Should I Get a Hair Gloss Treatment?

Skin Care
Hair gloss treatments are common, but how do they work?


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.


Dear C,

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?

A gloss in a salon works the way a hair dye does, but instead of adding color, it adds shine.

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?

Fekkai Salon Glaze Clear Shine Rinse coats the hair with vitamins and antioxidants and seals it with silicone.

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 ( These are the ingredients in Fekkai Salon Glaze Clear Shine Rinse ($32,

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.

[Read More: Does the Keratin Perfect System Work? Keratin Perfect Review]

What Can You Do Besides Glazes and Gloss?

Aveda-Sun-CareBesides, or in addition to, gloss and glaze, there are other steps you can take to having beautiful hair.

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,, can help keep your hair healthy and damage free.

viviscalAnd 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, and Marine Protein (Viviscal, $36.33, have been shown to help hair grow faster and stronger (Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, Viviscal).

[Read More: Three Ways You Can Improve Hair Growth]

Bottom Line

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.


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  • Adama

    Glosses in the salon are quite different than at home glazes. In the salon a gloss is basically and demi permanent color with CLEAR color molecules instead of colored. There is peroxide involved but a low volume 6 -10 volume. If you have color in your hair it will lift if you use clear so they have tinted glosses in all color familys’.

  • Kristina Katai

    Please update us when you find out more about salon glossing! I’m thinking about getting it done on a regular basis but I’m very concerned about the side effects (if any) in the long run!!

  • cheryl

    I am in no way financially tied to this product I am about to mention, I will however tell you that when I use it people literally stop me on the street to tell me how shiny my hair is, and I have long curly black hair- I love the look of shiny hair and mine just wasn’t as naturally shiny as it once had been as I got older and I had both at home glazes and glosses and the salon treatments done in search of the shine I had lost and I also tried a lot of products. This is what works for me.

    Fekkai glossing creme. I was sent a sample in the mail and am hooked!

    Use after shampoo and conditioner on damp not wet hair and start at the ends or you will end up looking/feeling a bit greasy.,default,pd.html?start=1&cgid=styling-products

    It is pricey, but worth every penny in my opinion and a little does go a long way.

  • I really enjoyed reading this post. I try to go regularly to my hairdresser, and on one of those visits, I asked her about those types of treatments. She told me it wasn’t necessary. I’ve never tried the supplements you mentioned. Interesting!

  • Natalie Bell

    @Kaye Lu — I’m going to keep looking into it to see what I can uncover and I’ll let Nicki field the other half of your comment.

    @Tiffany — Yes! It’s primarily that the same way nutrition is linked to height, skin, and other health indicators, hair quality can be improved to some extent by diet and other aspects of overall health as well. (Though genetics do play a primary role!)

  • I didn’t realize there were ways to make your hair grow faster, I had always understood that to be outside our control.

  • kaye lu

    darnit! was hoping for some info about the long-term effects of hair glossing at a salon. i’ve used the products (and diet!) you mentioned in this post but they don’t give me the results that salon hair glossing does.

    nicki, i remember you mentioned in a post that you get your hair glossed. how was it? are you still getting your hair glossed? is it damaging?

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