What's The Big Difference Between Hair Glaze And Normal Dye?

Think of hair glaze as a glossy "top coat" for your dull locks.

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Glazes offer a quick color boost for individuals who are in between dye-job appointments.
Glazes offer a quick color boost for individuals who are in between dye-job appointments.

If you've asked your colorist how to go about breathing life back into your dull strands without committing to permanent dye, your colorist may have recommended hair glaze. And if you are anything like us, your next question was probably, "What is that?"

According to SheaMoisture brand ambassador and celebrity stylist Diane C. Bailey, hair glaze is a semi-permanent color option that coats the hair shaft with color and shine. "Glazes can also be clear to give hair a nice sheen, or may be tinted to compliment and boost one's own hair color," she says.

When it comes to the traditional permanent hair color that most of us are used to, Redken celebrity colorist Tracey Cunningham notes that the dye molecules are embedded in the protein structure of the hair fiber, making them more resistant to rinsing out. "Depending on which brand and line you use, permanent color can sometimes last up to 40 shampoos," she explains. Whereas hair glazes are typically free of harsh ammonia or peroxide and wash out after 1 to 2 weeks.

But before you shrug off hair glaze as not being worth it, here are four reasons you should seriously consider giving it a go:

1. Adding a hair glaze to your regular salon service provides a conditioning treatment to dull, damaged hair. Bailey says it will leave strands silky and shiny for weeks.

2. Glazes offer a quick color boost for individuals who are in between dye-job appointments (for example, blondes or redheads). Looking to permanently color your gray hair? Bailey wouldn't suggest a glaze treatment because it doesn't permeate the strands to deposit color as a normal dye would.

3. Bailey believes that fine hair can also benefits from a glaze, as "it aids in temporarily thickening the hair's strands." But it does work for all hair textures.

4. At-home hair glaze products are just as effective and easy to use as the ones found at salons. Bailey's pro tip for an even application is to use a color brush. Section off hair and brush the glaze in from roots-to-tip so you coat all hairs. Our editors' picks include: Oscar Blandi Vivid Clear Shine Glaze, $28; John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze Clear Shine, $9.99.

Maintaining color-treated hair is crucial. Both of the hair experts we consulted urge clients to visit a salon for touch-ups to keep their hair as healthy and manageable as possible.

In-between professional care appointments, Cunningham suggests increasing your usage of a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner like Redken Color Extended Magnetics line, which contains zinc gluconate to extend the life of hair color and strengthen the fibers. Bailey adds that a regular deep conditioning treatment such as SheaMoisture SuperFruit Multi-Vitamin Hair Masque will infuse hair with intense moisture and nutrients. And for what she calls "hair color 911," look for products formulated with Jamaican black castor oil, apple cider vinegar, keratin and organic shea butter, as these ingredients "provide natural reparative benefits for hair that's brittle, parched and stressed from color, as well as other treatments."