“Hair shine is the best,” says Carlyn Griscti, a hairstylist at White Rose Collective salon in New York. I lay in the shampoo tub while the precise shine treatment is shaved through my hair, and it will stay there for 10 minutes, just like a conditioner.” Griscti says, “We use them as an add-on to a cut or blowout because they are fast and make the hair look so healthy.
I love how my hair feels when I get a shine in the salon: shinier and more manageable. But it’s still a semi-niche category in the hairdressing world. Google and TikTok searches for hair shine have been skyrocketing, with people asking, “What is hair shine?” “Is hair shine worth it?” and “What are the best hair shine brands and colors?” – So let’s get to the point.
What is a hair gloss?
Hair colorists liken it to a hydrating lip gloss for the hair to make it shine even more. Traditionally, the shine is a salon color treatment, but you can also smooth your hair at home (we’ll get to that). Most salons offer gloss services as an add-on, with a range of colored and clear glosses. If you choose a colored glow, it’s like a semi-permanent hair color that will last about four weeks or ten washes, no matter what comes first.
The gloss is what colorist Leland Olson describes as “liquid acidic,” which means it’s applied like a toner, not a cream-based dye or lightener. Because of this, the process is faster and doesn’t require foil or heat.” You can apply [the gloss] to wet or dry hair,” Olson explains.” Using color to dry hair will absorb the dye more intensely because there is no moisture. When you apply gloss to wet hair, it will be thinner and softer. This is perfect for when you’re looking for a mildly refined or deposited hair color.”
Whether you choose a clear or colored gloss, your hair stylist or colorist will often replace the conditioner step with a hair gloss that will stay on your hair for 5 to 10 minutes. After it’s rinsed out, you can go back to blow-drying or styling your hair.
What are the benefits of a hair gloss?
Shine, vibrancy, and frizz control are the most apparent benefits of hair accessories. In my experience, sheer shine means I don’t have to struggle with doing what I want with my long, thick hair. After my most recent gloss, the Kevin Murphy Color. I didn’t wash my hair for six whole days during my treatment. My hair stayed intact and looked better as the week went on. On the third day, I could even straighten my blown-out hair into a Jennifer Aniston-inspired ’90s look, which lasted through the weekend.
Olsen notes that glossing can be a cost-effective treatment in the long run. “Pricing will depend on what the salon chooses to charge,” he says, “but when I do a quick gloss at the sink, it’s like a $20 treatment. So if you’re coming in for a haircut, think about the price of a haircut, and you’re just adding $20.” Then, you don’t need anything fancy at home to maintain the shine.
When I wash my hair after a shine, I don’t need expensive “bonding” treatments like Olaplex or K18 because my hair doesn’t feel healthy. My current routine is shampoo and conditioner; I don’t feel precious. Glosses are more similar to keratin-based smoothing treatments, but again, without any weightiness (or keratin smell) and much lighter.
There are a bunch of other benefits to using colored glosses. If you apply the mask to previously processed hair, it will extend the life of the color.” For example, if you’re a single processed redhead, red gloss will cover any of your natural grays, browns, or blondes peeking through, so you won’t need to make another color appointment for a few weeks,” Griscti explains. Color gloss allows you to play with color at much lower stakes.” Some people don’t want to color their hair permanently,” Olson explains, “so we can do a combination of glosses that get vibrancy, but you don’t feel like your hair is colored.”
What’s the best at-home gloss?
If I had to choose between a salon gloss and a home gloss kit, I would have a salon gloss applied by a trained stylist who knows what they are doing. Griscti explains that the results of a professional front will last longer than your home treatment because the salon has access to a professional brand of system. In addition, the colorist can mix different glosses to achieve shades you won’t find in the box.
However, in-home service options are also good. They’re basically like DIY toners that can be applied to wet or dry hair for subtle tones and shine, depending on whether you choose a color or a clear version. You may have seen Kristin Ess Gloss in Copper Penny, which recently went viral on TikTok, turning natural strawberry blonde hair into a more prosperous, darker shade.