The Worst Products For Color-Treated Hair

October 27, 2015 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | beauty

There’s a perfectly valid reason why some shampoos, conditioners and hair serums are marked ‘safe for color-treated hair’ and others aren’t–the array of chemicals and ingredients out there that are disastrous for dyed, highlighted and bleached hair. When you spend so much time and money achieving that perfect shade of blonde, brunette or red, few things are more disheartening than noticing your color fade just weeks after your last appointment.

To help ensure you aren’t washing your hard-earned hair color right down the drain, we talked to top colorists about the worst ingredients for color-treated hair and how you should best maintain your color. Their best tips are below.

Sulfates & Parabens

The number one ingredients to avoid if you have color-treated hair? Sulfates and parabens, which are present in both drugstore and high-end hair products.”These are harsh chemicals linked to cancer, yet they are so common,” says celebrity hairstylist Kacey Welch. Dr. Amir Yazdan, the founder of Modena Hair Institute, adds that the damage caused by these chemicals is so bad, that every time you use a regular shampoo with sulfates, you are taking a layer of color out of your hair. I lieu of cleansers and conditioners that contain these harsh ingredients, Yazdan recommends NYC Curls The Curl Cleanser because he says it gently cleans your hair without sulfates or harsh detergents that strip out color.


Tiffanie Richards, colorist at Nunzio Saviano Salon in NYC, says women with color-treated hair should also look out for hair care products with high alcohol and oil content. “Alcohol is very drying, which will strip the color, and oil gets into the hair shaft and can actually push color molecules out,” Richards says. “Volumizing shampoos and conditioners usually contain a high amount of alcohol, so beware of most of those. No matter what color your hair has been dyed, you need a great moisturizing conditioner. It will keep the hair vibrant and rich.”

Other Offenders

Other ingredients that Yazdan says have numerous effects on the skin and hair when used for a long period of time include triclosan, polysorbates, phenoxyethanol, and dimethicone–so be on the lookout for these when you check the label on your products.

Did You Know?

Believe it or not, the rules differ slightly depending on whether you are dying your hair blonde, brown, or red. “In most cases, blonde hair is being stripped of color which calls for anything moisturizing. Blondes need not to worry about ‘color safe’ shampoos as much as moisturizing,” says Richards. “The more moisture their hair receives the better the hair and color will look. Now for brunettes and redheads the case is completely different. With these two colors, color is being deposited into the hair which definitely needs a color safe shampoo.”

For more beauty tips, check out how to make your eyebrows grow faster and do oral vitamins really work? 


Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.

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