The Best Shampoos For Highlights

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by Jessica Ourisman
Originally Published: 

When you’re shopping for the best shampoos for highlights, you’ll likely come across shampoos that fall into one of three categories: color-safe shampoos that help preserve your color; reparative shampoos, which are especially ideal if you bleach your hair; and toning shampoos that help fade certain undertones that appear over time. It follows, then, that the best shampoo for you will depend on your unique hair type and color, as well as other concerns like split ends or a lack of volume.

What To Consider When Choosing A Shampoo For Highlights

To help shed some more light on the best shampoos for highlights, Bustle spoke with Richy Kandasamy, a colorist and R+Co Collective Member, and celebrity hair stylists Avian King and Sunnie Brook. Kandasamy says that his favorite ingredients to look for in a shampoo for highlights are okra seed extract, vitamin E, and sunflower sprout extract, which have smoothing, conditioning, and moisturizing benefits, respectively. Meanwhile, King points out that people with platinum-blonde hair will benefit from a purple shampoo to neutralize brassy undertones, and that redheads and brunettes should seek out color-safe shampoos that help preserve the richness of their color while brightening the highlights. “When highlighting, we tone the hair at the end to add a desired shade or cancel out any unwanted warmth,” she explains. “As toners start to fade, as they all do, some of those tones will be exposed again” — so this is where toning and/or color-depositing shampoos come in.

Some other tips for keeping your highlights looking great? Brook recommends asking your stylist for a “Malibu treatment,” which removes minerals and silicones that can start to build up and cause your color to oxidize more quickly. And for one last word of advice, King suggests washing and rinsing your hair using cool water to help seal the cuticle and preserve shine.

Scroll on to shop 12 of the best shampoos for highlighted hair, including five picks from our experts.

1. Pro Pick: The Overall Best

When it comes to the best shampoos for highlights, Pureology’s Hydrate Shampoo checks off all of the most important boxes. Most notably, it’s not only sulfate-free and color-safe, but it actually helps preserve and protect your color using the brand’s signature Antifade Complex, which is found in all Pureology products. “The formula has UV filters, vitamin E, melanin, and sunflower seed oil, which is a potent antioxidant that fight against sun damage,” Jamie Wiley, the Global Artistic Director of Pureology, tells Bustle. This shampoo also helps keep your hair hydrated (hence its name), which is another key feature for hair that’s been highlighted or dyed, and it does such a great job, one reviewer wrote, “This is the best shampoo that I have found to keep my toner in place and provide the moisture that my hair needs.” Note that Hydrate is best reserved for hair that’s on the medium to thick side in terms of texture, while people with fine or thin hair should reach for the equally great Hydrate Sheer shampoo.

A rave review: “I bought this shampoo because my hair was damaged from having years of blond highlights put in my hair. I have thick, curly hair that has mostly been in pretty decent shape until I had the blond highlights put in. Once I started using this shampoo it didn’t take long for my hair to start looking healthy again.”

Key Ingredients: Jojoba, green tea, sage | Cruelty-Free: Yes

2. Pro Pick: Best Reparative Shampoo

“This is an amazing bond builder,” King says of Olaplex’s No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo. King explains that it’s excellent for highlighted hair because it helps repair the damage caused by chemical treatments, hot tools, bleach, and dye, and it helps protect your hair from future damage, as well. This shampoo will also leave your hair looking and feeling smoother and more moisturized, and it should help with unwanted frizz and split ends. For best results, use the brand’s best-selling No.3 hair treatment about once a week after shampooing with this.

A rave review: “OLAPLEX is my go-to hair product! I love it! It’s great for color/highlighted hair and prevents additional damage.”

Key Ingredients: Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate, the brand’s patented bond-builder | Cruelty-Free: Yes

3. Pro Pick: Best Volumizing Shampoo

TikTok hair influencer Amy Chang recommends the L’Oreal EverPure line because “the sulfate-free formula is strong enough to get rid of product buildup without stripping your color.” She adds that the line contains a UV filter and is free of drying salts, which is why this volumizing shampoo is a great option for fine hair types or anyone looking to give their hair more body without sacrificing hydration. The vegan and paraben-free formula includes lotus extract, which is said to provide volume and shine, and one reviewer enthusiastically agreed by writing, “This shampoo is delightful. It leaves my hair soft, shiny, and looking full and healthy.”

A rave review: “It really works well at maintaining my color and highlights and it smells incredible. I feel like I’m at the spa every time I wash my hair!”

Key Ingredients: Lotus extract | Cruelty-Free: Yes

4. Pro Pick: The One That Lasts for 10 Washes

R+Co’s Gemstone Shampoo contains ChromoHance, an ingredient that protects your color from fading for up to 10 washes, according to R+Co, or up to six weeks, according to Ashland, the makers of ChromoHance. Kandasamy recommends this shampoo because it contains his top three ingredients for highlighted hair: okra seed extract, vitamin E, and sunflower seed extract. As he explains, they provide the moisture and antioxidants highlighted hair needs while promoting luster, smoothness, and shine. Great for all hair types and formulated with a refreshing herbal scent, this shampoo is sulfate-free, vegan, and cruelty-free.

A rave review: “Works really well and does not wash my color out as other shampoos can do almost immediately. I have gold flecks/highlights and they really stand out when i use this.”

Key Ingredients: Hibiscus, pea, rice, and golden root extracts | Cruelty-Free: Yes

5. Pro Pick: Best Purple Shampoo

If your hair is platinum blonde, silver, or gray, you’ll need a purple shampoo to keep warm undertones at bay. Brook, an ambassador for Biolage, likes the way their ColorLast Purple Shampoo “gently cleanses without stripping” the way some purple shampoos do. “I’ve tried a lot of the purple shampoos on the market, having done hair color for 20 years, and some combat brassiness but leave the hair dry,” she says. “Biolage Purple Shampoo is powerful and neutralizes brassiness after one use. It also leaves the hair shinier and with three times less breakage.” Note that with purple shampoos, the longer you leave them on, the more effective they’ll be (but don’t leave them on too long unless you’re purposely going for lilac hair). One reviewer wrote, “My hair was brassy. This made it come back to [its] beautiful blond in 5 minutes!” — so three to five minutes should do the trick.

A rave review: “Currently, my hair is my natural brown with lots of blonde highlights. I get it re-highlighted every 8 weeks or so, but am never a fan of how the blonde looks by the time I'm ready to go back. It's currently been about 4 weeks since I last went and after using this, my hair immediately looked more evenly blended due to the fact that the blonde lost its brassy look and blended into my brown hair more. Like I said, I can't believe what a great difference this made.”

Key Ingredients: Orchid, fig | Cruelty-Free: Yes

6. Best Budget Purple Shampoo

If you’re looking to spend a bit less, Eva’s Tone It Down Blonde Shampoo is another great option. Like most purple shampoos, it neutralizes brassy and yellow undertones by depositing purple pigment, but this one does it for under $15. It also contains nourishing ingredients like hydrolyzed keratin and vegetable protein, plus argan and avocado oils to leave hair feeling soft, smooth, and strong. Unlike Biolage’s purple shampoo, this one is sulfate-free, as a bonus.

A rave review: “It absolutely DESTROYS unwanted yellow and really tones brassiness. I've probably tried almost every purple shampoo on The market, this is by far my favorite.”

Key Ingredients: Wild cherry bark, ginger root | Cruelty-Free: Yes

7. Best Non-Purple Brightening Shampoo For Blondes

If you still want to brighten your blonde hair without making it look icier, consider this vegan shampoo from dpHUE’s collaboration with Kristin Cavallari. The brand formulated the sulfate-free shampoo with a chelating agent to help wash away dullness and grime (sometimes caused by product build-up and the minerals in hard water) and is gentle enough to be used every day. What’s more, this shampoo is also infused with raspberry seed extract to provide UV protection and color care for your strands. Though technically designed for blonde hair, this can be used on darker hair as well to keep lighter highlights looking bright.

A rave review: “This is my go-to shampoo. My highlighted hair gets so dull from soft water and product buildup. I can use this nearly every day, but especially as I'm getting towards the end of my highlight cycle and am desperately needing to touch up the roots. It blends the root in with the highlight so that it doesn't look like such a stark contrast and extends my time between highlights by WEEKS. And the cleannn feeling it gives my hair is amazing. I can't recommend this enough!”

Key Ingredients: Gentle chelating agent, raspberry seed extract | Cruelty-Free: Yes

8. Best For Sensitive Scalps

If you have a dry, itchy, or irritated scalp, Act+Acre created this sulfate-free shampoo to help restore scalp health (since a healthy scalp is the key to healthy hair, after all). Using a cold-processed method to preserve the integrity of the ingredients — which include moisturizing moringa oil, soothing lavender, and invigorating rosemary — this gentle clarifying shampoo helps remove buildup so your color looks less dull, while also restoring hydration to your hair and scalp. This shampoo is free of both sulfates and silicones, so it shouldn’t leave your hair feeling dry or weighed down, and one reviewer wrote, “I feel like my scalp is healthier, less oily in general, and I was having a problem with scalp acne but I have not broken out since using this.”

A rave review: “I love this shampoo... My hair is so full and styles great!! I have color treated hair with highlights... I noticed a difference the first try using it!”

Key Ingredients: Moringa, rosemary, baobab oil | Cruelty-Free: Yes

9. Best For Curls

Curly hair types typically require extra moisture, so this nourishing shampoo from Carol’s Daughter — a brand that excels at making hair products for curly hair — is a great choice for coils, curls, and dehydrated strands. Monoi oil is the star ingredient here, which has long been used to promote stronger hair, while coconut oil, glycerin, and hydrolyzed silk provide even more moisturizing benefits. Many reviewers write that they’ve never had more luscious strands, with one user writing, “This shampoo is some of the best I have tried [...] Smells amazing and makes my hair feel soft and silky!” And instead of sulfates, which can be drying, this shampoo uses a coconut-derived surfactant to give hair a deep but gentle clean.

A rave review: “Absolutely the best shampoo for delicate hair that has been color treated!”

Key Ingredients: Monoi oil, hibiscus extract | Cruelty-Free: Yes

10. Best For Redheads

This color-depositing shampoo is a great choice if you’re a redhead who’s looking to intensify and preserve your color between salon visits. John Frieda works its magic for gingers using an anti-fade technology that’s boosted by the presence of pomegranate extract and vitamin E, both of which help promote softness and shine, with one reviewer writing, “I get red highlights in my hair and this shampoo keeps the red longer and keeps my hair soft and shiny.” Amazon reviewers note that used by itself, it can feel drying, so be sure to use an extra-potent conditioner.

A rave review: “Absolutely love it! My hair is black with natural red highlights and it's hard to find ways to enhance them. This is the first product that works!”

Key Ingredients: Pomegranate extract, vitamin E | Cruelty-Free: No

11. Best Splurge

When it comes to luxury hair care products, Oribe is the crème de la crème. So if you’re looking to splurge on a high-quality shampoo that will also look gorgeous in your shower, pick up their Shampoo for Beautiful Color. In here, the brand’s signature antioxidant complex helps prevent your hair’s keratin from breaking down while also defending against sources of environmental stress that can dull your highlights. The formula also uses bioflavinoids to help hair retain its color, baobab tree extract to give it extra hydration, and UV-protecting ingredients to avoid sun-induced fading. Like all Oribe products, this is vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated with the brand’s iconic Cote d’Azur fragrance, a scent so heavenly that it inspired its own perfume. And if you’re having a hard time justifying the price, many reviewers write that a little bit goes a very long way, with one user writing, “This shampoo is expensive but you only need a tiny amount of it. I have long hair and this bottle will last me over a year.”

A rave review: “Smells great! Keeps color lasting longer and gives my fine hair a little bounce and shine. Love the way it makes my hair feel soft and looks shiny and healthy without weighing it down. A bit pricey, but works better than any other that I have [tried].”

Key Ingredients: Baobab tree and ginger root extracts, hydrolyzed vegetable protein | Cruelty-Free: Yes

12. Best Shampoo Bar

Eco-conscious consumers should try this purple shampoo bar that does away with packaging altogether, cutting back on waste as part of the New Zealand-based brand’s climate-friendly pledge. Being a purple shampoo, this will help fade brassy undertones in blonde or blonde-highlighted hair, and it also restores moisture using ingredients like cocoa butter, babassu seed oil, and vegetable glycerin. And if you don’t have blonde hair, the brand also makes shampoo bars for dry hair, frizzy hair, dandruff, sensitive scalps, and more.

A rave review: “I can't recommend this bar enough. [...] It's natural, good for the planet, and works well to protect color treated hair.”

Key Ingredients: Cocoa butter, babassu, jasmine oil | Cruelty-Free: Yes


Sunnie Brook, celebrity hairdresser and Global Ambassador for Biolage

Avian King, celebrity hairstylist and men’s groomer

Richy Kandasamy, colorist and R+Co Collective Member

Amy Chang, hair influencer

Jamie Wiley, Global Artistic Director of Pureology

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