

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 hair washing, exposure to sunlight, heat, and both salt and chlorine water.

Red hair color fades faster than most other colors. Red pigments have a smaller molecular weight and easily leak out of the hair shaft with shampooing.

young ginger woman in a french beret looking back

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

Most drugstore 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.

There is no such product on the market that can provide permanent protection for dyed hair. However, many hair care products are advertised to have the ability to extend the life of hair color, including color-safe shampoos and conditioners.

smiling women with ginger colored hair and red lips

Color Safe Shampoos that May Be Worth Your Buying

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-based formulas. But they have less tendency to strip the color from your hair.

Shampoos without sulfates help balance the natural protective oils that are important for a healthy scalp and hair. Also, these gentle shampoos keep the cuticle sealed to ensure that color pigments stay locked inside the hair shaft.

If you check the ingredients listed on the bottle, you may notice that some „color-safe shampoos“ are laden with chemicals. That is not the case with the products listed below. Here is a selection of mild yet effective shampoos that will keep your hair clean and hydrated while protecting your color from premature fading.

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1. L’ANZA Healing Colorcare Color-Preserving Shampoo is advertised to provide 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.

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

L’ANZA Colorcare Shampoo is free of sulfates, parabens, and sodium chloride and can be safely used to wash colored and keratin-treated hair.

2. Oribe Shampoo for Beautiful Color is an ultra-gentle shampoo formulated without parabens, sulfates, sodium chloride, and gluten. It helps to restore moisture balance to dry hair, tired of frequent lightening/coloring, leaving it soft to the touch and manageable.

The lack of harsh sulfate cleansers and Multi-Layered UV Protection System help to preserve the color vibrancy and slow down the color fading process. Oribe Signature Complex and hydrolyzed vegetable proteins strengthen the hair, restore elasticity, and prevent breakage.

It creates rich leather and has a beautiful scent.

Magnificent girl with colored hair spending time outdoor

3. B3 Brazilian Bondbuilder Color Care Shampoo gently removes excess oil and impurities without washing out color pigments. It is formulated to repair and strengthen hair by similarly reinforcing the bonds as Olaplex bond maintenance home products do. This product is a lifesaver for hair that has undergone multiple chemical treatments and can be dry, brittle, and prone to breakage.

B3 shampoo ensures longer-lasting color vibrancy and stretches the time between color appointments. It does not contain sodium chloride, so it doesn’t dry colored hair and can be also used on keratin-treated locks.

girl with  ginger colored hair in beret looking over shoulder

4. Framesi Color Lover Moisture Rich Shampoo is especially suitable for curly, color-treated hair. It claims to preserve color vibrancy for 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 chemically treated hair.

5. Keracolor Clenditioner Hair Cleanser is a non-lather conditioning cleanser designed to be used on colored hair and to replace hair shampoo. It gently removes away 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. You can use it daily without any drying effect. The product is free of sulfates, parabens, and gluten. It is also vegan and free of cruelty.

smiling girl with colored hair making selfie while drinking tea in autumn

The Best Shampoo for Fine Color Treated Hair

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

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

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

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

Gorgeous with colored wavy hair chilling in autumn day

Shampoo Ingredients that 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, keeping the cuticles healthy for better color retention. These also protect the hair from environmental factors that cause fading.

UV inhibitors in hair shampoos reduce the harmful effects of UV rays that cause color fading.

pH level adjusters keep the cuticle layer sealed to hold pigments inside the hair shaft.

Hydrolyzed proteins and amino acids help repair damaged hair and decrease high porosity, resulting in better color retention.

sensual woman with hair washed by color-safe shampoo

About the author

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Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.


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