Those of us with color-processed hair know that trying to maintain our color can be incredibly challenging. Before I started coloring my hair, I’d pick shampoo and conditioner solely based on what smelled the best in the hair aisle at Target. When you’re trying to protect your hair color, however, shampoo and conditioner become a whole new ballgame. “If you have decided to take your hair to the next level with color, choosing the right shampoo and conditioner is going to be key to keeping those hues where you'd like them,” says Rashuna Durham, Amika lead pro educator and stylist.
Parabens are one thing you should definitely aim to avoid. “You want to avoid parabens as much as possible,” says Bianca Hillier, celebrity hair colorist. “Parabens and sulfates are the chemicals in most shampoos and conditioners that strip the color out of the hair. They can cause a number of problems for your hair, including drying, irritating your scalp, fading your color, and even in some cases, hair loss.”
The good news is that it’s fairly easy to spot parabens on an ingredient list. Just look for ingredients like propylparaben, benzylparaben, methylparaben, or butylparaben on your shampoo and conditioner label. “If someone has a finer texture a conditioner with natural oils will give a weightless moisture and shine,” says Tracey Dryer, Colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. “If someone has a thicker texture, a heavier humectant like shea butter would work best.”
See below for our favorite paraben-free picks—and keep your hair texture in mind when choosing a shampoo and conditioner.
Stylist-Approved Paraben-Free Shampoo and Conditioners
1. Amika Vault Color-Lock Shampoo and Conditioner
“My go-to shampoo and conditioner for colored processed hair is Amika Vault Color-Lock Shampoo and Conditioner. This duo gives the hues on your strands super-staying power by being ultra-nourishing with its antioxidant and Sea Buckthorn-infused formula with added UV filters to protect color, plus it’s sulfate-free and paraben-free.”—Rashuna Durham
2. Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo and Conditioner
“One of my favorite shampoo/conditioners is Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo and Conditioner. The shampoo is gentle, repairs the hair, and balances the scalp for good circulation. The conditioner strengthens, and improves the elasticity of the hair, and detangles hair for an easy comb out.”—Tracey Dryer
3. Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask
“I love Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask. Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo rebuilds bonds in your hair that can break from natural wear and tear and from chemical trauma. Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask is remarkably hydrating but still will not weigh down any hair type or texture.”—Bianca Hillier
Other Paraben-Free Shampoo and Conditioner I Can Vouch For
4. Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo
5. R+Co Television Perfect Hair Shampoo and Conditioner
6. Shu Uemura Art of Hair Color Lustre Sulfate-Free Brilliant Glaze Shampoo and Conditioner
7. Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Aloe + Oat Milk Ultra Soothing Shampoo and Conditioner
This hypoallergenic duo is as soothing as possible. If you find yourself sensitive to fragrance, opt for these calming products. Aloe and oat milk help keep irritation at bay.
8. Ouai Detox Shampoo and Medium Hair Conditioner
9. Sachajuan Colour Protect Shampoo and Conditioner
10. Davines Oi Shampoo and Conditioner