How to get glossy hair with glass-like shine

How to get glossy hair with glass-like shine

For some time, ultra-glossy, high-shine hair has dominated the catwalks and our social-media feeds. From Chanel's luxury version of the Nineties straightening trend, to TikTok's obsession with 'liquid hair' and 'glass hair', we collectively adopted the ultimate healthy hair aspirations post-pandemic.

But in lieu of a personal hairstylist – or without a ring light and virtual filters – in our daily lives, many of us struggle to achieve the level of shine comparable to the near-287k ‘#glossyhair’ posts on Instagram.

According to a Dove study, 58 per cent of us are on a constant quest to combat dull, dry hair. Hard water, pollution and heat styling can all compromise our hair’s texture, and its ability to reflect the light. While colouring the hair can leave it with temporary shine, often with chemical processing the porosity of the hair increases, robbing it of its vitality.

There are, however, easy ways to get glossier hair that helps boost its health in the process. Here experts help explain how.

straight hair trend 2021
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In salon

A guaranteed way to get shinier hair is with a professional toner, as the expert colour technician Zoe Adams explains.

"Toners don't just add colour to the hair," she says. "Acid-based toners can add shine to natural hair and won't affect the colour. By reflecting the light, this gives hair a super-glossy varnish-like effect, which we call 'glossing'."

Ask in salons for a Redken Shades EQ hair gloss. After an initial consultation, your hairstylist will create a custom gloss for you which works in 15 minutes. Think of this as being like a lip gloss for the hair (clear or otherwise): it boosts the condition while adding shine.

In our experience it makes a very noticeable difference to the shine and softness of your hair for up to a month.

If frizz and kinks or fluffiness are a concern for you, try a keratin-based smoothing treatment. Often called a 'Brazilian blow-dry', this treatment uses a chemical formula which, when heat-activated, reacts with the amino acids in your hair to form new bonds, keeping your style sleek for up to three months.

We recommend the Permanent Blow Dry by independent London salon chain Hershesons, a gentle version of the treatment that won't cause the kind of damage you'd experience with a traditional one.

Suitable for fine and thick hair types, it leaves the texture significantly smoother, and therefore more likely to reflect the light.

Met Gala 2019 best dressed
Dimitrios Kambouris - Getty Images

At home

Forget styling products for a moment: shine starts in the shower.

To help offset pollution and the build-up of styling products, use a weekly clarifying shampoo – such as the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Glycolic Gloss Sulphate Free Shampoo or Larry King Hair Care City Life shampoo – which gently cuts through the likes of chlorine, hard-water minerals, and styling residue. As they're formulated for colour-treated hair it’ll help prevent colour change or fade.

With any shampoo and condoner, rinsing the hair thoroughly will help not only keep your scalp healthy but also maximise its shine. Hairstylist Adam Reed tells us, “when you think you’ve rinsed your hair well enough, rinse it for one minute more”.

shiny hair
Rosdiana Ciaravolo - Getty Images

For a real boost, an at-home gloss will change the game. Try the Josh Wood Gloss, which you apply like a deep conditioning treatment, leaving it on for 20 minutes before washing off.

Wood explains: “I designed this semi-permanent treatment gloss to condition as it colours – to leave hair shiny, healthy and bouncy.” We can confirm it works.

The 10 varieties won’t actually colour your hair but instead maximise time between colour appointments and subtly cool down or warm up your shade, whether it’s chemically coloured or not.

For a clear glossing treatment at home we also recommend the Ouai Hair Gloss, L'Oréal Paris Elvive Glycolic Gloss Rinse-Off 5 Minute Lamination Treatment, Glaze Sheer Glow Transparent Clear Conditioning Super Gloss, and Glaze GlaziPlex Super Bond Repair Treatment.

When it comes to heat styling, remember not to overlook the long-term health of your hair for short-term gain. Arm yourself with premium heat protection and high-tech tools, as stylist Michelle Thompson advises: “I always opt for the GHD Bodyguard heat protector spray, which leaves the hair feeling silky smooth without a sticky residue.” She follows with the GHD Platinum+ styler, explaining “the irons straighten and smooth the hair without compromising the health and condition”.

Finally, for an instant boost – and to really amplify the results of a glossing treatment – reach for a new generation shine spray. The Schwarzkopf Professional Osis+ Sparkler Shine Spray, often used backstage at London Fashion Week, grants a filter-worthy sheen that won’t weigh hair down.

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