A quick look at the haircare aisle at your local supermarket or beauty store clearly shows the huge variety of shampoos available on the market for your locks: from those for straight to curly hair, for dry to oily hair, anti-dandruff, anti-aging, color protecting and so on. Today, I’d like to talk about shampoos for colored hair. Are they really different from regular shampoos or is it, once again, just another marketing hype?
Well, if you have dyed hair, you probably tried your fair share of these shampoos but I doubt many of you have seen satisfying results. I know I tried a few myself in the past but without much luck. Of course, things are changing and some haircare companies have started to develop some shampoos that can help color stay on that little bit longer, but most of the choices on the market not only don’t contain dyes that add color to your hair, but they even include harsh ingredients that can instead strip it off! Let’s take a closer look at the claims and ingredients, shall we?
Most shampoos for colored hair don’t claim to add color, just to enhance its appearance
The first thing to do when purchasing a shampoo for colored hair is to read the label carefully. You’ll see that most products claim to “enhance or revitalize richness and depth and add shine”, not to “add color to your hair”. So, what does this mean? Simply put, these products contain ingredients like silicones and other conditioning agents that will make your hair shiny and moisturized, keeping it looking and feeling great. And when hair is in good condition, you get the shine and an enhanced appearance and hair looks overall better so these products do what they say on the label. You’re led to believe they will also protect your color from fading or add some dye to your hair to make it last longer simply because they are marketed towards people with colored hair, but they don’t. Yes, these products are misleading, but all you need to do not to fall for the trap is read carefully the claims the products make.
What about shampoos that contain dyes?
However, lately some brands have come out with products that contain dyes that are supposed to stick to your hair, thus making your hair color last longer. Obviously, the color of the dye matches that of the color the product is targeted to: yellow dyes are added to products for blondes and usually have a honeyed color, while brown dyes are included in shampoos for those that have brown hair and they are very dark in color. But do these dyes work? Most of the time, they don’t. They are simply added to make the product look nicer and give it a certain color, but won’t stick to your hair and provide any color enhancing benefits for your locks.
The problem with dyes in shampoos is that these are in rinse-off products and when you rinse off your hair, the dye, instead than staying on your hair, will go down the drain. Of course some shampoos can perform slightly better than others and contain stronger dyes so that a little bit of it may actually stuck to your hair and add some color, but only a very subtle hint of it, so don’t expect miracle results. Also, you need to be careful when using these kind of products because even if the dyes don’t stick too well on your hair, because of their dark color, they can stain your towels and bathroom.
Pay attention to harsh cleansing ingredients
If you wanna make your hair color last longer, you should also pay attention to the cleansing ingredients in shampoos. In fact, even shampoos that are marketed for colored hair can contain strong surfactants like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, TEA-dodecylbenzenesulfonate and C14-16 olefin sulfonate that will actually strip your hair color off! Instead opt for mild or extra mild shampoo with gentler cleansing ingredients like Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine for example. Also, shampoo your hair less often, if you can of course, and use conditioner afterwards to keep your hair in good condition. They also offer some protection against the sun rays, which can make hair dye fade.
The Bottom Line
Save your money. Shampoos for colored hair aren’t different from regular shampoos. Most of them just claim to enhance the appearance of your hair and add shine (which they do), but that won’t make your color last longer. As for those that contain dyes, some of them can have some very limited benefits and add a little bit of color (they usually feel quite drying though), but usually the coloring agents don’t adhere too well to your hair and are rinsed off together with the shampoo. Also, pay attention to the cleansing agents in your shampoos as they are usually one of the main culprits in making your color fade faster. And they can be found in shampoos that are supposed to protect your hair color from fading as well!
Do you use shampoos marketed to protect and add hair color? How do they work for you?