Look, we've all pretty much come to terms with the fact that we have to hock up some serious coin when our hair color starts to grow out and we've got major roots — what we haven't made peace with is shelling out our cash every time our color starts to fade a bit. Not to mention the fact that getting a full-on dye job can totally damage hair. But there is actually a gentler, cheaper way to keep your color shiny — yup, we're talking about the magical gloss treatment.
The low-down on gloss
In short, a gloss treatment — also referred to as a color glaze or a glaze treatment — gives your hair shine, boosts dull and lifeless hair and helps smooth flyaways.
Gloss treatments can be clear or tinted. Both types of treatments revitalize hair, and tinted treatments can help enhance or maintain color, as well. Tinted options range from brighter blond (to cancel out brassiness) and gold (to bring out warmth in your strands) to red or brown hues (to bring out the warmth in darker shades of hair).
While gloss treatments aren't an alternative to color, they do help enhance and refresh your current color, bring out subtleties, and can be a good introduction to hair color for someone with virgin (aka never-been-colored) hair.
Why you should try it
Gloss treatments are great conditioning tools — so if your locks are dry and lifeless, they're going to do you good.
They will also make your hair off-the-charts shiny.
"A gloss is very acidic and closes the hair and the cuticle real tight. The result is a very smooth surface texture that will reflect a lot more light and have a much softer feel to it," Paul Cucinello of Chris Chase Salon in New York City told the Huffington Post.
If you regularly color or highlight your hair, gloss treatments can give you an added boost between colors. Blondes are especially prone to flyaways and damage, so gloss treatments also help smooth and strengthen lighter shades.
Gloss treatments usually last about four to six weeks before washing/fading out.
"Technically, it’s a demi-permanent (in-between semi- and permanent), which means that it deposits tone into the hair strand, but does not lift or lighten hair color," Maddison Cave, a colorist at Rita Hazan Salon in New York City, told Refinery29.
And, drum roll, gloss treatments are usually under $50 — which is significantly less than what you would pay for most other coloring processes.
So to review, a gloss treatment will give you crazy shine, isn't permanent and costs way less than, say, a balayage or all-over permanent color. Can't beat that with a stick.
Originally published April 2013. Updated May 2017.