I started getting bottle blonde highlights when I was 14 years old.
Although I began life as a dirty blonde, my locks suddenly rebelled in my teens and decided, “No, we will absolutely not accept and retain these sun rays.”
The audacity! Bye bye, natural sun kissed highlights — hello, dull brown hair.
Did I care that much? Not really. But my mom did, so she took me to Bruno Dessange in Manhattan for my first foils.
And I’ve been highlighting it ever since.
If you get color at a salon, you know how expensive it can be, so of course you want to ensure that your chosen shade looks bright and lasts as long as possible.
The same goes for those who dye at home — it’s time-consuming to process color! But there are so many products on the market that cater to specific hair shades, and sometimes it’s hard to know which one is right for you.
Hair experts have compiled a list of the best shampoos, conditioners, toners, and masks for colored hair, whether you’re on a budget or can afford to splurge.
Best Shampoo/Conditioner/Toner for Blondes
If you’re a bottle blonde (or silver!), purple shampoo is the one for you. It battles brassiness and prevents color from fading and looking dull.
“Purple shampoo works best on silver or blonde hair as it can neutralize the brassiness and provide a brighter, clean tone to the hair,” explains cosmetic chemist Ginger King to Allure Magazine. “It’s based on color-wheel theory, the same principle people use as it relates to color correction in makeup to minimize imperfections.”
But don’t leave it on too long, she warns — and always read the instructions.
“If you have icy-blonde hair and leave a purple shampoo on for too long, your hair will have a blue-purple tinge to it,” Wright cautions.
That said, here are our top purple shampoo picks for color treated hair!
“Infused with a blend of Brazilian blackberries, French apricots, and Tahitian Vanilla, Beachwaver’s BRB Blonde Purple Shampoo smells like hair-care heaven. But the real kicker? The 2020 Best of Beauty-winning Beachwaver duo (the complementary conditioner also won) eliminates brassy tones and brightens blonde tones with utter ease. Coconut oil and shea butter restore moisture and special bond multipliers (which rebuild the internal bonds of your hair follicle) strengthen your hair, so it’ll look healthier than you thought possible.”
“Jaxcee, colorist and founder of The Coily Collective currently at Riccardo Maggiore Salon in New York City, says that Pravana’s sulfate-free The Perfect Blonde Shampoo is ‘not drying like a lot of the old guard,’ thanks to a nourishing lineup of amino acids and jojoba, sunflower, and coconut oils. From the same line, she also recommends The Perfect Blonde Conditioner and Masque, especially for double-processed blondes.”
“Ogx’s Blonde Enhance + Purple Toning Shampoo harnesses purple fig and iris to color-correct yellow tones and extend the longevity of your color for just $7 — a pretty impressive feat if you ask us. This drugstore gem also infuses your hair with hydrolyzed keratin for an extra dose of strengthening. Bonus? It smells absolutely incredible, thanks to notes of blood orange, papaya butter, and coconut milk.”
“This budget-friendly duo, John Freida’s Violet Crush For Blondes Purple Shampoo and Conditioner, deposits crushed violet pigments to help color-treated or highlighted blonde hair look cooler and brighter in as little as one use. That’s pretty impressive. Plus, glycerin keeps hair looking moisturized and healthy.”
“Joico’s Color Balance Purple Shampoo and Conditioner have the ‘perfect amount of pigment in it without leaving any purple in the hair,’ explains Los Angeles-based salon owner Larisa Love. ‘I also love that it leaves the hair shiny and healthy — not dry.’”
“Clairol’s Professional Shimmer Lights Conditioner is a ‘tried-and-true staple that has been around for decades and is a part of many colorists’ personal kits,’ says colorist Kadi Lee, who is based in Los Angeles and works with Julia Roberts, Amber Valletta, and Suki Waterhouse. ‘The formula isn’t too harsh and is pleasant-smelling. And for the cost-conscious, it gives you the most bang for your buck.’”
“The Oribe Bright Blonde Shampoo & Conditioner For Beautiful Color duo ‘has the perfect violet tone, removing brassiness and brightening blonde or silver hair,’ explains Los Angeles hairstylist Miles Jeffries, who works with Mariah Carey, Angela Bassett, and Tinashe, to name a few. ‘When I need more intense brightness, I use them together. If I just want a touch of brightness, I’ll use one or the other, depending on the client.’”
We love a leave-in that helps maintain color! Not Your Mother’s Blonde Moment Seal & Protect Leave-In Conditioner is “formulated with a pastel violet/purple pigment to prevent brassy undertones, color change, and detangle unmanageable hair in and out of the shower” and conditions to refresh and keep your hair smooth and shiny.
“This lathering toner provides topical toning in which the toner sits on the surface of the hair until the next shampoo — the Ash Tone is intended to reduce deep warm tones” and one of our editors swears by this product!
Best Shampoos For All Colored Hair
Whether you’re red, brunette, or anything in between, these are the best shampoos and conditioners for colored hair.
“Color processing of any sort can damage the bonds of your hair,” explains Blackstone NYC colorist Patti O’Gara to NY Mag. “This sulfate-free shampoo will rebuild the bonds damaged through coloring, gradually transforming dry, broken, and brittle hair back to a healthier state.
“Olaplex No.4 is actually suitable for all hair types, especially those who are dealing with hair that feels compromised by chemical processing. It’s also a great choice for those who have gone a nontraditional route with their hair dye and are feeling the effects of turning their hair pink or lilac, which tends to be hard on the hair.”
“For those looking to inexpensively maintain their color in between appointments, Fred Connors, the owner and creative director of FRED Salon, recommends the Love Beauty & Planet Blooming Color Shampoo. This shampoo is formulated like much more expensive designer brands, with ethically sourced ingredients “such as Bulgarian rose and Amazonian murumuru butter, which nourishes hair and gives loads of shine. The formula is also vegan, plant-based, and cruelty free.”
If you have red hair, it’s important to use shampoos specifically for your color — it’s one of the hardest to maintain. We recommend this one:
“‘The most important thing for redheads is to ensure that the color pigment stays put and does not get washed out of the hair,’ which can happen with products that have too many sulfates or too many detergents, says Gregorio Ruggeri of Salon Ruggeri. He likes Shu Uemura’s Color Lustre Shampoo because it’s infused with musk-rose oil and antioxidant-rich goji-berry extract to protect hair dyed red from fading. Stylist Mark Ryan is another fan, telling us the shampoo will not only enhance shine but ‘protect your color from fading for weeks.’”
The more you wash, the duller your hair gets. Plus, darker hair colors will eventually turn lighter — say goodbye to that dark brown and enter your light brown phase, or even brassy orange tones. This shampoo will stop your hair from losing its rich, shiny color:
“Fanola No Orange, a blue pigmented shampoo is for brunettes struggling with unwanted orange tones. But it’s best to use such shampoos no more than once a week, as excessive use can not only dry the hair but cause an overload of purple or blue pigment that leaves the intended color looking drab.”
Masks for Blondes
If you’ve been bleaching your hair for a while, you’ve probably noticed that your hair is drying out. Masks are your best approach (we even wrote about our favorites). I recommend these for getting your silk back:
Like the “mask” in its name implies, Verb’s Purple Toning + Hydrating Hair Mask goes all-in with nourishing ingredients like açai, sunflower seed, and pro-vitamin B5 that leave your hair softer, smoother, and more luscious than before. Violet pigments, of course, swoop in to take care of brassy tones in blonde, gray, and silver hair. While you can leave this treatment in your hair for up to 20 minutes (and as little as five to seven minutes), it’s always a good idea to patch-test first.”
“Infused with hair-strengthening and shine-boosting ingredients like argan oil, keratin, and ginseng root extract, Madison Reed’s Color Therapy Color Depositing Hair Masks are five-minute conditioning treatments that can be used in-shower two to three times per week in place of conditioner. While there are five shades in all, Perla specifically adds violet tones to neutralize brassiness in blonde or highlighted hair.”
“Give your bleached, highlighted, or natural color the deep reset it needs with L’Oréal Paris’s EverPure Sulfate-Free Anti Brass Purple Mask Treatment. In just five minutes once every week, the sulfate-free formula’s hibiscus and purple pigments go to work, targeting brassiness and deep-conditioning hair — so it looks just as fresh as it did when you stepped out of the salon. Sulfate-free formulas are perfect for sensitive scalps since sulfates ‘can over-strip the skin of oils, which can leave it dry and prone to allergic reactions,’ cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson told Allure.”
Best Masks For Colored Hair
Sure, blondes get the rep of being the driest hair thanks to all that bleach. But if you’re regularly coloring your hair, you need to use masks, too. They’ll heal your hair by hydrating, saving shine, and strengthening your strands overall. These are some of the best masks for your colored hair:
Maria Elizabeth, the founder of Salon deZEN, told NY Mag that Olaplex will “visibly strengthen hair, reduce breakage, and truly improve the overall look and feel of the hair.” She, like others, also appreciates how well it works on a variety of hair types.
“Developed by chemists, Olaplex uses a patented bond-building technology that is said to reconstruct the hair at the strand level, meaning the products don’t just soften your hair but actually help rebuild the damaged parts (though the sulfate- and paraben-free formula can certainly make all hair types softer and shinier, too).”
“Considering its reasonable price point and the fact that it can be used for all hair types (even those with finer hair), R+Co’s Television Perfect Hair Masque is a really good starter mask. The formula includes hydrating snow mushroom extract, emollient murumuru butter, and pequi oil, which is meant to lock in moisture — and in addition to all of the ingredients that will give your hair softness and shine, the mask has a nice scent, too, with notes of cardamom, tangerine, and lavender.”
Whether you color at home or head to the salon, these treatments can prolong your color — nobody will know you’re in need of a touch up.
What is the best product to keep colored hair healthy? Share with us in the comments!
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