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Do you know anything about hair glossing? My hairdresser just told me that I should get my hair glossed because it lacks shine but I’m not sure if it’s safe for me to do it frequently. Genetically, I (and my entire family!) have really bad hair FYI- I have black long hair like you, Nicki.
It seems like something with an easy answer: What is hair gloss and how does it work? Unfortunately, it’s surprisingly difficult to find a straight answer.
What is a Gloss?
So, hypothetically, if it works the way it should, a professional gloss will help to smooth your hair. And often times, professional salon’s treatments are supposed to contain less peroxide than at-home products — but I couldn’t find any research to back that up.A gloss is a clear hair dye — replete with some peroxide — that’s intended to make hair shinier and smoother (New Beauty). In salons, it’s demi-permanent, which means it lasts about four to six weeks (Marie Claire). In at-home products, the product might require you to use it weekly or a few times a week. Most glosses don’t contain ammonium, but some do, so make sure to ask or read the label if that’s a concern. Unfortunately, without having standard ingredients, it’s difficult to back this up.
How Might it Work?
While I couldn’t find any ingredients for salon glosses, I did find some at-home treatments that gave me some idea. These should really be considered glazes though, as they don’t last as long and don’t penetrate the cuticle (Oprah.com). These are the ingredients in Fekkai Salon Glaze Clear Shine Rinse ($32, amazon.com):
Water (Aqua/Eau), Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Dimethiconol, PPG-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate, Isohexadecane, Isododecane, Aminodimethicone, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Glycerin, Cetrimonium Chloride, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Copolymer, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Panthenol, Pearl Powder, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin (Pearl) Protein, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Protein, Oleth-10, Polysorbate 80, Oleth-20, Trideceth-12, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Fragrance (Parfum), Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Linalool.
Besides water, the top ingredient is dimethicone, a powerful silicone that smoothes hair by coating it. And then there are ingredients like Pearl Powder. This powder has conchiolin, which is something like keratin, essentially the building blocks of hair (Journal of Cell Biology). Ingredients like grape seed extract have antioxidants, which help protect the hair from free radical damage (Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology).
Conditioner, which also contains silicone, makes hair seem smoother by helping the cuticular scales on your hair lay flat (Hair Care). Essentially, the ingredients that soften and nourish hair are absorbed into the hair and the silicone coats the strands, making for smoother, shinier hair.
What Can You Do Besides Glazes and Gloss?
Much as it does to your skin, the sun can harm your hair. While the pigmentation offers protection, it does so at the consequence of being broken down by UV-rays (International Journal of Trichology). Hair sunscreen, like Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil ($32.92, amazon.com), can help keep your hair healthy and damage free.
And diet is important. The same way what you eat affects your skin, it can affect your hair too. Supplements like Biotin (Natrol Biotin, $6.59, amazon.com) and Marine Protein (Viviscal, $36.33, amazon.com) have been shown to help hair grow faster and stronger (Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, Viviscal).
[Read More: Three Ways You Can Improve Hair Growth]
Hair gloss is a temporary way — whether in a salon or at home — to make your hair smoother and shinier. While I wasn’t able to find any information on how professional treatments work, the at-home ones use silicones, antioxidants, proteins, etc., to nourish and seal the hair temporarily. This usually comes out after a couple washes, whereas the salon treatments claim to last from anywhere between a month and a month and a half.
As for your own hair, it may take some trial and error. Be sure to consult individual salons about what’s in their treatments and avoid something with too much peroxide that could be damaging. I wish you all the best of luck with your hair.