Afraid of Color Commitment? Try a Hair Glaze.

BY: Colleen Loggins |Mar 24, 2017

According to a 2015 Statistic Brain report, 75% of women dye their hair in some way, whether that's balayage, partial highlights or full hair color. If you're part of the 25% who don't, you might avoid dying your hair because you love your natural color, or maybe because you're afraid you'll hate the results. But have you considered a hair glaze? The semipermanent color treatment is perfect for those who either want to boost their natural color's vibrancy or subtly change their color without committing to the look.

Intrigued about hair glazing? We were too, so we got the details on the treatment from stylist Jade LaVoy, who works at Salon 1800, a popular Chicago salon where local TV personalities often go whenever they need a color refresh.

How exactly does a hair glaze differ from a hair dye?

Basically, a glaze sits on top of the cuticle, whereas a traditional dye gets absorbed by the cuticle. Traditional dye relies on ammonia to open up the cuticle layer so the color can penetrate it. Hair glaze doesn't contain any ammonia and is much gentler on hair.

How long does a glaze last?

Because the glaze doesn't get absorbed into the cuticle, it fades after about 6–8 weeks, Jade explains.

Who could benefit from a glaze?

  • Someone who wants to add shine: Glazes can either be clear or color-depositing. A clear glaze simply adds shine.
  • Someone who wants to enhance their natural color or subtly change it: Color-depositing glazes add sheer color to hair and are "good for someone who is not looking for commitment or wants to see how a color looks before making a permanent change," Jade says.
  • Someone who just got their hair colored: A color-depositing glaze can also change the tone of fresh color, making sure it's not too brassy. Many stylists will end every hair-color session by painting a glaze on top of fresh highlights or full color to make sure the tone is the exact shade it's supposed to be. It's especially helpful when a new client comes in because the stylist can use the glaze to seamlessly blend their color work with the color work done by a stylist at another hair salon.

What is the maintenance like for this treatment?

"Glazing is such a low-maintenance service," Jade says, adding that because the color doesn't grow out, no touchups are required. To keep the color, you just need another full glaze. "We highly recommend professional products to keep the color longer. Professional products have a lower pH, which helps the color molecules [last]. Products with a higher pH strip the hair and actually reverse the process," she says. Jade also suggests using sulfate-free products (though the debate about how effective sulfate-free products are remains).


What makes glazes different than semipermanent at-home box treatments?

"You never know what you'll get in a box," Jade explains. "At-home treatments can actually leave buildup on hair and hamper the results of a professional treatment. Plus, professional glazing lasts longer, and the products [stylists] use will help keep the longevity of the color."

What is the difference between a glaze and a gloss?

Well, there's some disagreement, but most stylists agree that there isn't a difference. Hair color companies tend to use the words "hair gloss" and "hair glaze" interchangeably now, though originally, a gloss only added shine and didn't deposit color. Companies started calling their color-depositing semipermanent products "glosses" because it sounded pleasant. If you're using an at-home product, it might be referred to as a gloss or it might be referred to as a glaze. Either way, the results will be the same. But stick to clear glazes and glosses if you're new to at home color treatments or if you don't want to alter your professional color.

How can I decide which glaze will look best on me?

A consultation with a stylist can help you determine the best glaze for you, and as Jade says, "It's always nice to have a second opinion." She helped our writer Lauren determine which glaze would best enhance her natural light brown color, and they decided to go with a coppery auburn shade that would complement her hazel eyes and fair skin. Lauren liked the result so much that she asked Jade to give her an edgier bob haircut with some asymmetry to go with her new bolder look.

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