Drugstore Shampoos: Color-Safe Or Not?

does drugstore shampoo strip color

Does Drugstore Shampoo Strip Color?

Drugstore shampoos may strip hair color, but it depends on the specific product and its ingredients. Some cheaper shampoos contain harsh detergents and sulfates that can strip away hair color, while others are formulated to be gentle and safe for color-treated hair. It's important to carefully read the ingredient list and look for products that are specifically designed for colored hair, as these will help preserve the color and keep your hair looking vibrant and healthy.

Characteristics Values
Shampoo Type Color-safe, Sulfate-free, Clarifying
Shampoo Ingredients Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Keratin, Vitamin E, Argan Oil, Glycerin, Silicones, Oils, Alcohol
Shampoo Price Cheap, Expensive


Sulfate-free shampoos are gentler and don't strip hair colour

Sulfate-free shampoos are ideal for maintaining the vibrancy of coloured hair. They are formulated without harsh cleansing agents, such as sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, which can strip away colour molecules and cause salon colours to fade faster.

Sulfate-free shampoos are more gentle on the hair and scalp, retaining some of the hair's natural oils and providing nourishment. This is especially beneficial for dry, damaged, or colour-treated hair.

When shopping for a colour-safe shampoo, look for products labelled as "sulfate-free" or those recommended by your colourist. It is also important to avoid "clarifying" or "detoxifying" shampoos, as these can contain ingredients that remove artificial pigments from the hair.

Some recommended sulfate-free shampoos for colour-treated hair include:

  • Kérastase Bain Chroma Respect Shampoo
  • Oribe Shampoo For Beautiful Color
  • L'Oréal Paris EverPure Moisture Shampoo
  • Sachajuan Colour Protect Shampoo
  • Kérastase Blond Absolu Hydrating Illuminating Shampoo
  • Color Wow Color Security Shampoo
  • Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo


Shampoos with silicones and oils can help protect hair colour

Silicones are a group of ingredients that act as a raincoat for your hair and skin. Products with silicones leave your hair and skin feeling slick and smooth. They are typically used to reduce frizz, smooth strands, and add slip for detangling.

Silicones can help protect hair colour by locking out humidity. However, they may also block other hydrating ingredients from penetrating the hair shaft. This can lead to build-up and weigh hair down, especially curls. Over time, silicones can be difficult to wash out, leading to dry, brittle hair or greasy roots as the hair tries to produce more oil.

Good vs. bad silicones

Not all silicones are created equal. "Bad" silicones are not water-soluble and may coat your locks, leaving your roots feeling greasy over time. Examples of bad silicones include dimethicone, cetyl dimethicone, and cyclomethicone.

On the other hand, "good" silicones are water-soluble and won't cause build-up. Examples include dimethicone copolyol and stearoxy dimethicone.

Shampoos with silicones and oils for hair colour protection

When choosing a shampoo to protect hair colour, look for products with good silicones and nourishing oils. Here are some recommendations:

  • Sachajuan Colour Protect Shampoo: This shampoo is suitable for oily hair as it provides a thorough cleanse without stripping colour. It contains UV protectants and OceanSilk technology, a mixture of mineral-rich algae that nourish and moisturize the hair.
  • Malin+Goetz Moisturizing Shampoo: This gentle shampoo is suitable for dry, colour-treated hair. It cleanses with a coconut-derived surfactant and quenches hair with a formula packed with glycerin.
  • K18 Peptide Prep Maintenance Shampoo: This shampoo is ideal for frizzy, colour-treated hair. It helps to reduce frizz and improve manageability without weighing hair down or fading colour. It contains amino acids and glycerin.
  • Pattern Hydration Shampoo: Perfect for curly, colour-treated hair, this shampoo balances cleansing and hydration. It contains honey, aloe vera, and ten oils, including coconut and avocado oil, to nourish and define curls.
  • Kevin Murphy Angel Wash Shampoo: This shampoo is designed for fine, colour-treated hair. It gently cleanses without stripping colour and adds volume with its blend of surfactants and proteins. It also provides UV protection and deep moisture.

Remember to use shampoos with silicones sparingly and opt for silicone-free alternatives in between to prevent build-up.


Shampoos with alcohol can be drying and lead to colour fading

Shampoos with alcohol can be extremely drying and lead to colour fading. Alcohol can strip the hair of its protective scalp sebum, which can cause scalp dryness and dandruff. It can also compromise the natural balance of water and lipids, leading to dry skin issues.

However, not all alcohols are harmful to your hair. Stearyl alcohol and cetyl alcohol, for example, are known to help retain moisture in your hair. On the other hand, alcohols with the word "prop" in their name, such as propanol or isopropyl alcohol, should be avoided.

To prevent colour fading, it is recommended to use a colour-safe shampoo and conditioner. It is also suggested to wash hair less frequently, use lukewarm water, and avoid hot styling tools.

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Shampoos with glycerin can help retain moisture and prevent colour fading

Glycerin is also used to moisturize the skin and hair. It is supposed to keep moisture on the skin or in the hair, thus preserving elasticity and strengthening the skin barrier. It is mainly used in shampoos that dry out the skin due to harsh surfactants. Glycerin draws moisture from the air or from the care components of the shampoo, such as hyaluronic acid, and binds it to the skin and hair.

However, it is important to note that glycerin can have the opposite effect in low-humidity environments. In these cases, glycerin can draw moisture out of the skin cells, which can lead to undesirable effects, especially on the upper layers of the skin and the skin barrier.

When it comes to drugstore options for colour-treated hair, L'Oréal Paris's EverPure Moisture Shampoo is a popular choice. It is powerful enough to remove product buildup at the roots, while also being gentle and infused with rosemary, juniper berry, and jasmine for an uplifting shower experience. It actively hydrates hair, leaving strands with impressive softness and shine.

For those with fine hair, the Kérastase Chroma Absolu Shampoo is a good option. It targets and smooths hair damage while retaining colour and keeping brassy tones at bay. It is also surprisingly lightweight, making it suitable for fine or thinning hair.

Overall, shampoos with glycerin can be beneficial for retaining moisture and preventing colour fading, but it is important to consider the potential drawbacks and alternative options depending on your specific hair needs.


Clarifying shampoos can remove hair colour but can also be drying

Clarifying shampoos are used to deep clean your hair, removing product buildup, impurities, and excess sebum. They are not intended for everyday use, and if used too frequently, they can cause colour-treated hair to fade and dry out.

Celebrity colorists say that clarifying shampoos can actually enhance colour-treated hair, both before and after colouring. They do this by removing product buildup and excess oil, which leaves a film on the hair that acts as a barrier to the colour.

However, not all clarifying shampoos are created equal. Some can be too harsh and strip hair colour. When choosing a clarifying shampoo, it is essential to select one that is free of drying ingredients like sulfates. Sulfates can be harsh on coloured hair, stripping away the colour and leaving it dull and lifeless. Instead, opt for a clarifying shampoo that contains moisturising ingredients, as this type of shampoo can be drying.

One recommended option is the Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo, which contains the brand's famous bond-building patented ingredient. This shampoo effectively cleanses the hair and scalp without causing any irritation and leaves hair feeling softer and looking healthier. Another option to consider is the Ouai Detox Shampoo, which is made with apple cider vinegar and is safe for colour-treated hair. It effectively cleanses the hair and scalp and has a pleasant scent of bergamot, white musk, lychee, and champagne.

Frequently asked questions

Look for a shampoo that is sulfate-free and contains nourishing ingredients like keratin, vitamin E, and argan oil. Ingredients like silicones and oils can help to protect hair color by smoothing the cuticle and preventing color molecules from escaping.

Avoid shampoos that contain alcohol or sulfates, as these can be drying and lead to color fading.

It is recommended to wash your hair as infrequently as possible to preserve color. Two to three times per week should suffice, letting your hair's natural oils condition your hair.

A clarifying shampoo is like a deep clean that removes product buildup and excess sebum from the scalp. While it is not taboo for those with color-treated hair, clarifying shampoos are not recommended for use every day as they can cause color to fade more quickly.

Yes, in addition to using a color-safe shampoo, you can reduce your usage of heated styling tools such as flat irons and curling wands, and always use a heat protectant to shield your hair from damage and color fade.

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