We’ve come a long way from the days when virtually all processes (including bleaching, dying, and perming) were so damaging, most people just applied them and hoped for the best. If you were lucky, you’d walk away with a reasonably attractive look. If you weren’t, you might walk away with no hair at all!
Today’s hair technology is much more forgiving – you can adjust everything from the overall tone and hue of your hair to the shape and position of the very bonds that keep it intact and give it structure.
But while the risk of damage is much lower, the processes themselves have become far more complex… it’s no wonder that people find them confusing sometimes.
Hair glaze and hair gloss services are the perfect example. While the names might sound similar, they aren’t really the same service at all.
Here’s what you need to know and when you might want to use each one.
What is Hair Glaze?
A hair glaze is an at-home treatment option that encases each strand of hair in a silicone-based casing. It can be tinted, colored, or clear; which you choose depends on what it is you want to achieve with your hair.
Glazes contain relatively safe ingredients (no ammonia, bleach, or harsh dyes), so the risk of problems is extremely low. In most cases, they can even be used over processed, bleached, or permed hair, which might make them ideal for some clients.
A clear or transparent glaze will only add shine, shimmer, and dimension. A glaze with color can tone, warm, cool, or even entirely change the shade of hair. This is useful for making minor shifts between color services.
How Long Does Glaze Last?
Glaze is awesome, but there’s a catch: it doesn’t last long. Many clients find the results begin to fade after as little as a week. This is especially true for people who wash their hair daily or semi-daily, as washing will fade results.
Overall, you shouldn’t expect this kind of treatment to last any more than two to three weeks at the absolute most. But some clients do find it lasts a little bit longer. Your mileage may vary!
When to Use Glaze
You don’t need to go to a salon for this type of treatment. In fact, you can pick up the products to do a hair glaze right at home and handle the entire thing yourself if you feel so inclined.
So, a glaze might be right for you if you just want a quick, relatively cheap fix to get you through a special event like a date.
When Glaze Isn’t Right
Consider heading to a salon for a deep conditioning mask, keratin pack, or even a fresh cut instead. And remember that glaze doesn’t last very long, so if you’re after permanent results, this isn’t the treatment for you.
What is Hair Gloss?
Hair gloss is very similar to all-over color – in fact, it’s usually pigment mixed with developer, which is essentially the same process. It coats each hair strand in a layer of translucent color. This also seals and reshapes the outer cuticle.
Why does this matter? Dry, damaged hair has a tendency to become rough and uneven. Portions of the outer cuticle develop jagged areas or lift. This limits the strand’s ability to reflect light and “shine.” Gloss re-seals all of that in, creating a smooth and reflective surface. Just as a good clear topcoat makes old nail polish look new, gloss restores vibrancy, shimmer, shine, and dimension.
The fact that gloss contains developer is a bit of a double-edged sword. It does mean the formula has a slightly higher risk for causing damage, especially if it isn’t applied correctly with a skilled hand. But the amount of developer is much lower than most all-over semi-permanent or permanent dyes, so it’s still safer than a full color.
Like glaze, gloss can also be tinted to enhance or change your hair color. Or, your stylist can apply it without any shade additions at all for pure shine and glimmer.
How Long Does Gloss Last?
The exact longevity depends on your hair, but in most cases, you can expect a gloss service to last about four to six weeks. Any color used may begin to fade before this point.
Thus, gloss is best when you want a semi-permanent change, rather than just a quick and temporary fix to dull hair woes.
When to Use Gloss
Gloss is a great option for boosting color and dimension between color services. In fact, some clients prefer to use it for this specific reason. Being able to get away with a fresh application of color every six months, versus every two months, will lessen the damage your hair experiences by at least a small amount.
If you aren’t quite happy with your tone or hue, gloss may also be enough to help you nudge it in the right direction. Plus, the effects are subtle enough that you shouldn’t need to worry about pushing your color too far outside your comfort zone. This is especially true if all you want to do is warm up or cool down your tone.
When Gloss Isn’t Right
If your hair is extremely damaged, the developer in a gloss treatment might actually cause more harm than good – although this is rare compared to all-over color.
Gloss is also not really something you want to apply yourself at home for the same reason. Your stylist is best to handle this service.
Additionally, the subtle translucent color associated with gloss is not particularly distinct. If you’re expecting to shift from red to blonde or warm blonde to black, you won’t achieve the right result with gloss alone.
Instead, you might need to pair an all-over color with gloss to get the look you want.
Overall, both gloss and glaze can help make your hair healthier, shinier, and full of dimension. But they aren’t right for every situation or every client.
Schedule a consultation with your stylist now and discover your perfect hair path.