Bet You Didn't Know A Gloss Treatment Could Do This...

What if we told you there was a one-stop solution to nearly all your hair color quandaries? Seriously, try us: Want to go darker, but aren’t 100% sure you should make the move? Looking to make that grown-out, summer balayage look pulled-together and fresh for fall? Wish your highlights popped, hair was silkier, or shined like Demi Moore’s? Pining for a change, but don’t have hours to sit in the chair — or the stack of hundos to pay for it? Looking to take down brassiness, hydrate curls, add dimension, or stamp out tired ombré? Want to steer clear of follicle-thrashing ammonia and bleach? Then, all roads lead to trying a gloss treatment.

“Typically, glossing is less pricey than an allover color, highlights, or balayage, but the benefits are endless,” confirms Andy James, a colorist at L.A.’s Benjamin Salon. The versatile treatment typically costs well under $100 and can last for weeks.

We know, it seems too good to be true: How on earth does glossing address so many hair woes, all without damaging tresses? Maddison Cave, a colorist at Rita Hazan Salon in New York City, explains: “Technically, it’s a demi-permanent (in-between semi- and permanent), which means that it deposits tone into the hair strand, but does not lift or lighten hair color.” What’s more, the formulas are free of bleach and ammonia, so treatments can actually leave hair more conditioned than before and shiny as all get-out.

As if that weren't enough happy hair news, it gets even better: Fall and winter may be the best time of year to take advantage of the treatment’s transformational assets. Because according to Dana Ionato, a colorist with Sally Hershberger Salon in Manhattan, glosses are essential during the changing seasons — particularly in colder months. “The natural lighting outside actually changes during the seasons,” she says. “In winter, especially in New York City, natural light tends to be gray outside.” Hair color that looked radiant in summer can suddenly seem to wash out complexions when temperatures drop.

“Doing a gloss on your hair is the perfect solution,” Ionato says. “Using warmer tones will help balance how your hair appears in the dull, cooler lighting, while golden, richer tones help your hair look shiny and less opaque.” With a quick tone treatment done in the sink, a shift in hair color can make skin pigment look less dull and gray and make eyes pop, she notes.

So we’re calling it: Gloss treatments are the unsung heroes of the hair-color world — but not for long. Because after you check out these transformational hair looks from some of L.A.’s top colorists, ahead, you, me, and everyone we know will be bombarding salons to get in on the action — and emerging with shinier hair.

Read More:
"Hair Dusting" Is The Secret To Healthier, Longer Hair 
12 Before & After Photos That Show How Important Your Hair Part Is 
"Wave Formation" Is The Easiest Hair Trick You'll Learn

Photo: Courtesy of Andy James.
Part 1: Softening Highlights

As you've just read, a gloss treatment is a great solution for a laundry list of concerns. In this first section, we'll look at one of the most common uses: softening grown-out highlights or ombré with a swift and gentle rinse of color.

Before: The secret to keeping an ombré look from falling flat? Glossing, says James. Here is the before...
Photo: Courtesy of Andy James.
After: “I glossed her darker to create a brunette fall look without loosing dimension and contrast,” he says. “The gloss darkens hair while adding shine and making her hair feel much softer and silkier.”
Photo: Courtesy of Shai Amiel.
Before: L.A. colorist Shai Amiel, of Capella Salon, used a gloss to resolve three hair conundrums at once: to erase the harsh line created by grown-out highlights; replace the appearance of two highly contrasting hair colors with a nuanced gradient that makes color look more unified; and to condition and nourish parched hair.
Photo: Courtesy of Shai Amiel.
After: The end result doesn’t look like a hair fix, but an intentional take on fresh and subtle highlights.
Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Gonzalez.
Before: Thinking of ditching highlights altogether? Colorist Jessica Gonzalez suggests trying a gloss treatment, which can fade balayage in one fell swoop...
Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Gonzalez.
After: The end result is a darker and more uniform look. Gonzalez notes another perk of glossing over dyeing. For those who are not committed to going dark, the treatment serves as a gentle stepping stone. “They usually last about six weeks, and you have the flexibility to lighten back up if you like,” she says.
Photo: Courtesy of Shai Amiel.
Before: Amiel's next client wanted a color refresh, so he opted for gloss for a less damaging result...
Photo: Courtesy of Shai Amiel.
After: Amiel reinvents two-toned, grown-out highlights, giving this client’s hair color cohesion and shine by treating her curls with gloss.
Photo: Courtesy of Cassondra Kaeding.
Before: Gloss treatments are a godsend for over-scheduled clients who can’t get to the salon every few months. “They fade out nicely over time,” says celeb colorist Cassondra Kaeding.
Photo: Courtesy of Cassondra Kaeding.
After: To darken this client’s highlights for fall, Kaeding used a medium, golden gloss to fill and richen the look.
Photo: Courtesy of Richie Iraheta.
Before: Want more proof that a gloss treatment can also be used to soften highlights that have grown out past their prime?
Photo: Courtesy of Richie Iraheta.
After: For this client, Richie Iraheta, a stylist at L.A.’s Nine Zero One Salon, shares, “I used gloss to smudge her highlights down for a deeper rooted look and give warmth and dimension.” The result: color custom-made for the transition into fall.
Photo: Courtesy of Maddison Cave.
Before: This client’s highlights were a little too stark for her liking. So Cave used gloss to make them look softer...
Photo: Courtesy of Maddison Cave.
After: “We did a more subtle gloss that added some depth and lots of shine,” Cave says.
Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Burke.
Part 2: Toning Existing Color

The power of gloss doesn't stop there — this treatment can nix brassy tones and give the entire head a new, soft hue —without bleaching or breaking out the permanent color...

Before: “When [this client] came to me, her hair was already so over-processed from lightening. I was afraid that lightening would compromise her hair integrity even more,” says Lauren Burke of L.A.’s Nine Zero One Salon. The solution: a treatment to infuse hair with a little TLC and a more desired tone...
Photo: Courtesy of Lauren Burke.
After: Brassiness is banished, roots diffused, and lengths are shiny and smooth, thanks to a gloss treatment. “She needed something that was livable,” Burke says. “I went to toning because of how gentle it is on the hair.”
Photo: Courtesy of Tina Dizon.
Before: Tina Dizon, founder of The Private Room in Beverly Hills, says this natural blonde loves to add red to her hair...
Photo: Courtesy of Tina Dizon.
After: A red gloss over naturally dark-blond hair transforms this client into a natural-looking redhead, without damaging strands.
Photo: Courtesy of Melinda Miller-Rider.
Before: Melinda Miller-Rider, a colorist at L.A.’s Andy LeCompte Salon, took this brunette “from grown-out, dry, and brassy...”
Photo: Courtesy of Melinda Miller-Rider.
After: “...to warm, rich, and polished,” all with a gloss treatment, she says.
Photo: Courtesy of Tina Dizon.
Before: There's an easy solution for blond locks that feel drab — without turning to bleach. We'll let Dizon explain...
Photo: Courtesy of Tina Dizon.
After: For this client, who curls her hair daily, Dizon used a honey-blond gloss to help boost hair health, shine, and touchability — without putting her strands under any stress.
Photo: Courtesy of Michelle Pugh.
Part 3: Create Custom Results (Bonus!)

Convinced of the transformative powers of gloss yet? Great — but know that gloss can do more than stamp out highlights and correct tone. In fact, it can do a whole lot more, from creating soft roots to brightening rainbow hues.

Let's break down the other uses here...

To add dimension: Have you seen a more fall-friendly ombré? Celebrity colorist Michelle Pugh at L.A.’s Mèche Salon achieved the look by glossing with multiple shades. “The gloss was used to bump up her faded, summer-strawberry highlights and bring a coppery-red tone to her hair for fall,” she says.
Photo: Courtesy of Melinda Miller-Rider.
To add faux roots: Miller-Rider gave this blond client a “feeling of richness for fall by warming up her roots and giving her highlights a rosy hue that’s smooth and shiny,” she says. Miller-Rider used one gloss formula on the roots and another for the mid-shaft and ends to achieve the blended look. “By keeping her highlights pastel, she still feels bright and blond like she’s used to, but is updated and modern for the changing season — no bleach necessary.”
Photo: Courtesy of George Papanikolas.
To make fresh highlights pop: Happy with your go-to highlights, but wish they popped a bit more? A gloss treatment may be the answer, says Matrix SoColor celebrity stylist George Papanikolas. “It can be used to almost illuminate the highlights and just give a soft tone-on-tone effect. It is perfect to add over highlights to get a desired tone.”
Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Gonzalez.
To experiment with super-dark hues with less commitment: Thinking about going dark, but aren’t sure you want permanent color? Gonzalez suggests dipping your toes into the water with a gloss treatment, like this client did. “They usually last about six weeks, and you have the flexibility to lighten back up,” she says.
Photo: Courtesy of Tina Dizon.
To boost rainbow hues: “This client wanted to add life to her faded pink hair,” says Dizon. “I added a hint of pink blush to a clear gloss so that it would even out a faded fashion color.”
Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Satorn.
To add warmth: For this client, Lisa Satorn, a senior stylist at L.A.’s Nine Zero One Salon, added richness with a quick treatment. “It’s a great way to transition summer, sun-kissed hair into a darker fall color,” she says.
Photo: Getty images.
To create a more natural highlighted look: “On Ashley, we wanted to warm up the lighter blond highlights, but also make it look like a natural, grown-out look,” says celebrity stylist Joseph Chase of actress Ashley Greene. After he glossed the roots to mid-shaft with a combination of two formulas and hit ends with a third glossing shade, Greene emerged with warm color that looks both natural and multidimensional.
Photo: Courtesy of Cassondra Kaeding.
To make just-bleached platinum icy: For those who keep their hair icy-blond (no matter the season) — like this style created by Cassondra Kaeding, a celebrity stylist at Sally Hershberger L.A., whose clients include Vanessa Hudgens and Ciara — a touch-up with gloss is key. It can help keep hair looking healthy, banish any brassiness, and help strands stay icy longer.
Photo: Courtesy of Brigitte Schwartz.
To seal the cuticle on damaged hair: Thermal and environmental damage can make hair lose its luster in a matter of weeks after a color treatment. Instead of doubling down on color, Jonesboro, AR-based stylist Brigitte Schwartz opted to give this client a gloss treatment to boost shine (by sealing the hair’s cuticles) and lift dull tresses in-between highlight and balayage services.
To mend damaged curls: A gloss treatment helped Abigail Brown, a Cleveland salon owner, define her client's curls (and it gave her brown hair rich auburn tones, too).
To show off your darker dye job: After going from a brighter blonde to a honey shade, Beyoncé's colorist Rita Hazan gave her longtime client a blonde gloss treatment to really bring out those deeper tones.
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!