Before 2021, I was a blonde for over a decade—and I had no plans to go back to my natural medium brown hair. After being stuck at home for over a year, however (and working from home for most of that time), I finally decided to experiment with my brunette roots. While I was finally ready to ditch my blonde balayage, I wasn’t entirely ready to commit to brunette, either.
When I explained this to my colorist, she introduced me to hair gloss, a demi-permanent coloring service that allows you to try a new hue without commitment. The more I learned about hair glossing, however, the more I realized that gloss treatments for hair have way more benefits than simply creating temporary color.
What is hair glossing, exactly? We’re breaking down everything you need to know, including who it works best for, how long gloss hair color lasts, and the best hair gloss formula to try at home and in the salon.
What Is A Hair Gloss?
If you’ve ever gotten a gel manicure, you know that it isn’t complete without the glossy coating that completes the service. Think of hair gloss as a top coat for your hair. The acidic formula works to give hair color major shine and intense conditioning benefits.
While we love hair gloss for its shine-enhancing benefits, that’s not all the popular service is good for. These formulas come in both clear and tinted shades. Clear formulas simply boost shine and condition your strands, but colored hair gloss is actually a demi-permanent hair color service. These products can be used to tone or color correct your existing hair color, temporarily switch up your hue, and cover gray hair. Hair gloss can also be used to keep hair color fresh between salon appointments.
The best part? Because of the demi-permanent nature of hair gloss, the results only last four to six weeks—which means, if you’re not interested in making a long-lasting change, hair gloss is a great alternative to permanent hair dye. Another bonus: Hair glossing doesn’t damage your hair the way permanent hair color or bleach can. These formulas are made without ammonia and focus on conditioning the hair while giving you a temporary wash of color.
Who Should Use A Hair Gloss?
The short answer? Everyone! It may sound like hair gloss benefits are exclusive to color-treated hair, but a gloss treatment for hair can be used on any hair type. It can add shine, softness, and manageability to natural hair color and enhance the tone, vibrancy, and shine of color-treated strands.
What Are The Different Types Of Hair Gloss?
There are two different types of hair gloss: At-home hair glosser products and the professional in-salon service. While at-home hair glossing can be done every so often to help you refresh your existing color, remove brassiness, or add a bit of shine to dull hair, you should always opt for a customized in-salon formula if you’re looking to change your hair color.
Hair Gloss Vs. Hair Glaze
We covered what is gloss for hair, but there are some similar products you might get confused with hair glosses—including hair glazes. A hair glaze is another temporary color service, but unlike hair gloss, these formulas don’t penetrate the hair shaft at all. A hair glaze simply coats the hair to deliver shine, frizz control, and color enhancement. While the results of some hair gloss formulas can last between 12 to 24 washes, the benefits of a hair glaze will likely wash out after one to two weeks.
Can Glosses Be An Alternative To Dye?
If you want damage-free, non-permanent hair color, a hair gloss is a great alternative to traditional hair dye. As always, we recommend checking in with a professional colorist to determine which option is best for you.
How Often Should You Get A Gloss?
Hair gloss will save you major time and money, but since these formulas aren’t permanent, you’ll still need a refresh every few weeks (six to eight, depending on how often you wash your hair) to keep your strands from looking dull and your salon color vibrant and toned.
How To Gloss Your Hair At Home
At-home hair glossing is our go-to for adding shine and fixing brassy and orange undertones when we can’t make it to the salon. We love products like Pureology Top Coat. These formulas work to maintain your lightened hair and neutralize warm tones for up to eight washes from the time you leave the salon until your next visit. Made with oat milk and camellia oil, these hair glosses condition and seal the cuticle to enhance softness and lock in shine.
If you’re focused on shine, pick up the Pureology Top Coat + Sheer Clear Formula. For salon blondes battling brass, pick up the purple-tinted Top Coat + Tone Purple. Brunettes with orange undertones can benefit from having Top Coat + Tone Blue in their routine. Simply apply your chosen formula throughout your hair after shampooing and rinse after five minutes.
Best Hair Gloss Treatments
As much as we love the convenience of at-home hair glossing, there’s nothing like heading to the salon for a customized gloss treatment for hair. Here at Hair.com, our pros swear by one salon-quality hair gloss: Redken Shades EQ. This demi-permanent, acidic professional color service can help you achieve any shade you want. These formulas are infused with wheat amino acids that help condition the hair and leave it looking intensely shiny.
If you’re dealing with brassy hair, regrown roots, discoloration, graying strands, or simply want a new hue, your colorist can whip up a custom formula and apply the gloss in hair. Once Shades EQ is applied, it only takes 20 minutes to process and see results.
Now that you know all about hair glossing, you can decide if these formulas are right for you.
Want to try a professional Redken Shades EQ hair gloss? Use the Redken salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.