The Ingredients to Avoid in Shampoo for Color Treated Hair

By Leah Williams •  Updated: 08/27/22

We all love to experiment with different looks, and coloring your hair is a common way to do so!

However, maintaining your color-treated hair does not end when you walk out of the salon. 

In fact, there’s a bit of work to maintain healthy hair and keep it fresh looking for a longer period. It’s important to learn how to choose the right product for your dyed hair to avoid damage and preserve your hair color longer. 

So, if you’re wondering what ingredients to avoid in shampoo for color-treated hair, you came to the right place!   

Alcohol, parabens, sodium chloride, SLES, and petrochemicals are common ingredients that should be avoided if you have color-treated hair. 

Shampoo Ingredients that are Bad for Color-Treated Hair


Alcohol is the most common ingredient in shampoos. It is used as a preservative or emollient. The main concern is that alcohol can contribute to dryness and frizz which is bad for your color-treated hair.

Unfortunately, hair care companies are sneaky when it comes to this ingredient. It’s unlikely they include “alcohol” on their list of ingredients. 

They use the names ethanol, propanol, or ethyl alcohol – still “alcohol.”


Parabens primarily act as a preservative and prevent the contamination of bacteria and pathogens into your skincare and beauty products.

Although considered “generally safe,” it can trigger hair loss, scalp irritation, dry hair, and can make your hair color fade. 

If you see names like methylparaben or propylparaben as ingredients on your shampoo, it’s time to put it in the trash!   

Sodium Chloride

Salt and your hair are not a good combination. Why the hell would you apply salt on your hair? 

In addition to sodium chloride being aggressive on hair, it can also strip your hair’s natural oils, contribute to dryness, and can also ruin hair color.

Sodium chloride often comes with SLS or SLES. It is used in shampoo to give it more thickness. 


SLS stands for sodium lauryl sulfate and SLES for sodium laureth sulfate – both chemicals should be avoided as they serve little to no purpose at all.

Sulfates make your shampoo go bubbly and remove dirt and natural oils from your scalp. This removes the essential oils that make your hair hydrated. As a result, your hair goes dry and frizzy and strips off your hair color too. 

SLS and SLES may also appear under the name ammonium lauryl sulfate. So, keep an eye on this ingredient.  


Petrochemicals are petroleum-based ingredients. They can be extremely irritating for your skin and scalp and also can kill your hair.

There are various petrochemicals used in shampoos such as paraffin wax, mineral oil, benzene, parfum, and butanol.

That said, it is important to take a closer look at the labels of your shampoos to ensure it’s free of petrochemicals!


If you want your colour-treated hair to last longer, you must learn to choose the right hair products. Choose sulfate-free or color-safe shampoo!

Stay away from harsh chemicals as they’re damaging to your hair and scalp. And can make your hair color fade away too quickly!

If you want to know what is the best shampoo for colored hair, read this article!

Leah Williams

Leah Williams is the founder of Lucky Curl and has been in the hair care and styling industry for the last 15 years. Since then, she has developed incredible expertise and a deep understanding of how to treat and style the most difficult hair types and is passionate about sharing her knowledge with the readers of Lucky Curl.

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