Hair color heads-up: Let’s talk shampoo

shampooA little off topic today, but here goes. OK, nobody laugh at me, but finally, after much inner debate, I took the plunge late last year and got my hair colored. The grays were really starting to gang up on the browns throughout, and I had two nice silver stripes going, one down the side and one down the back of my head. And for a long time, I was OK with that. But always being the oldest mom at the bus stop, paired with an upcoming school reunion, gave me the final push down the slippery slope. That, and I wanted to look nicer and more polished for our 25th wedding anniversary last fall.

Since then, I’ve had it professionally touched up, and my sweet DH helped me with a boxed OTC root kit this weekend, which turned out pretty well. That ought to hold me through spring break, at which time I can re-evaluate my hair situation.

But in the meantime, I’m wondering what is the best shampoo to help color-treated hair keep its glow and avoid the fading and/or brassiness that can occur. I have used a bit of Frederic Fekkai’s color shampoo, and it was OK, but I think it might have sulfates in it. After yesterday’s touch-up session, I tried a sample size of Oribe’s shampoo for dyed hair, which smelled amazing and made my hair look and feel great. (In fact, I think Patty is – or used to be – a fan of this line.) I could be, too, but it’s not easily available near me and is a bit on the pricey side. So for now, it will be an occasional splurge.

I’d love to find something slightly easier on the wallet for everyday use but still keeps color-treated hair looking its best. Any shampoo suggestions or good hair tips for a color newbie? Thanks!

  • I was using Fekkai (technician color care) at around $25/bottle, conditioner and shampoo. But I got tired of paying the ridiculous price. My stylist said Pantene products are just as good as some of the high-priced stuff. They certainly have diversified in recent years — a shampoo for every hair problem! I’m trying the Preserve & Protect line and, so far so good. (I’m blond, thanks to Preference). And, if you can get your hands on some real Moroccan Oil — the cheaper ones are mostly silicone — do; it’s the best silken-er I’ve ever found.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, lady — so nice to see you — glad you stopped by! Thanks for the heads-up about Pantene; I’ve seen it on the shelves and wondered how it was. And I really need to get some Moroccan oil; sounds good. Thanks! BTW, how is your art going?

      • Hi Ann — Pretty well, in fits and starts…we had a rough winter as you know! Burst pipe, sick pets, freezing all the time, but aren’t the budding trees beautiful? PM me and I’ll send you a sample of the Moroccan Oil. One drop is plenty for each application.

  • Pyewacket says:

    I adore the Princess Poo and Argan conditioner from the Cocoa Pink line. It’s only available on the web but honestly, I’ve tried everything and this is the best by far (for me). It’s vegan and sulfate free. I am not in any way affiliated.

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, Pyewacket! I remember trying something a while back from that line and really liking it, but somehow it fell off my radar. Heading to revisit their site now.

  • Nitasha says:

    Oh wow I’ve gotta try the L’Oreal Everpure too!

    I just wanted to chip in about finding two ammonia free “natural” permanent hair colours that work and are available online – Herbatint and Susan Henry (which apparently the model Kirsty Hume loves for her blond hair) – they work well esp for the roots touch up in between appts (I am so impatient for the salon colour unless it’s for highlights or something more interesting than removing gray)! I only used a third of a box each time so it’s cheap ‘n cheerful 🙂

  • molly l says:

    I’ve colored my hair for years–or rather I have someone color it because I don’t trust myself! I’ve tried tons of color-treatment products, both high-end and low-end. Pureology products are divine. The whole line is for color-trea ted hair. And probably just as good are the inexpensive L’Oreal Everpure Sulfate-Free Color Care System shampoos and conditioners. I use the one for volume. Its nice. Or try John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Moisturing Shampoo and Conditioner for color treated hair. My favorite is probably Purelogy products simply for the smell though. And Aveda Camomile shampoo (for blonde) or Clove shampoo for brown. Those actually have a little bit of color depositing to them. And they smell lovely.

    • Ann says:

      I hear you, Molly — that’s why my hair stylist did it the first time or two for me and I let my DH do my roots (he’s an old hand at coloring his, although he’s let his grow out to salt and pepper now). I wear glasses and so trying to do it without being able to see properly would be a disaster on wheels! Thanks for the great product suggestions, too.

  • I dye my hair like it’s a hobby.. lol. I kinda fried it this time since I undertook a failed experiment in going blond (before the current color scheme in my avatar). It wasn’t great. My hair is naturally dark, so it would have taken a lot of work to get it actually right. I’m using L’Oreal Advanced Haircare Color Vibrancy shampoo and conditioner (I had to look up the name – I couldn’t remember the whole thing right off the top of my head). I’ve been really happy with it, and it’s relatively cheap at Walgreen’s. I’ve also been using the spray-on leave-in conditioner that goes with them. It’s a little bit more expensive than the shampoo and conditioner, but it’s worth it. I see a difference between the days that I use it and the ones where I forget.

    If you have a Sally’s Beauty Supply or something like that around, they will have some good conditioners and masks, most of which aren’t terribly expensive. After I color, I’ve been using a conditioner from Ion.. I can’t remember the name of it right now, but it works well.

    • Ann says:

      “I dye my hair like it’s a hobby” — love it, Jennifer! Hair really is one of our best accessories and so we should have fun with it and change it up sometimes, (says the woman who’s had the same chin-length bob for years and years now, ha!). I do enjoy hearing about your hair adventures though. And thanks for the product tip and the reminder about Sally’s. There is one near me and I need to get in there and see what’s what.

  • poodle says:

    I like Everpure too and also use the Deva Curl No-Poo Shampoo. Whatever I use to wash I always dilute it because my hair leans to the drier side of things and greasy hair has never been an issue for me. I color it red so it doesn’t take much to strip the color out of it. I also use just conditioner and no shampoo if I haven’t used any styling products in it. Oh, and hats when I’m out in the sun because the sun will fade it too. It’s been months since we’ve seen the sun so that hasn’t been a problem.

    • Ann says:

      Hiya, Poodle! Gotta love the name of that product: Curl No-Poo Shampoo. My hair tends toward the oilier side of the fence so putting only conditioner on it might backfire for me, but glad it works well for you. And I’m thankful you gave us the reminder about the hats — very important. But we’ve seen the sun now for about three days straight down South here, so we might be in slightly in danger 🙂

  • Catherine says:

    As suggested by others, the L’Oreal EverPure line is great, affordable and easy to locate. I also like the Redken Color Extend?, and they have a Advanced Color Extend shampoo as well.

    • Ann says:

      Yay, Catherine, another vote for the EverPure. Sounds like it’s got a pretty good-size fan club out there. And thanks for mentioning the Redken; I knew there was another salon-type line I was forgetting, and for the life of me I couldn’t think of the name of it.

  • eldarwen22 says:

    I quit highlighting my hair a couple years ago but I still use Chi shampoo and conditioner to keep my hair looking good. It smells great but is a little on the pricey side.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, lady. Where do you find the Chi products these days? Hopefully they are not $39 a pop for the color shampoo at Oribe. Yikes!

      • eldarwen22 says:

        Nope, I can find them at Walmart, Target, most grocery stores and drug stores. Usually they run about $13/$14 a bottle. It’s the type of shampoo and conditioner that doesn’t dry the crap out of my hair or make it all greasy. It can be tough when you got really fine hair to find the right hair stuff.

  • Stacey says:

    I just discovered Bain de Terre Color Preserving Shampoo (& Conditioner) and I love it! It leaves my hair feeling soft and silky, is paraben free and only $12 for a big bottle at I’ve only recently started using it so I can’t speak too much to its color preserving abilities, but so far no complaints. I switch between Bain de Terre and Oribe because Oribe 100% would be too pricey!

    • Ann says:

      Stacey, you’re going to think I’m nuts, but when I read your comment, my mind was thinking “Bain de Soleil — the sun products from the ’70s and ’80s. Wow, they do hair now?” Sorry I am so goofy 🙂 Yes, the Bain de TERRE line sounds lovely; will go check it out on Birchbox now.

  • sweetharmony8 says:

    Hello Ann! Unfortunately I bleach my hair, so I have absolutely no idea on what shampoos to use to keep color going strong, but I have on occasion felt the need to darken my hair. Never found a great shampoo, but I do love John Frieda’s color glaze for up keeping in between. It’s relatively cheap and keeps your hair soft and shiny!

    • Ann says:

      Great — thanks so much for the suggestion. I’ve had good luck with the one or two Frieda items I’ve tried.

  • Dina C. says:

    I’ve used the L’Oreal EverPure products, too. They’re good. I’ve got color-treated naturally curly hair that is really long and a bit dry, so I’ve tried the one for curly hair as well as the cream one that’s extra moisturizing. I’m using “It’s a 10” shampoo right now. It works well, too. In the past I’ve used Fekkai for curly hair; I liked it. The Pureology products smell great like fresh herbs but left my hair dried out. I’ve also used pricier Davines products that worked nicely, but I don’t think they were worth the extra expense.

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Dina! That’s another vote for L’Oreal Everpure, so that’s great. Interesting that you mention that the one line dries your hair out. My hair still tends to be a bit oily after a while, even with the color, so maybe those would work OK for me, as super-moisturizing products have been a little too much. Thanks!

  • Civet says:

    Hi Ann, I’ve been coloring my hair pink or red for many years, and those are very hard colors to keep fresh! Lately, I’ve been using Suave Moroccan Infusion Color Care Shampoo & Conditioner. It’s a MoroccanOil knock-off, smells fantastic, and it’s very cheap. Works as well as any of the more expensive or natural brands I’ve used over the years. To get a little color back, I use a variety of color-depositing shampoos.

    • Ann says:

      Thanks so much, Civet — will definitely look into that line. You’re one of several folks who’ve mentioned color-depositing shampoos, which I don’t know much about, so must do some detective work 🙂 .

  • jilliecat says:

    I see Tatiana got there first, as I was going to tell you that L’Oreal’s EverPure products are excellent (I use the moisutrising shampoo and conditioner) – they are sulphate-free, very gentle and smell absolutely delicious. My hair shines with these. Once a week I slather on their Reinforcing Intense Mask to give my hair some extra nutrition.

    • Ann says:

      Great minds think alike, Jilliecat! Thanks for sharing your experience with this line. And of course, as perfumistas, it’s important that the products smell good and keep our noses happy.

  • Lisa says:

    I had pretty good results with the wella professional line for color treated hair ( treatment), they come in white bottles and usually only at salons or professional hair supply stores(cheaper). Kerastase chroma oil shields the hair from fading under the sun quite well for me, I road tested it in a trip to India.

    Regarding shampoo I stretch my color appointments by using Davines Alchemic shampoo ( and conditioner), they have them in several color ranges such as tobacco, gold etc, I use silver, to keep my light brown a true ash. My naturally very dry and frizzy hair is so airy light yet nourished with this non sulfate line. The color depositing was really good, although I did not have super immediate results in the texture front, my hair has being improved with each wash, I can see a big difference after a week in terms of a silky texture and color vibrancy.

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, Lisa! I’m thinking that the Wella line you mentioned may be the same company as Wella Balsam that I recall from years past. And thanks for the heads-up about the Davines; I am definitely looking into a good color-deposting shampoo.

  • Tatiana says:

    When I colored my hair I alternated between these two shampoos. I was a redhead and if I wasn’t careful what products I used, my color could fade very quickly. For everyday I used L’Oreal Everpure sulfate free shampoo.
    And once a week or so I’d give it a real treat with Christophe Robin Creme Levant. You just want want to be careful not to get any of this in your eyes, because it stings something awful. My hair always felt so soft and silky after using this shampoo.

    • Ann says:

      Everpure — that’s it, Tatiana — I remember seeing an ad for a sulfate-free line and couldn’t for the life of me remember the name. Will have to go check these products out. Thanks!

  • Sarah K says:

    About a year ago, on the advice of a friend, I cut down the amount of shampoo that I use when I wash my hair to just a tiny bit, used only on the roots. The amount is small enough that it doesn’t even create foam when it’s massaged in. I follow that by pouring through a mix of bottled lime juice diluted with water (about 8-10 parts water to one of lime juice). No conditioner. This routine has worked very well on my long, fine, curly hair, which I colour with henna to cover the greys. Since I use only a tiny bit of shampoo, and only at the roots, it doesn’t strip the colour and doesn’t really matter what brand it is. I get no product build-up, my hair is less frizzy and looks like it is in better condition and feels clean. The weak acid wash keeps my hair tangle free and doesn’t seem to have affected the henna, though I couldn’t say what the effect would be on chemical hair dyes. I also spend a lot less on hair products!

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, Sarah, for sharing your regimen; your hair sounds beautiful! I’ve heard good things about diluted citrus rinses, and I’m glad you mentioned henna as I’ve always been curious about it.

  • Alison says:

    Hi Ann, I have had very good luck with the Nature’s Gate line of shampoos. They are quite affordable and if you don’t live near a store that sells them you can order them through Amazon. I find they are gentle, do a good job cleansing, and don’t strip color. They also rate pretty well with the Environmental Working Group. Check out the Nature’s Gate site and see what you think!

    • Ann says:

      Will do, Alison! It’s great to see another line that works well and is environment (and people) friendly. Thanks so much for your good description of these.

    • I second that.. I used to use their regular herbal shampoo and conditioner. I would buy it at Whole Foods, so if you have a Whole Foods nearby you should be able to find it. The herbal one also smells really nice, kind of ambery.

  • john says:

    I used to work for Oribe as a colorist years ago, the chemicals were destroying my immune system, by the age of 35 I had to stop, I still love to color hair for my friends and family as they won’t let me retire.
    I’ve been obsessed with Intelligent Nutrients for the last two years, the Purelux line is really great for colored hair, it doesn’t foam, it’s not heavy, smells amazing, and leaves hair and scalp really clean. it’s powered by an antioxidant seed oil, it really nourishes hair, makes color look more vibrant,I color my hair, as does my husband, we both love the line. Founder of Aveda (RIP) started the company, It’s much better than Aveda.

    • Ann says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience, though I’m sorry about the damage from the chemicals. Hope you are doing well now. I think I’ve heard or read something about IN sometime in the past, and it sounds like a great line. Will definitely have to check it out — thanks!

      • einsof says:

        john & ann: i would DEFINITELY have recommended Intelligent Nutrients over Aveda, but i thought the point was a coloring product? (as i said before me no read-y so good.) and… if you’re ever trapped in the mountains you can eat the shampoo before you start in on the Donners. just sayin’. 😉

  • Christine says:

    My hair dresser always says to use Pureology for color treated hair.

    • Ann says:

      Christine, thanks! You’re the second person to mention that brand, so I’ll investigate.

  • einsof says:

    hm. me no read-y so good. you want a SHAMPOO. ok, i am sticking with what i know: Aveda Color Conserve shampoo is designed to keep color on your head and not down your drain. (i will be the first to admit i am not a fan of the aroma) Again, they also have a Clove shampoo which is not marketed toward color conservation nor is it a color deposit shampoo, but instead works with the natural brown tones in your hair.

    ok. i think i am done now. 😉

    • Ann says:

      Not to worry, it’s all good — need conditioners, too. Thanks so much for all the great suggestions! I’ve had good luck with Aveda in the past so will look into them again.

  • einsof says:

    Aveda has many options for you, from color conditioners, to deposit only treatments, and of course permanent & demi permanent hair color which is actually GOOD for your hair. i believe the color conditioners come in at about $18 (you want Clove), treatments and color services will vary with salon and colorist.

    Giovanni also has color shampoos, although i cannot vouch for how natural they really are.

    Pureology also has one i believe, but same goes for them– i don’t know much.

    good luck and thank you for seeking out healthy for you/healthy for the planet cosmetics!

  • rosarita says:

    I have no shampoo suggestions Ann, just wanted to say hi 🙂 I expected gray hair by now, I’m in my mid fifties, but I didn’t expect losing my hair and having it grow, y’know, out my nose and ears. Blech. My hair is the only thin part of me at this point! When I see the face creams labeled “anti aging” I think yeah, I’m anti aging, for sure lol. Down with aging! Bet your hair looks great 🙂

    • Ann says:

      Hi, sweetie, so glad you stopped by!! You are too funny — I think that about my hair, too, as I’m similar in age. And I’m right there with you on the “down with aging” platform. But as long we’re fairly healthy, happy and haven’t lost our senses of humor, I think we’re doing pretty well. Sometimes I have to stop and think “I’m HOW old?” Maybe being a perfumista helps keep us feeling young and cool 🙂

    • springpansy says:

      Oh I’m right there with you and Ann! I’ve got some gray streaks, and thin hair as well, but get away with highlights only still. I told someone recently that I was 55 and he looked so surprised (which I guess was a compliment?) that for a second I thought I’d got it wrong and I really wasn’t this old. But I am. We must support each other to grow old gracefully and with humor as Ann said. And with lots of fragrance as armor! xo

      • Ann says:

        Wow — that was a nice compliment — good for you! Well-said: Fragrance armor is a great way to keep aging at bay. That, and lots of great support from our lovely perfume pals! 🙂

      • rosarita says:

        Perfume is wonderful armor! I’ve worn Chanel 19 since high school and I can pick out memories when I wear it, like a time line. And the transportive power of beautiful new scents distracts from everyday concerns – what a beautiful hobby this is 🙂

  • Rina says:

    Back when I used to color my hair (I stopped when DD was born, 11 yrs. ago) I used to use Trader Joe’s shampoo because it didn’t have sulphates and it was easy on the wallet. When I let my curly hair go au natural, I stopped using shampoo all together except for once a week, just using conditioner. That would save your color substantially but I get that some aren’t comfortable ditching the suds. Now that I’m embracing the silver, I aspire to be Emmy Lou Harris, LOL! Good luck!

    • Ann says:

      Hey, Rina! I love Trader Joe’s — just wish it were closer than almost 50 miles away, though. I try not to wash more than twice a week to help prolong it, but it will tend to get oily/dirty much quicker once summer rolls around. I’m not quite ready to go fully into silver, but will be fine with it when I do. BTW, Emmylou Harris is gorgeous and I know you are, too!