Haircare Advice

Do You Use A Color-Safe Shampoo?

Ninety Two percent of women have colored their hair at some point in their lives. So when that gorgeous, gleaming color suddenly turns a weird shade of who-knows-what or gets crazy dull a few weeks (or days) later, know you’re not alone. Others have suffered the same fate. But could the right shampoo have saved you from washing that amazing color down the drain or are those color-treated formulas just marketing hype? Here’s what you need to know about caring for colored strands.

Most classic shampoos contain detergents that make up around 15 percent of each bottle. Their job: to sweep away dirt and oils that leave strands squeaky clean (most commonly sodium- or ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium-or ammonium lauryl ether sulfate). However these same detergents can strip the color molecules from the hair cuticle, as well. Conversely, the kinds of cleansing agents dropped into color-treated and sulfate-free formulas typically contain gentler dirt busters that won’t strip hair of color.

Here’s where it gets tricky: There’s not really any scientific proof that going lighter on the suds’ strength makes any difference to hair color preservation. Shampoos for color-treated hair tend to be sulfate-free but there are no published studies that validate the theory that sulfates fade hair color faster than other surfactants or detergent.

It’s a Gimmick pulled on you! From Manufacturers!!

Color-safe products don’t contain alcohol, have low sulfate levels and often contain extra moisturizing elements, emollients and proteins to smooth the cuticle, giving hair luster and shine. So does that mean you have to use a shampoo for color-treated locks? Not necessarily. If you think you’d get more benefit from a volumizing, moisturizing, curl-defining or dandruff formula, then go ahead and grab one. Studies show that having a UV filter in a hair care product can reduce color fading by up to 40 percent most of these findings are based on controlled studies that only reflected washing—not the normal wear and tear that we put our hair through on a daily basis.

So, an upside to color-specific shampoos is that most of them are laced with some combo of UV absorbers and antioxidants to prevent free radical damage, (yes, the same pesky electron-hungry molecules that are the main culprit of skin aging and DNA damage). Free radicals rip apart the pigments used to color the hair which results in fading, brassiness and dullness..

Potent color protectants such as benzophenone-3 and 4, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, or trademark combos like ChromAveil and Heliogenol (found in the new ColorProof line), all offer UV protection as well as some of the same antioxidants typically cast as skin defenders including ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E). 

Read Your Labels, if you cannot pronounce the ingredients. It is too strong of a cleanser for artificial hair color.