Is Herbal Essence Good For Colored Hair

Is Herbal Essence Good For Colored Hair | All About This Natural Brand’s Effect On Hair

Is Herbal Essence good for colored hair? Read my article below to find out. Also learn if the Herbal Essence shampoo suits your hair type and all about the harmful ingredients (if any) in them. 

I love getting my hair colored. But with great-looking dyed hair comes great responsibility towards your tresses. Just any shampoo wouldn’t do.

You have to use a mild, color protect shampoo to take care of your color treated hair. 

Most regular shampoos contain a cleansing agent called surfactant which basically strips oils, dirt, dandruff and debris from hair. However, some of these surfactants can be too good at their job and remove your hair’s moisture and color pigments along with the grease and dirt.

So you need a shampoo whose surfactants are mild and who won’t strip hair color.

The two main culprits in regular shampoos are sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate that can be harsh on hair. Sometimes, there are others like sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate and ammonium lauryl sulfate that can be rough on colored hair as well. 

Today we will look at a self proclaimed “natural” brand, Herbal Essences and see if their shampoos are good for color treated hair or not. 

Is Herbal Essence Good For Colored Hair 

The main reason why a shampoo is considered “bad” for colored hair is because of the presence of sulfates, chiefly SLS and SLEs. Two other reasons why a shampoo can be harmful on color treated hair is the presence of acidic ingredients that can act as bleaching agents and salt (sodium chloride) that can fade hair dye.

So Herbal Essences has a mix of shampoos with different formulas and ingredients lists. But basically, you can say that a Herbal Essence Shampoo is good for colored hair if:

  • It doesn’t have SLS, SLES or other harsh surfactants
  • It doesn’t contain sodium chloride
  • It doesn’t have acidic ingredients like lemon, grapefruit, apple cider vinegar, etc.
  • It doesn’t contain chemical exfoliants (that can open cuticles and remove dye pigments) like salicylic acid. 

After doing a thorough reading of all the Herbal Essences shampoo ranges I’ve come to the conclusion that Herbal Essence is NOT good for colored hair. Even the one shampoo in their range that promises to be color safe (namely the Herbal Essences Color Me Happy Shampoo) contains SLS and SLES which was very disappointing to see. 

Apart from these obviously problematic ingredients, I’ve noticed that several Herbal Essences products (including conditioners, hair creams, etc.) contain a large amount of artificial fragrances and alcohol. 

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Now colored hair is already vulnerable to damage especially if you’ve used bleach and developer to lighten it before applying dye. So the use of alcohol and perfumes on it will dry it out further and cause frizz, breakage and other issues. 

Is The Herbal Essences Shampoo Good For Natural Hair

herbal essence color safe shampoo

No. This is the short and simple answer. There are no Herbal Essences shampoos that in my opinion will suit natural (type 4 or African American hair). 

This hair type needs a lot of nourishment and is very prone to damage and breakage due to the kinky structure of their hair strands that cause it to become very dry. 

Almost all Herbal Essences shampoos contain sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate which are both an anathema to curly/natural hair. 

The closest shampoo I could find that could be used for curly hair was the Herbal Essences Coconut Milk shampoo but this too contained sulfates, perfumes, silicones, and preservatives that are bad for ALL hair types not just curly or natural ones. 

The silicones in the shampoo can also build up on natural hair over time which is already very low porosity. This can cause difficulty in moisture being absorbed by hair and lead to dryness. 

To be completely fair, if you have natural hair any shampoo would be a bad idea. This hair type does well with co-washes or conditioners that double as cleansing agents. So your hair won’t get dry even when showering. 

Are Herbal Essences Shampoos Good For Everyday Usage?

The Herbal Essences shampoo contains a lot of harsh chemicals so I wouldn’t really recommend using this shampoo everyday. 

If you have thick, oily and straight hair and have never bleached or colored them, then the cleansing powers of the shampoo might actually be beneficial to you. 

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But even then using this shampoo every single day might be overkill. You can get a milder, sulfate-free shampoo for everyday use and use the Herbal Essences shampoo as a clarifying product once or twice a week (depending on your hair). 

Is The Herbal Essences Color Me Happy Conditioner Silicone Free?

herbal essences color me happy conditioner

Yes, the Herbal Essences Color Me Happy Conditioner contains silicones. However, the silicone used here is Bis-aminopropyl Dimethicone. It is different from other silicones, especially regular dimethicone as it doesn’t cause buildup

Bis-aminopropyl Dimethicone also coats the entirety of your hair strand including filling in the damaged areas to give you smoother, softer hair.

I have my reservations about this conditioner as it contains sodium chloride or salt and citric acid which can fade color-treated hair.

I’m also not too crazy about the use of artificial perfumes and coloring agents in the conditioner either. 

But apart from this, the Color Me Happy is actually a pretty good conditioner for hair. 

Was Herbal Essences Shampoo Recalled Due To Harmful Chemicals?

Herbal Essences is a part of a parent company called Procter and Gamble (P&G). In December of 2021, P&G voluntarily recalled its dry shampoos and hair sprays from across various brands including Herbal Essences, Dove, Aussie and more.

This was because their aerosol products were found to contain Benzene, a compound which is known to be a carcinogen (cancer causing agent) and an endocrine disruptor that causes hormonal issues. 

Not all of P&G products were recalled and even the brands that faced these recalls only had an issue with the aerosol-based products. 

So using a regular Herbal Essences shampoo won’t cause any issues with your health. It might however be bad for your hair but it won’t cause any physical health issues. 

Herbal Essences Colour Protect Shampoo Review

herbal essences colour protect shampoo review

To see if Herbal Essences are good for color treated hair or not I actually used their only color protect shampoo. 

I regretted buying this shampoo as soon as I bought it. The first thing I noticed was that it contained sulfates. 

Yes, there are both sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate here. So I don’t really understand how this shampoo is for colored hair. 

I was very disappointed but still wanted to use it on my colored hair which had been dyed with red semi permanent hair dye.

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After the first wash, I now have a copper hair color. It was great at stripping my hair color. 

There is also citric acid (an acidic substance found in citrus fruits) that is great at cleansing the scalp but terrible at maintaining hair color and sodium chloride or salt that can fade certain hair dyes.

So here’s the triple whammy of bad ingredients for color treated hair. 

Is Herbal Essence Good For Colored Hair

I have very straight oily hair. So my tresses thankfully didn’t feel too dry after using this shampoo. However, I can see how prolonged use can dry out your hair as it was very clarifying. 

Now coming to the plus side of the shampoo I really loved the rose fragrance in it. But unfortunately there are added perfumes as well. 

And I was also disappointed to see the use of synthetic colorants in the shampoo. 

This particular Herbal Essences shampoo also contains milder surfactants like cocamidopropyl betaine and cocamide MEA. So the inclusion of SLS and SLES is head scratching to me. 

It could also have done without the perfumes easily as the chief ingredient is rose extract which has a lovely natural scent. 

The good thing about the shampoo is it’s relatively affordable price. So I don’t have a lot of regret about spending money on this shampoo.

It’s very clarifying and in my opinion only suits virgin hair which tends to get very oily at times. So it gives you a good cleansing. Otherwise, stay away!


To wrap it all up, Herbal Essences is not a suitable brand for colored hair. Its shampoos contain a lot of sulfates that will strip hair dye when used.

It also isn’t that great of a brand for damaged, curly or African American hair for the same reason. 

The hair creams and conditioners from this brand also contain a lot of silicones that might lead to product buildup on hair. 

The brand’s products are free from most harmful chemicals like parabens, minerals oils or DMDM Hydantoin, but it does contain other preservatives, perfumes and even alcohol. 

So use it only if it suits your hair and at your own discretion. 

Also Read:

Herbal Essences Vs Dove Comparison

OGX vs. Herbal Essences Comparison

Herbal Essences vs. Pantene Comparison

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