It's fair to say that the French know a thing or two about achieving incredible hair. From blunt bangs (adored by celebrities like Jeanne Damas and Violette) to the Parisian bob (so effortless and natural), all the most Instagram-worthy hair trends seem to be born there. It's even home to balayage — arguably the most revered and requested highlighting technique to date. It makes total sense, then, that this winter's buzziest hair trend would hail directly from the stylish and exclusive salons of Paris.
Enter: French glossing.
Brand new to L’Oréal Professionnel salons in the UK, the game-changing technique promises to transform dull, dry and frizzy hair into shiny, healthy and vibrant lengths. If your hair is coloured, you may have opted for a traditional gloss treatment in the past, where a temporary dye is applied all over. French glossing takes a smart, two-pronged approach to the colouring method, which ensures the finished result is believably natural, not blocky, as can be the case with some at-home box dyes.
The process is simple. Permanent hair colour is applied to the roots, while an ammonia-free gloss is distributed through the mid-lengths to ends using a gradient technique, which brings out different tones in your hair and lends lengths a modern, ombre effect. According to L’Oréal, the result is "seamless, light-reflective colour that screams Parisian chic, like adjusting the brightness on a computer screen". While French glossing is a great option for those looking to blanket grey strands convincingly, it's for absolutely everyone, regardless of hair colour or texture. It's especially great if you want to hit refresh on the same shade you've had for years.
The hair trend is still pretty under the radar, with just under 10k hashtags on Instagram and a modest (by the platform's standards) 29k TikTok views. But ask any colourist and they'll guarantee it's going to be huge. So is French glossing really as innovative as it's touted to be? R29 sent along entertainment editor Maybelle Morgan to try it out.
"In the last couple of years, my hair's been subject to more than a few lockdown clichés, multiple DIY dye jobs and late-night housemate hair chops included. After rocking pretty much the same hair colour and length for years on end, the intention was to go drastically lighter and shorter, and so out came the cheap, at-home bleach — more than once. My hair was pretty fried by the time I got the desired lightness and Asian hair tends to have yellow undertones, anyway. Bleached or dry, it's more prone to that dreaded brassiness.
"Despite slathering on hair masks and even trying the odd viral beauty trend (I put egg yolks on my hair and it was not fun), it has never felt quite the same and is definitely frizzier, duller and drier than it used to be. Now my roots have fully grown out. Because I didn't balayage the bleach down gradually I now have a solid, dark-to-tangy-orange line on my hair. From the name of this treatment, I was hoping it would give me that enviable French influencer look: chic, healthy and #expensive.
"First I went for a consultation, where the head colourist at Fowler35 salon explained that rather than using one block toner to take out the brassiness (which can leave hair looking flat and washed out), it's all about tactically using dark and light tones to create multidimensional layers. Not only does this suit the shape of your face (yes, hair contouring exists!) but also makes it appear healthier. I was sold.
"Subtle, darker streaks were put in to create negative space among lighter highlights, all designed to give my hair more depth. Then, downstairs to Fowler35's relaxation cave (the massage chair was really the pièce de résistance) where the dye was washed out and then a toner was added to assimilate all the shades in my hair. Finally the famous DIA Light — kind of like Olaplex but better — a gel-cream that neutralises any undertones and gives hair enviable moisture and gloss.
"When my hair was dried and styled I was actually open-mouthed at the result. It was shinier and felt softer than it had in years. I mean, who knew hair could actually catch the light? All the brassiness was gone but my hair didn't look grey or green and dull as it tends to after an ashy toner. It looks multidimensional, like natural hair that has never felt the wrath of bleach.
"There were subtle highlights framing my face, making it look brighter, and my hair weirdly looks longer — like it's gained an inch or two. I think as the look mimics natural hair (but just the best version it can be) it will probably grow out in a really subtle, chic way. In other words, there's no need to book in too often. I'm an absolute convert to French glossing. Even after sleeping on it, the frizz is minimal and the sheen is still there."