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Hair Gloss Is the Secret to the Shiny Hair of Your Dreams

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Nothing beats the feeling of walking out of a hair salon. You feel good, you’re double shampooed, and your hair has a shine like no other! But as time goes on, your hair color and shine can begin to dull and lose that healthy look. This is where hair glosses come in.

A hair gloss is kind of like a facial for your hair. We think of haircuts as the maintenance work to help our split ends and colorings as touch-ups for our roots. But a hair gloss is so much more simple—it’s a dye job without the commitment and the secret to a long-lasting shine.


About the Expert:

Shvonne Perkins is an expert colorist and the lead educator at Madison Reed in New York City.

What Is a Hair Gloss Treatment?

Simply put, hair gloss is a semi-permanent treatment that adds an intense amount of shine to your hair. It can also be used to either fight off tones you don’t want (like brassiness) or add tones that you do want.

“Gloss is applied to clean, dry hair, and the beauty of the product is that it doesn’t open the cuticle of the hair or cause any damage. It coats the outer layers of the hair strand and gives tone and shine. In the case of Madison Reed glosses, it also adds conditioning ingredients like argan oil, keratin, and ginseng root extract,” says Shvonne, an expert colorist and the lead educator at Madison Reed in New York City.

Shvonne says brunettes tend to like espresso-toned ash-brown glosses to fight brassiness, and many blondes love violet-toned glosses to help combat yellow hues that can happen as a result of styling products and hard water. Copper tones can be added to redheads to make them more vibrant and vivid.

Different Types of Hair Glosses

“Hair glosses are best for those who already have color treated or highlighted hair. Gloss is used to bring back dimension and tone to color-treated hair when it begins to fade,” says Shvonne.

While hair gloss is great to use on color-treated hair, you don’t have to color your hair to use it. You can ask your colorist to use a clear gloss if you’re happy with your natural tone. The clear gloss will not add any color to your hair but it will remove any buildup or brassiness, plus add shine.

“It’s exactly like using a top coat on your nails. You’ll be able to see the shine, but absolutely no change to the color,” Shvonne adds.

However, if you’re wondering if you should get a color gloss versus a dye job when you have virgin hair, Shvonne says to opt for dye. “The color gloss pigment uses the porosity of the hair, instead of a developer to deposit color. Because non-treated hair doesn’t typically have a ton of porosity, the results of gloss are not usually as obvious and don’t tend to last as long,” she says.

Gloss vs. Dye

Shvonne tells her clients to think of permanent hair color like lipstick and hair glosses like lip glosses. A lipstick will be more opaque and give fuller coverage, while a gloss adds a nice tint and shine.

“Hair glosses are a tinted veil of tone that are meant to refresh tones (violet, red, ash brunette) and are not meant to cover gray or permanently alter the hair’s color,” she says.

Hair glosses also fade out pretty gradually, typically over four to six weeks. You won’t see a root line, since it washes out subtly over time. This makes hair glosses very low maintenance when compared to your typical color appointments.

Can You Gloss Your Hair at Home?

Yes! Many brands offer at-home glossing treatments if you don’t want to take a trip to the salon to see a hairstylist. It’s a far more simple process than coloring your hair at home, especially if you’re using a clear gloss. The only difference you’ll experience at a salon is that your formula will be custom-mixed and the treatment may last a bit longer as it is salon-quality. Here are seven hair glosses to try if you’re looking to add shine from the comfort of your home. 

1. MADISON REED Color Reviving Gloss

2. PUREOLOGY Color Fanatic Top Coat + Clear Gloss

3. DPHUE Color Boosting Gloss + Deep Condition Treatment

4. KRISTIN ESS Signature Hair Gloss

5. BUMBLE AND BUMBLE Color Gloss

6. L’ORÉAL One Step In-Shower Toning Gloss

7. JOHN FRIEDA Colour Refreshing Gloss

The Cost of Hair Gloss 

Salon-quality hair glosses will cost about $100 (a lot cheaper than a full dye!) and at-home hair gloss treatments can cost you anywhere between $25 to $60. 

Want to know more about keeping up with your hair health, at-home hair treatments, and the best products to use? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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Article Last Updated May 27, 2022 12:00 AM