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Cellophane Hair Treatment: Pros and Cons

Cellophane hair treatments are a great way to add shine and silky smoothness to your locks. The smoothing, revitalizing treatment can fortify your hair, enhance styling, and make your color pop so you can look and feel your best. It can also help with rehydrating parched, chemically-treated hair to restore its natural beauty.

You may have seen this service offered at salons, but how does a cellophane hair treatment actually work? Who should get one? Is it good for your hair? If you’re curious about this popular hair service, we’ve got answers to your questions here.

What Is Cellophane Hair Treatment?

Cellophane Hair Treatment

A cellophane hair treatment, also known as a hair gloss treatment, gives hair a healthier and more lustrous appearance. Silicone-based gloss agents coat the hair shaft, smoothing any irregularities and adding volume.

The glosses add a layer of protection and help the hair retain moisture by sealing the cuticles. Although hair pros would describe the treatment as a semi-permanent coloring service, it often doesn’t contain pigment (although there are tinted options available).

Rather, cellophane enhances the look of natural or color-treated locks. The hair treatment first came into fashion in the ‘90s and is still popular today.

Cysteine Hair Treatment

Who Is It Suitable For?

hair treatment with cellophane

Cellophane is suitable for anyone who wants to give their dull, dry, or brittle hair a shine-enhancing boost. The treatment can help smooth frizziness and detangle hair while sealing in moisture and guarding against split ends.

It can also rejuvenate your hair after perming, relaxing, or rebonding, as well as enhance and prolong the vibrancy of color treatments.

How to Apply a Cellophane Hair Treatment

cellophane wrap hair treatment

Depending on what you’re most comfortable with, you can have your stylist apply the treatment for you, or you can do it yourself at home; just make sure to follow all directions carefully.

You may be able to find cellophane in some pharmacies or beauty supply stores, but you can also order the product online. You’ll also want to pick up a plastic shower cap, a bowl, and a tint brush, plus gloves if your cellophane kit doesn’t include them.

If you’re using tinted cellophane, lay down towels in the area where you’ll be working to catch any spills or splatters. You may also wish to apply petroleum jelly along your hairline so the product won’t stain your skin.

How to Apply

  1. Wash your hair using shampoo (but no conditioner), then blow-dry until your hair is approximately 75% dry. 
  2. Using a comb, divide your hair into four equal parts. Put on gloves, then use your tint brush to apply the product to your entire head, starting at the back, until the hair is saturated. Comb to distribute evenly through hair. 
  3. Cover your hair with the shower cap and apply heat. Sitting beneath a hairdryer or using a conditioning heat cap will provide the most even heating, but you can also use a blow dryer as long as you evenly heat all parts of the head. Let the product set for 20-30 minutes. 
  4. After heating, let your hair cool, then rinse with plain water. Wash with a color-safe shampoo and conditioner, then dry and style as you normally would.

Pro tip: Avoid washing your hair too often or using harsh shampoos after the treatment as these can strip the hair. Stick with a gentle, color-safe shampoo to help your cellophane last longer.

Watch the Following Video on How to Apply Cellophane Hair Treatment at Home

Pros of Cellophane

  • Can leave your hair looking healthier and smoother
  • Reduces frizziness and adds shine
  • Rehydrates hair after chemical treatments
  • Enhances natural or artificial hair color
  • Gentle enough for use by people who are sensitive to hair dyes
  • Protects hair from damage
  • Makes hair easier to brush and style
  • Treatment can be done at home if desired
  • Easy to maintain

Cons of Cellophane

  • Semi-permanent; only lasts for 6-8 weeks on average
  • Tinted options can only darken, not lighten, hair
  • Contains parabens

FAQs on Cellophane Hair Treatment

How long does cellophane hair treatment last?

Because it’s only a semi-permanent treatment, cellophane only lasts for 6-8 weeks before it needs to be reapplied.

You can extend the life of your treatment by washing your hair less frequently and only using color-safe shampoo and conditioner.

Is Cellophane hair treatment safe?

Cellophane treatments are generally considered to be safe and gentle on the hair. The tinted varieties contain non-oxidative pigments, which are less harsh and may be safe to use even for people who are sensitive to conventional hair dyes.

As mentioned above, cellophane does contain parabens, which are preservative chemicals that help prevent the growth of microbes in products. Parabens can be found in many foods, drugs, and cosmetics, and have been widely used since the 1920s. 

While the FDA does regulate cosmetic products and require that they meet specific safety standards, some people have voiced concerns about their potentially harmful effects on health.

According to the Environmental Working Group, a number of studies indicate that parabens may act as hormone disruptors by mimicking estrogen. Increased estrogen in the body may lead to reproductive harm or a higher risk of cancer.

There has been controversy in recent years about whether parabens should be allowed in our foods and cosmetics. However, it has not been definitively established whether parabens pose a real risk to public health — further research is needed. Please see the FDA’s page on parabens in cosmetics for more information.

Can I wash my hair once Cellophane hair treatment is finished?

Yes! You can wash, dry, and style your hair as usual after a cellophane hair treatment. Again, though, it’s a semi-permanent treatment, so it generally washes out of your hair within 6-8 weeks.

Washing every few days with shampoos and conditioners specially designed for color-treated hair will ensure that your treatment lasts as long as possible.

Cellophane hair treatments are an excellent option for those who want to liven up their locks with extra volume and sheen. They can help make your hair look and feel healthier, which can be a major confidence booster. Best of all, it’s a low-maintenance treatment that’s easy to do at home without breaking the bank — what could be better?