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Hair Primers: What Are They, Benefits And 14 Best

photo of stylist applying hair primer to woman's hair in salon
Hair primer doesn’t get as much love as it should. Because it’s the first product in your styling routine to touch your dirty blonde hair, it’s easy to forget about it once you pile the rest of your hair products on top of it. However, it is an essential product in your hair care arsenal precisely because it’s the first product to touch your precious locks.

The right hair primer will address some of your major hair concerns while prepping your strands to achieve your desired style. However, not all hair primers are created equal which is why you should know exactly what hair primer is before you incorporate it into your hair care routine. If you’re not sure what hair primer is, you’ve come to the right place. We’re breaking down everything you need to know about hair primer including who should use it and our 14 favorites.


What is hair primer?

Hair primer is a lot like a makeup primer. It prepares your hair to be the perfect canvas for your hairstyling desires. Much like makeup primers that make your face look and feel smooth to help make your makeup application a breeze, many hair primers are formulated to make sure your hair is manageable and easily styled.


What is hair primer used for?

Hair primer is used to prep your hair before you begin styling, which means you should pick your primer based on how you plan to style your hair. If you plan on heat styling your hair, you’ll want to use a hair primer formulated with heat protection. If you’re hoping to create a sleek and smooth style on a particularly humid day, choose a hair primer that is formulated to protect against frizz.


Who should use hair primer?

Everyone can benefit from a hair primer. The key is to find the right hair primer for your mane. Whether your hair is thick, thin, curly, straight, damaged, or colored, there’s a primer on the market perfect for you and your hair needs.


What are hair primer benefits?

The benefits of a hair primer depend on the product’s formula, but most hair primers try to help your hair look and feel smooth, shiny, soft, manageable, and frizz-free.


Which hair primer should you use?

If it sounds like hair primer is the hair care item missing from your arsenal, you’re in luck. We’ve rounded up the 14 best hair primers.

L’Oréal Professionnel Volumetry Volume Spray

Pump up your limp, fine hair with a volumizing priming spray. L’Oréal Professionnel’s Volumetry Volume Spray is formulated with a combination of Intra-Cylane and HydraLight for a voluminous effect. The results: Body and fullness from the root and a voluminous hold.

L’Oréal Professionnel Volumetry Volume Spray, $27.00 MSRP


L’Oréal Professionnel Inforcer Smoothing Cream

If you have fragile locks that are prone to breakage, add a strengthening primer to your styling routine. L’Oréal Professionnel’s Inforcer Smoothing Cream is infused with vitamin B6 and biotin for a reduction in breakage. The formula provides instant detangling for stronger hair that is easier to brush.

L’Oréal Professionnel Inforcer Smoothing Cream, $28.00 MSRP

Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Heat Styling Primer

We love a good blowout, but damaging heat can take your style from fresh to fried in no time. Protect your strands from high heat with Matrix Biolage’s Heat Styling Primer. Formulated with coconut milk and meadowfoam, the primer provides heat protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for an easy blow dry with touchable, soft, shapely results.

Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Heat Styling Primer, $19.50 MSRP


Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Frizz Control Styling Spray

We all know the feeling of styling our hair, only to have our precious strands fall victim to frizz. Help minimize the appearance of frizz with the Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Frizz Control Styling Spray. Formulated with lavender, the spray helps to smooth down flyaways with a natural sheen and controlled finish.

Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Frizz Control Styling Spray, $19.50 MSRP


Mizani Thermasmooth Sleek Guard Smoothing Serum

There are several steps necessary to straighten curly hair safely. The most critical step is to properly prep your hair with a heat protecting serum. Mizani’s Thermasmooth Sleek Guard Smoothing Serum is the perfect heat styling primer for curl types six through nine.

Mizani Thermasmooth Sleek Guard Smoothing Serum, $18.00 MSRP

Mizani 25 Miracle Milk

If you’re searching for a multi-use primer, you’ve come to the right place. Mizani‘s 25 Miracle Milk boasts 25 benefits including priming hair for styling, detangling, and controlling flyaways.

Mizani 25 Miracle Milk, $20.00 MSRP


Amika The Wizard Detangling Primer

Tangled hair is not only hard to comb, but also hard to look at! Get rid of your tumbleweed-like snarls with Amika’s Detangling Primer for all hair types.

Amika The Wizard Detangling Primer, $25.00 MSRP

Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Hair Beautifier

If you’ve recently colored your hair, you need a primer that will not only prep your hair for styling but also protect your new hue. Formulated with Pureology’s the exclusive Anti-Fade Complex, the Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Hair Beautifier’s lightweight mist primes, protects, and prefects while delivering 21 essential benefits for color-treated hair.

Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Hair Beautifier, $42.00 MSRP


Shu Uemura Blow Dry Beautifier

If you have thick locks, you need hair products heavy duty enough to handle your full mane. If you love a good blowout, pick up a blow dry primers formulated for thick hair. Shu Uemura’s Blow Dry Beautifier helps protect thick hair from heat, smoothes, tames frizz, and memorizes shaped looks.

Shu Uemura Blow Dry Beautifier, $39.00 MSRP


Shu Uemura Satin Design Blow Dry Lotion

If a shiny blowout is what you’re after, look no further than Shu Uemura’s Satin Design Blow Dry Lotion. The anti-frizz moisture-rich blowdry lotion restores luster, provides humidity resistance and is the perfect foundation for any blow dry. Formulated with heat protection, it promotes a polished, silky and weightless finish that still has that desired bounce.

Shu Uemura Satin Design Blow Dry Lotion, $39.00 MSRP

Kérastase Paris Nutritive Nectar Thermique

Heat styling your hair is often the quickest and easiest way to achieve your desired look. Unfortunately, heat styling your hair can sometimes make it look and feel drier than ever when you already have dry strands. Ensure you have a nourished and polished-looking blow out every time with Kérastase Paris’ Nutritive Nectar Thermique. The thermo-seal glaze is formulated for dry hair to smooth, add shine, and make hair easier to style.

Kérastase Paris Nutritive Nectar Thermique, $37.00 MSRP


Kérastase Discipline Fluidissime Anti Frizz Spray

Many people use anti-frizz hair primers to prep their hair for sleek, smooth blowouts but frizz doesn’t just wreak havoc on straight strands—it can also create hairstyling nightmares for ladies with curly locks. If your curly mane is battling frizz constantly, pick up Kérastase’s Discipline Fluidissime Anti Frizz Spray. The hair-smoothing thermal anti-frizz protection spray is formulated especially for curly hair.

Kérastase Discipline Fluidissime Anti Frizz Spray, $37.00 MSRP

Redken Extreme Length Primer Rinse Out Treatment

You apply most primers to your strands after you’ve washed, conditioned, and rinsed your hair, but this primer from Redken is a little bit different. Instead of applying the product right before you begin to style your hair, this primer is used to your damp hair while you are still in the shower. Leave the treatment on for two to five minutes before rinsing it out and this hair primer treatment with biotin builds strength from root to tip and targets split ends.

Redken Extreme Length Primer Rinse Out Treatment, $22.00 MSRP


Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Treatment Primer Cream

If trying to create a flawless blowout is a constant battle between you and your thick, coarse strands, this primer is perfect for you. Redken’s Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Treatment Primer Cream is a nourishing treatment and blow-dry hair primer cream ideal for all hair types, especially dry, thick or coarse strands. It helps to reduce blow-dry time, protects from heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, helps reduce breakage and provides 24-hour lasting volume without weighing hair down.

After using the blow-dry primer cream, hair is left three times stronger and healthier and perfectly primed for any styling. It’s the first step for every blow-dry that needs extra care and nourishment!

Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Treatment Primer Cream, $24.00 MSRP

Interested in personalized advice about the best hair primer for your strands? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.