An extreme-ultraviolet (XUV) laser pulse consisting of harmonics of a fundamental near-infrared (NIR) laser frequency is combined with the NIR pulse to systematically study two-color photoionization of helium atoms. A time-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy experiment is carried out where energy- and angle-resolved photoelectron distributions are obtained as a function of the NIR intensity and wavelength. Time-dependent Schrödinger equation calculations are performed for the conditions corresponding to the experiment and used to extract residual populations of Rydberg states resulting from excitation by the XUV + NIR pulse pair. The residual populations are studied as a function of the NIR intensity (3.5 × 1010 − 8 × 1012 W cm−2) and wavelength (760–820 nm). The evolution of the photoelectron distribution and the residual populations are interpreted using an effective restricted basis model, which includes the minimum set of states relevant to the features observed in the experiments. As a result, a comprehensive and intuitive picture of the laser-induced dynamics in helium atoms exposed to a two-color XUV–NIR light field is obtained.