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Does color gloss cover gray hair?


Gray hair is a natural part of the aging process, but many people prefer to cover up their grays and maintain a more youthful hair color. Color gloss is a semi-permanent hair color that deposits color while adding shine. It is commonly used to blend away grays and freshen up color between salon appointments. But can color gloss effectively cover stubborn gray hairs? Here’s a look at what color gloss is, how it works on gray hair, and tips for getting the best coverage.

What is Color Gloss?

Color gloss, also known as a color glaze or color shine, is a deposit-only semi-permanent hair color. That means it only deposits color onto the hair without lifting or lightening the natural hair color. Color gloss is translucent, so it blends away grays while allowing your natural color to show through. The results are subtle but polished.

Here are some key features of color gloss:

  • Made with low levels of peroxide, typically 5 vol or less
  • Does not lift or lighten the natural hair color
  • Sheer, translucent formula blends away grays
  • Enhances natural color with a hint of color
  • Lasts 4-6 weeks
  • Adds shine and smoothness
  • No need to pre-lighten hair first
  • Minimal commitment since it washes out over time

Color gloss is great for blending away grays while adding shine and dimension. It’s less drastic than an all-over permanent hair color. The translucent formula and lower peroxide volume help color gloss enhance rather than completely cover the natural color.

Can Color Gloss Cover Gray Hair?

The sheer, translucent nature of color gloss makes it better at blending away grays rather than completely masking them. However, color gloss can effectively cover and conceal gray hairs, especially when used correctly. Here are some tips:

  • Pick a color gloss shade that matches your natural base color. Choosing a shade that is too light or too dark will make grays more obvious.
  • Use permanent color first if you have more than 50% gray hair. The pigments in color gloss may not be strong enough to cover a high percentage of grays.
  • Apply to clean, dry hair for the most even results. Any hair products or oils can create a barrier.
  • Saturate grays thoroughly from roots to ends. Use extra product on stubborn spots.
  • Process the full development time recommended on the color gloss instructions.
  • Add weekly glossing treatments to refresh color and shine between full applications.

Choosing the right color is crucial for effectively minimizing the appearance of gray hairs. Always consult with a professional hair colorist when selecting your ideal shade. For the most natural results, choose a color gloss that is one shade lighter or darker than your natural color. This will create a soft, uniform look.

Color Gloss vs. Permanent Hair Color

Permanent hair color differs from color gloss in several key ways:

Color Gloss Permanent Hair Color
Deposit only, does not lift natural hair color Lightens and lifts natural hair color
Very low peroxide levels, if any Higher peroxide levels to open cuticle and lighten hair
Sheer, translucent results Opaque, fuller coverage
Lasts 4-6 weeks Lasts 4-6 weeks for root touch-ups
Subtle, blended gray coverage Complete gray coverage
No need to pre-lighten Requires pre-lightening for darker hair
Minimal damage to hair Higher potential for damage over time

As you can see, permanent color provides complete, opaque gray coverage by altering the natural hair color. Color gloss offers more subtle, sheer coverage that blends with and enhances the natural color. Permanent color is better for covering a higher percentage of grays, while color gloss works well for blending away scattered grays.

Color Gloss Application Tips for Gray Coverage

Follow these tips when applying color gloss to maximize gray coverage:

  • Shampoo and towel dry hair:Hair should be clean and product-free before applying color gloss. Towel dry hair until damp but not dripping wet.
  • Mix and prepare product:Mix the color gloss activator and formula according to instructions. Shake or stir thoroughly so the product is blended smoothly and evenly.
  • Section hair: Work in 1-2 inch sections for the most thorough application. Start by sectioning off the top and underneath layers using clips.
  • Saturate each section: Use the tint or applicator brush to thoroughly coat every strand in each section, from roots to ends. Pay extra attention to stubborn gray spots by saturating with additional product.
  • Leave on the full processing time:Once hair is fully saturated, allow color gloss to process for the full time recommended by the manufacturer. Do not shampoo or rinse early.
  • Rinse and style as usual:Once the processing time is complete, rinse hair with lukewarm water until the water runs clear. Style and dry as usual.

Take your time working in sections and use extra product as needed on thick or persistent grays. Leaving the color gloss on for the full processing time allows the pigments to fully deposit onto hair strands for the most coverage.

How to Maintain Color Gloss Results

To keep your color gloss looking fresh between full applications, use weekly glossing treatments. These deposit-only conditioners refresh shine and reinforce the translucent color. Here are some tips for maintaining gloss results:

  • Use a weekly glossing or toning conditioner that matches your color gloss shade.
  • Apply after shampooing and leave on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing.
  • Boost shine with a clear gloss glosser or clear color sealer weekly.
  • Use sulfate-free, color-safe shampoos and conditioners to preserve color.
  • Limit washing to 2-3 times per week if possible.
  • Rinse with cool water instead of hot to prevent cuticle opening.
  • Reapply a full color gloss treatment every 4-6 weeks.

Refreshing the color pigments and adding shine is key to keeping grays blended between full color applications. Talk to your stylist about the best at-home glossing products to use based on your hair color and texture.

Does Color Gloss Damage Hair?

One of the benefits of color gloss is that it causes minimal damage compared to permanent hair color. Here’s how color gloss is gentle on hair:

  • Low or no peroxide, which opens the cuticle less
  • No lightening or lifting of natural pigment
  • Translucent formula stains the outside rather than penetrating deeply
  • Result is subtle so no need for frequent touch-ups
  • No need for pre-lightening of virgin hair
  • Adds shine and smoothness to help repair damage

However, color gloss still involves chemical processing. Using color-safe products, limiting washing and heat styling, and getting occasional trims helps keep hair healthy. Deep conditioning treatments and bond-building products can also offset any potential damage.

With minimal peroxide and conditioning properties, color gloss is one of the gentlest ways to cover gray hair. However, always consult with a professional before coloring hair that is highly damaged, fragile, or compromised in any way.

Other Semi-Permanent Options for Covering Gray Hair

In addition to color gloss, there are a few other semi-permanent options that can conceal grays:

Semi-permanent hair color: This lasts 4-8 weeks and is opaque rather than sheer. The formula penetrates the cuticle more than color gloss. Ammonia-free options are gentler on hair.

Tinted shampoos and conditioners: Help neutralize brassiness and yellow tones. Great for toning down grays between color appointments. Last until the next shampoo.

Root touch-up sprays: Touch-up sprays instantly cover new growth and grays between salon visits. The spray nozzle offers easy, targeted application.

Henna gloss treatments: Henna is a natural alternative that coats the hair shaft. Henna gloss combines henna with conditioners for subtle color deposit.

Permanent toner: Toner is deposited after lightening to neutralize brassiness. Permanent toner provides longer-lasting gray blending than semi-permanent options.

Always do a patch and strand test when trying a new product to check for hair damage or allergic reactions. Consult a professional to determine your best option.

Should I Use Color Gloss or Dye Over Gray Hair?

When deciding between color gloss and permanent dye for gray coverage, consider these factors:

  • Percentage of grays – Color gloss works better for scattered grays rather than more than 50% gray hair.
  • Natural hair color – Those with light blonde to medium brown hair get the best color gloss results.
  • Condition of hair – Damaged or fragile hair benefits from gentler color gloss.
  • Maintenance – Color gloss requires more frequent applications than permanent color.
  • Budget – Color gloss costs less than permanent coloring initially but requires more upkeep.
  • Color change – Those wanting a drastic color change need permanent dye. Color gloss is better for subtle enhancements.

Schedule a consultation with a professional stylist to determine if color gloss or permanent dye is the right choice. They can assess your hair in person for the ideal solution. Be sure to communicate your hair goals and expectations.

Common Concerns About Using Color Gloss

Some common concerns about using color gloss include:

Does it only add shine without covering gray? While adding shine is a benefit, color gloss does effectively deposit color for blending grays. Opt for permanent color if you require complete opaque coverage.

Does color gloss damage hair? Color gloss is one of the gentlest ways to color hair. However, any chemical service causes some damage, so deep conditioning and protective styling help.

Can color gloss lighten natural hair color? No, color gloss is deposit-only so it does not lift or lighten the hair. Those with dark hair need to pre-lighten for colored results.

Does color gloss wash out quickly? It lasts 4-6 weeks with proper maintenance. Use a weekly conditioning gloss treatment to reinforce the color and shine.

Should I do a strand test first? Yes, always perform a patch and strand test before any new chemical service to check for allergic reactions.

Consult a professional stylist if you have any concerns about the health of your hair or whether color gloss is appropriate. They can assess your hair and situation to make personalized recommendations.

The Takeaway

While color gloss has its limitations, it can be an excellent option for blending away grays with subtle color enhancement. The translucent formula and conditioning properties make it gentle on hair. For those with scattered grays and a desire for low-maintenance color upkeep, color gloss offers a polished refresh between salon visits. Work closely with a professional and properly maintain the results for color that subtly and seamlessly covers those pesky grays.