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Redken Color Extend vs Color Extend Magnetics

Today, we are delving deep into the chemistry behind two popular products by Redken: Color Extend Shampoo and Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo.

Both products promise vibrant, long-lasting hair color, but each brings a unique formula to the table. Let's break down their ingredients and compare them side-by-side.

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Redken Color Extend vs Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo

The Detergent Factor

First, let's get clear on what makes these two products diverge: the presence (or absence) of sulfates.

Sulfates, specifically Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), are detergent substances that help remove dirt and oil from your hair. However, they can also strip hair of natural oils and moisture, and sometimes, fade the color. Hence, Redken Color Extend Shampoo, which includes SLES, may offer a more thorough cleanse but at the potential cost of color vibrancy and hair health over time.

On the other hand, Redken Color Extend Magnetics is sulfate-free. It uses gentler alternatives like Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate and Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, which cleanse without stripping the hair as much. This formulation might retain color better and reduce damage to color-treated hair.

pH-Balanced vs Acidic Formula

Next, we turn to pH. The Redken Color Extend Magnetic has an acidic formula (5.0-5.6 or 6.0-6.6 pH depending on the retailer you opt for). An acidic environment helps close the hair cuticle, resulting in enhanced color vibrancy and increased shine.

Meanwhile, Redken Color Extend is "pH-balanced". It's not immediately clear what this means, and Redken leaves it entirely up to your own inferences. The same verbiage is used for the Magnetics shampoo, so it could mean that it's *also* an acidic formula, which, as we've just mentioned, helps to keep your hair color look vibrant and shiny.

However, it could also mean that it's "balanced" - in the true sense of the word - to a neutral pH, creating a gentler environment for your hair.

Either way, we think it's safe to say that the Magnetics shampoo might edge out the regular Color Extend in maintaining that salon-fresh color and sheen.

The Active Ingredients

Redken Color Extend Shampoo

The Redken Color Extend Shampoo features the brand's Color Care Complex, which is a strategic combination of cranberry oil and ceramides. Here's how they work:

Cranberry Oil: This natural oil is rich in antioxidants, particularly Vitamin C, and Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9 fatty acids. These elements help to nourish the hair, protect it from environmental damage, and enhance color vibrancy. This means that your color-treated hair not only stays vivid for longer, but it also benefits from overall healthier-looking strands.

Ceramides: These are a type of lipid (fat) that naturally occur in the hair's cuticle – the outermost protective layer of a hair strand. They act like the 'glue' that keeps the hair cuticle layers together. When added to hair products, ceramides help to strengthen hair, prevent breakage, and restore hair's moisture levels. By doing this, they also aid in protecting color-treated hair from fading and losing its luster.

It's worth noting that ceramides aren't explicitly listed in the ingredients list, though, so we partially wonder whether this is a marketing gaffe. It does contain ceramide analogs "2-Oleamido-1, 3-Octadecanediol", but to state that they *are* ceramides is fairly disingenuous.

Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo

While the Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo does not specify a unique complex like the Color Care Complex, it does feature some key active ingredients for hair health:

Acidic pH: It's definitely worth reiterating that by incorporating an acidic pH, this shampoo helps balance the hair's natural pH levels, which tend to be slightly acidic. This balance helps close the hair cuticles, which in turn enhances color retention and imparts a shiny, smooth appearance to the hair.

Arginine: This is an essential amino acid important for hair growth. It promotes blood circulation to the scalp, providing the hair follicles with essential nutrients, and thus, encouraging healthier and stronger hair. For color-treated hair, this could mean improved color uptake and longer-lasting vibrancy.

Hydrolyzed Soy Protein: Hydrolyzed proteins are known for their ability to penetrate the hair shaft and reinforce hair's structure. Hydrolyzed soy protein, specifically, can increase hair's ability to retain moisture, add shine, and smooth frizz. In the case of color-treated hair, it can also help improve the texture and appearance of the hair, making the color look even more vibrant.

The Extra Goodies

Both products feature a range of other ingredients such as conditioning agents (e.g., Amodimethicone), humectants (e.g., Propylene Glycol), and preservatives (e.g., Sodium Benzoate, Benzoic Acid).

However, the Color Extend Magnetics does bring some unique extras like Tocopherol (Vitamin E), known for its antioxidant properties, and Bambusa Vulgaris (Bamboo) Sap Extract, known for promoting hair health.


Ultimately, the choice between the two boils down to your hair needs and preferences. If you don't mind sulfates and prefer a robust cleanse, Color Extend might be your pick. However, if you're seeking a gentler, sulfate-free option that might better preserve color vibrancy and sheen, you might lean towards the Color Extend Magnetics. Whichever you choose, remember: it's all about finding what works best for your unique hair chemistry.

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