Both of these products have made waves in the beauty world for their promises of extending the life and vibrancy of your hair color. But how do they stack up, and, more importantly, which one deserves a spot in your shower? Let's find out!
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Kenra vs Redken Shampoo
The Ingredients Lists
When it comes to color preservation, the secret's in the sauce—or rather, the shampoo. So let's talk about what goes into these two products, starting with their common ingredients.
Both Kenra and Redken include Sodium Chloride (basically fancy table salt) and Glycol Distearate, which contributes to the creamy texture and pearlescent appearance of these shampoos. Then, we have Fragrance/Parfum, because who doesn't want their hair smelling fresh?
But now, let's get into the unique aspects of each formulation.
Kenra’s Standout Ingredients
Kenra Color Maintenance Shampoo is highlighted by Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, common cleansing agents known for their effective and powerful cleaning properties. However, they've been controversial due to their potential to cause dryness and irritation in some individuals.
There's also Polyquaternium-55, a conditioning agent that helps detangle and reduce static, and Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, another conditioning agent that smooths and softens your strands.
Perhaps most excitingly, we find Honey Extract and Blueberry Fruit Extract, natural ingredients known for their antioxidant properties. These ingredients might help protect hair from environmental damage, thereby preserving color.
Redken’s Standout Ingredients
The Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo uses a more complex formulation. It swaps out sulfates for a gentler surfactant, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, and uses Coco-Betaine for additional mild cleansing.
It's interesting to see that Redken includes Amodimethicone, a silicone that adds slip and shine to hair but is lighter than traditional silicones. Additionally, we see Arginine, Serine, and Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, which could potentially strengthen the hair shaft and improve hair health overall.
The unique additions in Redken’s formula are the Bambusa Vulgaris Sap Extract and Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract—two botanical extracts known for their antioxidant and strengthening properties.
What does the science say?
Now that we've got the basics down, let's talk about how these ingredients may affect your hair's color retention.
Firstly, the sulfate-free nature of the Redken shampoo might make it a better choice for those with sensitive scalps or dry, damaged hair. Sulfate-free shampoos are generally gentler, reducing the risk of stripping hair of its natural oils along with the color.
However, Kenra's inclusion of conditioning agents like Polyquaternium-55 and Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, coupled with antioxidants from Honey and Blueberry Extracts, enhance color vibrancy and protect hair from environmental damage.
On the other hand, Redken's formula contains a plethora of protein-based ingredients like Arginine, Serine, and Hydrolyzed Soy Protein. These reinforce the hair structure, improving overall hair health which may indirectly benefit color retention.
The Importance of pH Balance
The pH scale, which ranges from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline), is crucial to understand when it comes to hair care. Healthy hair and scalp oil, also known as sebum, have a pH level of between 4.5 and 5.5. This slightly acidic nature helps the hair's cuticle (the outermost layer of the hair shaft) stay closed, which keeps in moisture and helps the hair look shiny and smooth.
However, when we apply products with a higher pH (more alkaline), the hair cuticle can swell and open up, making the hair more prone to dryness, frizz, breakage, and color fade. Therefore, using a shampoo that's designed to match the natural pH of your hair can help keep the cuticle closed and protect the hair's color.
Kenra, Redken, and pH Balance
Kenra emphasizes a "pH-balancing system" in its product description, which implies it is formulated to work within the hair's natural pH range. This can help to keep the hair's cuticle closed, protecting color molecules from washing out during the shampoo process, and leading to longer-lasting vibrancy.
Redken, meanwhile, notes that their Color Extend Magnetics System is acidic, which is a good thing for color-treated hair. The acidic pH helps rebalance the hair after color treatment, which often involves alkaline products that can raise the hair's pH and open the cuticle. By rebalancing the hair's pH, the shampoo helps seal the cuticle back down, protecting the color and promoting shine.
The Bottom Line
Both brands have their merits. Kenra seems to offer a straightforward, potent cleaning formula, rich in conditioning agents and antioxidants, which can protect and enhance hair color. On the other side, Redken provides a gentler, protein-rich formula, potentially beneficial for overall hair health and color longevity.
Your final choice might depend on your hair type and specific needs: If you have normal to oily hair, or if your color-treated hair can withstand stronger surfactants, Kenra could work wonders for you. But if you have dry, damaged, or sensitive hair, Redken's gentler, protein-packed formula might be your perfect match.
Remember, everyone's hair is unique, and what works for one person might not work for another. So don't be afraid to experiment and find what suits your hair best. Happy shampooing, lovelies!
Other Kenra Ranges
Other Redken Ranges
Calum Torrington is the founder of FemmeNordic. He has worked as a beauty editor since 2020 and employs his analytical background in mathematics to thoroughly scrutinize complex INCI lists. Now, he helps over 1 million people per year to find the best beauty products.