The Best Shampoos For Balayage

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Balayage may not be a new hair-coloring technique, but it will always be the go-to request from anyone looking for natural, sun-kissed color without the maintenance of frequent salon appointments. But that doesn't make it entirely effortless. When you commit to a lightening treatment like balayage, you'll also want to invest in the proper products to maintain your color (and the health of your hair) at home. The best shampoos for balayage follow the cardinal rule of caring for color-treated hair: Stay away from sulfates. "They can strip color and dry out bleached hair more," Stephanie Brown, master colorist at NYC's IGK Salon tells Elite Daily. Sulfates are commonly listed as sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and sodium coco sulfate, but many shampoos simplify the identification process by putting the words "sulfate-free" front and center on the label.

"Any type of lightening can be damaging," explains Brown of the balayage coloring process, which can leave your hair more susceptible to dryness, split ends, and breakage. Because of this, avoiding sulfates on their own isn't enough. To help preserve your color, you'll also want to look for shampoos (and their conditioner counterparts) that contain rich moisturizing ingredients, like coconut oil, shea butter, and panthenol.

Just as important as the shampoo you use is how you style your hair. "Avoid heat tools as much as possible to keep the balayage vibrant," advises Brown. When you can't resist using a hot styling tool, Brown insists that you apply a heat protectant on your hair first. And for color-treated hair in general, it’s always a good idea to use a deep conditioner or hair mask a few of times a month (or more frequently if your hair is exhibiting signs of dryness or damage).

Keep scrolling to shop the best shampoos for balayaged hair, including a pick from the expert.

1. The Pro's Pick

"Highlights always look better when hair is moisturized," Brown says, naming IGK's Bad & Bougie Amla Oil Deep Repair Shampoo as one of her top picks for balayaged hair. The sulfate-free and vegan shampoo also offers UV protection to help shield hair from the damaging and color-fading effects of the sun. Though amla oil (and its believed hair-strengthening abilities) is the shampoo's hero ingredient, it also contains plenty of other moisturizers like coconut oil, safflower seed oil, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein.

2. Best Drugstore Shampoo For Fine Hair

A fan favorite with over 4,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, L'Oréal’s EverPure Volume Shampoo prevents fine hair from looking limp and flat post-wash. Completely free from sulfates and other harsh salts that can be stripping to your balayage, the shampoo (sold in a set with the corresponding conditioner on Amazon) contains peppermint leaf extract, rosemary leaf oil, and lotus flower extract to gently cleanse hair and add volume. At less than $15 for the duo, it’s an amazing value, too.

3. Best Prestige Shampoo For Fine Hair

As someone with fine hair, this is one of my favorite shampoos — whether I've had a recent color treatment or not. Living Proof Full Shampoo doesn't contain any sulfates that can be stripping, nor any silicones that can build up over time and weigh down your hair, making it a solid choice for color-treated and chemically treated hair. Instead, the shampoo uses the brand's own patented technology to gently remove residue while helping to repel dirt and oil, as well as hydrolyzed wheat and soy proteins to restore moisture, add shine, and encourage more volume.

4. Best Drugstore Shampoo For Curly Hair

Because curly hair naturally tends to be more prone to dryness than straight hair (it's easier for the oils your scalp produces to travel down straight hair, FYI), it's even more important to steer clear of sulfates — whether you color your hair or not. Dove Amplified Textures Hydrating Cleanse Shampoo was formulated specifically for curly and wavy hair, concentrating on a gentle, sulfate-free formula that removes dirt and product buildup without stripping away moisture. To nourish dry hair, Dove's shampoo uses ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and aloe.

5. Best Prestige Shampoo For Curly Hair

Briogeo’s Super Moisture Shampoo is another one of Brown's top picks for curly hair types, as well as anyone with very dry hair. As its name implies, the formula is loaded with ingredients that help combat dryness, including coconut oil, shea butter, panthenol, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein (many of which pull double duty and also work to increase hair's elasticity, smoothness, and shine). The shampoo is free from silicones, too, so it won't weigh down fine hair, and it's infused with algae extract and biotin to provide antioxidant protection and help promote hair growth.

6. Best Bond-Building Shampoo

"Bond-building shampoos and conditioners are really helpful [for] keeping bleached hair stronger, sleeker, and shinier," Brown says. "Hair is connected by different chemical bonds, and when we bleach it, we disrupt those bonds," she explains. The Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo focuses on repairing that damage by using a citric acid-infused complex that helps reinforce weakened chemical bonds to reduce breakage and split ends. It’s sulfate-free, vegan, and part of a damage-repairing line that also includes a pre-shampoo treatment, conditioner, and best-selling leave-in treatment.

7. Best Color-Protecting Shampoo

Yes, all of the shampoos on this list help to protect your color by using non-stripping cleansers and nourishing ingredients. But the Madison Reed Color Protecting Shampoo takes things a step further by using hydrolyzed lupine seed extract, which the brand says helps to prevent color fading while shielding your hair with UV protection. To further fight the fade, Madison Reed's formula contains moisturizing and shine-enhancing argan oil, as well as several hydrolyzed proteins (including keratin, the protein your hair is made up of) to strengthen hair and prevent breakage.


Stephanie Brown, IGK Salon SoHo master colorist