The Best Ingredients for Color-Treated Hair

If you’ve got color-treated hair, shampoos and conditioners with protein-based ingredients can help moisturize your hair. Additional moisture and strength is essential for color-treated hair because the chemicals used to dye hair can cause it to dry out and become weaker than normal, while adding natural body, shine and manageability. After all, your hair is made up of mostly protein. Think of it like water for your body – you might mostly be made up of water, but you still need to drink it to stay healthy.

Keratin Protein

Keratin is a type of protein that your hair already contains. Keratin protein is a common ingredient in moisturizing conditioners designed for color-treated hair according to Barbara Close, author of “Pure Skin: Organic Beauty Basics” because it works to nourish and provide a healthy, natural looking shine, especially to color-treated hair. Look for moisturizing conditioners that have keratin high in the ingredient list – otherwise it may just be there as a tool to help sell the product. Barbara Close recommends avoiding conditioners that contain sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, as they tend to dry the hair out. Which is definitely not what you want from a moisturizing conditioner!

Collagen Protein

Moisturizing products that contain collagen are ideal for color-treated hair, and it is commonly used to treat wigs and hair pieces to give them a natural, smooth feel similar to human hair. According to Barbara Close, collagen-based shampoo and conditioners can help give your hair a bit of extra body and fullness, which is beneficial for women with thin or fine hair. Like keratin, make sure collagen is a main ingredient; otherwise you might be spending top-dollar on a product that won’t really do more for your hair than any other conditioner.

Homemade Protein Moisturizer

If you don’t mind rolling up your sleeves and getting messy, you can make your own protein-based moisturizing shampoo designed specifically for color-treated hair according to Josephine Fairley, author of “The Ultimate Natural Beauty Book.” To make your own protein-based moisturizing shampoo, combine 2 tablespoons of crushed, dried soapwort root, 2 tablespoons of rosemary, 1/4 tablespoon of cosmetic-grade soy protein powder and 1 1/2 quarts of filtered water in a large saucepan. Heat the mixture over high heat until just boiling. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before straining the rosemary out of the shampoo and transferring it to a clean bottle. Shake the shampoo up before each use – some ingredients have a tendency to sink to the bottom of the mixture.

Other Beneficial Ingredients

In addition to proteins, there are other ingredients that can be added to moisturizing products designed specifically for color-treated hair. Sage, for example, can give your hair a natural shine and glow according to Josephine Fairley. Elderberry is another alternative, and according to Fairley, it works well to hide gray patches and spots for ladies that have black hair without all the chemicals used to make most dyes, which can actually weaken your hair over time.