Whether you’re rocking a radiant red, balayage, platinum blonde, or even something more adventurous (love that mermaid hair!), you probably already know your hair needs a little more TLC. But with so many options out there, how do you know which shampoo for color-treated hair is best?

To answer this question, we’ll first explain…

How Does Hair Color Treatment Work?

Ever stopped to think how cool it is that you can actually change the color of the hair you were born with? It’s a fun way to spice up your look or enhance your natural color. But how does it work?

To understand the science behind hair color treatments, and how semi,- demi-, and permanent hair color work, it’s important to know the differences.

  • Semi-permanent hair color, which usually lasts several weeks depending on how often you shampoo, contains color molecules that coat the outside of your hair. It’s great for enhancing or refreshing your natural color, but fades with each shampoo.
  • Demi-permanent hair color follows the same formula as semi-permanent hair color, while only slightly penetrating the cuticle of your hair. Because of this, it lasts a bit longer. It another great color-refresher, can also work for covering gray, but it can’t lighten hair.
  • Highlights remove pigment from your hair through oxidation. The color you end up with depends on how long you leave the “oxidation agent” (usually bleach or hydrogen peroxide) on your strands. Same goes for bleaching your overall color, which when left on too long will leave you with a yellow tint. (Keratin, the protein in your hair, is naturally a pale yellow color.) Meaning, if you’re looking for the platinum blonde look, the process will include bleaching and then tinting your hair.
  • Permanent hair color typically contains an oxidizer and ammonia mixed with a coloring agent. With this formula, color molecules penetrate your hair’s cuticle to alter the melanin in your strands. These last the longest, however, they also can damage your hair the most.

How to Maintain Your Color-Treated Hair

No matter if you go to a salon or use an at-home treatment, you’ll need to commit to some TLC if you want your color to last. All chemical processes affect your hair’s health, reducing its elasticity and increasing the chances of breakage, dryness, and split ends.

So if you’re finding that weeks after coloring your hair, it just doesn’t feel the same anymore, know that you’re not alone. It’s just time to amp up your routine! Read on for some of the FAQs about color-treated hair, and learn how to combat the damage with the right shampoo for your hair type.

What are the Most Common Hair Concerns After Color-Treating?

This shouldn’t come as a surprise — the number one hair concern after getting a color treatment is fading. Namely, how to slow it down and how to deal with it.

Feeling the fade? Here are 10 easy tips to help your hair color last:

  1. Avoid heat styling as much as you can.
  2. … But if you must blow dry, curl, or straighten, apply a heat protectant beforehand!
  3. Practice overall hair health, like avoiding too much sun, staying away from chlorine, and getting regular trims.
  4. Wait 48-72 hours after coloring before shampooing your hair.
  5. … And when you do, select a color-safe shampoo that works with your hair type. (More on this later!)
  6. When showering, keep your water temperature low. Hot water opens your hair’s cuticle, allowing the color to wash out.
  7. Wash your hair less often — keep a good dry shampoo on hand for the in-between days, if you need it!
  8. Use a quality leave-in to amp up your hair’s hydration and protect it from the elements.
  9. For extra TLC, use a hair mask once a week.
  10. Get on a coloring schedule. Simply put, your hair’s going to fade at some point. Get your next appointment on the books before those embarrassing roots get too crazy!

Now, on to the basics of selecting a shampoo for your color-treated hair.

Can I Use Regular Shampoo on Color-Treated Hair?

So you just stepped out of the salon (it looks fab, by the way!) and realize you don’t actually own shampoo for specifically color-treated hair. Should you run out and buy some?

While you don’t need it immediately — most hair stylists recommend waiting 48-72 hours after coloring to shampoo, after all  — investing in salon-quality, color-safe products from the very beginning can make a difference.

Ok, But What Does Color-Safe Shampoo Actually Do?

For most products, a “color-safe” label means it’s free of any harsh chemicals that can cause your hair color to fade. The most prevalent chemicals you’ll see in shampoos are sulfates, which are strong detergents meant to cut through grease and enhance that bubbly lather most of us are used to. In doing so, however, they make your hair shaft swell, opening your hair’s cuticle and allowing color to leave the hair faster. Not good, if you’re trying to make your color last!

Beyond that, color-safe hair products (which includes all It’s a 10 shampoos) should also have extra conditioning and restoring ingredients to help your hair stay hydrated and healthy.

Make sure to avoid clarifying shampoos, also, as these can speed up the fading process even more! The name of the game is gentle care.

Caring for Fine, Color-Treated Hair

Want to add volume to your fine hair, without roughing up the color too much? Look for a sulfate-free formula with marshmallow root extract, a natural ingredient that adds lift, volume, and lightweight conditioning. (Our Miracle Volumizing Shampoo takes the cake!)

A good-quality dry shampoo will also be helpful, as fine hair tends to look oily if you go without shampooing for a day. Look for one that’s enriched with nourishing ingredients, like our Miracle Dry Shampoo & Conditioner In One.

Maintaining Dry, Color-Treated Hair

dry color-treated hair

Feeling extra dry after your salon visit? Hair dye has to actually break through the cuticle of your hair — its natural barrier — in order to set. Once the cuticle is broken, usually with the use of ammonia, peroxide helps strip your hair’s natural pigment to make room for the new hue. Peroxide is extremely drying to your hair, so if your hair feels like straw at this step, you’re not alone!

To combat the dry effects, while still supporting your new hue, look for a sulfate-free shampoo with moisturizing and strengthening ingredients. Our Miracle Shampoo Plus Keratin, for example, is formulated with softening linseed oil and strengthening keratin.

Preserving Curly, Color-Treated Hair

If you’ve got curly hair, you probably already know about giving your hair that extra attention.  And if you’ve colored your curly hair, it’s even more important! One thing’s for certain: if you’re planning on going extreme — think black to blonde — make the change slowly. Extreme coloring can actually change your curl pattern, especially if you’re using bleach in the process.

Similar to the fine and dry hair suggestions above, you’ll want to avoid shampoos with sulfates, which can strip and fade your color faster. But most of all, look for moisture. Our Potion 10 Miracle Repair Shampoo is a great choice, cleansing the hair without any harsh chemicals. Plus, it infuses heavy-duty softness that rinses away gently.  And try a hair mask once a week, for an extra boost — like our Potion 10 Miracle Repair Hair Mask, which penetrates deeply to repair breakage, eliminate frizz, strengthen follicles, and smooth the cuticle.

Protecting Blonde, Color-Treated Hair

blonde color treated hair

Do blondes really have more fun? While we’re not taking a side on that, we do know that blondes have their work cut out for them. Whether your version of blonde is sun-kissed, dirty, or platinum, you know the struggle to keep it intact. But why is that?

For one, the bleaching process leaves hair more fragile than other hues. Two, light hair is more susceptible to sun exposure and other environmental factors, as it lacks the dark pigments that act as protection. And three, blonde hair is SO porous that it soaks up everything it comes in contact with — including pollution in the air, natural product build-up, chlorine, and even the minerals in your shower — making it turn “brassy” or yellowish as the toner wears off. Phew!

Fortunately, there are hair products that can help! While purple or violet shampoos get a lot of hype, as long as you’re selecting a conditioning shampoo made for blonde hair, you’re golden (get it?). Our Blonde Collectionfeatures a shampoo, a leave-in conditioner, and a hair mask, all formulated to refresh golden hues, protect against fading, and tone down brassiness.

With the right products and routine, get ready for gorgeous color that lasts! At least, until the next season… Fall-ready, chestnut brown, anyone?

Ready to shop? Browse our color-safe, sulfate-free shampoos here!