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Will ketoconazole shampoo strip hair color?

Hair coloring can completely transform your look. Nothing brightens up your face like a bold new hair color. But maintaining that new color can be tricky. Between washing, sun exposure, and styling damage, hair color never lasts as long as we want it to. So what’s the deal with anti-dandruff shampoos like ketoconazole? Will using a medicated shampoo strip the color right out of your hair?

What is Ketoconazole?

Ketoconazole is an antifungal medication used to treat dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. It works by killing the yeast Malassezia that contributes to dandruff and scalp irritation. Ketoconazole shampoos like Nizoral are available over-the-counter to control flaking and itching.

Here’s a quick overview of ketoconazole shampoo:

Type Key Ingredient Uses
Anti-dandruff Ketoconazole 1-2% Treats dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis

This antifungal medication is effective at treating the underlying causes of dandruff. But it’s not as harsh as many medicated shampoos. So how does it impact hair color?

Does Ketoconazole Shampoo Strip Hair Color?

The short answer is: ketoconazole shampoo can cause some hair color fading, but not drastic stripping. Here’s a look at how it impacts different types of hair dye:

Permanent Hair Color

Permanent hair color uses ammonia and peroxide to open the hair cuticle and alter the natural pigment inside the hair shaft. This type of hair dye results in long-lasting color that gradually fades over time.

Ketoconazole shampoo can contribute to some of that fading. The active ingredient ketoconazole is gentle, but overuse may cause additional cuticle opening and color loss. Using ketoconazole shampoo once a week is unlikely to drastically strip permanent color. But daily use can speed up fading.

Semi-permanent Hair Color

Semi-permanent hair dyes coat the outside of the hair strand without lightening or penetrating into the cortex. The color molecules are larger which limits how long they can cling to hair before washing out.

Because semi-permanent dye rests on the surface of the hair, it’s more vulnerable to shampooing. Ketoconazole can loosen and rinse away semi-permanent color quicker than regular shampoo. Overuse will cause noticeably faster fading.

Temporary Hair Color

Temporary hair colors like hair makeup, colored hair spray, and colored mousse contain pigments that sit on the very top layer of the hair cuticle. The pigments don’t penetrate at all. Temporary colors simply coat the strands and quickly wash away.

Not surprisingly, ketoconazole shampoo will strip temporary hair color right off. Most temporary colors only last one shampooing and will fade significantly faster if using a medicated shampoo.

Hair Gloss Treatments

Hair gloss treatments are glazes applied to conditioned hair in order to boost shine and tone down brassiness. The results are temporary but can last through a few shampoos.

As you might expect, ketoconazole shampoo will quickly strip away glossing results. The color molecules sit on the very surface of the hair cuticle, ready to be washed down the drain.

Highlighted Hair

With highlighted hair, lightener is applied to small sections to lift natural pigment and create a sun-kissed look. The highlighted pieces are more porous and prone to fading.

Ketoconazole likely won’t make dramatic differences on highlights. However, the lifted sections may experience slight accelerated fading from medicated shampooing. This could subtly soften and blend highlighted pieces faster.

Tips to Prevent Hair Color Stripping

To get the benefits of ketoconazole shampoo without rampant fading, here are some tips to protect hair color:

1. Limit Use to Twice Per Week

Using ketoconazole shampoo too often is the fastest route to color stripping. Limit medicated washes to twice a week max to avoid excessive cuticle opening.

2. Follow With Conditioner

Always pair ketoconazole shampoo with an ultra-hydrating conditioner. Nourishing ingredients help close cuticles and protect hair pigment from washing away.

3. Use a Bond Builder

Bond-strengthening treatments create extra bonds within the hair strand to limit damage from washing and styling. Using a weekly strengthening treatment provides added color protection.

4. Protect With a Color-Safe Shampoo

On non-medicated wash days, use a sulfate-free, color-safe shampoo to prevent color molecule loss. Gentler cleansers lock in vivid color better.

5. Rinse With Cool Water

Rinsing with cool instead of hot water keeps cuticles sealed tight for maximum color retention. The cold temperature prevents excessive lifting of the cuticle layer.

The Bottom Line

While ketoconazole shampoo won’t completely strip most permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes with moderate use, overuse can cause accelerated fading. To maintain bright, vivid hair color, limit medicated washes to twice weekly and always follow with conditioning treatments. With some extra TLC, you can keep hair looking bold and beautiful.