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Do you shampoo before or after Shades EQ?

Whether to shampoo before or after applying Shades EQ hair color is a common question for many users. The order in which you shampoo and apply Shades EQ can affect the results, so it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each method.

Shampooing Before Shades EQ

Many hairdressers recommend shampooing your hair before applying Shades EQ hair color. Here are some of the main benefits of washing your hair first:

  • Removes dirt, oil, and product buildup – Shampooing first ensures your hair is clean before applying the color. This helps the hair dye penetrate evenly and fully saturate the strands.
  • Opens up the hair cuticle – The warm water, massage, and surfactants in shampoo cause the hair cuticles to swell and lift up. This allows the hair color to deposit better into the open cuticle.
  • Removes minerals from hard water – Hard water deposits can create a barrier that blocks hair dye. Shampooing removes those mineral deposits before coloring.
  • Makes hair more receptive – Clean, lifted cuticles help the hair better accept and trap the color pigments.

By shampooing first, you ensure your hair is prepared and receptive for maximum Shades EQ results. The opened cuticle allows deeper penetration and saturation from the hair dye. Many stylists consider this the optimal approach.

Shampooing After Shades EQ Application

While less common, some users prefer to shampoo their hair after applying Shades EQ dye. Reasons for using this order include:

  • Avoids stripping color – Some worry that shampooing first will remove too much of the dye or natural melanin in the hair.
  • Requires less reapplication – Skipping the first shampoo means you may need fewer touch-up applications of the dye.
  • Locks in moisture – The hair remains hydrated and undisturbed to better absorb the conditioning properties in the color.
  • Reduces irritation – Keeping hair unshampooed can result in less irritation on sensitive scalps.

The main disadvantage to this method is that any dirt, oil, or hard water deposits remain on the hair and may impede the hair color. However, some users still prefer shampooing after to help lock in moisture and color.

Recommendations for Order of Shampoo and Shades EQ

Most professional stylists recommend you shampoo your hair before applying Shades EQ hair color. Washing first helps remove buildup and allows the cuticles to open for optimal dye penetration and results. Here are some tips:

  • Use a clarifying shampoo before Coloring to remove product residue
  • Shampoo with warm water to open cuticles and enhance dye deposit
  • Rinse hair thoroughly after shampooing to remove shampoo
  • Towel dry hair after washing and proceed to Shades EQ application
  • After processing, shampoo again with a sulfate-free shampoo to lock in color

While shampooing after applying Shades EQ is an option, most experts suggest washing your hair first when using permanent hair dye like Shades EQ for best results.

What is Shades EQ?

Shades EQ is a professional, permanent hair color made by Redken. It uses a low-ammonia cream formula with amino acid to deeply penetrate the hair and achieve vivid, lasting color results. Some key features of Shades EQ include:

  • Uses a demi-permanent dye technology
  • Contains EDDS which helps color last longer
  • Offers over 90 mixable shades
  • Ammonia content less than 1%
  • pH between 9.5-9.9 gentle for hair
  • Doesn’t require a developer
  • Conditions as it colors
  • Provides 100% gray coverage
  • Long-lasting results for up to 6 weeks

Shades EQ allows stylists to custom mix precise colors and tones for each client. It deposits permanent hair dye that lasts 4-6 weeks on average. The conditioning formulas make it gentler than some other chemical color services.

How to Use Shades EQ Hair Color

Here is an overview of the standard steps for using Shades EQ hair color:

  1. Shampoo and towel dry the hair – Thoroughly shampoo before coloring as recommended.
  2. Divide hair into sections – Use clips to separate hair for easier application.
  3. Mix the custom color formula – Combine shades and apply to palette.
  4. Apply color using brush – Start at the crown and work down in sections.
  5. Process for 20 minutes – Leave color on for full development time.
  6. Rinse thoroughly – Rinse until water runs clear.
  7. Towel dry hair – Gently blot dry with a towel.
  8. Blowdry and style – Use heat protection and style as desired.
  9. Shampoo after 48 hours – Use a sulfate-free shampoo to maintain color.

Always follow the instructions from your stylist. Process times and aftercare may vary depending on the shades used. Avoid washing hair for 1-2 days after coloring for best results.

Benefits of Shades EQ

Some of the benefits that make Shades EQ a top salon brand hair color include:

  • Customizable colors – With intermixable shades and different diluters, stylists can create unique hair colors tailored to each client.
  • Deep conditioning – The built-in conditioners make hair softer and shinier.
  • Low ammonia – Less than 1% ammonia makes it gentler than many permanent dyes.
  • Long lasting – Results last 4-6 weeks with proper aftercare.
  • Natural look – The demi-permanent formula creates natural-looking, vibrant color.
  • No developer needed – Doesn’t require an extra developer step like traditional permanent color.
  • Versatile – Can be used on all hair types and textures.

In the right stylist’s hands, Shades EQ can help clients achieve beautiful, head-turning hair color results.

Shades EQ vs Other Hair Colors

How does Shades EQ compare to other leading professional hair colors?

Shades EQ Olaplex Redken Chromatics Wella Illumina Color
Ammonia Content Less than 1% No ammonia 4.5-5% No ammonia
Lift Levels Up to 3 levels No lifting Up to 4 levels Up to 4 levels
Lasting Power 4-6 weeks 4-6 weeks 4-5 weeks 6-8 weeks
Custom Mixing Yes No Yes Yes
Price Range $70-150 $80-200 $80-150 $100-200

While all professional-grade hair colors, Shades EQ offers more customization with similar conditioning properties and lasting results compared to popular salon brand competitors.

How Long Does Shades EQ Last?

With proper maintenance, Shades EQ hair color can last between 4-6 weeks. Exact longevity depends on several factors:

  • Your natural hair color – Darker roots show through faster on blondes.
  • Oxidative chemical services – Bleach, perm, and relaxers fade color faster.
  • Hair type and porosity – Color washes out quicker on fine or porous hair.
  • Shampooing habits – Frequent shampooing accelerates fading.
  • Heat styling – Excessive heat weakens the cuticle causing color to escape.
  • UV exposure – Sun, chlorine, and saltwater can all fade hair dye.

While results vary, most users can expect Shades EQ to last between 4-5 weeks with proper at-home care. For best longevity, avoid overwashing hair, limit heat styling tools, and use a sulfate-free color-safe shampoo.

Tips for Making Shades EQ Last Longer

You can help extend the vibrancy of your Shades EQ hair color by following these simple tips:

  • Use a color-safe shampoo – Pick a gentle, sulfate-free formula to wash hair less often.
  • Alternate with dry shampoo – Let hair go 2-3 days between washings.
  • Rinse with cool water – Hot water opens the cuticle causing color to run out.
  • Limit heat styling – Allow hair to air dry when possible and lower heat tools.
  • Apply weekly gloss – Use an at-home color gloss to freshen up color.
  • Protect hair outdoors – Wear a hat and use a leave-in conditioner.
  • Get regular trims – Trim off split ends to keep color looking rich.

Making small tweaks to your daily routine can help maintain vibrant, lasting Shades EQ color results.

How Soon Can You Shampoo After Shades EQ?

It’s recommended to wait 2-3 days before shampooing after a Shades EQ color service. Shampooing too soon can cause rapid fading. Here are some guidelines:

  • Days 1-2: Avoid washing hair at all.
  • Day 3: Use a sulfate-free shampoo if hair is overly oily.
  • Day 4: Can shampoo with a color-safe, hydrating formula .
  • Day 5+: Wait at least 5 days for first shampoo.

The first week is critical for allowing the cuticle to fully close and lock-in the Shades EQ color. Use dry shampoo as needed between washes. Be especially careful with water the first 2 days when color is most prone to runoff.

Fixing Shades EQ Color That Came Out Wrong

If your Shades EQ hair color comes out different than expected, don’t panic. Here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Avoid washing hair for 5-7 days – This gives the color time to fully oxidize and develop.
  • Do a gloss or toner – Refresh the color with a semi-permanent gloss treatment.
  • Try color-depositing shampoo – Use a colored shampoo to tone down brassiness.
  • Return to the salon – Your stylist can adjust the color with a toner or redo.
  • Use vitamin C – Removing permanent color requires a lightener like vitamin C.
  • Dye hair darker – Coloring hair darker is an option if the color came out too light.

If the Shades EQ result is slightly off, a gloss or toner may help improve the color. But for significant color correction, it’s best to book a salon appointment for professional help.


To achieve the best results with Shades EQ permanent hair color, it’s generally recommended to shampoo your hair before applying the dye. Washing first helps remove buildup and allows the cuticle to open so the color can better saturate the strands. While shampooing after is an option some prefer, most experts suggest shampooing first for optimal color deposit and vibrancy.

Shades EQ offers many benefits for customizable, long-lasting hair color results when used properly. Follow your stylist’s recommendations for washing, processing, and caring for hair afterwards to get the most from this professional permanent coloring service.