Pureology shampoo and conditioner – sulfate free solution for colored hair

If you dye your hair, you probably know that using a shampoo with sulfates accelerates color washout. Using a sulfate-free shampoo would help retain your hair color. Pureology have designed shampoo and conditioners specifically for color-treated hair. These hair products are normally sold in hair salons, and the purchase from retailers is discouraged. I think this official way of marketing is a bit strange. In any case, you can find the main Pureology products in brick and mortar stores, as well as online, although products purchased outside of qualified salons are not guaranteed.

Pureology shampoo and conditioner

Pureology shampoo and conditioner lines are –

  1. Precious oil – for rough, dull and brittle hair
  2. Hydrate – for dry hair
  3. Reviving red – for vibrant hair color
  4. Pure volume – for fine hair
  5. Essential repair – for distressed hair
  6. Perfect 4 platinum – for fragile, highlighted and highly lifted hair
  7. Super Smooth – for unmanageable hair
  8. Nano Works – for aging colored hair
  9. Purify Shampoo – clarifying shampoo

The Pureology dandruff shampoo, “ScalpPure” is not being produced at the moment. All Pureology products were designed to retain the vibrancy of color-treated hair, and contain no sulfates. Pureology also attempt to match their hair products with specific hair types.

As always, look at the label and the ingredients to learn about the quality of the hair product. Pureology do not advertise list of ingredients for their products on their website. I was able to find ingredients lists for 8 of the 9 product lines. The mystery product is the Reviving Red system.

Detergents used in Pureology shampoos

When looking at shampoo detergents, you should consider several different factors including –

  1. The safety of the detergents. Some shampoo detergents may be irritants, cause allergies, or cause other problems such as increased risk of cancer.
  2. How well the detergent really cleans the hair? Is the shampoo effective in removing extra sebum and dust or particles that stick to the hair?
  3. How gentle is the shampoo on hair and scalp? Do the detergents cause any damage (such as drying) to the hair of the skin? In the case of color-treated hair, do they strip the color off of the hair?
  4. Our perception of clean hair during and after using the product. Part of the perception of cleaning is foam. Although the foam itself does not clean, most cleaning agents form foam. Because we are used to shampoos that form a lot of foam, we have learned to expect it from our shampoo.

Let’s look now at Pureology shampoos with these points in mind.

  1. Safety – All Pureology shampoos contain the detergent Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, which has a risk of contamination by nitrosamines as by-products. Nitrosamines are carcinogens, and are banned of use in cosmetics in Canada. Additionally, Precious oil; Hydrate; Essential Repair; Perfect 4; and Nano Works shampoos, also contain the detergent Cocamidopropyl Betaine, which in addition to risk of contaminants is irritant and allergenic for some people.
  2. Cleaning – All Pureology shampoos contain mixtures of several cleaning agents, and are effective at hair cleaning.
  3. Gentle cleaning – the detergents used by Pureology are fairly gentle compared to the traditional sulfates, and hence are good choice when the goal is maintaining vibrant hair color for an extended period of time.
  4. Foam production – the mixtures of detergents do form rich foam.

Maintaining hair color with Pureology shampoo and conditioner

Pureology claim to use “AntiFadeComplex” to maximize color retention, and minimize fading due to color oxidation and sun exposure. This so called complex presumably contains antioxidants and UV blocker. In analyzing the ingredient lists of 8 out of the 9 product lines, I was unable to identify any common ingredients that can be singled out as the “AntiFadeComplex”. Sunflower seed extract is a natural sunscreen that is included in 5 out of the 8 product lines that I have analyzed. Ascorbic acid, is vitamin C, and is included in 5 out of the 8 product lines, and derivatives of vitamin E (tocopherol, or tocopheryl acetate) are found in 6 products. These two vitamins are also antioxidants. The enzyme superoxide dismutase, another biological antioxidant, is included in the Nano Works shampoo. If this enzyme is absorbed by the skin in its active form, it could also fight some hair graying.

Botanicals in Pureology shampoo

Pureology shampoos contain some, but certainly not many, plant extracts. Not all of the botanicals listed below are included in all products.

  • Sunflower seed extract – natural sunscreen
  • Sunflower seed oil – skin conditioner
  • Aloe vera leaf extract – moisturizer (in Hydrate and Purify shampoos)
  • Green tea leaf extract – skin conditioner and antioxidant
  • Cabbage rose flower extract – fragrance and skin conditioner
  • Ylang ylang extract – fragrance, skin conditioner
  • Lavender – fragrance, skin conditioner
  • Olive oil – hair and skin conditioner, antioxidant
  • Lemon extract – fragrance
  • Coriander seed oil – skin softener (in Perfect 4 Platinum shampoo)
  • Shea Butter – skin conditioner (in Super Smooth shampoo)
  • Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract – antioxidant (in Nano Works shampoo)

In summary,

From analyzing the ingredients in Pureology hair products, it seems to me that these products are hyped. Consumer reviews, however, are mostly positive.
Consider trying these products only if you dye your hair. Also, it is strongly recommended to try the products in a salon before you buy.
In my opinion, there are less expensive and more effective alternatives on the market.

What is your experience with Pureology hair products?

Share your comments below.

6 thoughts on “Pureology shampoo and conditioner – sulfate free solution for colored hair

  1. Sue

    I broke out in unbearable itching from your shampoo in purple bottle (Hydrating) What do I do now? What was the ingredient that cuased this?

    1. Tuft Post author

      Sue, thank you for sharing your unfortunate experience, I’m sorry to hear that you are having difficulties with one of the products mentioned on my site. This is certainly not MY shampoo. I just review different sulfate free shampoos, trying to help people decide which shampoo is best for them. If you’ve read my article about Pureology products, you might have seen that I’m less than excited about this line of products, and don’t even provide a link to purchase this product from my site. I might be able to help analyze the ingredients and suggest the ones to avoid, if you tell me exactly which product you’ve purchased.

  2. Allergic

    A family member uses the shampoo and I have severe reaction to it from airborne chemicals (major trouble breathing; wheezing; itchy all over; stomach ache; difficulty concentrating). I sleep in the room where the bathroom is. Is this something that is possibly coming from Pureology?

    1. Tuft Post author

      Sounds unlikely, to come from a shampoo, however, all Pureology shampoos contain “fragrance” ingredients which are undisclosed, volatile, and could be allergenic.

      Is it possible that the allergy is a result of molds in the bathroom?

      1. B

        It’s not molds. It’s definitely the shampoo or some other product. I know this because when they come downstairs after taking a shower I get just as sick as if I were in the room upstairs. Is there anything I can do to mitigate the reactions I have to “fragrance” ingredients?

  3. B

    It’s also the shampoo in the purple bottle. Can you guys describe to me what that smells like to you so I can try to tease out whether it’s that which I’m smelling upstairs?


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