Cellophane Hair Treatment: Add Instant Gloss and Shine to Your Tresses with This ’90s Staple

Unpack the pros and cons of cellophane hair treatments!

At some point during one of your salon visits, you may have heard about cellophane hair treatment. It’s one of the most common hair coloring treatments being offered in many salons. And it still stands to be just as popular despite recent introductions to other hair color treatments.

What sets it apart from other treatments, though, is how it adds color, shine and fullness to your hair. Compared to your usual dyes, cellophane hair treatment works to lock in moisture to your hair so your tresses don’t dry out after coloring.

Want to know more about cellophane hair treatment? Read on:

Cellophane is a semi-permanent hair coloring treatment that adds luster and shine to your hair. It doesn’t make use of harsh chemicals, so it doesn’t damage your hair, unlike other hair color treatments.

Cellophane was a thing of the ’90s—even before hair dyeing was fully in fashion. It was a chance for those with virgin hair to experiment with subtle hues or just add shine and volume to make hair look silky and vibrant.

What hair types is cellophane hair treatment best suited for?

A cellophane hair treatment is perfect for those who want to give life to their dry, coarse, or dull tresses. Even those who have frizzy hair can benefit from a cellophane treatment because the treatment makes your hair smoother and more manageable.

But that’s not all. Even those who have just gotten their hair permed, relaxed, or rebonded can enjoy the treatment. Treated hair is usually more brittle after being subjected to chemicals, so a cellophane treatment can help hydrate hair. Plus, it can even prolong the life of color-treated hair!

And although cellophane is encouraged for treated hair, that doesn’t mean that you can have multiple treatments in one go. Depending on the overall health and condition of your hair, your stylist may suggest letting your hair rest first before undergoing another treatment.

How does cellophane treatment work?

After your hair is shampooed (no conditioner allowed!), your hair is partly dried, and the product is applied evenly on each strand. Heat is required for the cellophane treatment to work, so your head needs to be covered in a plastic wrap and blow-dried for about 20 to 30 minutes. This stimulates the absorption of the proteins in your hair.

The next step is to wash it off with shampoo and follow it up with conditioner. After the cellophane treatment, your hair will feel stronger and thicker.

How long does it last?

The only downside to a cellophane hair treatment is that it doesn’t last very long.

That’s because the color is just deposited on your hair shaft. It can’t lighten your hair, so in order to get a tinted result, you need to apply a darker shade or one that’s similar to your natural hair color. Clear cellophane, on the other hand, coats each strand in protein to keep it looking lustrous.

Cellophane hair treatments usually last for 8 to 12 weeks. If you color your hair however, the color disappears faster the more often you wash.

cellophane hair treatment red layered
Amp up with the shine with a cellophane hair treatment. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

1. Cellophane hair treatment adds natural shine to your locks.

More than just a hair coloring process, a cellophane hair treatment also adds a whole lot of shine and brilliance to your hair. This is perfect if you feel as though your hair is getting dryer by the minute and would want to add some color without damaging it even more. With cellophane hair treatment, you’ll leave the salon with silky, lustrous hair along with the color of your choice.

Editor’s Tip: Maintain your shiny hair by using SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner. It only takes a minute for this intensive conditioner, to help add moisture and shine to your strands.

2. It takes less time to finish compared with other treatments.

On top of it being more cost-effective than other more complex treatments, having cellophane hair also requires less time as well. You don’t need to sit for half a day (or even the whole day) at the salon for this treatment. Apart from the process of applying cellophane on your tresses, you’ll only need about 30 minutes of leaving the cellophane on before taking it out and rinsing it all out. All in all, this process would amount to around an hour and a half at most, depending on the length and thickness of your hair.

Editor’s tip: Even if you’ve had cellophane treatment, it won’t hurt to make sure that your hair stays nourished, shiny, and frizz-free. Do this easily with a drop of Love Beauty and Planet Smooth and Serene Argan Oil & Lavender Leave-In Smoothie Cream. Just apply it from mid-length down to the tips of your hair to get smooth, healthy-looking locks with minimal effort.

3. Your scalp and hair shafts are left unharmed.

The best part about going for a cellophane hair treatment is how it doesn’t damage your scalp and roots like usual dye treatments do. The process is confined to just the hair strands. It doesn’t reach the shafts, leaving your scalp untouched by the treatment itself. It also doesn’t contain peroxide or ammonia, which guarantees that your hair remains as silky smooth and healthy as it was before you got the treatment.

Editor’s Tip: Consistency is key in getting that shiny and lustrous hair you’ve always wanted. Set a weekly date to give your hair some extra TLC using Emerge Back to Life Hair Mask. Applying this regularly helps keep the effect of your cellophane hair treatment last much longer.

4. It’s great for testing out new hair color.

If you simply want to dip your toes in the world of hair color, a cellophane treatment lets you do just that. It gives you a new hue without the long-term commitment. This lets you get accustomed to having brown or red hair before you decide to color your hair for good. And if you happen to dislike the new color you got from cellophane treatment, you wouldn’t have to worry about dealing with it for a long time.

5. It can help cover roots and gray hair.

Got those gray or white strands that seem to pop out of nowhere? If you’re merely covering these, a cellophane treatment is a more practical and less costly solution compared with having your hair dyed.

Cellophane hair treatment is a great and safe way to color your hair without damaging it because of the absence of the use of pigments. Instead, it is the cellophane’s color itself that is used to make it shiny. This is also the reason for its only downside which is the color being temporary or semi-permanent. In fact, after washing your hair for 8 to 12 times, the color already fades and is washed off.

Cellophane treatments are known to be a safer and gentler alternative to hair coloring. However, it also contains parabens. When you check the ingredients of cellophane hair treatment, you’ll see parabens like propylparaben, methylparaben and butylparaben. Parabens are a type of preservative that is used to prolong the shelf life of many beauty products by preventing bacteria from growing. But parabens are also said to cause cancer. With this in mind, you might want to exercise extra caution when getting cellophane hair treatments, or at least put a few months interval in-between treatments so you limit your exposure to these ingredients.

With all these in mind, you can make an informed decision before you get a cellophane hair treatment. Just like other hair treatments, there are pros and cons. At the end of the day, you know best what works for you and your hair.

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