Ingredients to avoid with color-treated hair + other options

When choosing a label Color-safe To be helpful, it’s best to be aware of what ingredients you should avoid, so that you don’t accidentally wash away the vibrant color.

Celebrity stylist, hair expert, and dpHue co-founders Justin Anderson and Oscar Blondie salon hairstylist Gretchen Truckenbroad gave us an inside scoop on exactly what to look for when buying a new hair care product for color-treated hair. This includes those who have a head color, highlight or root touch-up.

We’ll start with the more obvious culprits: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLES), parabens (methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, etc.), alcohol (ethanol or propanol), and sodium chloride (salt). The first two components are the type of sulfate. They are often used in shampoos, as they help to create a frothy foam. While satisfactory, it is not the best for your hair. It will probably wash away your color and give you a faded, dull look.

Parabens should generally be avoided in the case of hair care products, as they have been shown to build up in the body with regular use. As far as your hair and overall health goes, it’s best to brush clean. Alcohol, also known as ethanol or propanol, can dry out your hair and create a neat texture – those whose hair has been dyed are already more prone to dryness, so you may want to keep an eye on these players. The same goes for sodium chloride: the salt in your hair products will take away your moisture and interfere with the color you put on it.

For sneaker ingredients that can brighten your complexion, you’ll want to look for cleansing agents – charcoal, salicylic acid, and the like. This doesn’t mean you can’t use a scalp scrub or a clarifying shampoo all at once, but just be aware that these ingredients can slowly remove the pigment from your strands. (And if the product also contains sulfate or salt, the process can happen much faster.) This is not a huge problem, especially if you choose a permanent color, be aware that your color may fade over a few rounds of time.

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