If you thought a hair gloss was just a novelty item at the end of your in-salon color treatment, then...you're just like me! In my mind, it was sort of like a prescription conditioner, a heavy-duty treatment only professionals could apply. I was mostly wrong. As New York City colorist Rita Hazan explains, "A hair gloss is a translucent, very sheer color. And it does have a bit of conditioner in it so it smooths out the cuticle, adding hydration." Hair gloss isn't just for the salon, either: These days, there are an impressive crop of at-home glosses and hair glazes that deliver results just as impressive as their professional counterparts.
What does hair gloss do your hair, exactly?
Who could benefit from hair gloss, I hear you asl? The short answer: Everyone. Ideal candidates for gloss are those with color-treated hair that's gone left a bit. Say, a blonde that's gotten a little brassy, or a brunette that's dulled or gone ashy. The gentle pigmentation in hair glosses can stain the hair and add a tint of color to take it back to a vibrant, enhanced tone.
What kind of hair gloss should I get?
Most of the formulas we've included in this round-up come in a range of shades, so you can select the dye that works best for the color you're hoping to achieve. Some of them, though, are clear glosses, which means two things. You can use it on strands that haven't been color treated for that shiny look, or you can use it on any shade of dyed hair. Both work wonders to amp up the sheen and allover vibrancy of your strands. Ahead, our picks for the best at-home hair glosses available now.
One of the newer products in our round-up, this has become a cult favorite among hair color fanatics for good reason: It's that good. There are 11 deliciously named color options—winter wheat, anyone?—that are meant to be applied on shower-damp strands. Simply combine the two bottles and allow to set for up to 20 minutes. Noticeable results can last up to five weeks.
If your hair color is fresh—or you're just looking for enhanced shine—try Bumble and bumble's clear formulation. Otherwise, check out the brunette, red or two shades of blonde (warm and cool) to intensify fading pigments.
Each tube contains up to three treatments of these low dose, ammonia dyes—there are eight colors to choose from—which deliver noticeably enhanced color for up to ten days.
While most of the options on this list deliver a bit of pigment, this is quite simply a high-powered conditioner formulated to deliver shine and shine alone. Just three minutes as often as you like will give you a mirror-like finish that's not one big greaseball.
The closest you'll get to an in-salon experience with an at-home treatment, dpHUE's 20 minute gloss comes in eleven shades, from light blonde to black, strawberry to copper. If you can't find the exact hue for you, mix a few with the sheer formulation for totally personalized tones.
Just the right amount of dye—there are formulas for brown, blonde, and red strands—is delivered alongside smoothing castor oil and coconut fatty acids in a satisfying mousse formula. Work a palmful of foam into damp strands and set a timer for five minutes. NB: It's gentle enough to use up to three times a week.
You could use this at the end of a shower for enhanced shine, whether your hair is color-treated, balayaged, or au natural. The other option is working the gel into completely dry strands and leaving it on twenty minutes. The effect? Luminous.
While this isn't a pigment-based product, you won't get too far down the road of researching glossing treatments before some wise colorist or hair color fanatic throws this guy into the mix. A few drops worked into wet or dry hair delivers some of the most satisfying, oil-free shine out there, thanks to hydrating, sealing compounds.
If you're just about that icy shine, by all means sub this in weekly for a high impact burst. If you're eager to minimize brassiness or reduce fading, work a few dabs of these toning drops into the treatment for brighter, less drab strands.