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Few things are better than walking out of the salon with shiny, fresh new hair. But as anyone who’s gotten highlights or color before can attest, the results inevitably fade away over time. In an ideal world with unlimited finances, you’d book a touch-up once a month. In the real world, the best hair glosses and glazes are your ultimate answer for preserving that salon shine. And thanks to new innovations, they’re easier than ever to add to your at-home routine.
What does hair gloss do?
Hair glosses — also known as hair glazes — can give you that salon-esque effect in a few ways. “They’re for sealing the cuticle of the hair, adding tone or even taking unwanted tones away,” says Zoe Wiepert, colorist at Bumble and bumble. Wiepert says these products are “essential” when it comes to preserving or enhancing color, thanks to their shine-boosting and protective properties. The one thing they’re not meant to do? Cover gray hair. “In some cases, they can stain gray hair, but they will not cover it the way semi-permanent and permanent color will,” says Felicia Dosso, colorist at Nunzio Saviano Salon.
Like any treatment, longevity varies depending on how often you wash your hair and use hot tools. Do less of both, and you’ll help keep the gloss or glaze in effect for longer. Depending on the product, wear time can be anywhere between a few washes to four weeks. “A gloss in the salon will be a little stronger and last longer,” says Dosso.
Top Hair Glosses and Glazes of 2022
- DpHue Color Boosting Gloss + Deep Conditioning Treatment
- Davines Heart of Glass Sheer Glaze
- Kristin Ess Signature Hair Gloss in Crystal Quartz
- John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze Clear Shine
- Oribe Glaze for Beautiful Color
- Pureology Color Fanatic Top Coat + Tone Gloss
- Madison Reed Color Reviving Gloss
- IGK Expensive Amla Oil Hi Shine Top Coat
- L’Oréal Le Color Gloss One Step Toning Gloss
- Amika Flash Instant Shine Hair Gloss Mask
- Garnier Nutrisse Color Reviver
- Clairol Color Gloss Up
- Rita Hazan True Color Ultimate Shine Gloss
- Color Wow Pop + Lock Frizz Control Glossing Serum
- Bumble and bumble Bb. Color Gloss
- Tresemmé Gloss Clear
- L’Oréal EverPure Glossing In Shower Acidic Glaze
- Hally Fluffy G Gloss Treatment
- Pantene NutrientBlends Illuminating Color Care Glossing Rescue Shots
Hair gloss vs. hair glaze
If you’re wondering about the difference between the two, there really is none. Dosso says the two terms are used among colorists to refer to the same product. According to Wiepert, some colorists use “gloss” to refer to more professional-grade products that contain ammonia and peroxide, but for DIY purposes, you can shop for both.
The more important differentiation is deciding whether a clear or tinted hair gloss is right for you. For most situations, Dosso recommends her clients stick to the clear versions, which make any hair color (including your natural one) instantly shinier and smoother. “Tinted glosses can be tricky because if left on too long, they can mess up your hair color,” she says.
If you’re feeling confident, there are a few situations where a tinted gloss might be a better option. Wiepert says these tint-depositing treatments are great for altering tone, getting rid of brassiness or boosting faded color. “They can make a rich brunette more sultry, a red more vibrant or a blonde more beige, buttery or icy,” she says. Just remember that if you need a drastic change, it’s best to leave it in the hands of a professional.
How to apply hair gloss and hair glaze
Whether you’re reaching for a clear or tinted gloss, start by hopping in the shower — you’ll get the best results with wet hair. Then follow these steps from Dosso and Wiepert to apply your gloss like a pro.
- Start on clean, wet hair. Wiepert recommends shampooing with a sulfate-free formula like Bb.Bond-Building Shampoo, which helps repair damage and prep the hair for your gloss or glaze.
- As an optional step, you can further prime hair with a light oil like Bb.Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer. Wiepert recommends this step for anyone with dry hair. “It will even out the porosity,” she says. “Otherwise, if hair is too dry in areas, a tinted gloss will grab stronger in those spots.”
- Divide your hair into four quadrants. “Sectioning the hair helps ensure that the gloss will be distributed evenly,” says Dosso. Then, start applying your glaze. Dosso uses a “slicing” motion with the applicator bottle, distributing the gloss, then evenly pulling it all the way through to the ends of the hair. “Make sure each section is fully saturated,” she says.
- For a more blended, lived-in effect, Wiepert suggests leaving your hairline out in front. “That hair is very fine and porous and will grab color quicker than the rest,” she says. Blend tinted hair glosses a quarter inch past your roots. Using a bowl and a brush will give you the easiest application, but you can also go in with gloves.
- Let the gloss sit according to the instructions on the package. Total time usually varies from 10-20 minutes. Be careful not to leave tinted glosses in for too long.
- Once your time’s up, rinse and condition. Wiepert says cool water is optimal here, since it will help seal the cuticle and maximize shine. You can also add a deep conditioning treatment after fully rinsing the gloss to lock the gloss in.
- To preserve tinted glosses, treat your hair as you would after any color appointment. Two easy ways to keep hair healthy and minimize damage are towel-drying with the Aquis Lisse Luxe Hair Turban and sleeping on silk pillowcases (we love the pillowcase by Slip).
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DpHue Color Boosting Hair Gloss + Deep Conditioning Treatment
Choose one of their nine toning shades or the clear gloss option with DpHue’s hair gloss. Either way, you’re guaranteed a conditioning base that treats hair with hydrating, illuminating ingredients. Reviewers love the results on both natural hair color and color-treated hair. It’s particularly good for a blended, subtle effect between appointments.
Davines Heart of Glass Sheer Hair Glaze
This hair glaze from Davines works a little differently than the in-shower versions. Instead, it’s designed as a leave-in that you apply to damp, towel-dried hair before using a blow-dryer. The hydrating serum protects your hair from heat, while brightening highlights and boosting overall shine.
Kristin Ess Signature Hair Gloss in Crystal Quartz
Celebrity hairstylist Kristin Ess uses the Crystal Quartz clear gloss to keep her clients’ hair vibrant and shiny, without compromising color. Dosso is also a fan. “It’s great because you can use it on both color-treated and natural hair color,” she says. “Leave it on wet hair for 10-20 minutes for maximum results.” The silicone- and ammonia-free formula lasts 3-4 weeks, and works on all hair types.
Wiepert loves the pigmented conditioners from Overtone, which she calls “a safer way to ‘glaze’ the hair at home.” The color range truly includes every shade you could want, while the gentle formula works on all hair types. “This will add shine and tone, but it’s not permanent and will fade over time, so you’re not stuck with unwanted color left in the cuticle of the hair,” she says.
John Frieda Luminous Color Hair Glaze Clear Shine
Like a coat of cellophane for your hair, John Frieda’s clear glaze keeps your hair healthy while intensifying smoothness and shine. It’s got nearly five thousand five-star reviews on Amazon, where reviewers rave about the results on all hair types. The ammonia- and peroxide-free formula is gentle enough to use as regularly as your deep conditioner.
Oribe Glaze for Beautiful Color
Oribe’s clear glaze acts like a cross between a tint-free brightener and a deep conditioning treatment. As a bonus, you only need to leave it in for 3-5 minutes to get results. “It’s made with Brazil nuts, so it’s super hydrating and adds extra shine,” says Dosso. Swap it out for your conditioner once a week, then rinse for a glossy finish.
Pureology Color Fanatic Top Coat + Tone Gloss
Pureology makes its toning gloss in Blue and Purple, two shades great for neutralizing brassiness at home. Use the blue gloss on dark blonde or brunette hair while the purple shade works great on platinum and medium blonde. Vegan oat milk and camellia oil keep the formula conditioning, so your hair feels extra silky after rinsing. One application lasts for up to eight washes, easily helping you extend those salon visits.
Madison Reed Color Reviving Gloss
Both Dosso and Wiepert list this among their favorite at-home hair glosses. Dosso loves the addition of nourishing ingredients like keratin, argan oil and ginseng root extract. Her pick is the clear shade, Glassa, which adds vibrancy without pigment. Wiepert is also a fan of Madison Reed’s tinted glosses, which come in a wide range of shades. “I’ve done FaceTime consulting during COVID-19 with some of my clients using Madison Reed, and it worked out wonderfully,” she says. To find your right match, you start by “taking a test that asks all kinds of questions, like porosity of the hair, coverage, skin tone and undertones.”
IGK Expensive Amla Oil Hi Shine Top Coat
Use IGK’s in-shower gloss treatment whenever you want to add dimension to your color, give a glassy effect to your hair, or just smooth over frizz and dryness. It works in just 2-3 minutes, making it an easy weekly treatment. Amla oil, sea kelp extract and sunflower seed oil leave a nourishing effect, which reviewers say makes a noticeable difference on bleached or damaged hair.
L’Oréal Le Color Gloss One Step Toning Gloss
For those that want a little tint with their gloss, this One Step Toning Gloss is an easy-to-use option that comes in shades for blondes, brunettes and redheads. Start with one coat to subtly add dimension, then add a second treatment one week later if you want more intense color. Reviewers especially love the brunette shades, which come in both warming and cooling options.
Amika Flash Instant Shine Hair Gloss Mask
Softening, hydrating, silky results are a mere 60 seconds away with Amika’s hair gloss mask. The clear treatment instantly seals the cuticle and imparts a brilliant finish that keeps your color looking vibrant. If you have fine hair, swap it in for your regular conditioner. If you have thick, dry or curly hair, add it as an extra step after your conditioner before rinsing out.
Garnier Nutrisse Color Reviver
For those looking for a tinted glaze at the drugstore, it can be tricky to find the right one for cool-toned redheads. Shoppers love this Vibrant Red version from Garnier, which also comes in five other shades. The creamy formula contains avocado oil to leave hair with that just-conditioned feeling, along with plenty of shine.
Clairol Color Gloss Up
These new glosses from Clairol throw in fun shades like rose gold and mint green for anyone who’s craving a temporary change. Leave the gloss on for 2-15 minutes, depending on how intense you want the tint to appear. It’ll wear up to 10 washes before it’ll need a refresh. Shea butter and argan oil do the heavy lifting for instantly moisturized, smooth results.
Rita Hazan True Color Ultimate Shine Gloss
A favorite among editors due to its ease of use, Rita Hazan’s gloss comes in warming, cooling and clear shades to suit your color needs. Just apply it between your shampoo and conditioner, let it sit for about five minutes, then step out of the shower with hair that looks like you just got back from an appointment with your colorist.
Color Wow Pop + Lock Frizz Control Glossing Serum
If you’re truly short on time, swap out your in-shower hair gloss for this one-step glossing serum from Color Wow. It can be applied on dry or damp hair to instantly smooth, seal the cuticle, and make all hair colors pop with added shine. Sadly, the results will wash out with your next shower, but it definitely brings out a salon-worthy effect in between.
Bumble and bumble Bb. Color Gloss
Bumble and bumble is another easy-to-use clear gloss that boosts the shine of any hair color. The 20-minute softening treatment is formulated with ingredients to help smooth hair. You also have the option to go for one of the tinted shades, which revive highlights and color for up to three washes. Reviewers love the purple-tinted Cool Blonde Gloss, which keeps platinum blondes icy.
Tresemmé Gloss Clear
This drugstore gem from Tresemmé adds an instant glossy top coat to your hair. The clear glaze works with a deep-conditioning formula to leave hair soft and smooth. Whenever your hair starts getting dull, leave it in for three minutes after shampooing, then rinse out with water.
L’Oréal EverPure Glossing In Shower Acidic Glaze
While all hair glosses and glazes give optimal results on freshly showered hair, the genius of this “in shower” invention from L’Oreal is the spray nozzle, which makes all-over application a breeze. And since you’re in the shower, it’s a-ok if you get a little spritz happy. The acidic pH hair treatment contains argan oil to leave hair extra reflective and silky. Spray it on clean, damp hair, and leave it in for 1-3 minutes before rinsing out with conditioner.
Hally Fluffy G Gloss Treatment
Get all the benefits of a hair gloss in an ultra-fluffy foam from Hally that distributes product evenly and goes to work in 10 minutes. Available in a clear shade, a brassiness neutralizer for blondes and a warming dimension boost for brunettes, the formula also smooths frizz and hydrates all hair types and textures.
Pantene NutrientBlends Illuminating Color Care Glossing Rescue Shots
Grab these single-use hair gloss “shots” whenever your color-treated hair needs a shot of moisture or is suffering from a slow, dull fade out. Each Rescue Shot is packed with vitamins, antioxidants and biotin to keep your hair strong, healthy and mirror-bright. The untinted treatment is super gentle, so you can swap it in for your conditioner as needed.