We can all get on board with wanting shiny, healthy-looking hair—but habits like heat styling, coloring, and chemical processing can sometimes make that goal hard to attain. Luckily, advancements in at-home haircare have made it possible to improve your hair’s look and feel without giving up hot tools or hair color trends. Leading the revolution is Redken, a brand renowned for its scientific approach to haircare.
You may already know about Redken’s popular Acidic Bonding Concentrate (ABC) range. Now, the brand is back at it again with its latest drop: the Acidic Color Gloss (ACG) collection. While these lines may sound similar, each offers distinct benefits—and we’re here to break them down. We tapped Agathe Lahaye and Anand Mahadeshwar from L’Oréal’s Research & Innovation team to highlight the key differences between these ranges so you can determine which is right for you.
What is acidic haircare, and why is it important?
According to Lahaye, healthy hair is mildly acidic. This acidity is important to maintain: without the right balance, hair may become frizzy, brittle, and more susceptible to damage. Using pH-balanced haircare, she says, “can preserve your hair’s health” by improving its moisture, smoothness, and strength. It also “enhances the hair’s shine and softness,” she adds—and may help colored hair appear more vibrant.
Acidic Bonding Concentrate vs. Acidic Color Gloss: What’s the difference?
The difference between ABC and ACG is that one system is for damage, and the other is for shine.
“Acidic Bonding Concentrate is designed for repairing the inner and outer strength of the hair,” Madadeshwar says. By contrast, the Acidic Color Gloss “aims to make the hair’s surface smoother and shinier.”
What is Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate?
As mentioned, the ABC collection helps repair damaged hair from the inside out. All of the formulas are powered by citric acid and the brand’s Bonding Care Complex. Together, these active ingredients help strengthen weakened or damaged hair bonds (the links responsible for your hair’s shape, strength, and elasticity).
“Regular use [of ABC] allows the citric acid in the formula to penetrate the hair fiber and strengthen [it] internally,” Mahadeshwar explains. The Care Complex, meanwhile, helps condition the hair’s surface for a smoother, sleeker look.
The six-piece family consists of an Intensive Treatment, a shampoo, two conditioners (one for fine hair and one for medium to thick hair), a leave-in treatment, and a rinse-out mask. You have free reign to choose which combination of products works best for your specific hair type—great news since your hair’s needs can fluctuate. Check out our Acidic Bonding Concentrate review to see how one editor tailored it to her own routine.
Who is Acidic Bonding Concentrate good for?
Anyone looking to address damaged hair can benefit from a reparative bond-building line, but it’s especially beneficial for those with processed hair. If you bleach, lighten, perm, or heat-style your hair, adding the ABC collection to your shower routine can make your locks up to 14 times smoother and 90 percent more conditioned.*
*Use of Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment, Shampoo & Conditioner vs. Non-Conditioning Shampoo
How often can you use Acidic Bonding Concentrate?
Although it’s gentle enough for daily use, you don’t need to use the full suite of ABC every day—up to three times per week for four weeks can help you reap the complete benefits of the collection. You can also use it as needed whenever your hair requires some extra TLC.
What is Redken Acidic Color Gloss?
Contrary to what its name may suggest, ACG doesn’t actually deposit any pigment onto the hair. Rather, the ultra-conditioning collection helps maintain your existing hair color, keeping it vibrant, glossy, and protected from fading. A special blend of amino acids and vitamin E coats the hair for intense, molecular-level shine that can last for days.
“It’s like giving your hair a little shield that not only makes it look fabulous but also brings it closer to its natural, healthy state,” says Lahaye.
Who is Acidic Color Gloss good for?
Anyone wanting shinier strands can take advantage of the ACG collection. If you have virgin hair, the collection will help boost shine for a healthy-looking, glass-like finish. Those with colored hair (either demi-permanent or permanent dye) will also see added luster—plus color vibrancy maintained for up to 32 washes*.
**System of Acidic Color Gloss Shampoo & Conditioner
How often can you use Acidic Color Gloss?
Lahaye notes that you can use the shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in as often as you wash your hair. On the other hand, you can use the Activated Glass Gloss Treatment once a week in place of conditioner for a dazzling sheen that lasts up to three days.*
*Based on consumer test, Acidic Color Gloss Glass Gloss Treatment
Can you use Acidic Bonding Concentrate and Acidic Color Gloss together?
The pros we spoke with agree that using the products within one range is the key to seeing the intended benefits of either strengthening or shine. While you can certainly alternate between using ABC and ACG, each line is formulated to work as a system for the best results.
Aciding Bonding Concentrate vs. Acidic Color Gloss: The Bottom Line
If you have damaged or over-processed hair, ABC can help repair those broken bonds and restore your hair’s healthy appearance, Mahadeshwar says. On the flip side, if dullness is your main concern—or you want to boost your hue’s vibrancy—ACG may be better suited to your needs.
When in doubt, book a consultation with a Redken stylist near you. They can tell you exactly what your mane needs to look its best—and you may even get to try the systems out before committing to a purchase.
Next Up: Discover the hottest hair trends making waves in 2024 in our official Trend Forecast.
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