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A hair glaze is a salon treatment that can help your strands look healthy and glossy. Here’s what to know before booking an appointment.

The 411 on Hair Glazes: How This Salon Service Can Amp up Your Color

A hair glaze is a salon treatment that can help your strands look healthy and glossy. Here’s what to know before booking an appointment.
The 411 on Hair Glazes: How This Salon Service Can Amp up Your Color

Beyond dramatic cuts and trending colors, some salon offerings are meant to enhance what you already have. And hair glazes are the perfect shining example. This professional service can help you score glossy, lustrous locks without the commitment (and, frankly, damage) that can come with a major hair transformation. Plus, it’s easy enough to squeeze a glaze into your busy schedule since it involves a quick in-and-out service. Ahead, we’re breaking down what you need to know about glazed hair treatments and teaching you why they can be the magic finishing touch for any salon visit.

Good hair day by @samonpie.

What Is a Hair Glaze?

A hair glaze is a non-permanent hair color treatment that helps add shine to your strands, control frizz, and enhance your hair color. Typically, stylists will apply a glaze for hair after shampooing, let it sit for about 10-20 minutes, and then rinse and style your hair as usual. Once dry, a glaze functions similarly for your hair as a top coat does for nails: It can help give your hair a healthy-looking appearance and an ultra-reflective finish.

What’s the difference between a hair glaze and a hair gloss?

The main difference between a hair glaze and a hair gloss is that the former sits on the surface of the hair, whereas the latter penetrates more deeply for longer-lasting results.

For some quick background, glazes cannot alter the structure of your hair. Instead, they simply act like a finishing touch, coating the outer layer of your hair so that it looks shiny and vibrant. Glosses, meanwhile, typically require a developer to help gently open the hair's cuticle and adjust its color. These formulas, which commonly come in the form of demi-permanent hair dyes, help enrich your hue, tone your strands, and leave your hair feeling soft and conditioned for up to a few months.

Both are low-commitment, shine-enhancing services that gradually fade. However, glazed hair is the way to go if you’re happy with your current hair color and just want a quick fix for shine and frizz. Another upside to a glaze is that it tends to be gentler on your mane since it doesn’t lift your hair’s cuticle. If you’re still weighing your options, we recommend consulting a stylist to help you determine which is right for you.

Does a Hair Glaze Change Your Hair Color?

A hair glaze can very subtly enrich your hue if you opt for a tinted formula rather than a clear one. A clear glaze, on the other hand, is ideal for enhancing the vibrancy of both virgin and color-treated hair. Whichever you choose, keep in mind that glazes can't actually lift or lighten your hue—only bleach can do that

How Long Does a Hair Glaze Last?

Results from a glazed hair treatment typically fade within a week or two, but this can vary depending on things like how often you wash your hair and overexposure to the sun. The only true way to maintain glazed hair is to book another service, but frequent salon visits are not always realistic. Fortunately, rethinking your at-home haircare routine can help you extend the time between coloring sessions. Specifically, reaching for haircare lines designed to prolong the life of color-treated hair. We love Biolage Professional Color Last Shampoo and Conditioner to help maintain the color depth, tone, and shine of dyed hair. You also can’t go wrong with Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Color Lustre collection. When used as a system, the formulas can help reduce fading and give you radiant, long-lasting color for up to six weeks.

*when washing hair 2x per week using the complete color lustre system of shampoo, conditioner or mask, and spray

Good hair day by @cararobertsonhair.

Does a Hair Glaze Cover Gray Hair?

Hair glazes, even tinted ones, won’t cover grays since they’re sheer. If gray coverage is your goal, we recommend booking an appointment for a hair gloss instead. Redken Shades EQ Hair Gloss is a top glossing pick among pros. The range of demi-permanent dyes can help seamlessly blend your silvers with the rest of your hair color—perfect if you want to transition into gray hair using highlights. Plus, Shades EQ dyes gradually fade over time without any noticeable root regrowth or a harsh line of demarcation. Conversely, if you want full gray coverage, you’ll have to consider a permanent dye job. We love an ammonia-free hair dye like L’Oréal iNOA to help cover up to 100% of gray hair. Speak with your colorist to see what your options are.

Do I Need a Glaze After Highlights?

When you have your hair colored at the salon, a glazed hair treatment is often the final step. This is true whether you opt for highlights, balayage, or an all-over color. In fact, the healthy-looking color and mirror-like shine you get from a glaze are usually what separates salon color from at-home options. Consider it just another one of the many reasons to book an appointment with a licensed professional. (Psst: our salon locator can help!)

Next Up: Hair Gloss Vs. Hair Glaze: Everything You Need to Know.

Header photo credit: @samonpie

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