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Your latest dye job doesn't simply end once you leave the salon — using a top-rated shampoo that's intended for color-treated hair is key to keeping your shade fresh and vibrant, whether it's brunette, black, blonde, red or an even bolder hue (hello, purple and rose gold!). Shampoos of any kind are designed to clean away oil and dirt, and color-protecting formulas use the same basic cleansing ingredients but also aim to minimize the amount of dye that runs down the drain each time you wash. Not only do color-safe shampoos work to preserve your dye job, but they also help mask any damage by making strands feel softer and smoother, too.
To put together this list of the best shampoos for colored hair, we consulted our beauty editors and beauty scientists in the Good Housekeeping Institute for their top-tested picks, as well as professional hair stylists.
Our top picks:
At the end of this guide, you can read more about how we test color-safe shampoos. If you're looking for more top-rated shampoos, check out our guides to the best custom shampoos for a personalized wash, volumizing shampoos for fine hair, the best shampoos for blue hair and grey hair — plus the best at-home hair color products you can buy.
Meet the experts:
- April Franzino, Good Housekeeping Beauty Director
- Patrick Kyle, New York City hair colorist
- Meri Kate O'Connor, Cooper Salon colorist in West Hollywood, CA
- Daniel Reboh, Femme Coiffure master hairstylist in Florida
- Rachel Bodt, New York City celebrity colorist and Matrix brand ambassador
- Clariss Rubenstein, Los Angeles celebrity hairstylist
- Michael Dueñas, New York City celebrity hairstylist
How we test color-safe shampoos
The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab tests shampoos for colored hair alongside each brand's matching conditioners, putting the pairs through a number of rigorous evaluations to see how well they perform. During our most recent test, Lab scientists prescreened over 160 shampoo and conditioner duos, narrowing them down to the top 10 formulas.
In the Lab, our chemists performed repeated fade-resistance testing on human hair swatches to mimic real-world conditions, including shampooing, conditioning, blow-drying and repeated exposure to UV light. They also distributed the label-masked shampoos and conditioners to consumer testers around the country, who used the products for two weeks, then evaluated the product's attributes, the look of their color and the feel of their hair after use.
What to look for in a shampoo for colored hair
✔️ Opt for strengthening ingredients. Look for ingredients like citric acid, which strengthens bonds weakened from the hair-lightening process. Bodt recommends Matrix Unbreak My Blonde collection for its ability to revive damaged hair.
✔️ Look for "sulfate-free" formulas. Sulfates sud the hair and cause pigment loss, says Bodt. When you have heavily bleached hair you will want to incorporate something that has a bonding treatment or protein and moisture.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
Jacqueline Saguin covers all things beauty and beyond for the GH Institute. Before GH, she worked on Insider's style and beauty reviews vertical, where she evaluated skincare, makeup, haircare and more. She flexes her research and reporting skills by working closely with the experts in the Beauty Lab to put together product reviews on the very best haircare out there, according to consumer and Lab testing. For this article, she also worked with Good Housekeeping's Beauty Director, April Franzino, who has over a decade of experience translating the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab's rigorous product testing into compelling, factually accurate editorial.
Jacqueline (she/her) covers all things e-commerce in beauty, lifestyle and beyond for the Good Housekeeping Institute. Before joining GH in 2021, she was a style and beauty reviews fellow at Insider, testing viral trends, reviewing sustainable brands and more. She's a graduate of the University of Florida's School of Journalism, with a specialty in magazines and mass communication.
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