The best hairspray is the one that meets definite criteria: it must give enough hold, smell pleasant and be flake-free. Some girls also expect to get volume or heat protection. We have ten products that work beyond expectations and a full guide to modern hairsprays. Leave unruly strands in the past!
How to Choose the Best Hairspray for Your Locks
You have to keep your hair texture and length in mind, decide on the final result of styling and take into account the rhythm of your life. Spoiler: Kenra is best for fine locks, Bed Head is for red carpet looks, Moroccanoil heals damaged hair. See the chart to find out other products.
|Kenra Volume Spray - Editor’s Choice||Volumizing hair of any type|
|Herbal Essences ‘Set Me Up’ Spray||Curl definition, sculpted hairstyles|
|Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray||Dry locks, creates soft natural hold|
|Garnier Fructis Style Sleek and Shine||Limited budget, bounce-back hold|
|TIGI Bed Head Hard Head||Any hair length and texture, hard hold|
|L'Oreal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray||Everyday and formal looks, unscented|
|Sebastian Shaper Hairspray||Added body, medium hold|
|Sexy Hair ‘Spray & Play’||Creating big volume|
|Free & Clear Firm Hold Hairspray||Sensitive scalps and noses|
|Nexxus Comb Through Finishing Mist||Adding fullness to fine locks|
#1: Kenra Volume Spray #25 (55% VOC) – The Right Hairstyles’ Choice
Kenra’s hairsprays are among top finishing sprays on the market. They provide a firm hold and create volume, leaving hair natural-looking and super-shiny. This one is intended to texturize locks and give them a lift. The Kenra Volume Spray is extremely humidity-resistant: it withstands 25 miles per hour wind, which is defined as a strong breeze. Your hairstyle, loose or tied in an updo, will last all day.
What does 55%VOC means? VOC stands for ‘volatile organic compounds’, such as ethanol, dimethyl, etc. 55% VOC means that the hairspray contains not more than 55% of these compounds. Very good as for a hairspray.
As for the scent: it is quite strong, but reviewers write it is bearable and dissipate quickly. So the product may be used for women and men without concerns that hair will have a typical styling lacquer’s smell.
How to use:
If you’re looking for super fixation, shake the bottle, spray in short bursts holding it 8-10 inches from your hair. For volume spray Kenra’s #25 between hair layers or at the roots. To fix everything in place spray the product all over the finished hairstyle.
#2: Herbal Essences ‘Set Me Up’ Spray – Budget Non-Aerosol Hair Gel
Gives fixation, holds curl, leaves hair feeling soft – what else do we need from the ideal hairspray? A pleasant fragrance! Luckily, we’ve found a hair lacquer that smells like flowers. A fresh lily-vanilla aroma is one of the most attractive benefits of Herbal Essences ‘Set Me Up’ Spray (except the amazing price).
Another reason to buy it is a great product’s quality, that makes it a good choice for fine-haired ladies and women with dry locks. A bottle is made with a spray pump. The non-aerosol delivery system gives more control over individual curls and flyaways, it is better for sculpted and very detailed hairstyles.
How to use:
May be sprayed on dry or wet hair. Use the second variant when you need extra shine.
#3: Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray – Oil-Infused Hairspray for Dry Hair
A little gem among all hairsprays on the market. Its main zest is the argan kernel oil. So be sure that the Moroccanoil lacquer will not only provide hold but also moisturize your locks and give them natural shine. It is described as a super-flexible product that may be used even for dry hair. You know that some hairsprays may dry out locks. The Moroccanoil spray is one step above them.
The Luminous Hairspray is a clean fine mist, not oily and with a nice scent that is not overwhelming. It leaves hair good-smelling, soft, and possible to style further.
How to use:
Spray holding the Moroccanoil aerosol can 10 inches from hair. To create added volume, spray directly onto roots. Be sure not to use too much product. The more you use, the stiffer it will get.
#4: Garnier Fructis ‘Sleek and Shine’ – Cheap Anti-Humidity Hairspray
Garnier Fructis’ ‘Sleek and Shine’ is a smoothing product that provides a nice hold for a low price. It is among top Amazon’s bestsellers and recommended by reviewers as the best cheap hairspray – a non-sticky product for texturizing and protecting locks.
Sleek and Shine drugstore hairspray provides the ‘bounce-back’ hold, meaning that curls will keep shape throughout the day, but will still have movement without the ‘glued’ effect. The product includes a natural component – the bamboo extract. The stems of this plant have silica deposits. They give locks strength, smoothness, and shine.
How to use:
Spray on dry hair for a finishing touch. Use on damp locks before styling with hot tools. Add one more layer of hairspray where you feel added anti-frizz protection is needed.
#5: TIGI Bed Head ‘Hard Head’ – The Strongest Hairspray for Maximum Definition
TIGI is not just a brand, it is a unique culture, created by the well-known in fashion industry Anthony Mascolo. Every new product was launched when the TIGI hair stylists couldn’t find a perfect analog on the market. The Bed Head Hairspray is not an exception.
Thanks to the formula with special fixatives and plasticizers this hair lacquer provides a really hard hold, a must for long-lasting hair masterpieces. Hair strands get maximum definition and glossy shine. Sprayed on locks the Bed Head Hairspray dries instantly. Moreover, it has a pleasant citrus-berry fragrance.
How to use:
Hold the product bottle 10-12 inches from hair, spray over styled hair. Apply 1-2 more layers of the hairspray to increase firmness.
#6: L’Oreal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray – Unscented Extra Strong Hold Spray
Elnett Satin hairsprays are favorites of many hairstylists and best helpers during photoshoots and fashion shows. All products of the following line give immediate hold but easily disappear with a brush stroke. Good idea for quick touch-ups during busy days as well as for serious events when you need a million-bucks look.
What’s even more satisfying is that this particular product is unscented! An option for those who are sensitive or allergic to the strong regular hairspray smell. Satin Touch spray is formulated with the micro-diffusion technology. It disperses as a light mist, very evenly, and dries quickly.
How to use:
Remove the security tab, shake hairspray’s can well. Holding it 12 inches away spray the product onto your hairstyle in short bursts.
#7: Sebastian Shaper Hairspray – Professional Medium Hold Volumizer
Sebastian Professional, one of the Wella’s brands, develops pro hair care and salon products since the 70s. Its Shaper-s were among the first innovative hairsprays that offered flexible hold instead of that horrible cemented look and feel.
The one we’ve chosen for this article is a medium hold product, that is light and not stiff, easy to comb out and flake-free. It holds well, but at the same time leaves enough natural movement. Your locks are fully under control but still touchable and soft. Clean application and non-irritating scent are added bonuses. The product is highly recommended for daytime wear.
How to use:
Spray on damp hair before blow-drying for body and one more time after styling for better hold.
#8: Sexy Hair ‘Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play’ Hairspray – For Lift and UV-protection
Time for professional volumizing! If you like big full manes, the Sexy Hair’s ‘Spray and Play’ product will become your best friend. Advantages you get with this hairspray: instant lift, great hold, shine. Locks stay manageable and natural-looking even in extreme humidity. Oh, and we almost forgot to mention the UV-rays protection.
The product is marked as a ‘medium flexible hold’. It doesn’t cause buildup so can be used as a finishing spray and re-styler. It gives the ability to spray, play with locks and separate them freely without feeling stickiness. You’ll have a unique texture that is still workable. Volume appears thanks to the wheat protein in the hairspray.
How to use:
Hold the aerosol 8-10 inches away from dry locks. Spray into hairstyle for lift and hold. Need the mist to be harder and stronger? Spray closer than 8 inches. If you want to hold curls in place, you may scrunch them a bit while spraying to maintain the curl pattern.
#9: Free & Clear Firm Hold Spray – Best Unscented Hairspray for Sensitive Skin
The second hairspray in this selection that is sold in the non-aerosol form. And the one that is truly fragrance-free, as reviewers promise. It doesn’t contain all common chemical irritants that are often found in regular hair lacquers, so may be used by women with sensitive scalps and skin.
The Free & Clear hairspray is intended to give hair long-lasting natural hold. It doesn’t create much volume or super fixation, but works well for everyday styles that need to retain the shape until the end of the workday, for example. The manufacturer doesn’t promise any awesome benefits, but the hairspray does its job and doesn’t cause irritations or flaking.
How to use:
Holding the bottle 8-10 inches from locks spray the hairstyle with short quick strokes. Let it dry and style as planned. Spray once more.
#10: Nexxus Comb Thru Finishing Mist – For Volume in Fine Hair
Nexxus is one of the Unilever brands. Its Comb Thru hairspray works as a finishing product. It gives enough hold to keep beach waves from falling flat, for example, but the natural hair’s flow will not be disrupted. Nexxus ‘Comb Thru” is designed for finer hair types, which cannot look beautiful if fixed like a helmet. On the contrary, fine hair needs soft and touchable finish. It seems that Nexxus’ spray deals with this pretty well. Of course, it will work for thin hair too.
Now more details. Nexxus ‘Comb Thru’ is a weightless fine mist, that sprays well. It has the Fluid-Fix complex, thanks to which the micro particles settle lightly on your hair and give it shine. Waves and curls stay bouncy and movable. May be a good hairspray for your urban on-the-go lifestyle.
How to use:
Wash and condition locks, dry and style as usual. Now when the hairstyle is ready, spray the mist onto it holding the can 12-14 inches away. To refresh the style comb through and re-apply the finishing mist.
Buyer’s Guide: Types of Hairsprays + Everyday Hacks
Think you know all about hairsprays? Think twice! We, for example, didn’t know that a hairspray may dry the nail polish or that aerosols and spray pumps are for different hair types. Worth reading!
The History of Hairsprays
The prototype of the modern hairspray appeared as … an anti-insect spray. It was created and actively used during the World War II in the 40s as a protection from Malaria.
As you know, when spritzed with a hairspray, hairs stick together thanks to special polymers, which were called at that time ‘resins’. The first who put these resins into the aerosol can was Chase Products Co. in 1948. The term ‘hairspray’ appeared in 1950, when the Helene Curtis Spray Net was released.
Of course, since their debut hairsprays quickly became the best-selling styling products among women of all ages. Even the lipstick was not so popular in beauty industry. Thanks to this product beehives and bouffant styles appeared in the 50s and the 60s.
In 70s according to new regulations the carcinogen propellants CFCs were finally removed from hairsprays and they became safer to use. The first aerosol hairspray Alberto VO5 without CFCs was introduced in 1977. Today we can hardly imagine life without hairsprays.
What Does a Basic Hairspray Consist Of?
Almost all hairsprays consist of 3 main components: fixative polymers, solvents, propellants. Pump hair sprays don’t have the latter, as propellants are ingredients that force the product to dispense out of the aerosol can. Today instead of damaging CFCs other propellants are used:
- high-pressure nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and compressed air;
- low-pressure hydrocarbons, isobutane, dimethyl ether, and difluoroethane.
They can be mixed. For example, hydrocarbons are poor solvents, usually not strong enough for the active polymer ingredients. That’s why dimethyl ether is added. Formulas differ very much.
Solvents are substances that keep a hairspray in a liquid form. The majority of the aerosol can is filled with them. Most often it is alcohol. Popular solvents – isopropanol, ethanol.
Propellant and solvent evaporate after spraying. Polymers are all those particles that settle on your hair, form a thin film on locks and fix the hairstyle. Very often these are a water-soluble polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and non-soluble in water polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), but actually there are dozens of different polymers.
In addition to polymers and solvents other components may be used – plasticizers, moisturizers, luster, conditioning and bodifying agents, humectants (moisturizers), sun screens, gloss enhancers, antioxidants, scents, etc.
Plasticizers modify (soften, impart flexibility) the polymers’ effects. They prevent flaking. Among plasticizers you may find esters of citric acid and adipic acid.
Fragrance is that scent you most often want to disappear asap. May be neutral (in unscented hair lacquers), flowery, berry, feminine or masculine. Be ready that the majority of hairsprays smell bad, but bearably.
What Are the Main Types of Hairsprays?
We are not talking about hairsprays, which aim at moisturizing or waving locks, at heat-protection only or covering grays. We take into account those sprays that help to create root volume, hold curls or fix the hairstyle in place. Solely those that are all about fixation.
So, formulas of these products vary from the light hold to medium (regular) hold and very strong/extra hold/freeze hairsprays. They provide different levels of weather control (products against humidity, wind-resistance).
There exist hairsprays that are brushable and not becoming stiff, and those ones that aim to glue the locks in place, leaving no possibility for fly-aways to spoil the look. The first group is for casual wear, they are usually described as ‘flexible hold’ products, the second ones – for big days.
Aerosol vs. Non-Aerosol Hairsprays
This fight lasts ages… However, in today’s world aerosol sprays are not harmful to the ozone layer anymore. Is the question closed? No. The reason you may still need to decide on the form of your future hairspray is your hair texture. Did you know that simple sprays are better for curls? And aerosol hairsprays are preferable for straight hair. Aerosols spray a finer layer of the product. This is especially good for soft looks with a bit of volume. Non-aerosol sprays enable more control over styling process. You may apply it to definite stands, or use for wet looks. And such bottles are believed to make the product last longer, plus they are not so flammable as aerosols. The flip side of the coin: non-aerosol hairsprays usually feel stickier and heavier than aerosols.
The Nozzle Is Clogged Up with a Product: What to Do?
You don’t necessarily need to throw it away immediately. Try to save your favorite product:
- run hot water over the nozzle, use a small scrub rush or an old toothbrush;
- hold the can in warm water for 1/2 hour, shake it, try to spray, and then push the nozzle in different directions – strong hold hairsprays may harden during colder months;
- clean the clogged nozzle with alcohol.
In order to avoid such sad situation as clogging, regularly shake aerosol bottles. If you use several hairsprays for different purposes, some of them may stand intact for ages. Shake them from time to time and spray a bit. Buyers also advise in their reviews to wipe the nozzle off with a damp tissue and to put the cap back on after every hairspray use. Some suggest storing cans upside down.
Genius Tips for Using Hairspray
- don’t spritz it holding too close to your hair if you want to avoid the greasy look, the optimum distance is 6 inches away from the locks (every spray has its own directions written by the manufacturer, follow them);
- if you have curly hair and want it to stay bouncy, better spray each curly strand separately;
- to tame the flyaways spray a bit of product onto your hand and smooth them, or do this with a new toothbrush spritzed with hair lacquer;
- coat your bobby pins with a thin layer of hairspray for better grip;
- in case you use a hair chalk or a color spray, strong hold hairspray may help you to lock the color temporarily, it will not shed onto your clothes.
Several Non-Banal Ideas How to Use Hairspray for Styling
- use rollers, spray the product all over, leave for 15-20 minutes this will result in big soft waves;
- put hair in a high bun, apply a thin layer of hairspray, leave for 15 minutes to dry and untie for quick casual waves;
- spritz your hair before teasing, and once more after it, this will give you a carefree-looking voluminous style.
Where Else You May Use a Hairspray
Creative ways to use your fave hairspray in everyday life:
- speed up the process of drying your manicure spray the product onto freshly painted nails and dip into very cold water;
- as a quick solution for a run in your tights;
- to get rid of the lipstick stain spray, leave for 10 minutes, remove the spot with a sponge;
- to vanish the permanent marker drawing on the wall;
- to style your eyebrows just spray the product on your brow brush, brush up;
- as a base for glitter spray on your finger, apply this hairspray where needed (to closed eyelids or eyebrows, or any other part of body), glue glitter to it;
- to prevent jeans zipper from slipping;
- to preserve your art work (may be sprayed over chalk drawings, works in gouache);
- to keep screws from coming loose.
What Is the Best Way to Remove the Hairspray
The best way to remove the hairspray is to wash your hair. You may re-style the mane next day, but at the end of day 2 (or next morning for sure) you will want to get rid of the product. You may feel stickiness, tangles, notice flakes. Regular shampoos clear hair from hair lacquers well.
However, everything that coats hairs accumulates in strands after a long use. Be it a shampoo, a serum, or a hairspray. To tell you the truth some ‘waterproof’ hair lacquers even include silicons. So be sure to remove this type of residue properly.
We have an article about clarifying shampoos. These are products for hair detoxification, formulated to remove the build up. Use one of them every 1-4 weeks. Or consider buying a scalp scrub.
And, Finally, Does Hairspray Alone Damage Hair?
The standard components, described above, are not considered damaging. When used as directed, hairspray is safe and non-toxic. Nevertheless, some harm may be caused to locks while styling. This happens if:
- you use too much product with alcohol components every day;
- you brush locks with hard hold sprays in them too intensively, choose light or medium hold lacquers in case you plan to re style the mane;
- you forget about moisturizing and nourishing hair, it may become dull without repairing masks;
- you use a hairspray in poor ventilated area.
We’ve shown you the best of the best hair-holding products that are top-rated by reviewers and most liked by hair professionals, now everything is in your hands. Decide whether you want an extreme hold, a flexible texture, a shine or volume, and choose the one that will work for you. Best hairspray is not the one that suits most, it is a product that perfectly meets your needs.