Last year (or was it two years ago?), I made the impulsive—and, on reflection, unwise—decision to bleach my hair at home. It may have turned out okay, if not for the fact that a) I had no idea what I was doing, b) I used boxed dye, and c) I had to bleach my hair four times within the span of 24 hours to transform it from medium brown to white blonde. Needless to say, my healthy hair took a bit of a hit that day—and continued to for about a year, as I’d decided to continue bleaching it.
These days, the blonde is gone, and I’m back to my roots, so to speak. What remains is the damage incurred from the stress of bleaching my hair over and over again. Split ends, dryness—you name it, I’ve got it. Luckily, a coworker noted my distress and asked if I’d like to test-drive Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate system (courtesy of the brand), a five-step routine designed specifically for damaged, color-treated hair.
Naturally, I accepted: Not only was the line designed to address my exact hair concerns, but Redken’s salon-quality products were a major step up from the drugstore buys I’d been using previously. I was very excited to see whether or not the five-step system could actually help restore my hair’s healthy appearance. Spoiler alert: It did. Read on for my Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate review to learn exactly what this haircare system is and how it breathed life back into my sad, straw-like strands.
Can Damaged Hair Be Repaired?
As I learned the hard way, damage incurred from over-bleaching hair can’t be undone. Bleach not only removes the natural pigment in your hair, but also strips the hair’s outer cuticle. This gives the hair a rough texture and leaves your strands more brittle and prone to split ends and breakage. These physical changes are irreversible once the damage is done. If your hair is severely damaged, your best bet is to go to a salon for a professional haircut and treatment. That said, while you can’t undo the damage, the right haircare products can help make your hair more manageable while you wait for new growth to come in.
What is Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate?
There are a lot of things (besides bleach) that can damage your hair, including chemical treatments, friction, and the regular use of hot tools. While dealing with this damage isn’t fun, using the right products can noticeably improve how your hair looks and feels. And as far as products for damaged hair go, Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate line-up can’t be beat.
The collection consists of five distinct products: A shampoo, two conditioners (one richer, one more lightweight for fine hair), an intensive repair treatment, and a leave-in treatment and styling aid. The line is formulated for all hair types and textures, and provides an all-in-one solution to intensely condition, repair, and protect color-treated strands.
Also worth noting is that the entire range is housed in recyclable plastic packaging, making it the perfect addition to your green beauty routine. And, Redken teamed up with The Braille Institute to add Braille instructions to the packaging, making the products more accessible to all consumers. That’s two points for the line right off the bat.
How Does the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Collection Work?
The Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate system is formulated with citric acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid used in a variety of skincare products, and the brand’s Bonding Care complex. These ingredients work together to reinforce weakened bonds to help build your hair’s strength and resiliency.
The acidic formulas defend against the damaging effects of hair coloring, styling tools, and even water while also helping to rebalance your mane’s natural pH levels for healthier-looking, stronger hair. In just one use, the complete system combats up to a full year of visible damage, reducing breakage by 56 percent, visibly reducing split ends by 82 percent, and leaving damaged hair up to 14 times smoother. Keep reading for a full breakdown of the five products in this reparative collection.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment
Earlier, we said that there’s no way to reverse damage, and that’s true. But we’d forgive you if you doubted our claims after trying Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment—it’s that good. The deeply reparative pre-shampoo treatment is designed to address serious hair damage. It provides intense moisture, leaving the hair 90 percent more conditioned, 14 times smoother, and twice as strong after just one use. And while undoubtedly intense, it’s suitable for all hair types and textures, and gentle enough to use as often as needed to help restore your hair’s healthy appearance.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Sulfate-Free Shampoo is a concentrated shampoo formulated with citric acid. It provides a gentle cleanse and intensely conditions your hair, leaving it feeling stronger after just one use.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Sulfate-Free Conditioner
After shampooing, you have two options for conditioner. The richer of the two is the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Sulfate-Free Conditioner. This thick, concentrated conditioner deeply conditions damaged hair, leaving it stronger and smoother.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Lightweight Liquid Conditioner
For those with finer hair who want the benefits of an intense conditioner without any added weight, there’s Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Lightweight Liquid Conditioner. Spritz the ultra-light (yet deeply hydrating) conditioning liquid onto clean, damp strands while in the shower, then rinse as usual. You’ll enjoy the benefits you expect from a Redken conditioner—namely, softer, smoother, stronger hair—along with added volume for 48 hours. And because it’s so light, your fine strands won’t feel one bit weighed-down.
Redken Acidic Perfecting Concentrate Leave-In Treatment
To enjoy the full benefits of the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate collection, you’ll want to commit to the complete system. Once you step out of the shower and (gently!) towel-dry your hair, comb a dime-sized amount of Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Leave-In Conditioner throughout your mane. This conditioning leave-in treatment helps repair and strengthen damaged hair while protecting your strands against heat repairs and strengthens while protecting your hair against heat damage (up to 450F).
How Do You Use the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Range?
When used together, the five products in the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate collection will help reduce breakage, reinforce weakened strands, and leave your hair feeling silky and soft. The entire system is super straightforward to use, but there are two products in particular we want to take a second to discuss further: The Intensive Treatment and the Lightweight Liquid Conditioner, both of which are innovations from the brand that differ from anything else you may have tried before. Read more about each of these heroes below.
How Do You Use Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment?
The first step in the Acidic Bonding Concentrate routine is the Intensive Treatment, a pre-shampoo treatment that helps condition and strengthen weak, brittle hair. You may be wondering why you’d apply a fortifying treatment before shampooing, but the science behind it is actually pretty cool. As Redken pros explained to us, hair stretches about 50 percent% when it's wet. This level of stretching can weaken the hair and result in breakage when you lather up.
The Intensive Treatment helps counteract that weakness. The pre-shampoo treatment is designed to penetrate the hair fiber, so it helps strengthen and reinforce strands from the inside out. For the best results, you’ll want to leave it on your hair for five to ten minutes. Use it as often as needed to help breathe life back into your weakened, fragile strands.
How Does Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Lightweight Liquid Conditioner Work?
As you probably noticed, this collection has two rinse-out conditioners: The classic Sulfate-Free Conditioner, which has a richer, thicker texture, and the sprayable Lightweight Liquid Conditioner. Both soften and condition the hair, but the latter is much more lightweight. This makes it a great option for those with thin or fine hair, or those who have strands easily weighed down by heavier product. Plus, the unique formula helps detangle frazzled, brittle strands—making it easier to comb, and in turn, helping to prevent damage caused by rough brushing or detangling. We love a multi-tasker.
Can You Use Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Every Day?
The Acidic Bonding Concentrate collection is incredibly versatile. It’s suitable for all hair types and textures, and gentle enough for daily use (even the Intensive Treatment!). Keep in mind however, that you don’t have to use it daily—twice to three times per week for four weeks is all you need to reap the complete benefits of the collection. If you’re concerned about buildup, consider alternating use of Acidic Bonding Concentrate with a clarifying shampoo and gentle conditioner to ensure you get the absolute most out of the reparative range.
Acidic Bonding Concentrate Review: The Bottom Line
After using the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate collection for the first time, I noticed my hair felt smoother and more manageable than it had with my previous haircare products. The shampoo, conditioners, and leave-in treatment are all exceptional (and as a fine-haired girl, I’m especially fond of the Lightweight Liquid Conditioner). But the real standout of the line, to me, was the Intensive Treatment.
Having tried (many) Redken products before, I knew it would be good—but I was unprepared for how quickly it would work. After rinsing it out the very first time, I immediately noticed a difference in how my hair felt. It was softer and more conditioned, but also smoother, as if the damage incurred from my multiple ill-advised hair coloring experiments was somehow diminished. I know that you can’t repair damage, but this treatment made an undeniable difference in how my hair looks and feels.
As for the future? I’m going to keep using the line, and I’m confident that my hair will only continue to get stronger and healthier as I continue the regimen. And next time I do decide to color my hair (it’s inevitable), I can rest easy knowing that with the Acidic Bonding Concentrate collection on my side, extreme damage won’t ruin my newly-strengthened strands.