There’s nothing quite like the feeling of freshly colored hair, is there? In my case, when I leave the hairdresser’s after a full head of highlights, my hair feels and looks brighter, shinier, blonder and more brilliant than ever. But three or so weeks later, I'm back to square one. I’ll look in the mirror and be confused as to where my bright, shiny hair color went. It’s not that my roots have taken over yet—it’s just that the color has faded, the shine has disappeared, and my hair, in general, seems, dare I say, dull. Sure, there are purple shampoos that help to eradicate brassiness, but I’ve always found it’s not necessarily brassiness that’s the problem.
Up until recently, I thought it was just something I had to live with (like the fact that fake tan will always go a bit crusty if you don’t exfoliate well enough). However, I recently discovered a whole genre of hair treatments that actually stop your color from fading. Enter hair glaze (sometimes referred to as “hair gloss,” depending on the product). It’s a genius hair treatment that not only brings your color back to its original “just left the salon” brilliance, but also adds megawatt shine and in some cases, even adds a brand new hint of color. We spoke with celebrity hairstylist Michael Sparks and professional colorist George Waldron to get the low-down on how exactly hair glosses (and glazes) work.
Meet the Expert
Read on to learn the difference between the two as well as the best hair gloss and hair glaze at-home treatments.
What is a Hair Glaze?
Sparks explains that a hair glaze is a non-permanent hair color treatment that adds shine to the hair and can help with reducing flyaways and frizz. "Hair glaze differs from hair color because it does not contain ammonia or peroxide," he says. "Therefore, hair glaze lasts up to around one week, will gradually fade out of the hair, and is [good for those who don't wish to have] a long-term commitment with the color." Hair glaze also prevents hair cuticles from tangling, which means, it's a great product to use on coarse, hard-to-manage hair types.
We know, we know. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, I can confirm it’s not. I stumbled across the hair glaze treatment while trying out Kevin Murphy’s brightening hair glazes for blondes, which was originally made to stop models’ hair becoming heavy and dull throughout the day on photoshoots.
Shop the Best At-Home Hair Glazes
It’s not just Kevin Murphy who has mastered the hair-glaze treatment. There are a few on the market, and each offers a slightly different finish. Check out our picks of the best hair glaze treatments for fresh color and brilliant shine.
Sugared Angel uses specially-selected pigments to mute unwanted warmth while also helping to enhance and create vanilla, beige, and toffee tones. It leaves hair creamy, super shiny, and fresh-looking.
A perfect boost for both natural and color-treated hair, this glaze by Oribe acts as a high-gloss topcoat. It brightens color and leaves hair feeling super soft.
Sparks deems this an oldie but goodie for its ability to revive your hair color's shine and brightness.
What is a Hair Gloss?
Hair glosses are semi- or demi-permanent colors that do not penetrate the hair shaft. Plus, Waldron notes that they won't leave a line of demarcation like permanent hair color does. "It’s a great tool to introduce someone to non-committal hair color, or to just enhance what someone has naturally—for example, a red-head that wants a touch more copper or a brunette that has lost its luster," he says. And though they're not as beneficial as a keratin treatment, Waldron explains that in theory, they have the benefit of sitting on the top of the hair shaft, which can help to calm down excess frizz. Unlike hair glaze, hair gloss is typically done by a professional in a salon, as the color needs to be deposited into the cuticle of the hair. "Hair glosses can be used to enhance your hair’s natural tones as well as help to evenly tone out unwanted warmth, blend grays, or just add extra shine," says Sparks.
Shop the Best At-Home Hair Glosses
Looking to do a hair gloss at home? Here are our top picks.
Rita Hazan’s A-list client base includes Beyoncé, so you know this is going to be good. Her True Color Shine Glosses (available in five shades) have a foaming texture, meaning it’s super easy to coat every single strand.
Slightly different from other hair glaze treatments, Color Wow’s doesn’t inject color but instead adds a mirror-like shine. Activated by heat styling, this hair glaze is truly like the Seche Vite topcoat for your hair, and all the hairstylists we know rave about it.
Bumble and Bumble’s hair gloss comes in shades for brunettes, redheads, and blondes. There’s also a clear hair glaze for those who just want megawatt shine.
Hair Glaze vs. Hair Gloss: Which One Should You Try?
Glosses typically last about four to six weeks, depending on how often you shampoo as well as environmental factors. "Sweating and sun exposure can also shorten the duration of them," advises Waldron. However, both experts agree that if you're shooting for the hair gloss route, visit your colorist, unless, according to Waldron, you're going for a clear gloss for some shine. Sparks adds that "while there are drugstore glosses available, they're less regulated and contain more chemicals—there’s nothing worse than having an at-home $30 color treatment turn into a $500 color correction." Enough said.