Best Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair

From drugstore to pricier posh brands, here are your best bets

When it comes to maintaining your expensive highlights or color, you should invest in quality shampoos. Just as you would dry-clean an expensive dress rather than running it through your washing machine (even on the gentle cycle), it's worth spending a few extra dollars on a quality conditioner and shampoo for color-treated hair.

I've researched the best shampoos and conditioners on the market and tell you why each one is worth your buy. You'll find drugstore, department store and mid-priced picks here, as well as a few sulfate-free shampoos. Sulfates are a lathering ingredient and some experts claim they're not good for color-treated hair. 

There's no need to buy a shampoo specifically formulated for colored hair. As long as you choose a gentle, hydrating and moisturizing shampoo you should be good to go. 

Kerastase's Bain Miroir shampoo has made it onto many "best" lists over the years, including InStyle Magazine at least two years in a row.

Specially formulated for color-treated hair, Bain Miroir works by coating strands, which protects them from the stripping some cheaper shampoos may cause. Bain Miroir also protects from UV rays and pollutants.

Another popular shampoo on the best lists, John Frieda Collection Shampoo comes in three different versions: Sheer Blonde, Brilliant Brunette and Radiant Red

Why it's so popular: Your bathwater likely contains both chlorine and oxidized minerals, which can strip hair of color. John Frieda Collection Shampoos are gentle cleansers that remove damaging elements, preventing, for example, blonde hair from turning green, while keeping highlights bright and not brassy. Even better, this shampoo won't alter your hair color.

This restorative hair mask will work wonders on your dry, coarse hair. For those of us with dry hair already who then get their hair colored, a mask is a necessity. This is an excellent one. If your ends are dry, but your roots tend to be on the oilier side, use this only on your ends. 

Another popular favorite, Matrix Biolage ColorCare Shampoos have stood the test of time. Pick the one that best fits your hair color and enjoy the price (cheaper than the high-end Kerastase, but in a better range than the John Frieda shampoos).

Redheads can benefit from shampoos formulated with henna in them. Brighten locks between colorings with ShiKai's inexpensive Henna Gold Shampoo, formulated just for redheads. Contains natural red henna for a rich color boost.

See photos of gorgeous red hairstyles for inspiration. 

A favorite conditioner for color-treated hair, this creamy product helps maintain color, it doesn't strip like other cheaper conditioners on the market. It also has 'light-reflecting' qualities specially formulated for color-treated hair.

A great cheaper conditioner: Dove Moisture Rich Color Conditioner (buy from Amazon), which you can purchase at any drugstore.

It's affordable and formulated for bottled blondes, brunettes, and redheads.

This sulfate-free shampoo works on all hair colors, but what I like most (aside from the great reviews it gets) is that it doesn't contain sulfates, the lathering detergent and the bad boys of hair products. Because it doesn't contain sulfates, it won't lather well, which can be annoying.

Sulfates are not good for color-treated hair, and this drugstore brand is not only sulfate-free and inexpensive, it gets great reviews as well. Note: it smells like rosemary. 

Fekkai is a great mid-priced brand for hair care. This shampoo — especially formulated for color-treated hair — is beloved for its mildness and conditioning properties.