Should I Use Sulfate Free Shampoos on Color Treated Hair | And 14 Best Shampoos That Prevent Color Fading

Should I Use Sulfate Free Shampoos on Color Treated Hair | And 14 Best Shampoos That Prevent Color Fading

Should I Use Sulfate Free Shampoos on Color Treated Hair? Discover the Best Sulfate Free Shampoos for Color Treated Hair. Learn Why Sulfate-Free Products Preserve Your Vibrant Color. Make an Informed Choice for Healthier, Longer-Lasting Hair Color. Expert Insights and Tips Here!"

If you think your shampoo is safe, think again. Sulphates are present in most products. So using the best sulphate free shampoos for color treated hair is important, especially for sensitive scalps.

The soft and amazing lather from your shampoo that gives you the “clean” feeling is thanks to the sulphates in it. But it is these sulphates that also strip your hair of the natural oils and leave you with dry and frizzy hair.

They can also strip your hair off of the colour or keratin treatment that you spent time and money on. Use a sulphate free shampoo to improve the health of your hair by leaps and bounds. Check below for the best sulphate free shampoos:

Best Sulphate Free Shampoo For Colored Hair Best Feature
Moroccanoil Extra Volume Shampoo For voluminous hair 
Kerastase Discipline Bain Fluidealiste Shampoo Protection against heat
Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo Great for color treated hair
VIRTUE Recovery Shampoo Reduces breakage
Faith in Nature Shampoo Great for all hair types
Pureology Hydrate Moisturizing Shampoo Fixes damaged hair
Living Proof Full Shampoo Makes the hair bouncy
OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo Nourishing dry hair

After a long period of experimenting with sulfate free shampoo considering the deteriorating condition of my hair, I found one shampoo that served as the solution for all my hair problems. 

A number of reviews have stated that the VIRTUE Recovery Shampoo serves as an instant solution for hair fall and frizz. Its sulfate free formula includes hydrolyzed quinoa which strengthens the hair strands. Compared to the other sulfate-free shampoos this is moderately priced costing $38.

Should I Use Sulfate Free Shampoos on Color Treated Hair

Yes, using sulfate-free shampoos is a wise choice for color-treated hair. Sulfates are harsh cleansing agents commonly found in many shampoos, and they can strip away the natural oils from your hair and cause your hair color to fade more quickly. While sulfate-free shampoos are highly recommended for color-treated hair, it's essential to choose one that is specifically formulated for colored hair. These shampoos often contain ingredients that help protect and enhance your hair color. Additionally, be sure to follow a proper hair care routine, including using color-protecting conditioners and limiting the use of hot water and heat styling tools to further extend the life of your hair color.

Benefits of Using Sulfate Free Shampoos on Colored Hair

Here are some reasons why sulfate-free shampoos are recommended for color-treated hair:

  1. Gentler on Color: Sulfate-free shampoos are milder and less likely to strip away the color molecules from your hair. This helps maintain the vibrancy and longevity of your hair color.
  2. Reduced Fading: Sulfates can open up the hair cuticles, which makes it easier for color molecules to escape. Sulfate-free shampoos keep the cuticles more closed, reducing color fading.
  3. Less Dryness and Damage: Sulfates can be drying and damaging to hair, which is especially concerning for color-treated hair that is already more vulnerable. Sulfate-free shampoos are generally more hydrating and gentle.
  4. Preservation of Hair Health: Color-treated hair often requires extra care to maintain its health and appearance. Sulfate-free shampoos can help keep your hair in better condition.
  5. Reduced Irritation: Some people with sensitive scalps or skin may experience irritation or allergic reactions to sulfates. Sulfate-free shampoos are less likely to cause these issues.

Why Is Sodium Laureth Sulfate Bad For Colored Hair

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is often considered less harsh than its counterpart, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), but it can still be problematic for colored hair. Here are the reasons why SLES is generally considered less suitable for colored hair:

  1. Stripping Effect: SLES is a surfactant, which means it is a strong cleansing agent. It can strip away natural oils and color molecules from the hair shaft, leading to premature fading of hair color.
  2. Cuticle Damage: SLES can open up the hair cuticles, which are like tiny scales that protect the hair shaft. When the cuticles are lifted, color molecules can escape more easily, causing the color to fade.
  3. Dryness and Damage: SLES can be drying to the hair, and colored hair is often more susceptible to dryness and damage. The combination of SLES and colored hair can lead to brittle, frizzy, and dull-looking locks.
  4. Scalp Irritation: Some individuals with sensitive scalps may experience irritation or itching when using products containing SLES, which can make the overall hair care experience uncomfortable.

Ingredients That Strip Hair Color In Shampoo: What To Avoid

If you have colored hair and want to maintain your hair color for as long as possible, it's essential to avoid shampoos that contain ingredients known to strip or fade hair color. These ingredients can accelerate color fading and leave your hair looking dull. Here are some ingredients commonly found in shampoos that you should avoid:

  1. Sulfates: Sulfates are surfactants used in many shampoos to create lather and remove dirt and oils. However, they can be harsh on colored hair, as they can strip away the color molecules from the hair shaft. Look out for ingredients like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and opt for sulfate-free shampoos.
  2. Parabens: Parabens are preservatives that can disrupt your hair's natural moisture balance and contribute to color fading. They are often listed as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, or butylparaben on ingredient labels. Choose paraben-free shampoos to protect your hair color.
  3. Alcohol: Some shampoos contain high levels of alcohol, which can be drying to the hair and may cause color to fade more quickly. Look for ingredients like SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol and try to avoid them in your shampoo.
  4. Clarifying or Chelating Agents: Shampoos that are marketed as "clarifying" or "chelating" are designed to remove product buildup and minerals from the hair. While they can be effective at this, they can also strip away hair color. Be cautious when using such shampoos, especially if you have colored hair.
  5. Harsh Surfactants: Apart from sulfates, other harsh surfactants can strip away hair color. Check the ingredient list for harsh cleansing agents like ammonium lauryl sulfate or ammonium laureth sulfate, and opt for milder, color-safe options.
  6. Fragrances and Dyes: Artificial fragrances and dyes can contain chemicals that may be harsh on colored hair. Look for shampoos that are fragrance-free or use natural fragrances and colorants.
  7. High pH Levels: Shampoos with a high pH level (alkaline) can open up the hair cuticle and lead to color fading. Look for shampoos with a pH level closer to that of your hair (around pH 4.5 to 5.5), as they are gentler on color-treated hair.
  8. Sodium Chloride (Salt): Some shampoos contain sodium chloride, which can be abrasive and may cause color fading over time. Check for this ingredient and opt for shampoos without it.
  9. Harsh Cleansing Agents: Avoid shampoos with harsh cleansing agents like triclosan and triclocarban, as they can be damaging to hair color.

To preserve your hair color, choose shampoos that are specifically formulated for colored hair or labeled as "color-safe" or "color-protective." These shampoos are designed to cleanse your hair without stripping away the color molecules. Additionally, consider using a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner to maintain your hair's vibrancy for a longer time.

Should I Use Sulfate Free Shampoos on Color Treated Hair

How To Choose the Right Sulfate Free Shampoos For Colored Treated Hair

Choosing the right sulfate-free shampoo for color-treated hair involves considering several factors to ensure that the product you select will effectively clean your hair while preserving your color. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you make an informed choice:

  1. Check the Label: Look for shampoos labeled specifically as "sulfate-free" or "for color-treated hair." These shampoos are formulated to be gentler on your hair and help preserve your color.
  2. Read the Ingredients List: Even sulfate-free shampoos can contain other harsh cleansing agents, so it's essential to read the ingredients list carefully. Avoid shampoos that contain ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), or other harsh surfactants.
  3. pH-Balanced Formula: Look for a sulfate-free shampoo with a pH level in the range of 4.5 to 5.5. This pH range is close to that of your hair and helps keep the hair cuticle closed, which can prevent color from fading.
  4. Color-Protective Ingredients: Some sulfate-free shampoos contain additional ingredients designed to protect and extend the life of your hair color. Look for shampoos that contain UV filters or color-protective complexes.
  5. Moisturizing Ingredients: Colored hair can become dry and brittle, so choose a sulfate-free shampoo that contains moisturizing ingredients like glycerin, panthenol (vitamin B5), or natural oils such as argan oil or coconut oil. These ingredients can help keep your hair hydrated and vibrant.
  6. Avoid Harmful Additives: Stay away from shampoos that contain parabens, sulfites, artificial fragrances, and dyes, as these can potentially harm your hair and contribute to color fading.
  7. Read Reviews: Check online reviews and seek recommendations from people with color-treated hair who have tried the sulfate-free shampoo you're considering. Real user experiences can provide valuable insights.
  8. Consider Your Hair Type: Take into account your hair type and specific needs. For instance, if you have fine hair, you may want a sulfate-free shampoo that provides volume, while those with dry or damaged hair may prefer a more hydrating formula.
  9. Price and Budget: Sulfate-free shampoos come in various price ranges, so consider your budget when choosing a product. Keep in mind that more expensive shampoos may not necessarily be better for your hair color.
  10. Patch Test: If you're trying a new shampoo for the first time, perform a patch test by applying a small amount of the product to a discreet section of your hair and waiting 24-48 hours to see if there are any adverse reactions.

Remember that everyone's hair is unique, so what works well for one person may not work as effectively for another. It may take some trial and error to find the perfect sulfate-free shampoo for your color-treated hair, but the key is to prioritize products that are gentle, pH-balanced, and designed to protect your color while meeting your specific hair needs.

Top Sulphate Free Shampoos For Color Treated Hair 2023

How I tested the top sulfate-free shampoos for color treated hair?

I used these shampoos on my newly red-dyed hair and then rated them on a scale of 1-5 based on several factors. These include:

  • Gentleness of Formula - I noted if the shampoos were completely free of surfactants or if they still had some to help it lather well.
  • Cleansing Power - The product should not just be gentle but it should also clean your scalp and hair and not make hair greasy.
  • Color Protection - I checked if the shampoos often some other aspect of color-protection for hair. For example, having UV filters, dye pigments, etc.
  • Price - Lastly I don't want the maintenance of colored hair to be too expensive. So I checked the price of these products and saw if the formula is worth the money.

Moroccanoil Extra Volume Shampoo

Best Sulphate Free Shampoo Overall

Sulphate Free Shampoos For Color Treated Hair

I love the Moroccanoil shampoo. The best part about this product is that it adds volume to my hair and makes it feel soft, smooth, shiny and healthy.

It leaves a nice fragrance on my hair and I always get compliments from people when I use this shampoo in public places like malls or restaurants.

Moroccanoil has several shampoos, all sulfate free, catering to different needs. The Extra Volume Shampoo is my pick for hair that is not really damaged, but just a bit dry and flat, and who says “no” to the extra volume? 

The shampoo feels light and spreads easily when massaged through the scalp. It does smell quite nice and it leaves your hair feeling clean and fresh. 

The argan oil in the shampoo does a good job of adding plenty of moisture to the hair and getting rid of the dryness.

 I noticed that the frizz died down by a large extent. It is also safe on colour treated hair. 


  • The argan oil formula helps nourish hair and reduces frizz
  • The formula is still lightweight and adds volume and doesn't make hair limp


  • The formula is too rich for oily scalp types and can make greasiness worse
  • The shampoo is a bit expensive

My Ratings:

  • Gentleness of Formula - 4.5/5
  • Cleansing Power - 4/5
  • Color Protection - 4/5
  • Price - 4/5

Kerastase Discipline Bain Fluidealiste Smooth-In-Motion Shampoo

Best Sulphate Free Shampoo For Damaged Hair

best salon sulfate free shampoo for colored hair

The Kerastase Discipline shampoo does a lot of good for dry and frizzy hair. Even without the addition of sulphates, this shampoo does lather quite a bit to give you the squeaky clean feeling. 

I was looking for a shampoo that would help my hair look and feel healthier. I have been using kerastase products for years and I had never tried the Discipline Shampoo until recently.

It is an amazing product! The formula not only works to repair damage, but it also smoothens frizz, lathers well without sulfates, which means less time with the straightening iron on your hair.

This shampoo contains a heat protectant which forms a thin layer around the hair and protects the hair from humidity especially during the hot summer months, helping bring down the frizziness.

However, what I like best about this shampoo is that it smoothens the hair so well that on a regular day you don’t even have to touch your straightening iron. This is my go-to shampoo when I want a blow-out for an evening out. 

So it's not just a great shampoo for color-treated hair, it's also a fantastic product for chemically-treated or heat styled hair!


  • Keratin-based formula helps repair damaged strands
  • Glycerin in the formula helps hydrate color-treated hair making color last longer
  • The silicones helps smoothen frizz instantly and make hair dye look glossy


  • The formula still contains mild surfactants which might not suit extremely dry scalp
  • Contains added perfume and alcohol that can trigger sensitivity in scalp skin
  • Contains silicones that can cause buildup

My Ratings:

  • Gentleness of Formula - 4/5
  • Cleansing Power - 4.5/5
  • Color Protection - 4.5/5
  • Price - 3.5/5

Aveda Rosemary Mint Sulphate Free Shampoo

Best Natural Sulphate Free Shampoo

best sulfate free shampoo for red colored hair

I am a big fan of Aveda shampoo. It is the best shampoo I have ever used on my hair. It keeps my colour bright, vibrant and healthy looking after each wash.

The fragrance makes you feel like you are in heaven when you take your shower and it leaves your hair feeling soft and silky smooth after every wash.

If you love colouring your hair, you know that it can dry your hair quite a bit, leaving you with split ends and loads of frizz. 

While I always feel good walking out of the salon after a colour treatment, I dread washing my hair and seeing it go all dry.

Shampoo 3 is a perfect shampoo for coloured hair. It cleanses the hair very well, leaving it healthy and moisturised. It has no fragrance so you don't have to worry about your scalp smelling like a perfume store!

Aveda shampoos are my favourite shampoo as they contain the rosemary essential oil which hydrates the colour in your hair making it look shiny and beautiful.


  • The shampoos contain 97 percent of natural ingredients
  • Natural fragrance from rosemary, peppermint and spearmint essential oils
  • Menthol in the shampoo helps reduce dandruff and add a fresh feeling to scalp


  • The shampoo is a bit expensive

My Ratings:

  • Gentleness of Formula - 5/5
  • Cleansing Power - 4/5
  • Color Protection - 4.5/5
  • Price - 4/5

VIRTUE Recovery Shampoo

Best Strengthening Sulphate Free Shampoo

best drugstore sulfate free shampoo for colored hair

Virtue has a range of shampoos that are all free of sulphates and safe on your hair. While the “Full” and “Smooth” shampoos are for increasing the volume of your hair and for smoothening out the frizz, respectively, the “Recovery” is formulated for reviving damaged hair. 

The shampoo contains keratin as well as protein from hydrolysed quinoa that strengthens the strands and reduces hair loss due to breakage. 

The shampoo is light in consistency and spreads well. It nourishes the hair and moisturises it with baobab seed oil, so there are lesser tangles and knots.  

Faith in Nature Sulphate Free Shampoo

Best Vegan Sulphate Free Shampoo

best paraben and sulfate free shampoo for colored hair

I love the “Faith in Nature” range of shampoos, both for their attractive packaging as well as the quality of the shampoos. 

The fact that they are completely vegan and cruelty free also adds to the appeal. My choice is the Avacado shampoo as it is suitable for all hair types.

The moisture infused by the avocado oil is not too greasy, and just perfect even if you have slightly oily hair.

 It does not lather the way a sulphate based shampoo would, but I can assure you that it cleans your scalps well. And just a little bit goes a long way, so it’s economical too. 

Pureology Hydrate Moisturizing Shampoo

Best Sulphate Free Shampoo For Dry Strands

sulfate and paraben free shampoo

It’s always a good idea to rely on a professional brand of shampoo if you are in doubt. Pureology is one such brand that is used widely by hairstylists across the world. The Hydrate Moisturising shampoo is my recommendation for very dry hair. 

The shampoo is purely vegan and contains a good amount of sunflower seed oil for moisturising your hair. 

The added vitamin E protects your hair from damage and helps revive it to health. It's, in our opinion the best sulphate free shampoo if you want that extra dose of moisture.

 You can see the difference in just a couple of washes, where it turns your hair from dry and frizzy to hydrated and smooth. 

Living Proof Full Shampoo

Best Sulphate Free Shampoo For Volume

best sulfate-free shampoo for fine hair

No one says no to extra volume, but the ones with thin and fine hair know the true struggle. Living Proof Full Shampoo should be one that you must try for giving your hair loads of volume and making it bouncy. 

While this sulphate free shampoo cleanses the hair, moisturises it and makes it healthier, it also revives dull hair and gives it more life.

It is light in consistency and lathers quite well. I also like the refreshing fragrance this shampoo has. So if you're looking to add bounce to your tresses, this is the go-to sulphate free shampoo for you!

Use it with the light weight Living Proof conditioner for added protection. 

John Masters Organics Repair Shampoo

Best Sulphate Free Shampoo For Shine

best sulfate-free shampoo drugstore

I love luxury for my hair and John Masters is one way to get that. This organic shampoo contains honey and hibiscus extracts to cleanse the scalp and get rid of all the dirt and grime, and it does all that with a gentle lather.

 Yes, you read that right - a sulphate shampoo that manages to lather as well. Honey has natural properties of cleansing, moisturising, repairing and protecting the hair while hibiscus extracts make the hair more lustrous. 

This shampoo is priced higher than most sulphate free shampoo, but I think it’s worth every penny I pay for it. 

Joico Moisture Recovery Shampoo 

Best Sulphate Free Shampoo For Color-Treated Locks

best paraben and sulfate free shampoo for colored hair

You want a sulphate free shampoo that moisturises as well as protects your hair from the harsh rays of the sun, go for the Moisture Recovery Shampoo by Joico.

Containing a blend of jojoba seed oil, botanical butters and sea water, this shampoo intensely hydrates the hair.

 It contains keratin that strengthens your strands and makes sure they don’t break easily. The shampoo also has ingredients that offer protection from the UV rays and other environmental pollutants, so if your hair is colour treated, it maintains the vibrancy of the shade and slows down the fading.

Aveeno Pure Renewal Gentle Shampoo

Best Sulphate Free Shampoo For Sensitive Scalps

Best sulfate-free shampoo for colored hair

Trust Aveeno to make the most gentle hair and skin care products. The Pure Renewal Gentle Shampoo contains seaweed extracts to nourish your locks with vitamins, proteins and minerals and fight free radical damage with anti-oxidants. 

The shampoo is quite moisturising and suitable if you have normal or oily scalps, but may not be the best for dry or extremely dry hair.

It does soften the texture of the hair though, helping revive frizzy and rough hair. 

As this product is safe for colour treated hair and retains the colour without fading it, we think it's an amazing sulphate free shampoo for dyed tresses.

Like most sulphate free shampoos, Aveeno does not lather much, but it does leave the hair very clean.


OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo

Best Drugstore Sulphate Free Shampoo

drugstore sulfate-free shampoo for colored hair

I won’t lie, Coconut is one of my favourite ingredients in hair and skincare. I love everything about it, from the texture to the fragrance to the abundant health benefits it brings. So, though OGX has loads of shampoos in its range, the Coconut Milk Shampoo is on my list for the best moisturising sulphate free shampoo. 

Apart from hydrating, coconut milk also has repairing and cell regeneration properties. 

It also protects the hair from heat treatments and environmental damage. So if you have dry, damaged hair with split ends, try this one to start the healing process. 

Jason All Nautral Organic Smoothing Sea Kelp Shampoo 

Best Sulphate Free Shampoo For Frizz

Best sulfate-free shampoo for colored hair

Sea Kelp and all the other natural ingredients related to the sea are my second favourites in hair and skin care, next to coconut. 

This is because they come loaded with so much nutrition that improves the health of my hair, makes it softer and shinier. 

The Smoothing Sea Kelp Shampoo by Jason contains the goodness of sea kelp, ginseng root extracts and kukui nut oil. 

The ginseng root extracts help repair damaged hair and stimulate hair growth while the kukui nut oil deeply moisturises it and leaves the hair glossier.

 Along with this, the sea kelp infuses the hair with all the required vitamins and minerals to keep it healthy. 

Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Milk Daily Hydration Shampoo

Best Sulphate Free Shampoo For Curly Textures

Best sulfate-free shampoo for colored hair

You’re not surprised anymore to find another sulphate free shampoo containing coconut oil on this list, are you? The Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Milk Daily Hydration Shampoo is safe for colour treated hair as well, helping moisture it and keep it hydrated.

This is one of the best shampoos for dry hair. While the pure coconut oil works on rejuvenating the hair, the Acacia Senegal locks in this moisture. There's also organic shea butter for further conditioning.

This way, your locks are hydrated even after you wash away the shampoo, keeping it well-nourished and lustrous. This product is also a cult-favourite for curly hair. It's also safe to use on coloured hair too.

It makes the hair softer and smoother, and keeps it free of frizz and split ends.

OUAI Fine Shampoo

Best Sulphate Free Shampoo For Fine Hair

Best sulfate-free shampoo for colored hair

Say “oui” or “yes” to Ouai Fine Shampoo, if you have thin and fine hair. This shampoo has everything your hair needs to add some life and bounce, along with strength.

 The concoction of keratin and biotin in the shampoo strengthen the strands and prevent hair loss due to breakage and lack of nutrition. 

The shampoo also contains chia seed oil to moisturise it intensely and make it smoother, eliminating dryness and frizz.

 Specially formulated for fine hair, this shampoo efficiently cleanses, getting rid of all the dirt and builds volume. 

Use it along with the Ouai conditioner for best results. 

Final Thoughts On The Best Sulfate-Free Shampoo For Colored Hair

There you have it, our reviews of the best sulfate-free shampoo for colored hair. Each shampoo was selected on the basis of its quality, ingredients, and customer satisfaction.

I am sure that after reading this extensive list you will be able to find the right shampoo that suits your needs perfectly!

P.S. Don’t forget to use a good conditioner along with your new favorite shampoo to get shiny, healthy hair back in just a few weeks time!

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