You wouldn’t dream of throwing your favorite silk tank in the washer daily with scalding water and a generous helping of bleach, but many women don’t think twice about washing their color treated locks with harsh detergents, zealous frequency and hot water. Not unlike that silk shirt, color treated hair needs to be cared for delicately or locks will end up damaged, dried out and dull. Here’s how to care for color treated hair to maintain shine, bounce and health as well as my list of the top three shampoos and conditioners for color treated hair, culled from the 41 brands I tested on my own locks.
Believe it or not, plain old H20 is one of the main causes of color fade, which is why washing color-treated hair less frequently can result in longer lasting color. Simply put, even the purest water draws color from hair strands, meaning that each time you forego a wash, that color you invested in lives another day. (In fact, when color is new, wait two days post salon visit to wash hair for the first time.) To minimize color loss, wash hair three times a week, eradicating oiliness between washes with a dry shampoo.
If spring water can damage color treated hair, imagine what chlorine can do! While many experts agree that color hair should be protected from chlorine, the advice most commonly given to protect hair in the pool — wearing a swim cap – is downright laughable. Avoid certain incarceration by the fashion police when going poolside by skipping the cap and instead wetting hair before swimming, thereby preventing hair from absorbing too much chlorine water. Also, comb a leave-in conditioner through damp locks pre-dip to create a protective barrier around the hair shaft.
Finding a great shampoo and conditioner for color treated is all about what not to allow in your hair care products. For starters, avoid harsh detergents, often called surfactants. Other harsh chemicals that may strip color from hair include sodium lauryl sulfate, ammonium sulfate and sodium chloride as well as paraben preservatives.
When in doubt, simply grab my list of the top three color safe shampoos and conditioners on the market. I kissed quite a few frogs, 41 in total, to find my hair’s true loves. I know you’ll adore them, too.
Best Salon Collection: Liqwd Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner
It’s not cheap – $64 for the pair — but Liqwd’s Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner with ColorLife Technology promises to serve and protect color treated locks from radiant reds to buttery blondes and beyond. UV filters in the products defend color while hair is also shielded against heat, breakage and even frizz. Find retailers or shop online at liqwd.com.
Best Certified Organic Hair Care: John Masters Organics Honey & Hibiscus Hair Reconstructing Shampoo and Treatment
John Masters is often named a pioneer in the green movement, a fitting title for a man who began mixing organic essential oils and herbs in his kitchen sink and went on to craft certified organic skin care, hair care, body care and pet care products that are now sold in over 20 countries globally. Safe for color treated hair, the Honey & Hibiscus Hair Reconstructing Shampoo and Treatment boast an abundance of linolenic and hyaluronic acids, paired with soy, rice and oat proteins that repair damaged hair. Get ‘em for about $26 each at johnmasters.com.
Best Bargain Buy: Burt’s Bees Color Keeper Green Tea & Fennel Seed Shampoo and Conditioner
Burt’s Bee’s sulfate-free Color Keeper Shampoo won’t lather at all because it’s free of sodium laurel sulfate, a harsh chemical that can strip hair of moisture and is also responsible for the “bubbling” many of us have become accustomed to. Skip the bubbles, keep the color; the shampoo and conditioner sell for about $8 each at local drugstores.
What are your favorite color savin’ brands?