13 Best Hair Glosses to Add Shine, Color, or Blend Grays (2024)

obsessive tester

By Lauren Adhav, a freelance editor and Cut Shop contributor

13 Best Hair Glosses to Add Shine, Color, or Blend Grays (1)

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Retailers

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When I was approaching my 30th birthday a couple of months ago, I noticed that my handful of gray hairs had spread at an alarming rate. I used to fasten a ponytail and think nothing of it, but recently when I went to pull my hair up, I instantly panicked at all the grays on full display around my temples.

As someone who isn’t quite ready to commit to permanent hair dye, I went looking for a more convenient solution that could at least make them look a little less startling against my dark strands. And that is how I came across hair gloss. Ali Sherry, a colorist at Serrano Salon in Los Angeles, says that hair gloss can be used as a beginner step to help blend in those grays. But there are also so many other benefits. Keep reading to decide if the treatment is speaking to you, then shop some tried-and-true hair glosses below if you want to try it out at home.


The Best Clear (Non-Pigmented) Glosses
The Best Color (Pigmented) Glosses
Our Experts


Clear (Non-Pigmented) Glosses

Best for Deep Conditioning

Massage this glaze into your hair after shampooing, leave it in for a couple minutes, then rinse out for the silkiest hair. The tip applicator makes it easy to saturate your locks as you glide it through the middle and ends of your hair before blending it into your roots. Ceramides and mullein-flower extract moisturize and add shine, while the sheer pigment will simply enhance your natural hair color.

Best for Smoothing Frizz

If frizz is your main enemy (same), use this gloss on your unwashed dry hair for a minimum of 20 minutes before washing it out to see all the moisturizing benefits. You can even sleep with it as a mask if your frizzy strands are really giving Heat Miser vibes. Warning: There is glitter in the formula to give even more of a sparkle, and although reviewers aren’t the biggest fan, many agree that the treatment itself does help smooth everything out.

Best for Color-Treated Hair

It might be a rare occurrence, but maybe you’re actually happy with the color you have? Surprising, I know. If you simply want added shine in between appointments, this clear gloss is gentle and formulated for color-treated hair. Lactic acid helps remove any buildup that can dull your hair and seals the cuticles for that soft, shiny feel you can’t stop touching.

Best for Color Protection

Gentle formulas are important for color-treated hair to prevent more damage, but you also want something to make that expensive salon appointment last as long as it can. This affordable yet highly rated gloss helps avoid faded, dull hair and locks in shine. The instructions say to layer your conditioner over it to really ramp up the moisture before rinsing out. Say hello to your fresh-out-of-the-salon look when you use this once a week.

Best Cream Hair Gloss

Coat this cream on your post-shampoo wet hair, have it sit for five minutes, and let the magic happen. No conditioner needed! When you rinse it out, your hair will have an extra boost of UV protection, moisture, and satisfying softness thanks to hydrating guava butter.

Best for Brightening

If your hair is duller than a conversation about cryptocurrency, this Oribe glaze is a weekly treatment you can use in place of conditioner to bump up your color. It’s formulated for both color-treated and non-color-treated hair, so there’s no damage done. You’re left with silky, vibrant locks that are now also UV protected.

Best for Instant Shine

For those who lack the patience for hair masks, this 60-second gloss is a lifesaver. The nozzle is ideal to help fully saturate thicker hair, and maybe wash your face in the meantime while it absorbs into your hair before rinsing it out. Et voilà! The compliments will start rolling in once you style your hair or if you just let it air dry. Just make sure you follow instructions because they differ depending on hair type.


Color (Pigmented) Glosses

Best for Blondes

A gloss and heat protectant all in one, this glaze is made for maintaining a brilliant blonde hue and repairing any previous damage. It works as a serum, so you can apply it to towel-dried hair before styling and get a long-lasting blowout. If you’re worried about your strands looking greasy after use, you’ll be pleased to know that it doesn’t weigh down thin or fine hair.

Best for Ashy Blondes

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Cooler tones can be difficult to maintain, but this top-rated gloss helps tone to counteract any brassiness and conditions hair to perfection. One reviewer said it “feels like a spa treatment” and keeps their blonde locks as ashy as when they left the salon. Natural ingredients such as green-tea extract, olive-leaf extract, and a blend of essential oils deliver moisture and ensure your color lasts.

Best for Light Brown

This brand has a great clear gloss as mentioned above, and the pigmented one is just as impressive. It comes in all shades, but this will give brunettes so much more dimension. The subtle tint will make medium brown, bronze, and caramel hair really stand out.

Best for Dark Brown Hair

This gloss has more than 1,500 reviews and, although it comes in many shades, the deep brown ones will really make your darker hair pop and give it some added luster. The formula is infused with babassu oil to give your mane some added softness, and your gorgeous head of hair will look like straight-up glass after using this top-rated gloss.

Best for Copper Tones

TikTok is all about the “Copper Penny” hue of this $15 product. For blondes or brunettes who want to accentuate their reddish or gold tints or refresh their copper-colored hair, this inexpensive gloss gives impressive results that last for three to four weeks. Leave it in your hair for 10 to 20 minutes depending on the vibrancy you want, then shampoo and condition like normal to reveal your new color.

Best for Deep Reds

This shade is great for darker redheads and it’s even vivid enough to enhance red tones in dark brunette hair (think Dua Lipa’s new do). The combination of oat milk, olive oil, and camellia oil nourishes and smooths your strands, and it also happens towork wonders on unwanted brassy tones.



What is hair gloss?

“A hair gloss is a treatment that is designed to add shine, enhance hair color, and improve the overall look and feel of your hair,” says Sherry. It can be a professional treatment or one you do at home, but there are two types. Christine Thompson, founder and color director at Spoke & Weal salons, says that there are pigment and pigment-free glosses.

Color glosses can add vibrancy, adjust tone, or darken the hair. A clear gloss (one that’s pigment-free) delivers the same smoothing and strengthening benefits, just without adding any color. Thompson does warn that not all over-the-counter glosses are created equally, so make sure to consult with your hair colorist before trying any out at home.

What are the benefits of hair gloss?

Sherry explains that glosses are a great way to add shine to your natural hair color, refresh old hair color, or blend out any grays. If you’re someone who struggles with frizz or dry hair, this treatment conditions, softens, and adds vibrancy to your locks. The other benefit is that they can add color without using ammonia, and they’re typically demi-permanent. This means they’ll last longer than semi-permanent colors, but they’re also not fully permanent if you don’t want to commit to anything too drastic.

The caveat with glosses, though, is that they can only add pigment or darken your hair color. A gloss does not have the ability to lighten hair, says Thompson. But if this is a serious treatment you’re looking into, rest assured it’s safe for most hair types. If you have recently used a chemical relaxer, Thompson says to consult with a hair-color specialist who is skilled in chemical processes and relaxers before doing anything to your hair, whether over the counter or professional. Sherry also recommends doing a patch test if you have any concerns.

How long does hair gloss last?

“A professional gloss can last six to eight weeks,” says Thompson. “A gloss will fade or lose its finish faster if a guest is in the sun more often, in water, or shampooing more often, especially with a shampoo that is not color-safe.” An at-home gloss treatment can last anywhere between one to four weeks depending on the formula.

What is the difference between a hair gloss and hair glaze?

The answers are mixed. Sherry says that glosses focus on conditioning, adding shine, and enhancing the color for a longer period of time while glazes don’t last as long. She explains that glazes are usually a quick fix to adjusting any unwanted tones in the hair color. However, Thompson says there’s no difference between the two and that the most important differentiation is simply the one between clear and color treatments. The main idea with both glosses and glazes is that they deliver shiny, silky hair.


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13 Best Hair Glosses to Add Shine, Color, or Blend Grays
13 Best Hair Glosses to Add Shine, Color, or Blend Grays (2024)
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