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Will Redken Shades EQ gloss cover gray?


Going gray can be a frustrating experience for many people, especially when it happens prematurely. While some embrace their grays as a sign of wisdom, others prefer to cover them up through coloring their hair. Redken Shades EQ gloss is a popular semi-permanent hair gloss that can help cover grays. But does it really work? Here is a detailed look at whether Redken Shades EQ can effectively cover gray hair.

What is Redken Shades EQ?

Redken Shades EQ is a high-gloss toning glaze that is used to refresh color-treated hair, blend away undesired tones, and help cover gray hair. It deposits long-lasting sheer color to give hair extra shine and dimension.

Some key features of Redken Shades EQ gloss include:

– Semi-permanent formula that gradually fades over 4-5 weeks
– Uses ME+ Technology with honey and phyto-keratin to condition hair
– Available in 10 intermixable shades
– Ammonia-free and perfume-free
– Can be applied as soon as 5 minutes after coloring hair

Redken recommends using Shades EQ together with their permanent hair color to help refresh the results between salon visits. It comes ready-to-use so you don’t have to mix any developer or activator.

How well does it cover grays?

When used correctly, Redken Shades EQ can cover about 50% of gray hair. It works best on hair that has already been pre-lightened or colored. The gloss helps blend away stubborn grays by depositing sheer color that matches your existing hair color.

However, it does not work as well for covering fully gray hair. The results also depend on:

– Your natural hair color and base tone
– How coarse or resistant your grays are
– The underlying pigment of your grays
– How much gray coverage you need

For salt and pepper gray hair, Shades EQ helps minimize the contrast by adding complementary gloss tones over highlights, mid-lengths, and ends. But it may not completely blanket grays that are concentrated at the roots.

Using a permanent root touch-up color first gives Shades EQ something to “grab” onto for better gray blending. For resistant gray hair, a filler or permanent demi-gloss color may be needed first to fill in porosity and create an even base.

Tips for using Shades EQ to cover grays

Here are some tips to maximize the gray coverage you get from Redken Shades EQ gloss:

– Always fill the hair with a permanent demi-gloss color first for resistant grays. Redken Color Fusion is a good option.

– Use a shade that is one level lighter than your natural or colored hair level. Going too dark can create a demarcation line.

– Apply thoroughly from roots to ends and leave the gloss on for the full processing time.

– Use the warm or ash tones in the EQ palette that best neutralize the undertone of your grays.

– Refresh with a gloss treatment every 3-4 weeks to maintain optimum gray blending.

– Alternatively, use Shades EQ as a toner on pre-lightened hair to create an all-over harmonizing shade.

– Boost results by following up with Redken Color Extend magnetics shampoo and conditioner to target grays.

How long does it last on gray hair?

Redken Shades EQ can last around 4-5 weeks on gray hair before fading, but results vary based on hair type and condition. Fine or porous grays that are not pre-filled tend to show through faster.

The gloss starts to gradually wash out after the first 2 weeks as the sheer color molecules release from the hair over time. Warm water, clarifying shampoos, hard water, and over-shampooing will also accelerate fading.

Using a sulfate-free shampoo and only shampooing 1-2 times per week will help the gloss deposit last longer on grays. You can also mix a refresher gloss or semipermanent color into your conditioner to touch up grays and extend the time between full glossing treatments.

Does it damage hair?

No, Redken Shades EQ will not damage hair when used correctly. Since it is an ammonia-free and low-peroxide semi-permanent formula, it only deposits color without lifting or penetrating the hair cuticle.

A patch test is still recommended to check for any potential allergies. But in general, Redken Shades EQ is formulated to be gentle on all hair types. The built-in conditioners with honey and phyto-keratin even help strengthen and improve hair’s condition.

It is best to avoid overlapping permanent color with Shades EQ gloss though. Directly coloring over it can strip the gloss molecules from the hair too quickly before they have fully oxidized. Let the gloss fade mostly before coloring permanent again.

Other ways to cover stubborn gray hair

If Redken Shades EQ alone does not cover all of your resistant grays, here are a few other tactics you can try:

Permanent root touch-up color:

– Fills in and covers grays at the regrowth area completely.
– Can be done every 4-6 weeks to maintain.
– Ensure proper skin prep and watch development time.

Highlift blonde permanent color:

– Lightens and lifts natural hair pigment to better expose grays.
– Allows more effective toning and blending of lighter grays.
– May require pre-filler and toner with cool shades to neutralize yellow.

Double process permanent coloring:

– Lightens and lifts hair first, then applies tone/color.
– Lightens pigmented grays to pale yellow first before adding tone.
– More damage potential than demi-gloss.

Pre-pigmentation fillers:

– Deposit permanent artificial pigment into resistant grays before coloring.
– Reduces porosity and improves penetration of color.
– Commonly used fillers are red, gold/copper, or blue-violet.

Bleach/highlift tint:

– Lightens and deposits tone in one step.
– Commonly used on hair that is darker than medium brown.
– Helps grays get lighter than their natural undertone.


Redken Shades EQ can be an excellent semi-permanent solution for blending away grays and toning colored hair between salon visits. While it does not provide complete 100% gray coverage like a permanent color, it can minimize the contrast of stubborn grays when used properly.

Combining Shades EQ with permanent root touch-ups and fillers while following the tips above will provide you with the most effective gray covering results. Be sure to consult your stylist to see if it is the right solution for your particular type and extent of graying. With some patience and routine maintenance, you can keep those grays blended and under control.