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Product Highlight: Shades EQ

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

Shades EQ is a hair gloss (coined by some as the lipgloss of hair color) is an acidic demi-permanent hair color.

You may be wondering what makes acidic hair color unique?


What is Demi-permanent hair color?

Demi-permanent hair color is hair color that contains an alkaline agent other than ammonia (e.g. ethanolamine, sodium carbonate) and, while always employed with a developer, the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in that developer may be lower than used with a permanent hair color.

A color-educator once compared a demi-permanent hair color to an on-again-off-again boyfriend. He is always going to have one foot in and one foot out just like a Demi-permanent hair color. Demi-permanent hair color has color molecules inside the hair’s cuticle and color molecules outside too. What does this mean for you? A softer grow out to start with but also if you want any other color beside yellowish blonde highlights, typically a ”toner“ is used. Shades EQ is the number 1 acidic hair color in the United States for the last 30 years.

Very few things can hold themselves to that same standard in the cosmetics industry.

That does bring us back to a point....why is acidic color better?

Put simply, without triggering flashbacks of your torturous high school chemistry class, pH is a scale used to measure how acidic or alkaline a substance is. It runs from zero to 14; zero through six is considered the acidic side of the spectrum, eight to 14 alkaline, with 7 being neutral. pH level—combined with protein and moisture—ultimately determine your hair’s health, strength, length, shape, and color. Not to mention that a more alkaline state can also affect the bacteria and oil (which we all have) on the scalp, and potentially cause dandruff.

WHAT PH LEVEL SHOULD MY HAIR BE? Hair is at its healthiest when it has a pH of 4.5-5.5. and is in a slightly acidic state. The bad news is that many of the things we do to our hair—chemical processes like bleaching and even shampooing—change its pH, making it more alkaline and potentially causing damage.

WHAT IS ACIDIC HAIR COLOR? Acidic hair color gently brings the hair back to a neutral pH, and also helps the cuticle lay smoothly again. All of the Redken Shades EQ gloss and cream hair color shades are acidic.

WHY SHOULD I BE ASKING FOR ACIDIC HAIR COLOR? It’s especially important to ask for acidic liquid demi-permanent hair color after a lightening service, such as highlights or balayage, since lightening the hair puts it in an alkaline state, with a pH of 10 or 11. This abrades the hair cuticle, strips the melanin, and breaks down the disulfide bonds that give hair its backbone and structure. Following a lightening service with an acidic liquid demi-permanent gloss or toner (i.e. Redken Shades EQ) helps to repair and condition the hair since it closes and smooths the cuticle. Not to mention that a closed hair cuticle also makes for incredible light reflection and hair shine.


I know that was a lot to digest but I hope it helps shed some light for you. I believe that by educating you on some of the products and techniques we use it will make you a smarter consumer and help you make better discussions for yourself in the future.

Till next time!

-Panache Hair Team

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