(photo by Julia McMahon)
I’ve always been a nerd for New Year’s. There’s just something I love about fresh starts (an appreciation undoubtedly cultivated by the many Sundays spent at my childhood Baptist church!). And a brand-new new year, unspoiled by bad luck and dumb decisions, is about as big a clean slate as you can get. This year my number one goal is a repeat from last year: spend less, save more. After looking more carefully at where my money was going, I cut back on a lot of things, upkeep to my hair included. Hard as it was to give up my beloved stylist and blow-dry bar, I started box-dying my locks and taking advantage of Groupons and first-time customer deals for cuts. I did splurge on a professional color recently, a subtle ombré that would grow out beautifully, without quite as much upkeep as my usual highlights. When I left the salon and waved goodbye to my colorist, I had that million-buck bounce in my step that good hair brings. It was magical—until I realized that it’d probably be another whole year until I could afford to see her again.
Then I found out about this innovating new at-home treatment, designed specifically to extend the lifespan of color-treated hair. John Frieda Colour Refreshing Gloss promises to restore vibrancy, dimension and tone between color sessions, counteract fading, neutralize color change (bye-bye brass!), and add a bountiful amount of all-out, healthy-hair shine. Ever the optimist—and thrilled about the $12.99 price tag—I set out to find out how it’d wor
(photo by Julia McMahon)
To keep my spendy color looking as good as I could, I started using the gloss a couple weeks after my salon appointment, though it’s safe to use the week after. Since my ombré goes dark to light, I was stressing about what color to choose, but the descriptions on the box make picking the right shade easy. It also helps that there are only six straightforward shades to choose from—Warm Blondes, Cool Blondes, Warm Reds, Cool Reds, Warm Brunettes and Cool Brunettes. I went with the Warm Blondes gloss, focusing the application on my ends, where my hair is lighter (not to mention drier).
(photos by Julia McMahon)
I couldn’t get over how easy this stuff was to apply. You put it on in the shower, kind of like a second conditioner, with each treatment taking only three minutes…no waiting with a timer in hand and towel around your neck required. It looks like a thick, colored gel, but unlike some harsh at-home dyes, the formula didn’t irritate my sensitive scalp or leave icky chemical smells lingering in my locks. Bonus! After just a couple treatments, I noticed a big boost in shine and overall smoothness. My color didn’t look altered in any way, just perkier and fresh, leaving me breathing a little easier about the time between my next salon appointment. And since I’ve been applying it to the ends only, I’m thinking that a bottle, good for six weekly treatments, will actually last me more like eight to 10 weeks. Spend less, save more and still look good? I think I may need to revise my New Year’s resolution!
John Frieda Colour Refreshing Gloss ($12.99) will be available January 1 at drugstores, Target and Ulta stores nationwide.