As an honorary redhead for the past 10 years (barring some brief forays into other colors that don’t exist in nature), I understand how difficult it is to keep the fire going, so to speak, between visits to your colorist. Here’s what you should not do to revitalize your faded red: Drench your head in Kool-Aid. Didn’t work in high school, won’t work now. Instead, lather up with the best shampoos for red color-treated hair, which should ideally do four things: Brighten your color, repair any damage wrought through overprocessing, and protect your color from fading, all while giving your hair a thorough cleanse.
For some tips about washing red hair the safe way, I tapped Meaghan Almodovar, hair colorist and stylist who specializes in redheads (my own red head included). “Red and copper hair color needs extra care to prevent fading,” Almodovar tells Bustle. “To maintain your freshness and vibrancy, use a gentle, sulfate- and salt-free shampoo, and wash only when necessary.” Almodovar also recommends washing your hair with cool water, "as hot water (like with our laundry) causes the hair fiber to expand and release the dye molecules,” she explains. To finish, dry off with a soft, microfiber hair towel. Rough terry cloth can damage the hair cuticle, which contributes to breakage and frizz.
Ahead, find five of the best shampoos on Amazon for keeping your red so fresh (and, yes, so clean) at home.
1. The Best Protecting Shampoo
This Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo is a failsafe choice for your standard-issue hair wash. It’s free of sulfates, so it won’t strip that hard-earned (paid-for) red, and the formula also contains amino acids that work to actively protect your color. Those amino acids, plus soy proteins, will help strengthen compromised hair that feels weak or damaged, too. This stylist-approved pick promises to extend your red’s vibrancy for up to four weeks, so it’ll hold you over between salon visits.
2. The Best Color-Depositing Shampoo
Try as we might to avoid it, our red is going to fade between treatments, so go for this Four Reasons Color Mask Toning Shampoo whenever you’re itching for more concentrated color. It deposits red pigments to refresh and revitalize dyed-red hair, but it’s also the rare color-depositing shampoo that actually cleans hair, too. The sulfate-free formula also helps reduce frizz, smooth static, and leave hair feeling super soft. Amazon reviewers call this a “miracle product” for brightening dull color, but be warned: It might stain your tub and hands. Wear rubber gloves and have your bathroom bleach handy.
3. The Best Clarifying Shampoo
Rule number one of maintaining your red: Wash your hair as little as humanly possible. So when you do wash your hair, you’re probably contending with all manner of buildup — product, oil and grease, hard water minerals, the works. Buildup might be contributing to the appearance of dullness, too. If it’s been a long time between shampoos, try a clarifying shampoo, like this one from Moroccanoil, to thoroughly “degunk” your scalp and hair and return your color to its best, brightest self. Almodovar also recommends washing with a clarifying shampoo before you apply a hair mask or leave-in conditioner, since cleaner hair = more penetrable hair.
4. The Best Shampoo For Damaged Hair
Even if you’re treating your hair with all the love, attention, and masking it deserves, frequent dye jobs are inevitably going to result in some level of damage. Almodovar recommends weekly protein treatments to refortify your hair, though if you want to fold that weekly protein dose into your hair wash, try this Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo. This professional-grade shampoo (along with everything else in the Olaplex line) works to actively rebuild broken protein bonds, which results in stronger, silkier, and more vibrant hair overall. Pair it with their No. 5 conditioner for best results.
5.The Best Drugstore Shampoo
This L’Oreal thickening shampoo is one of the most effective drugstore shampoos I’ve ever tried. It actually does what it says on the bottle: Restores your hair to the thickness it probably enjoyed before you started dyeing your hair in the first place (whatever, it was worth it). My hair feels lush and strong after just one wash, and the sulfate-free formula won't mess with your color. The rosemary in the formula gives your scalp a nice little zing, so I use this one whenever I wash my hair in the morning to help wake myself up.
Meaghan Almodovar, hair colorist and stylist.