Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Whether you’re a regular at the salon or take the DIY route, there’s one thing that anyone and everyone who colors their hair can agree on—once your hair is dyed, maintaining that fresh color is a must. Unfortunately, water is hair color’s worst enemy, so the best thing you can do to safeguard your new hue is simply to minimize how often you wash your hair. That being said, when you do suds up, using a color-safe shampoo is critical. Specially formulated to *not* strip color molecules, it’s a surefire way to keep your strands shiny and vibrant, and stretch out how long you can go in between DIY dye jobs or salon appointments.
Keep reading to learn more about the best shampoos for colored hair.
Best Overall: Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
Olaplex is a mainstay in the hair coloring world; there’s both a reparative in-salon treatment that many colorists use while coloring, as well as a beloved at-home version. The shampoo, a go-to for Byrdie Senior Editor Hallie Gould, offers similar benefits, working to rebuild the hair bonds that are broken during the color process so that strands stay ultra-strong and healthy. And while it is sulfate-free—essential criteria for any type of color-safe shampoo—it still foams up nicely and rinses completely cleanly.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Color Wow Color Security Shampoo
Former Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue recommends this pick, which is free of not only sulfates, but also oils, silicones, and parabens (just to name a few). It leaves behind not even a trace of residue so you’re never left with any build-up, works on all hair types, and is keratin- and extension-safe, too.
Best for Fine Hair: L'Oréal Paris EverStrong Thickening Shampoo
For those who color their hair but are also constantly trying to bulk up fine stands, this pick is choice. Sulfate-free, it cleanses beautifully (and yes, foams up great) while the formula also helps to boost volume. The minty-rosemary scent is fresh and invigorating—great for sleepy mornings—and we’d be remiss not to mention the affordable price, too.
Best for Dry Hair: R+Co Gemstone Color Shampoo
To keep your shade vibrant and your mane nice and moisturized, reach for this sudser. It boasts a litany of good-for-your hair ingredients—namely antioxidant-rich lychee extract, okra seed extract, vitamin E, and sunflower seed extract—and will help to add shine and fight frizz, all while conditioning and moisturizing your color-treated locks. We’ve seen a noticeable difference after only one wash, just saying.
Best for Curly Hair: Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Shea Hydrating Co-Wash for Curly Hair
Co-washes (AKA conditioning washes) have long been lauded for thick and curly textures since the formulas are naturally more moisturizing, and they’re also a good option for colored hair since they’re not as stripping. This gentle, sulfate-free formula from Briogeo was developed with waves, curls, and coiled textures in mind, fortified with hair-loving ingredients like rice amino acids, tomato fruit ferment, shea butter, and avocado oil. The hair is left nourished and hydrated, and the natural curl pattern is more defined.
Best for Thick Hair: OUAI Thick Hair Shampoo
Formulated with thicker hair textures in mind, this shampoo from OUAI is rich in hydrating ingredients like marshmallow root extract, shea butter, and avocado oil. The ultra-nourishing formula works to detangle and boost shine while keeping frizz at bay, plus it’s sulfate-free, meaning it’s safe for color-treated hair, to boot.
Best for Natural Hair: GIRL+HAIR CLEANSE+ Water-To-Foam Moisturizing Sulfate Free Shampoo For Curly Hair
Natural hair requires a whole different kind of washing and styling protocol, so for colored kinky, coiled hair, reach for this mega-gentle cleanser. It starts as water, turns into a rich foam, and leaves curls (which, FYI, are innately drier than straight strands) with plenty of moisture. In short, it doesn't strip natural oils, nor color. There's also shea butter and tea tree oil in the mix, and it'll help nourish both your locks and your scalp.
Best for Damaged Hair: Living Proof Restore Shampoo
The proprietary ingredient this brand relies on—a “Patented Healthy Hair Molecule”—was created by MIT scientists, so you know it’s going to be legit. The formula aims to restore dry and damaged hair cuticles right away while helping to ward off future damage. Yes, please. Not to mention that it also repels dirt and oil so that you can stretch out washes further, always a boon when you have colored hair.
Best for Blonde Hair: Amika Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Shampoo
Blondes may have more fun, but they’re also more susceptible to dealing with all kinds of color fading and changes, namely unwanted brassy tones that can make cooler blonde shades appear dingy. Enter this option, a violet-based shampoo that works to instantly counteract those orange and brassy undertones and leaves any cool blonde shade refreshed and revived. It’s a great choice for those with gray hair, too.
Best Splurge: Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo
Color-treated hair is prone to damage, which is where this luxe, sulfate-free pick comes in. Gentle and reparative, this rejuvenating shampoo helps combat dryness, split ends, and breakage and even addresses a dry and flaky scalp. It’s splurgy, yes, but the brand’s Bio-Restorative Complex and Signature Complex—packed with ingredients like biotin, plant collagen, and niacinamide—make it well worth the investment. Plus, it smells incredible, thanks to bergamot, jasmine, and sandalwood.
Best Drugstore: Pantene Illuminating Color Care Shampoo with Biotin
Devoted drugstore shampoo users will love this formula, but it’s so good that even those who use salon brands exclusively should give it a try. Color-safe and sulfate-free (obvi), the formula aims to strengthen and support hair health. Plus, the floral and citrus fragrance is sophisticated, yet never cloying.
Best Budget: Love Beauty And Planet Murumuru Butter & Rose Blooming Color Shampoo
From a color perspective, it’s really more about using a color-safe shampoo than conditioner. That being said, this wallet-friendly option is a must. The sulfate-free formula keeps hair super shiny so the color looks super fresh, and it also has plant-based detangling ingredients to ward off snarls, which is never a bad thing. But honestly, the best part may be the rose fragrance that elicits tons of compliments every time we use it.
Best Natural: Innersense Color Awakening Hairbath
Completely color-safe, this clean formula is full of natural ingredients (coconut and pumpkin seed oils and shea butter, just to name a few) and safeguards your shade and leave your strands looking—and feeling—strong and healthy. It'll help boost hydration, shine, smoothness, manageability, and all the other things you want your hair to have.
Best Dry Shampoo: MoroccanOil Dry Shampoo for Dark Tones
As we said, the longer you can go without washing your hair, the longer your color will last. That's where the beauty of a great dry shampoo, like this guy, comes in. It uses rice starch to do the dry shampoo thing—AKA remove excess oil—but it's also infused with argan oil and leaves the hair hydrated and shiny, not dull. This variant is made for dark tones (so don't worry, it won't leave behind a chalky residue), but there's also an option for light tones with subtle violet pigments that knock out brassiness and keep your blonde fresh.
When it comes to maintaining color-treated hair, we're reaching for Olaplex's No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo come wash time, hands down. The beloved formula helps repair damaged hair bonds broken during the coloring process, keeping the hair strong and shiny. Curly types will benefit from the nourishing powers of Briogeo's Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Shea Hydrating Co-Wash, while the drugstore favorite L'Oréal Paris EverStrong Thickening Shampoo will keep fine hair types healthy and vibrant. Speaking of wallet-friendly picks, Love Beauty and Planet's Murumuru Butter and Rose Blooming Color Shampoo is another great option for keeping your color—and your bank account—in tip-top condition.
What to Look For in a Shampoo for Colored Hair
When it comes to shampooing color-treated hair, celebrity colorist Mark Debolt stresses the importance of only using a product designed to prolong the life of color-treated hair. This will ensure that there aren’t any potentially dulling or stripping ingredients in the formula.
Avoid Harsh Sulfates
Debolt also recommends avoiding some sulfates, though it’s worth noting that not all are necessarily bad for your color. “There is often conversation about sulfates in hair care, but it’s a complex topic because there are different grades of sulfates,” he says. “Salon-professional hair care often contains sulfates that are perfectly okay for color-treated hair, while drugstore brands contain harsher sulfates that can remove color.” Our advice? Look for sulfate-free options unless the formula is recommended directly by your colorist.
Avoid Clarifying and Detoxifying Formulas
Debolt also says to avoid shampoos that are labeled as “clarifying” or “detoxifying.” “These products often contain ingredients that will remove artificial pigment from the hair,” he says. Another ingredient to look out for is chamomile, which he says will also remove pigment from color-treated hair.
Meet the Expert
Mark Debolt is a celebrity colorist and co-founder of Mark Ryan Salon. A protégé of celebrity colorist Marie Robinson, his areas of expertise include his signature blend of foil highlighting, balayage, and specialty color placement techniques. Currently, he’s an ambassador, educator, and hair color expert for Wella Professionals.