DIY Hair-Color Gloss: Is It Better Than A Salon Treatment?

30IMG_0039_retouched_1stPhotographed by Jessica Nash.
In case you haven't noticed, at-home color glosses are having a big moment. My interest was piqued when I saw glosses from Rita Hazan and John Frieda, but my curiosity reached a fever pitch when two shades of Shu Uemura's Color Lustre Shade Reviving Blonde landed on my desk. I decided to test the products to see how much they changed my color — and whether they gave my somewhat dull, dry locks the intense shine that I craved.


This is me a few months after my last color treatment. My awesome colorist, Dana Ionato at Sally Hershberger, created my "sombre" (subtle ombre) by dyeing my whole head to a shade that was a little brighter and redder than my natural color and then adding balayage highlights (her specialty!) on the lower third of my hair. She then toned the whole thing with toner and gloss. But, since it's been a few months, those products have washed off my hair, and I'm definitely looking a little dull.

31IMG_0178_retouched_2ndPhotographed by Jessica Nash.
After: Shu Uemura Color Lustre Golden Blonde Shade Reviving Balm
I was very pleasantly surprised by how easy the product was to use. Although it's a color gloss, it's designed to work in place of your usual conditioner or treatment, so it doesn't add an additional step to your morning. You simply squeeze the excess water out of your hair after shampooing, saturate your hair with the gloss, and wait seven minutes before rinsing it out. I have to admit that I got a little antsy during those seven minutes (and felt guilty for stealing all of the hot water), but I tried to relax and use the time as an opportunity to shave my legs and apply a face mask.
I rinsed out the balm and towel-dried my hair. Thankfully, no color transferred to my white towels — score! I proceeded with my regular styling routine (some rough-drying, plus winding random sections around a curling iron) and finished with just a bit of salt spray for texture and hold.
You know that feeling when you leave the salon and you're almost self-conscious about how good your hair looks? It's weird, but I was very aware of my bouncy, shiny, perfectly volumized locks. The color seemed a little more vibrant (the golden tones of the gloss brought out the red in my hair a bit, which some women might hate, but I really liked), and the biggest difference was in the shine and volume departments. Even with my subpar styling skills, I felt like I had gotten a professional blowout — quite the feat!
The only caveat was that later in the day, my hair did seem a little oily and weighed down, especially around my face. But, I have a tendency to touch my hair a lot if it's down, so I don't necessarily blame the product. A small trade-off for such blinding shine!
32IMG_0014_retouched_3rdPhotographed by Jessica Nash.
After: Shu Uemura Color Lustre Cool Blonde Shade Reviving Balm
I waited about a week in between treatments (the effects are said to last for three shampoos) to make sure that the Golden shade completely rinsed out of my hair before trying the Cool shade. After getting the first treatment over with, I was much less afraid to take this shade for a spin — but, I was shocked when I squeezed the product into my hand to find that it was a deep, dark, opaque violet. It looked like I had a palmful of dark purple paint in my hands. I applied it to my hair and hung around a little nervously, watching as the violet dye dripped onto my shoulders and even the shower walls. Thankfully, the color rinsed off both my skin and my tiles very easily — and, once again, there was no color transfer onto my towels.
As you can see from the photo, this treatment gave me the most shine — but maybe some of the shine had been left behind by the first treatment? I also feel like this one neutralized a lot of the red in my hair, making me appear a bit blonder than normal. Plus, it managed to both volumize and gloss up my hair at the same time, which is everything I want in a product. Many styling products seem to gunk up and dull my hair, so while the glossing treatment might be a bit heavy for my fine hair, it's still preferable to using styling creams or serums.
All in all, these two treatments were awesome, easy, and, in the case of the Cool version, super fun to use. (I felt a bit like a toddler, finger painting in the bathroom.) I'll continue using them for the shine and bounce alone, but if you're a blonde that's particular about your color, I'd recommend using these regularly to maintain your shade in between appointments, as well.
Shu Uemura Art Of Hair Color Lustre, $58 each, available at Shu Uemura.

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