So, you've decided you want to try one of Redken's best-selling systems for damaged hair, but you can't quite figure out what the differences are? We've all been there, don't worry!
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Redken Extreme vs Extreme Length
Since the core similarities and differences are more or less the same across the board, we'll mainly be focusing on each range's shampoo in today's comparison. (We'll then extrapolate our findings to render a separate decision for their conditioners and treatments towards the end.)
First and foremost, it's worth establishing the fact that since they're both ultimately from the same range ("Extreme"), they have indeed been designed with similar purposes in mind. To be specific, they have both been formulated for damaged hair.
The Extreme Shampoo is formulated with Redken's "Strength Complex", a combination of Amino Acids and Arginine (a type of Amino Acid). Amino Acids help to protect and strengthen your hair strands, reducing breakage and enabling them to hold on to more moisture.
The Extreme Length Shampoo instead contains Redken's "Length Care Complex", which is essentially just Biotin (as far as we can tell).
In isolation, Biotin is a miracle ingredient; it's believed to improve hair growth, improve hair volume, and even reduce hair loss. However, as part of a shampoo, it's difficult to claim that it does anything beyond strengthening existing strands and minimizing breakage.
In practice, the Extreme Shampoo offers 73% reduction in breakage (when used with the rest of the Extreme routine), and the Extreme Length Shampoo offers 81% less breakage (when used with the rest of the Extreme Length routine).
So, not only are they formulated for more or less the same hair type, but they also offer practically identical benefits and results. The only real difference being that the Extreme Shampoo uses proteins, and the Extreme Length Shampoo doesn't.
Redken claims that the Extreme Length Shampoo has the additional benefit of helping hair grow longer (which is where the "Length" part of the name comes from), but unfortunately this seems like more of a marketing ploy than anything. There may be some truth to it in the sense that less breakage will result in longer hair over time, but otherwise it's a fairly misleading assertion.
When it comes to deciding between the two, it mainly comes down to your hair's tolerance of protein. Protein overload and sensitivity can have the unintended and unwanted effect of causing your hair to become more prone to breakage.
If your hair is happy with protein (i.e. if you've seen positive results from protein hair treatments in the past), opt for the Extreme Shampoo, otherwise the Extreme Length Shampoo would be your best bet. We'd make the same recommendation when it comes to deciding between their conditioners and treatments, too.