Review Of The Best Shampoos For Colored Hair 2019

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Yes, seventy-five percent of American women color their hair, but how many maintain it properly? One of the easiest ways to maintain and prolong the vibrancy of colored hair is to use a color-treated shampoo. I’m personally familiar with just about every color retention trick in the book, and I average 4-5 weeks between my color reapplication. As part of my hair-care routine, I make sure to use shampoos and conditioners that are safe for color-treated hair.

From shampoo targeted at redheads, to purple shampoo for brassy hair, there is something on the market for every hue and shade. Many brands market their shampoos as color safe, but few of them actually contain ingredients that protect color and increase longevity.

What’s The Best Way To Cut Through The Garbage?

Woman with pink hair.

This woman could use some shampoo for colored hair. The simple truth: many color-safe shampoos and conditioners are formulated the exact the same way as ‘regular’ hair care products. The only difference is in the marketing and product positioning.

Well, I decided to review two popular color-protecting shampoo products in order to test each company’s claims. These two salon-level shampoo products are Pureology Nano Works and Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging. Be informed: my hair type is slightly dry and somewhat difficult to manage. I do demi-permanent hair colorings every 4-5 weeks.

Choosing The Right Shampoo For Colored Hair

As with all hair-care products, one of the most important indicators of quality and effectiveness is the ingredients. It’s easy for a company to make claims, but it’s hard for them to hide contradicting ingredients.

Whether you have a temporary, semi, demi, or completely permanent hair color, it’s important to avoid shampoos that contain ingredients that may harm colored hair. This means avoiding harsh chemical compounds and sulfates, because they reduce the sheen and vibrancy of color. Unfortunately, most shampoos and conditioners contain sulfates, which are cleansing compounds that can dull and damage your hair.

Maintaining Color-Treated Hair

It’s no secret that high-heat hair-care tools, UV rays, and overwashing dull colored hair.

Woman getting her hair dyed.

Colored hair requires a lot of attention for retention.

Choosing a good shampoo while neglecting other key factors during your prep process can lead to unsatisfactory results. During the course of my testing, I made sure to be as careful as possible when handling or caring for my hair. I did this to ensure that any results would be solely due to the shampoo itself and not other factors.

The Review Categories

I will be reviewing Pureology Nano Works and Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging in five different categories:

  • Ingredients
  • Scent
  • Consistency/texture
  • Results
  • Value

These categories will help me create an accurate profile for each product. After comparing them, I will determine the ultimate winner!

Pureology Nano Works For Aging And Color-Treated Hair

Pureology-nanoworks product bottle.

Pureology Nano.

Pureology is the self-proclaimed #1 color care brand. Some of their proprietary technologies include ZeroSulfate cleansing and AntiFadeComplex. The ZeroSulfate cleansing formula is free of sulfates and helps provide both cleansing and anti-aging properties. The AntiFadeComplex helps maximize color retention. Nano Works is vegan and cruelty-free.


The Nano Works shampoo contains a long list of ingredients. Because it is not advertised as a natural product, I won’t be covering each ingredient; rather, I will list and explain those that may help shed more light on the science behind what enables Nano Works shampoo to be effective.

  • Ammonium Cocoyl Isothionate
  • Cinnamidopropyltrimonium chloride
  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
  • Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)

Ingredients: The Breakdown

Ammonium Cocoyl Isothionate comes from coconut oil. It is a fatty acid that acts as a surfactant, allowing water to mix and rinse away oil, dirt and buildup in the hair. One of the specific color-protecting ingredients in Pureology’s Nano Works shampoo is cinnamidopropyltrimonium chloride. Studies have shown that cinnamidopropyltrimonium has the ability to protect hair against ultraviolet rays which can cause hair damage and dull color-treated hair.

Ascorbic acid and tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E) are two other ingredients in Nano Works shampoo that help protect against fading. Ascorbic acid is a derivative of vitamin C and is known for its many protective benefits. As a powerful, naturally-occurring antioxidant, vitamin C can be used topically to help skin cells damaged by UV rays. Tocopheryl acetate, a very stable form of vitamin E, is an antioxidant that can reduce the formation of free radicals and provide an extra layer of protection against UV rays. This form of vitamin E easily penetrates cell membranes, improving hair strands’ luster and fullness.

Summary: Pureology Nano Works shampoo contains the ingredients necessary to help prevent color-treated hair from fading.


Nano Works had a very light, flowery scent that was barely detectable after my hair dried. I’m a fan of lightly-scented hair-care products so long as they don’t clash with other fragrances I’m wearing.

Summary: Light, sophisticated scent that doesn’t linger too long.


Pureology’s Nano Works formula is perfect. It lathered beautifully and felt very silky during application. I didn’t have to use more than a pea-size amount. A little bit goes a long way. Rinsing was no issue at all. I have nothing bad to say about the consistency and texture.

Summary: The formula applies and rinses well. You only need a small amount of product to do the job.


After 2 weeks of using Pureology’s Nano Works shampoo, I was happy with the results. My hair felt consistently healthier and had no residue buildup. I was extremely pleased with the sheen and color of my hair after each wash (once every other day). The Nano Works formula also addressed the aged appearance of my dry ends, which now look much livelier. My coloring did not fade or look duller after washing. Based on the results I got, I could easily go 5-6 weeks between color treatments.

Summary: My hair feels softer and my ends look livelier. Most importantly, the shampoo did not dull my color and helped improve vibrancy.


Pureology’s Nano Works Shampoo cost $46.14 for 8.5 ounces, or $5.43 per ounce. There are other size options that increase the cost by $40-60. This is one of the most expensive shampoos I have ever laid eyes on, let alone used! I was very happy with the results, but I’m not yet sure how practical it is as a long-term solution.

Summary: Pureology Nano Works shampoo is very expensive but delivers results. I’m not sure if it is a good long-term solution.

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Shampoo

Caviar anti-aging hair shampoo product bottle.


Alterna Haircare is a company that prides itself on being pure, proven, and professional. They claim to use natural ingredients and a proprietary method of enzyme delivery they call “Enzymetherapy.” They claim this method improves absorption and helps support keratin production.

Their Alterna Caviar anti-aging shampoo is supposed to protect colored and aging hair from environmental aggressors. One of the standout ingredients in this shampoo is caviar. Yes, like the food. Caviar is rich in vitamins A and D as well as the amino acid arginine. Arginine is said to help promote faster, healthier hair growth. It seems to have a place in this shampoo, although the level of purity is not mentioned.


Similar to Nano Works, Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging shampoo contains a large variety of ingredients. Alterna doesn’t advertise their conditioner as being natural, so I’m only listing ingredients that are indicators of quality and help show what’s going on behind the scenes.

  • Soy Amino Acids
  • Citric Acid
  • Caviar Extract
  • Phospholipids

Ingredients Breakdown

Alterna’s Caviar shampoo contains soy amino acids derived from the soybean plant. Hair-care products are often infused with proteins and amino acids because hair is mostly made of proteins. These amino acids help create a protective film on the hair strands and provide conditioning and emulsifying benefits as well. Citric acid is found in citrus fruits. It enhances the effectiveness of other antioxidants and is beneficial for the skin. In this case, citric acid plays a role in helping provide the hair with luminous shine.

One of the most unique ingredients in Alterna’s shampoo is caviar. Caviar is rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. However, Alterna, and most cosmetic companies for that matter, don’t say how pure their extract is.

This makes it difficult to determine how beneficial it really is. Phospholipids are a combination of lipids (fats) and proteins that form a protective membrane around cells. The ingredient can be obtained from several natural sources such as pure olive oil. What makes this ingredient unique is that it acts as a protective layer once applied to the skin or hair. This layer can help protect and prevent free radical damage. There are also indications of phospholipids acting as antioxidants, which help prevent UV hair damage.

Summary: Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Shampoo contains some interesting ingredients, but it’s difficult to determine how effective the shampoo will be based on the ingredients alone.


Alterna’s Caviar Anti-Aging shampoo had an acidic, citrusy scent. It was very noticeable when applying the shampoo in the shower, but it dissipated around 30 minutes after my hair dried. It should pose no problem for anyone who is sensitive to scented shampoos.

Summary: Moderate citrusy scent. Does not cling to the hair for very long.


I found Alterna’s formula to be a tad too thick, and although it lathered and applied well, I was not overly enthusiastic about the texture. Like the Nano Works shampoo, this one was also very concentrated, so I only had to use a small drop. During the application my hair felt smooth, and the shampoo rinsed without a problem.

Summary: Formula is a little thicker than I would have liked. This did not prevent the shampoo from lathering, applying, and rinsing properly.


This shampoo surprised me. I was not expecting it to make a noticeable difference after the first few uses. It did a great job moisturizing and adding shine to my hair without adding any weight. I did not detect any difference in my color-treated sections over the course of 2 weeks, so I feel safe saying this shampoo will not prematurely dull my color. In terms of its “anti-aging” properties, it helped me gain softer, silkier-feeling hair. This made my coarse ends much easier to deal with.

Summary: I was happy with the results. My color did not dull, and my hair was soft and silky after use.


Alterna’s Caviar Anti Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo cost $20.49 for an 8.5-ounce bottle. That’s $2.41 per ounce, making it much less expensive than Pureology Nano Works Shampoo (less than half the price). There is also a 67-ounce bottle available for $65.21. As far as premium salon shampoos go, Alterna’s Caviar Anti Aging shampoo falls into a sweet spot. The results are great, and the price is good.

Summary: This shampoo cost $20.49 for 8.5 ounces, which is less than half of Pureology’s Nano Works.

So, Which Shampoo Is Best For Color-Treated Hair?

After testing both Pureology Nano Works and Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging for 2 weeks each, the results were very close. Both brands seemed to leave my color intact while adding a nice shine. They addressed my aged-looking ends. Having said all that, I choose Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging because it provided me with great results at half the cost of Pureology Nano Works. My specific reasoning is as follows:

  • Did not dull color
  • Improved the appearance and manageability of my aged-looking ends
  • Silky and smooth feel
  • Added a nice sheen to my hair
  • Provided nice moisture
  • Cost less than Pureology and did just as good of a job

I am occasionally willing to pay a premium price for top-quality products. However, that is only when there is a large difference between the results.

In this test, Pureology Nano Works did not overshadow Alterna by a large enough amount to make me believe it was worth the higher price. The shampoo wasn’t perfect (too thick), but it gets the job done and will allow me to protect my color worry-free. That’s good enough for me.

2018 Update: My Thoughts On Using These Products Up Until Now

Woman with shiny, smooth hair.

Smooth, silky, natural hair with lasting color protection.

After making my decision to stick with the Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging shampoo, I’ve moved back and forth between different shampoos since having written this article. While this is isn’t necessarily what I’d recommend for you as readers (it’s usually better for your hair when you stick to one product for a long period of time), the nature of my job requires me to test out different brands of shampoo and conditioner in short spaces of time.

There isn’t anything particularly bad about switching shampoos regularly, but your hair stands a better chance of regulating itself when it adjusts to a certain wash cycle and a certain product. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few favorites that I find myself returning to more often than not. In this case, I have always turned to the Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging shampoo after dyeing my hair because of the fantastic results that I know I can expect from this outstanding product.

So it’s been a while since I really thought about this product (around 2 years to be exact), and now that I’m revisiting it I remember just how awesome it is. In terms of value for money, there are very few products that can compete with the Caviar Anti-Aging Shampoo.

Even as it’s price has gone up a little over the years (due to the varying nature of economics), it’s still a good $10-$20 cheaper than most of the other shampoos in it’s category in terms of the results it provides. It’s like buying a top-quality product on sale every time! What’s better than that?

I considered using the Pureology Nano Works color treatment shampoo after dyeing my hair last summer, as I needed a drastic treatment. But I fell back on the Caviar Anti-Aging shampoo instead and am pleased to report that I still got excellent results. Thankfully, Alterna hasn’t changed the formula or ingredients much so you can be sure that you’re still getting the same goodness with each wash – every time.

I was also very pleased to see that Alterna added a few new products to the line (or perhaps I didn’t notice them last time) that will all help to provide you with better hair and more efficient color protection over time.  When you consider retaining hair color and preventing dryness and frizziness over time, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration.

One of the most important variables that many people typically overlook is the weather. Our hair tends to loose its moisture a lot quicker when it’s heated, which can result in brittle hair that breaks easily and color that fades more quickly. All of this can be affected by a warm, dry summer or using heat styling techniques.

So to help counter this, Alterna have created the Caviar Repair Multi-Vitamin Heat Protection Spray. It helps to nourish and revitalize the hair follicles. It also locks in moisture and keeps your hair protected against the elements and the effects of heat styling like blow-drying or flat-ironing.

It’s an invaluable addition to your hair care collection and can make all the difference between have soft, silky, colorful hair and dry, bland, and faded hair. Even with the additional cost, the total still comes to around the same price as the Pureology Nano Works line and the results have been nothing but positive for me.

A New Contender In 2018: Bumble & bumble Color Minded Shampoo Review

I’ve been grateful to find more products on the market these days that cater to the ‘holistically minded’ out there. The new Bumble and bumble Color Minded Shampoo is exactly one of these products, and it’s slowly been climbing up my list of recommended shampoos for color-sensitive hair. I’ve covered Bumble and bumble in the past, and this new shampoo has only built up my opinion of the brand.

The product has been carefully formulated to be as mild as possible on the hair, and it’s free of many of the harmful chemicals that tend to cause hair to fade with continual use.

Bumble and bumble have managed to create a formula that is both effective at keeping your hair clean and soft and smooth, whilst avoiding things like sulfates, alcohol-based solvents, ‘fragrances’ and parabens. These chemicals are often directly linked to hair loss and dry, irritable scalps. There’s also a link between them and color fading, so avoiding them is essential to making your color last.

After having used the Color Minded Shampoo and both of the other color-sensitive shampoos mentioned in this article, I can safely say that Bumble and bumble have created a worthy contender in the color treatment range. The shampoo is well-priced for the amount you get, and its quality is worth every penny.

It’s a good shampoo for general use – but it’s exceptional when it comes to protecting your hair’s color and sheen.

So if you’ve recently dyed your hair or you’re struggling to maintain your color but don’t want to spend too much or too little on a good shampoo, then this is for you. While it is true that the Alterna’s Caviar Anti Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo is still a better price and just as effective, the Color Minded Shampoo certainly gives it a run for its money.

It’s the perfect in-between alternative for those who can’t decide between the Caviar Anti Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo and the Pureology Nano Works Shampoo.

Tigi Bedhead Colour Goddess Review

Last but not least, I’ve been checking out Tigi’s Colour Goddess Oil Infused Shampoo. It’s a strong contender in the color-safe shampoo arena and is garnering great attention for the Tigi brand. With a price of just $19.21 for 25.36 ounces, or $0.76 an ounce, it’s the most inexpensive option of them all. And the shampoo has a sweet toffee scent, so it’s very pleasant but not too overpowering.

This shampoo contains some key ingredients to keep your color in check and vibrant while making your hair smooth, frizz-free, and hydrated. The coconut oil contains fatty acids which go deep into your hair to make it nice and soft.  The inclusion of sweet almond oil also conditions your hair and helps moisturize it, while the Vitamin E limits the creation of free radicals.

The shampoo removes pollutants from your hair and other dirt like sweat so that your hair can really shine. Plus, it includes other ingredients to pamper your hair and make it less prone to breakages. The B5 helps to repair damage and make your hair fuller, while keratin also serves to strengthen your locks. And with fewer dull ends, your color won’t be dull.

Just as with the Color Minded Shampoo, Tigi’s Colour Goddess Oil Infused Shampoo can give the Pureology Nano Works and Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging shampoos a run for their money. It’s a great option for everyone, but especially for those who are on a budget and don’t want to splurge on the more expensive options.


So if you’re thinking of dyeing your hair or you’ve already done it and want to ensure that your color stays and your hair doesn’t dry out or become brittle, then I’d definitely recommend sticking with the Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging shampoo – or their entire caviar range for that matter.

It’s a cost-effective alternative to most of the other shampoos in this category, and it will give you salon-quality results in the comfort of your own home at just a fraction of the price. Repairing damaged and brittle hair is a lot harder than preventing it from becoming dry and brittle, so I’d definitely recommend getting your hands on these products sooner rather than later.

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