Many, many TikTok noises haunt me and my dreams (and probably will forever) but none more so than one snippet of audio from Tyler, The Creator. In the outro of one song from his album IGOR, he laments: "I hate wasted potential." The spoken word bit frequently interrupts me when I'm lazy, trying to play Animal Crossing inside on a beautiful day, sheepishly reaching for a chicken tender. But it's also made me think about all the parts of me that have potential instead of trying for perfection as a whole. One big focus has been on my hair, which I usually wave off as "good enough, whatever" but have been spending more time on its care. I can't lie, though: I need some immediate results to keep the motivation up. I know, I know, patience is a virtue but so is haircare. Fortunately, a trio of products fell in my lap that don't force me to choose.
The core of Redken's brand-new Acidic Bonding Concentrate range work as a three-step process (but also individually) to balance the pH levels in your hair with its acid content to deliver strengthened, hydrated hair that bonds broken strands for a decidedly sleeker look. Most importantly, though, it works right away: Redken's tests saw marked improvement in participants hair after just one use. I know I sure saw a difference in mine.
It sounds counterintuitive, but acid is actually the key to more hydrated hair. Think of your head like one big science experiment: hair thrives between 4.5 and 5.5. Too little acid or being alkaline forces the cuticle to tighten and lose some of that shine and softness—and lots of little things like the water in your area can throw that off. By adding in some mild acid-based products, suitable for all hair types, the hair will smooth, get softer, and even reflect more light for extra shine. The Redken ABC trio, with citric acid and alpha hydroxy acid, regulates that pH balance without the guesswork. It also protects against heat damage, something Cass Kaeding, Redken ambassador and master colorist to stars like Miley Cyrus, Kylie Jenner and Olivia Munn, knows all too well. "I have a lot of clients who do a lot of heat styling, every day, coloring all the time," she explains to me over video chat. "It's nice to have something that's going to be a heat protectant." Not only does the acid content battle that heat damage that can strip hair dye and highlights but it actually helps boost color, too. "It's going to seal the color in, it's also going to help hair from being damaged, and it makes the color look great."
The products in the range, a shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in treatment, work best as a daily three-step process but there's plenty of room to adjust for specific hair needs. Kaeding agrees that you can easily sub out pieces of the system as needed. For example, if your hair is veering brassy and needs some toning, occasionally swap out the shampoo and conditioner for a purple one but keep the leave-in treatment. Redken's library of products is ever-expanding (and improving) meaning there's a designated treatment for pretty much anything. Kaeding's clients are fans, too. "This range really does it all—it gives my clients ultimate hair repair, intense conditioning, and color-fade protection," she tells me. "I have had the pleasure to have been able to work with some really amazing people! Right now it’s been so much fun getting to work with Hailey Bieber. She is all about hair health and growing out her natural hair but with some soft highlights for dimension. So Hailey trusts me to make sure the color is perfect but also keeping her hair as healthy as possible."
Alongside the 60-years-in-the-making ABC system, Redken's been busy updating some of your classic favorites. This month, the brand undergoes a top-to-bottom packaging overhaul that brings their products up-to-speed on sustainability and inclusivity. The bottles themselves will now be all comprised of 93-100 percent recycled plastic, making the brand Cradle-To-Cradle certified—a designation that ensures the product and its packaging are ethically consumable. Redken also consulted with the Braille Institute to add Braille to all packaging in an effort toward accessibility and inclusivity.
It takes a line as accomplished as Redken can toss of multiple high-profile (and highly-effective) launches at the same time without overshadowing each other, and that's exactly what happened. As for me, I'll be plugging away at my follicular potential. Somehow, I'm even more motivated knowing that Mrs. Bieber and I are now essentially hair sisters. That's how it works, right?
Redken's new bottles roll out this month on Redken and arrive at Ulta stores and on Ulta.com in mid-April. The Acidic Bonding Concentrate system is available now.