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Best Shampoo for Color Treated Hair

By: Angela Stringfellow on March 07, 2018

Color-treated hair requires gentle cleansing

Traditional shampoo contains detergents, known as sulfates, that cleanse hair of dirt and residue, but these same ingredients can actually strip the color molecules from hair, resulting in dullness and fading. Hair coloring treatments can be pricey, particularly at the salon, so those with color-treated hair want their color to last as long as possible. Enter color-safe shampoo, products designed to cleanse hair gently without reducing the richness of color-treated hair.

Good Housekeeping's Sam Escobar and Marci Robin say master hairstylist Daniel Raboh recommends Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo (Est. $20 for 8.5 oz.), a moisturizing shampoo with beneficial ingredients such as caviar and vitamin C. Not only will it keep color intact, Raboh says, but it will also make hair feel both younger and healthier. It also offers UVA and UVB protection to shield color-treated or aging hair from the sun's harsh rays.

Refinery29's Taylor Bryant notes that Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo "helps to minimize fading on any texture," saving you from repeated trips to the salon for a fresh gloss in between color treatments. It's also a favorite among TotalBeauty's readers, who point out that it cleans hair nicely without over-drying it, keeping color looking fresh and hair feeling soft. It earns positive feedback from hundreds of owners across Amazon and Sephora, where users say they get compliments on the soft, shiny look of their hair after using this shampoo. Several reviewers say their normally dry, coarse and frizzy-textured hair becomes soft, shiny and manageable after using Alterna Haircare Caviar.

It doesn't weigh hair down, reviewers say, so it's a good choice for those with fine, color-treated hair as well. A few say their hair feels dry right after rinsing out this shampoo, but it softens up after it dries -- although there are a handful of detractors who say that it dries out their hair too much overall. Most agree, however, that it lathers well and smells fantastic, and most users are overwhelmingly pleased with its performance.

Alterna Haircare Caviar is on the higher end of the price spectrum, a downside noted by multiple reviewers. If you're looking for a more affordable option, both users and experts suggest trying L'Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care Moisture Shampoo (Est. $7 for 8.5 oz.). It's recommended by New York-based hairstylist Wendy Iles, who tells Real Simple's Sarah Smith that this budget-priced shampoo helps to maintain the vibrancy of color-treated hair. TotalBeauty's readers say it lathers nicely, despite the fact that it doesn't contain sulfates, and it leaves their hair feeling soft while preventing color from fading. Thousands of users agree with the experts, with several noting that it leaves them with great-smelling hair with an ultra-clean, salon-washed feeling. Several users also point out that in addition to being sulfate-free, it's also paraben-free and vegan -- a major plus for some.

A handful of reviewers say they don't care for the scent of L'Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care Moisture Shampoo; a few say it's simply too overpowering. Others say that after a few uses, the roots of their hair start to become oily. Overall, though, the majority of reviewers are impressed with the color-protecting power and overall performance of this shampoo.

If you're not a fan of the scent of L'Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care Moisture Shampoo, Herbal Essences Color Me Happy Color Safe Shampoo (Est. $6 for 33.8 oz.) is another affordable pick earning positive feedback from reviewers. Users say it offers the right balance of cleansing and moisturizing, leaving hair shiny and vibrant without weighing it down or leaving an oily residue. And, unlike L'Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care Moisture Shampoo, users almost universally agree that Herbal Essences Color Me Happy smells fantastic.

Herbal Essences Color Me Happy Color Care Moisture Shampoo does, however, contain sulfates (one reviewer points out that it's the second ingredient), which some experts advise avoiding for color-treated hair. Still, many users say it keeps their hair color looking rich and vibrant even longer than other color-safe shampoos, without any dullness whatsoever. On the downside, a few reviewers say it makes their hair too dry.

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