15 Best Dandruff Shampoos for Color-Treated Hair (2019)

Updated 5 years ago

The last thing you wanted to see after spending a ton of money on your new hair color is tiny white flakes scattered across your shoulders. On top of caring for your colored tresses, you now have dandruff to deal with too. Joy. Yet, most of the dandruff shampoos you encounter are made of the strong stuff that wipes out your hair color.

But it IS possible to find a dandruff shampoo that is color-safe!  We’ve found the best dandruff shampoos for color-treated hair to share with you.

The Top 15 Dandruff Shampoos for Color-Treated Hair Reviewed

Redken Dandruff Control Shampoo

If you had previously tried Head & Shoulders only to find that it strips away your hair color, it’s time to switch to this shampoo by Redken. Even though it is not sulfate-free, the formula is surprisingly gentle on color-treated hair. Those who tried it were able to confidently say that their highlights, ombre colors, and bleached hues were kept intact, even after prolonged use of the shampoo. Plus, the best thing is that the shampoo contains Pyrithione Zinc to fight off dandruff. Hydrating Glycerin is also added to the blend in order to restore moisture to a dry and flaky scalp.

Kenra Dandruff Shampoo

Another color-safe alternative that contains 1.9% Pyrithione Zinc to zap off the nasty flakes and itchiness is this shampoo by Kenra. Users like how it got rid of their dandruff relatively quickly without fading off their hair color. One reviewer mentioned that the shampoo resolved her extreme dandruff problem in less than five uses without being too harsh on the colored strands. Goes to show how potent this stuff really is. On a side note, it does smell like the typical coal tar formulation but thankfully, the scent fades off quickly enough.

Maple Holistics Sage Shampoo

If you are hankering for a greener alternative in tribute to Mother Nature, this Sage shampoo might be just the thing for you. It is formulated with a natural blend of botanical ingredients. More importantly, without the addition of sulfates, parabens, fragrances or other kinds of potential color-stripping chemicals. Your colored tresses will be treated just fine. On top of that, Tea Tree Oil eliminates the dandruff-causing fungus and clarifies the scalp to prevent the buildup.

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Dandruff Control Shampoo

Using natural and certified organic ingredients, this sulfate-free shampoo is gentle on your colored strands while effectively clearing up the white flakes. African Black Soap and Tea Tree Oil kill off dandruff-causing bacteria while the moisture-rich Aloe Vera keeps your scalp calm and hydrated. Users who used to sigh in dismay when they noticed the white ‘snow’ on their shoulders were delighted to see less of it. Others who had suffered an itchy scalp also noticed great relief once they switched over to this shampoo.

Honeydew Tea Tree Shampoo For Dandruff

This brand also provides an all-natural option when it comes to fighting off dandruff so that you never have to worry about the color seeping out of your hair with every wash. Using 100% Pure Tea Tree Oil, the shampoo reduces flaking and itching to provide your scalp with all-day comfort. The moisture-intense Jojoba and Rosemary Oils infused in it also restore your scalp’s natural balance and leave it smooth and scale-free. Users were amazed at how quickly the product worked in resolving their dandruff issues. Some even noticed that the flaking decreased dramatically and their scalps felt less scaly within the first few uses.

Tree to Tub Soapberry For Hair

Tree to Tub makes use of the Soapberry to produce a dandruff-destroying shampoo, minus the harsh chemicals that may alter your hair color or make the dandruff symptoms worse. Besides adding a nice lather to an all-natural shampoo, the Soapberry is also pH-balancing in nature to normalize your scalp. The addition of moisturizing Argan Oil and Aloe Vera softens and hydrates the scalp so that you don’t have to deal with angry, red bumps or a scaly skin texture. This is why countless users have fallen in love with the product as it keeps their scalp and hair healthy and flake-free. The refreshing peppermint scent doesn’t hurt either.

OGX Extra Strength Tea Tree Mint Shampoo

With an impressive blend of Tea Tree Leaf Oil Extract, Peppermint, and Witch Hazel Extract, it’s safe to say that the white flakes and dryness never stood a chance against this shampoo. Fans of the product have raved about how the formula kept their hair and scalp clean, moisturized, and most importantly free of the pesky white flakes. Those with color-treated or chemically-processed hair also vouched for the shampoo’s ability to keep their color and style intact. Besides eliminating dandruff, it gives your hair an extra boost of hydration so that your locks feel gorgeously-soft and free of tangles.

Lotus Rx Dandruff Control Shampoo Sulfate Free

Widely used in salons, this professional formula is infused with 1% Pyrithione Zinc for immediate flake reduction and keeps your sensitive scalp smooth and healthy. The soothing Chamomile and Nettle in it calm down inflamed, red patches and alleviates itchy scalps. Its effectiveness is so impressive that one reviewer actually said that her itch was completely gone within five hours of the first use. As it is free from sulfates, salt, and parabens, this means no chance of the formulation altering color- or keratin-treated hair.

L'Oréal Paris EverFresh Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

If you are looking for something that is light on your wallet but still packs a punch in knocking out dandruff from your scalp, L’Oreal’s EverFresh line is where you need to start looking. The shampoo is made with 1% Pyrithione Zinc to stop the itching, flaking, and general irritation that are normally associated with dandruff. Because the formula does not contain harsh sulfates or surfactants, you can definitely rest assured that it would not strip away your hair color. Users were also happy to report that the shampoo is not at all drying on their scalp and hair.

Jason Dandruff Relief Treatment 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner

For something that actually works in stopping dandruff, try this two-in-one shampoo and conditioner to clarify the scalp and keep your tresses well-conditioned. Once again, it contains the active ingredient, Pyrithione Zinc, to control and prevent the recurrence of flaking, scaling, and itching. To keep your scalp hydrated and soft, Jojoba Oil is also included in the formula. And most importantly, the lack of sulfates in it means no chance of the product ruining your hair color. Lastly, the shampoo does have a strong minty scent which may take a little getting used to.

Baebody Tea Tree Oil Shampoo

Specially formulated for color-treated and curly-haired types, this Tea Tree Oil-based shampoo will normalize your dry and itchy scalp so that there are flakes no more. To keep your scalp continuously free of scaly skin and red bumps, the shampoo also contains a hydrating and soothing blend of Jojoba Oil, Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, and Coconut Oil. Despite the use of so many botanical oils, users were pleased to notice that there was no buildup of it that might make their scalp overly-greasy. An added benefit is that this medicated shampoo won’t make your hair look lanky and limp like so many others did.

ANTI-b Antibacterial Shampoo

As we can see, the name of this sulfate-free shampoo hints exactly at what it aims to do - eradicate the dandruff-causing bacteria on your scalp to stop the nasty symptoms once and for all. With its dandruff-busting formula that consists of Cutipure CLR, Lemon Essential Oil, Witch Hazel, and Aloe Vera, you can look forward to instant relief of the itching, flaking, and redness. Users were impressed with the product’s ability in resolving their dandruff issues and preventing it from making a comeback again. One reviewer even mentioned how consistently using the shampoo for a span of three months kept her scalp clean, smooth, and flake-free.

Max Green Alchemy Organic Formula Scalp Rescue Shampoo

This miracle in a bottle is the answer to all your scalp woes while being gentle on color-treated hair. The brand’s proprietary herbal infusion of Tea Tree, Lemon Tea Tree, Neem Oil, Geranium, and Lavender has helped countless users stay flake-free and restore the natural health of their scalps. The lack of harsh detergents in the shampoo also prevents causing a relapse or worsening of the unwanted symptoms. The organic formula also makes for surprisingly little lather when you add water to the product which means it is far easier to rinse off the shampoo completely.

Mane N Tail Daily Control 2 in 1 Anti-Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner

This color-safe shampoo also doubles up as a conditioner to save you precious time in the shower. Its advanced formula is gentle enough for daily use to relieve you of your dandruff problem. It’s got Pyrithione Zinc to remove scalp irritants and an Olive Oil Complex to nourish and strengthen your hair from root to end. To hydrate and calm down irritated skin, Sweet Almond Seed Oil and Cocoa Butter have also been included to ensure your scalp stay moisturized so that there is no chance of flaking. Users who had suffered from dandruff and dry hair were amazed at how the nourishing stuff transformed their scalp and hair within the first wash, and it only got better from there. The highly affordable price doesn’t hurt either.

Matrix Biolage Scalpsync Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

This shampoo taps into the calming properties of Mint Leaf and the anti-bacterial nature of Pyrithione Zinc to soothe an irritated scalp and tackle the root cause of dandruff. Those who had tried out the product had nothing but good things to say about it. Users mentioned that the shampoo smoothened the scaly, red bumps and removed scalp debris while consistent use has eliminated the itch and visible flakes. And the gentle formula does all these without altering your color-treated hair.

As we can see, there are numerous shampoos on the market that can treat your dandruff issue AND keep your hair color intact. This also means that you are now spared of having to hyperventilate at the prospect of seeing your money go down the drain, literally.

What causes Dandruff?

There are a number of reasons that could cause dandruff.

One is the overproduction of yeasts or fungus called Malassezia. For some people, this fungus can be irritating and cause flaking of the scalp.

Another cause of dandruff isSeborrheic dermatitis (or seborrhea), a form of eczema. This makes the scalp oily, red, irritated and scaly. Seborrhea can be found in any part of the body with oil glands. This excess oil causes the skin cells to build up and shed.

Now here’s the thing with dandruff – it cannot be prevented. Dandruff caused by poor hygiene is really a myth. Dandruff is not curable, it comes and it goes, but the good news is that it can be managed with the right hair care.

Could Dying Your Hair Cause Dandruff?

According to hair experts, hair dyes don’t actually cause dandruff. With that said, the process of coloring your hair can indeed exacerbate underlying scalp issues like a flaking and itchiness. 

Hair dyes are chock full of chemicals like Ammonia and Hydrogen Peroxide which can be harsh on the scalp. They have to be harsh in order to penetrate the cuticle layer and stay in the hair shaft for a long time. If you had scalp issues before, it is likely a color treatment would trigger these symptoms again.

But all is not lost. Take the right steps to nourish your hair and scalp to prevent dandruff from settling in even after dyeing your hair:

  • Keep your scalp dandruff-free by using a dandruff shampoo for at least two weeks before you go for a color treatment.
  • After the treatment is done, use a nourishing and sulfate-free shampoo to protect your scalp.
  • Make sure to use a moisturizing conditioner regularly so that your scalp stays hydrated and flake-free.

Understanding Ingredients in Dandruff Shampoos

It may feel overwhelming to know what ingredients to look out for and what to stay away from. Here’s a basic explanation of common ingredients in dandruff shampoos and what they do.

  • Pyrithione Zinc: Antifungal
  • Selenium Sulfide: Antifungal and prevents cells from dying off. This can change hair color for blond, gray or dyed hair
  • Ketoconazole: Antifungal
  • Salicylic acid: Removes the extra scale from your scalp,
  • Coal tar: Slows down growth and shedding skin cells. This can change hair color for those with blond or gray hair
  • Tea tree oil: A natural ingredient with antifungal properties in it. Some people might be allergic to it, check before using it.

As your dandruff condition improves, you can cut down on how often you use the anti-dandruff shampoo.

8 Tips To Make Your Hair Color Last Longer

Besides keeping dandruff away from our beautifully colored hair, the next thing we really want to know is how to make that luscious shade last a bit longer before a touch-up is needed. Here, we share the best tips from hair experts and stylists on how you can prolong your hair color for as long as possible.

1. Cleanse Thoroughly Before the Treatment

The idea of the hair dye absorbing better into dirty hair is just a myth and a really gross one at that. When your hair is dirty, there are all kinds of sebum and product buildup coating your scalp and hair strands which actually prevent the color from sinking in. It also increases the chance of an uneven dye job, which is so not what you want. So do yourself a favor by cleansing your scalp and hair thoroughly before going for a color treatment. That way, you are getting absolute bang for your buck and spare your stylist of having to deal with a dirty mane.

2. Hold Off On the First Wash

A tip recommended by professional hairstylists is to hold off on the first wash after the treatment for as long as possible. A rule of thumb would be an ideal 24 to 48 hours. This is because lesser hair washes mean lesser chances for color fade-off and will help to preserve your hair color for a little while longer.

3. Shampoo 1 to 3 Times a Week

Following up from the previous point, you should opt for washing your hair once to three times a week. It may take a while for your hair to be ‘retrained’ (i.e. your hair will compensate for the reduced wash frequency by producing lesser sebum over time), but the results will be well worth it in exchange for extending the longevity of your hair color.

4. Dry Shampoos

For those who are not yet used to the idea of a reduced hair washing frequency, you can give dry shampoos a try. They work wonders for eliminating greasy roots and keeping your scalp clean. Best of all, they allow you to wash less frequently with a regular shampoo without the risk of your hair ending up like Professor Snape’s greasy locks.

5. Color-Preserving Shampoo & Conditioner

Another great way to maintain your hair color is to choose color-preserving shampoos and conditioners. These formulas are usually sulfate-free to prevent stripping off the colors. Natural shampoos are also a wonderful alternative as their organic ingredients are usually gentle on colored hair.

6. Avoid Hot Water

If you have always been a fan of hot baths and showers, you may have to give these up once you have color-treated hair. The heat actually causes the cuticle layer of your hair shaft to expand and open up. This can cause the color and moisture to seep out and result in your hair color fading off at a faster rate. Switching to cold water not only seals the cuticle layer shut and prevent that from happening but also gives your hair a healthy sheen. Alternatively, you can still go for a hot shower but keep your newly-colored hair protected with a shower cap.

7. Protect Against the Sun and Chlorine

Sun exposure and chlorine will cause color fade-off faster than you can believe it. As such, if you are heading for the beach this weekend, remember to use a hair protector that contains SPF. Additionally, if sunbathing is your favorite pastime, pop on a wide-brimmed hat which not only protects your hair from the sun but also prevents unwanted freckles from appearing at the end of the day.

8. Deep Conditioning

We all know that chemically-processed hair is more prone to dryness and breakage. Which is why deep conditioning is even more important once you have colored your hair. Pampering your tresses with a deep conditioner once a week will put the moisture back into your hair without causing the color to fade. You can also go for a leave-in conditioner or a hair mask to quench the thirst in your locks.

Maintaining your hair color and extending its longevity is not altogether impossible. All it takes is a little bit of effort and the right hair products in your daily or weekly routine to ensure the color lasts for a long, long time to come.

Wrap Up

Thanks to the prevalence of color-safe ingredients, you won’t be hard-pressed to find a shampoo that not only preserves your recently-colored hair but also resolves the issue of dandruff. Sometimes, it is indeed possible to have your cake and eat it too.