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Hair color has come a long way and while many opt for traditional shades like red, blonde, brunette or black, others go for bold and vibrant colors like purple, blue, and pink. The choices are as open as the color wheel is vast, and increasingly there are more options in the salons and in the hair care aisle to choose from. Here's what you need to know about two of the major categories of hair color - and how to choose the one for you.

The difference between permanent color & hair glaze

What is a hair glaze?

Hair glaze simply coats the hair shaft to deposit semi-permanent color and add shine. There is no hair shaft penetration, because they do not contain peroxide (unless specifically stated it does), so damage is minimal to none.

Benefits to hair glazing

  • No long-term commitment, as it washes out in a few washings
  • No root touch-ups for grays, because color just fades away and does not need to grow out
  • No harsh chemicals on the hair (if using a glaze without peroxide)
  • Great for persons with damaged hair who still want color
  • No special products need to be purchased to keep the color from damaging hair
What is permanent hair color?

Just as it sounds, permanent hair color means changing the pigment of your hair permanently. The only way to remove this color is to cut it off or allow it to grow out. The hair is colored through oxidation. An oxidizer like peroxide is mixed with ammonia and applied to the hair. The color lifts the hair shaft and adds the color to change the natural pigment of your hair. It is much stronger than semi-permanent and a hair glaze.

Benefits of permanent hair color

  • There is no washing out of this color however the color can fade if not protected.
  • Longer lasting color as it needs to be cut out or grown out.
  • Excellent at covering grays as semi-permanent is not strong enough to cover at all or for long.
  • A wide-range of permanent colors and has more natural-looking colors.
  • Do not have to apply as often as other coloring systems.

How to prep for both

According to Janeise Alexander, owner of J'Das Studio For Hair in Oakland, there is a big difference in preparing for a glazing in comparison to permanent hair color. Janeise explains: “There are many types of hair glazes! There is no prepping that a client needs to do for glazes that contain no peroxide. For the glazes that contain peroxide, as well as permanent color, clients need to prepare to keep their hair and scalp manipulation free for at least 24-48 hr. before a service! The hair should not be shampooed prior to, as this could cause irritation to the scalp.”

Both services should be done on healthy hair with clean ends. You can also prep hair for color by getting a trim, trying a protein treatment, and deep conditioning in the weeks prior to the service. Hair color looks better on healthy hair and color with peroxide and ammonia are harsh, so not to add more damage one must make sure hair is in optimal shape. You also need to keep hair healthy after the color by using moisturizing or color-treated products, as they are specifically formulated to help hair that has been colored.

Which do you prefer, a hair glaze or permanent color?