If you ever thought that a hair glaze and a hair gloss were interchangeable salon terms—you’re not alone. Though they may sound the same, these color treatments differ significantly and serve unique purposes for both virgin and colored hair. Knowing the benefits of each is vital before asking for one on your next trip to the salon.
Here, professional colorists break down the two so you’ll be armed and ready with all of the gloss vs. glaze knowledge needed to determine which is right for you. We’re also rounding up a few of our favorite hair glossing transformations, dishing out which L'Oréal products to use for a hair gloss at home, and guiding you towards your perfect hair glaze treatment. Let’s get into it!
Is there a difference between hair gloss and hair glaze?
As mentioned, glosses and glazes are very different. A hair gloss treatment penetrates hair’s cuticle to deposit color, while glazes only coat hair's surface. Let’s dive a bit deeper into each treatment.
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. Demi-permanent hair color uses a developer or a low volume of hydrogen peroxide to gently open the hair's cuticle and deposit a wash of color that lasts anywhere from 12 to 24 shampoos.
What does a gloss do to your hair?
Hair gloss benefits are seemingly endless. Glosses can tone or enhance existing color, provide a darker color change, lowlight your hair, cover up grays, and give your strands a reflective shine. They can also help blend overgrown roots to diminish harsh lines of demarcation between permanent touch-ups.
According to Redken ambassador Ryan Pearl, perhaps the best attribute of hair glossing is that it’s good for everyone.
“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 color,” Pearl says. “Just make sure you talk to your colorist about what formula would suit you best.”
Is gloss damaging to hair?
Compared to permanent hair color or lightening services, a hair gloss treatment is much kinder to your hair. Unlike bleach, demi-permanent glosses won’t “lift” hair, so they won’t break or weaken the bonds in your strands. This is great news for all hair types, but it’s especially good for those with textured hair since it won’t compromise curl pattern integrity.
In addition, gloss services are usually acid-based. Acidic formulas work to fill in the gaps of damaged hair cuticles, smoothing them down to tame flyaways and create a reflective surface.
Making your hair appear shiny is not the primary purpose of hair glossing—their 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.
In short, your hair will likely look and feel healthier than it did before you got a gloss.
Can I gloss my hair at home?
Yes. There are two types of hair gloss treatments: At-home hair glosses and the professional in-salon service.
If you’re looking to do a hair gloss at home, Pureology’s 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 Pureology Top Coat formula is for you? Here’s a quick recap:
- For light to medium blondes, Color Fanatic Top Coat + Tone Purple can help eliminate brassy yellow undertones, even in virgin hair.
- Dark blondes and brunettes can benefit from using Color Fanatic Top Coat + Tone Blue to neutralize orange undertones.
- Copper hair color is having a moment; keep it bright and vivid long after leaving the salon using Color Fanatic Top Coat + Tone Copper.
- Color Fanatic Top Coat + Tone Gold is ideal for those with strawberry blonde hair who want to restore warmth or for natural blondes who covet golden tones.
- Red hair is notorious for fading faster than other hair colors, but you can revive candy-apple or ruby red hues with Color Fanatic Top Coat + Tone Red.
If achieving high shine on dark hair colors (or any shade, for that matter) is your ultimate goal, you’ll want to add Pureology’s Color Fanatic Top Coat + Sheer Clear into your hair routine rotation. Another great clear hair gloss option from the L'Oréal portfolio of brands is Kérastase’s Chroma Absolu Soin Acide Chroma Gloss Hair Gloss, which contains lactic acid to gently exfoliate and seal the hair surface.
How to Gloss Your Hair At the Salon
Prefer not to do a hair gloss at home? Opt for a professional salon hair glossing treatment instead. They allow you to try a new hair color without commitment, achieve a subtle color change, or cover your grays, and more.
Regarding 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. Plus, your technician can create a custom gloss formula catered to your desired results.
“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 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.”
Of course, if you’re satisfied with your current hue but just want a healthy sheen, there’s even clear hair gloss available from the line.
We recently went behind the scenes at Cutler Salon in New York City, where colorist Angela Carroll showed us a few of her favorite trending hair transformations using the various Shades EQ ranges. Since we’re not ones to gatekeep hair secrets, we’re giving you a sneak peek of the magic below.
Four Stunning Shades EQ Hair Gloss Transformations to Ask For
A combination of Redken Shades EQ Copper Blondes created this cowgirl copper look. Carroll used 09CR Summer Sunshine for depth at the root, 010AA Butternut for the base, and 07AA Turmeric with a touch of 09CR for the ends—the result: rich, warm, coppery red.
From expensive brunette to espresso martini, options for brunette hair colors are anything but limited these days. For a rich, glossy glow, ask for Redken Shades EQ in 07NCh Fondue, a formula that is part of the Natural Chocolates range.
Lightened blondes may deal with brassy yellow tones from time to time, but that’s where neutralization comes into play. Since purple and yellow are opposite on the color wheel, Carroll used a minute amount of 010VV Lavender Ice mixed into Crystal Clear hair gloss to cancel out brass in the hair and procure a mirror-like shine.
It may not be National Wine Day, but we’re suddenly thirsty for this gorgeous champagne-inspired shade. To replicate this rosy gold goodness, ask your stylist about the Shades EQ Gold Rose collection in 010GRo Sparkling Wine—just prepare to drink up all the compliments afterwards.
Want to try Shades EQ for yourself? Click here to find a Shades EQ hair salon near you.
How often should I gloss my hair?
A hair gloss is notably low-maintenance, but you’ll still need to head to the salon occasionally 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 hair glossing treatment. 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 glossing versus a glaze, the latter is the simpler of the two. A glaze for hair is a clear or tinted treatment that coats the hair with semi-permanent color and shine.
What does a glaze do for your hair?
Unlike a hair gloss, a hair glaze doesn’t penetrate the hair cuticle at all. Glazes coat the hair to deliver shine, frizz control, and color enhancement. While the results of some hair gloss treatment 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.
Do you wash out hair glaze?
Yes. Many times, a glaze for hair is applied just like a mask and only needs to sit for a few minutes to work its magic, making it an easy at-home option.
What are the cons of hair glaze?
The cons of glazes are that they gradually fade with every shampoo and don’t cover grays. However, if shine, short-term changes, or experimentation are what you’re after, a glaze for hair may be the perfect option for you.
How to Glaze Your Hair
Similar to hair glossing, a hair glaze treatment can 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 it with shampoo and conditioner. Same goes for at-home products; and often, the longer you leave them on, the more saturated your final color will be.
Biolage Professional’s Color-Depositing Conditioners can give you similar results to a glaze by enriching, deepening, and subtly changing your hair color. Not to mention, they deeply condition your strands. Here’s what to know about the six options available:
- Starting with a light base? Get lost in the lavender haze with Color Balm Lavender Color Depositing Conditioner.
- Gray hair is officially modern and chic. Color Balm Earl Grey Color Depositing Conditioner lets those with lighter hair get a sneak peek of how they’d look in silver.
- Pick up Color Balm Red Poppy Color Depositing Conditioner for cool red luster and dimension.
- Suitable for light brown and warm red bases, Color Balm Saffron Red Color Depositing Conditioner can refresh, intensify, and condition your hair color with a punch of saffron.
- Enhance the natural warmth of brown hair using Color Balm Cinnamon Color Depositing Conditioner.
- Like a clear hair gloss, the Color Balm Clear Color Depositing Conditioner can be used alone for mega shine or mixed with any of the above shades for a sheerer result.
Hair Glaze Maintenance
Since a hair glaze treatment fades within one or two weeks, the best way to maintain results is to do another glaze. However, in between appointments or at-home applications, you can use a shampoo and conditioner formulated for color-treated hair to extend the life of your hue. We love Biolage Professional Color Last Shampoo and Conditioner to help maintain color depth, tone, and shine.
Is a hair gloss or a glaze right for you?
Both a hair gloss and a hair glaze treatment are no-commitment services that will fade on their own over time. As always, we recommend consulting a trusted colorist before opting for any service. Whichever route you take, the final look will be gorgeous.