Kal’s question….As a stylist I have been told to tell my clients to use “sulfate-free” shampoo if they have color-treated(or curly) hair. However, I read in your book that you’ve studied the performance of sulfate-free vs shampoos containing sulfates and didn’t see a difference in hair color fading. Is there anything out there that preserves freshly colored hair?! Is there any benefit of using a sulfate-free shampoo as far as frizz goes?! I stumbled upon this company, purely perfect, and that say sulfates damage the hair?!
The Beauty Brains respond:
We answered Kal’s question in our Forum but I’d like to share the discussion with a broader audience. Let’s breakdown her questions one by one.
Q: I read in your book that you’ve studied the performance of sulfate-free vs shampoos containing sulfates and didn’t see a difference in hair color fading.
A: True. While there is data that shows sulfates can be irritating to skin (because they interact with skin protein and don’t rinse well) there is no data showing they cause color loss. In our lab testing they caused no more color loss than other types of shampoo.
Q: Is there anything out there that preserves freshly colored hair?!
A: We’ve seen data from chemical suppliers showing that a variety of ingredients can reduce color fading. The only one product we have personal experience with is the Tresemme ColorThrive S/C (not Color Revitalize.) It may be discontinued, I’m not sure. If you can’t find the Tresemme product I’d look at the L’Oreal Color Radiance line since their color technology is quite good.
Q: Is there any benefit of using a sulfate-free shampoo as far as frizz goes?
A: Not necessarily. The anti-frizz effect of a shampoo is determined more by the conditioning agents than the surfactant.
Q: I stumbled upon this company, purely perfect, and that say sulfates damage the hair?!
A: Of course they say that – they sell sulfate-free shampoo!
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I’ve heard some people say that sulfates are necessary or better for removing buildup from styling products, especially silicones. Is there any truth to that? If you had to avoid sulfates because they irritate your skin, would you have to avoid silicones as well?
It’s generally agreed upon in the hair care formulating community that when it comes to shampoos, sulfates are about the most powerful cleaning ingredient you can use. The common wisdom is that they’re best for removing silicones. HOWEVER I’ve never seen any data proving that point and I haven’t found any silicone supplier who necessarily agrees.
IF you avoid sulfates because they irritate your skin and IF you find that sulfate free formulas don’t remove buildup to your satisfaction, then yeah I guess you’re kind of stuck.
I started using sulfate-free shampoos and definitely noticed that my color faded less. It is a red shade so tends to fade easily. My long-time colorist even asked if I had changed my shampoo because she noticed how much better my color was lasting. I had not mentioned the change in shampoos to her.
Hi I wonder if you can help me l have tinted hair it’s very very dry and frizzy what is the best shampoo and conditioner and sryum can I use thank you
I believe that sulfate free shampoos ( not all but most professional brands) do help with color lasting longer. The condition of the hair, the color takes better and you use less color because you don’t have to run through ends every time. I use Redkin shades color and my color faded within 3 weeks. now I use sulfate free shampoo and cond and it last 6 to 8 weeks. and its thew gray that fades not the ends.
Hi Pam. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You’re certainly entitled to believe that sulfate free shampoos help color last longer but we’ve tested different shampoos side by side in the laboratory and didn’t see those kind of differences. There are other factors in the formula that can impact color retention so it’s not just as simple as the surfactant system.
If not the sulfates, what other ingredients in shampoo contribute to color fading?
Water is the ingredient that contributes most to color fading.
A lot of non professionals don’t realize that all companies such as Redken (as mentioned above as redkin) are always improving their formulas, or changing them, or introducing new shades. I personally as a licensed professional and certified Redken colorist, don’t believe sulfates are going to ruin or fade your color. Shampooing alone fades your color! That’s why stylists are ALWAYS telling their clients to NOT shampoo their hair everyday. If she used Shades and it lasted longer the next time, there are other factors to be considered. 1. Condition of hair compared to other times. 2. How often hair was shampooed within those 6-8 wks. 3. What time of year it was as the sun is another factor in hair color fading. 4. Maybe the stylist used a new and improved formula or different formulation as its not an abnormal thing to tweak formulas here and there to achieve discussed look, maybe the stylist recommended different styling products as well. 5. Redken Shades is not a permanent hair color line! It is meant to fade.
In the end, sulfates are t to blame. Not many of redkens shampoos are sulfate free. It’s became such an epidemic, that companies now have used it to start charging more for their newly formulated products that “do the same thing”. It’s definitely helped companies make a lot of money. There have always been products out there that have been sulfate free, vegan, etc, but the public didn’t want to pay what they are worth. Now they have decided to use sulfate as the ingredient to blame, and still complain about price too.
Another difference is the quality of ingredients of mass brands, and professional brands. You can keep using your Pantene pro V aka wax build up shampoo to save a couple dollars, but they don’t want to pay for pure top quality ingredients in professional grade products. I see it all the time. Then they come in and blame the stylist for their color fading.
It’s just a few factors. And one thing I do like about all of the new formulations, are that new styles of bottles also are coming out. So when you see those illegal, diverted, counterfeit products at T. J. Maxx, Walgreens, Rite Aide, EBay, etc it’s another way to see if it’s an old product as well. NEVER BUY PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTS FROM PLACES OTHER THAN SALONS, OR LICENSED RETAILERS. THEY WILL NOT BE BACKED BY THE COMPANY IF PURCHASED ELSEWHERE. IF SOMETHING HAPPENS SUCH AS CHEMICAL BURN, BECAUSE IT WAS OLD, DIVERTED, OR COUNTERFIET. THERE IS A DISCLAIMER ON EVERY BOTTLE. AND REMEMBER….. YOUR HAIR IS ALWAYS THE FIRST THING NOTICED. THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK EVERYONE WITH YOUR HAIR!!
This is why I just buy Suave.
Thank you. Very helpful.