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Should You Try a Color Rinse?

How can you tweak your color and hook up the shiniest locks of your life without committing to a full-on single or double process? After doing our fair share of investigating, we decided all that’s needed to add a little life into our locks is a color rinse. To investigate the ins and outs of this no-brainer hair technique, we consulted celebrity colorist Chad Kenyon.

What Is a Color Rinse?

The first thing to know about color rinsing is that although there are many ways to ask for it, a color rinse is still a color rinse by any other name. “’Color rinse’ is used interchangeably with gloss, glaze, and toner,” Kenyon explains. Who knew color rinsing was the hair service equivalent of soda pop or tennis shoes? “Most of my New York clients say ‘glaze’ while my LA clients use ‘gloss,’ but I hear ‘color rinse’ all over, including Latin America,” he says.

Although the terminology may vary regionally, a color rinse is a demi-permanent hair color that will diminish almost invisibly—unlike your hope-no-one-notices grown-out highlights. According to Kenyon, a color rinse fades “in a good way,” mainly because there’s no line of demarcation at the dreaded eight-week mark.

How Long Does It Last?

The time your color rinse lasts depends on a host of factors—some you can control and some you can’t. For instance, the rinse will last longer if you pay special attention to your products and make sure to use a targeted shampoo, conditioner, oil, and primer. “The one shampoo and conditioner that is indeed ideal for all hair colors, textures, and situations (and is currently blowing me away) is the Olaplex N°4 Shampoo. Its super-rich foamy lather is gentle enough for every day, if so desired. The N°5 Conditioner is creamy perfection and the fragrance is heavenly.” Both hair-washing products have Olaplex’s patented bond-building formula which strengthens and rebuilds hair, or both colored/highlighted and virgin hair.

However, even with the best products, your color rinse is also affected by the water where you live. “My NYC clients can go longer in between glosses because their water is more gentle on hair color,” shares Kenyon. “LA? Not so long,” he continues. “For my LA clients, I like to keep it as low-maintenance as possible,” he notes of working with the elements. To do this, he paints clients’ ColorMelt™ styles so it grows out hyper-naturally, and has them come in for a color rinse to extend the length of the service. “I always use Olapex N°1 for longer lasting and strengthening color rinses/glosses,” he adds.

Chad ensures all his clients leave the salon with Olaplex N°3 Hair Perfector. The at-home Olaplex rebuilds and strengthens the hair so it’s stronger for the next hair color appointment. “We break out hair every day using heat tools, blow dryers, etc.,” explains Kenyon, but with Olaplex, “hair’s integrity is in pristine form.”

Which Color Rinse Is Right for You?

That being said, a color rinse is just what the stylist ordered—there’s no one that can’t benefit from the treatment. “Everyone should do color rinses,” says Kenyon of the all-hair-type friendly treatment. However, pay attention to the kind of color rinse you are doing—all are not created equally. Opt for acid-based glosses, as they have a lower pH, which acts much in the same way cold water does on hair or skin to close the cuticle or pores, “but it’s much better and longer-lasting, giving you intense shine,” advises Kenyon. “When my clients are about to do a red carpet or appearance, they pop in for a 20-minute gloss and Olaplex Strengthening Treatment. After the color rinse, I let them leave with the Olaplex in their hair and rinse at their leisure.”

If you don’t want to alter your hair color but are looking for shine (duh) and resurfacing, clear acid-based color rinses/glosses give a major boost of light to the hair, “which in turn helps illuminate the face,” Kenyon reminds us.

Caring for Hair Post-Color Rinse

To care for hair that’s been color rinsed, keep it cool. “It’s best to rinse with cool water and not over-shampoo,” Kenyon says. If you work out daily, alternate between using both shampoo and conditioner, and just conditioner, so your color rinse lasts longer. “I ‘prescribe’ hair primers to all my clients,” he says. “It’s like a base coat for your hair.” You might want to invest in color rinse just to see how it affects the rest of your hair closet. It turns out that a little rinse goes a long way. “You’ll use much less of every other product after one because primers control porosity in hair,” he explains.

As good as this all sounds, the only real catch is that you can’t DIY. “There are retail products that call themselves glosses and/or color rinses but they are in no way associated with a professional salon rinse,” Kenyon explains. To give his clients shampoo-commercial color and shine, Kenyon gravitates towards Joico Instant Glosses, Shades EQ Redken, COLOR.ME by Kevin Murphy and Moroccanoil’s Color Complete collection of demi-permanent glosses. “My clients loved the visible results. They all commented on the great fragrance as well,” Kenyon notes of the latest addition to Moroccanoil’s portfolio.

What’s the diff between semi and demi-permanent color? Find out HERE.

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