If you ever thought that a hair glaze and a gloss were interchangeable salon terms—you’re not alone. But, they’re actually not. Though they may sound the same, the color treatments have some significant differences and purposes for virgin and color-treated hair, so it’s super important to know the difference before your next trip to the salon.
Here, we break down the two so you’ll be armed and ready with all of the gloss vs. glaze knowledge at your next salon appointment.
What is hair gloss?
While hair gloss sounds like something that might simply add shine to your mane, it’s actually a demi-permanent hair color service.
What does hair gloss do to your hair?
Hair gloss benefits are seemingly endless. They can be used to tone existing color, provide a demi-permanent color change, cover grays, and give your strands reflective shine.
While making your hair appear shiny is not the primary purpose of a gloss, the name is inspired by the fact that the service is usually acid-based. So, it helps smooth down the hair cuticle to create a reflective surface.
A gloss also has conditioning properties that can leave your hair feeling softer and more manageable than before. And, because of its demi-permanent nature, it can last anywhere from four to six weeks with proper care.
Perhaps the best attribute of a gloss? According to Redken ambassador Ryan Pearl, It’s good for quite literally everyone.
“A gloss is good for anyone. It doesn’t matter if you have color-treated hair or not. It will brighten your color and add shine and softness to any hair type or hair color...Just make sure you talk to your colorist about what formula would suit you best,” Pearl says.
How To Gloss Your Hair
Well, there are two types of hair gloss formulas: At-home hair glosses and the professional in-salon service. If you’re looking to try a new hair color without long-term commitment, achieve a subtle color change, or cover your grays, we always recommend opting for a salon hair gloss. A professional colorist can create a custom gloss formula catered to the results you’re looking for.
When it comes to the best salon hair gloss products, our experts always recommend Redken Shades EQ. These demi-permanent, acidic, ammonia-free formulas work to tone, change, or add shine to your hair in just 20 minutes while providing intense conditioning benefits.
“Redken Shades EQ Glosses are high shine, demi-permanent hair colors that are made up of both oxidative and direct dyes,” Tracey Cunningham, Redken celebrity colorist, explains. “This essentially means that they are not permanent and will gradually fade over a few weeks, which is great if you want to try different hair colors without totally committing.”
Want to try Shades EQ for yourself? Click here to find a Shades EQ salon near you.
At-home hair glosses, such as the three Pureology Color Fanatic Top Coat formulas, can help maintain, enhance, and add shine to your hue between salon touch ups. The precision nozzle makes for easy application and spreadability for a more uniform result in just five minutes. Infused with oat milk and camellia oil, these formulas also condition and seal the hair cuticle to enhance softness and lock in shine.
Wondering which Top Coat formula is for you? If achieving high shine on dark hair colors is your ultimate goal, you’ll need Pureology Color Fanatic Top Coat + Sheer Clear. For light to medium blondes, Pureology Color Fanatic Top Coat + Tone Purple can help eliminate brassy undertones. Dark blondes and brunettes can benefit from using Pureology Color Fanatic Top Coat + Tone Blue to neutralize orange undertones.
Hair Gloss Maintenance
Hair gloss is a notably low-maintenance service, but you’ll still need to head to the salon every so often for touch ups.
“I usually tell my clients to come in every four to six weeks for a gloss to keep their color looking like it did when they first left the salon post color appointment,” Cunningham says.
You should also use color-protecting products between services to prolong the vibrancy of your color. Start with a shampoo and conditioner like Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo and Conditioner. This sulfate-free system gently cleanses and conditions hair without stripping color.
What is hair glaze?
When comparing hair gloss versus hair glaze, a hair glaze is the more simple of the two. A glaze is a clear or tinted treatment that coats the hair with semi-permanent color and shine.
What does hair glaze do to your hair?
Unlike hair gloss, hair glaze doesn’t penetrate the hair cuticle at all. These formulas simply coat the hair to deliver shine, frizz control, and color enhancement. While the results of some hair gloss formulas, like Shades EQ, last between 12 to 24 washes, the benefits of a hair glaze will likely wash out after one to two weeks.
How To Glaze Your Hair
Similar to hair gloss, hair glazes come in the form of at-home products and in-salon treatments. If you opt for a salon glaze service, your colorist will apply the formula throughout your hair and let it sit for the recommended time before rinsing with shampoo and conditioner. Yes, it’s that simple!
Hair Glaze Maintenance
Since hair glazes fade within one or two weeks, the best way to maintain the results of your service is to get another glaze. In between appointments, however, you can use a shampoo and conditioner formulated for color-treated hair to extend the life of your hue.
Which color treatment is right for you?
Both hair gloss and hair glaze are no-commitment treatments that will fade on their own over time. As always, we recommend consulting a trusted colorist before opting for any service.
Whether you opt for a color glaze or a gloss, you’re now equipped with everything you need to make sure your hair color looks flawless all year long.
Interested in trying a hair gloss or hair glaze? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.