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Styling 101 How To Use Hairspray

photo of stylist using hairspray on client in salon

A few years ago, it felt like everyone had all but sworn off hairspray, but it’s officially back—and better than ever. The hairspray of 2019 is nothing like the thick, tacky hairspray you grew up with. Modern formulas are lightweight, beautifully scented, and can often do much more than just hold your style in place.

To get a better understanding of what hairspray is and how to use it, we tapped Jamie McDaniel, Redken artist and stylist, to give us the scoop on everything hairspray. Whether you’re a life long hairspray user or are considering adding it back into your routine, continue reading to get the best tips straight from the pros.

What is the primary purpose of hairspray?

The formulas may have changed, but the main objective of hairspray remains the same: to lock your style in place.

“The primary purpose of hairspray is to hold and secure a shape for longevity throughout the day,” McDaniels says.

What is the best way to apply hair spray?

Back in the day, hairspray was used as the last step in your hairstyling routine to lock the style you spent hours so carefully crafting in place. However, sometimes it seemed as though no matter how much hairspray you used, it was never enough to last the whole night. It turns out, we were using hairspray all long. It shouldn’t be the last step of your styling routine, McDaniels says to get the most out of hairspray, you should use it as you style your hair.

“I like to use a workable hairspray, like Redken Wax Blast 10 or Fashion Work 12, through my styles while pinning it into place and then a high hold hairspray, like Redken Control Addict 28, Triple Take 32 or Triple Pure 32, for long-lasting hold throughout the day and night,” the stylist explains.

By applying hairspray multiple times while you style your mane, you can guarantee it will last all night long. Modern hairspray formulas are much lighter than hairspray formulas of yesteryear, but if the product still feels heavy on your strands, McDaniel has just the tip for you.

“The golden rule, for me, is to spray at least the length of the bottle away from the head to prevent product build-up or crunchiness.”

What is the most common mistake people make with hairspray?

When it comes to hairspray, McDaniel says less is more.

“Myth: the more hairspray I apply, the longer it will last. Truth: hairspray tends to be wet, and the one thing that will breakdown a thermal bond is a hydrogen bond. Meaning, the more hairspray you apply, the more you are enforcing the style to lose its shape,” the stylist explains.

When in doubt, start with a light layer and allow it to dry. You can always apply more hairspray if you think your style needs extra hold.

Now that you know exactly how to use hairspray, we’ve rounded up eight hairsprays that deserve a spot in your hairstyling arsenal.

Our 8 Best Hairsprays To Try Now

Redken Triple Pure 32 Neutral Fragrance Hairspray

If you love what hairspray does for your mane but can’t stand the smell, you need Redken Triple Pure 32 Neutral Fragrance Hairspray in your arsenal. This fragrance-free high-hold hairspray offers maximum control with minimal scent.

Redken Triple Pure 32 Neutral Fragrance Hairspray, $24.00 MSRP

Pureology Style + Protect Lock It Down Hairspray

If hairspray usually leaves your strands feeling parched, pick up Pureology Style + Protect Lock It Down Hairspray formulated with olive oil. This fast-drying, maximum hold hairspray was created to fight dryness and add radiant shine while providing strong hold and control.

Pureology Style + Protect Lock It Down Hairspray, $28.00 MSRP

Good hair day by @justjackie_stylistnyc.

Redken Fashion Work 12 Hairspray

If you spend hours at the salon perfecting your salon color, you need to be sure every product in your hair care routine is formulated to protect your precious hue—including your hairspray. This versatile hairspray is perfect for working, shaping, and finishing styles on color-treated hair.

Redken Fashion Work 12 Hairspray, $19.50 MSRP

Good hair day by @guidopalau.

Redken Forceful 23 Anti-Frizz Super Strength Hairspray

If you’re looking for a hairspray with superhuman hold, look no further than Redken Forceful 23 Anti-Frizz Super Strength Hairspray.

Redken Forceful 23 Anti-Frizz Super Strength Hairspray, $19.50 MSRP

Redken Control Addict 28 Strong Hold Hairspray

Strong hold hairsprays have a reputation for being notoriously flaky, but Redken Control Addict 28 Strong Hold Hairspray guarantees a flake-free style without compromising on hold.

Redken Control Addict 28 Strong Hold Hairspray, $21.00 MSRP

Mizani HRM Humidity Resistant Mist Hairspray

If humidity is ruining your tropical vacation plans, pack Mizani HRM Humidity Resistant Mist Hairspray in your carryon to help shield your hair from humidity.

Mizani HRM Humidity Resistant Mist Hairspray, $20.00 MSRP

Kérastase Laque Couture Hairspray

If you’re searching for an everyday hairspray that’s just as stylish as you are, look no further than Kérastase Laque Couture Hairspray.

Kérastase Laque Couture Hairspray, $28.00 MSRP

Matrix Style Link Style Fixer Finishing Hairspray

Need to lock your style in place in a hurry? Matrix Style Link Style Fixer Finishing Hairspray is a fast-drying spray formula that will lock in your hairstyle for hours with humidity resistant, anti-frizz powers. No helmet effect, no tack, no flaking.

Matrix Style Link Style Fixer Finishing Hairspray, $18.00 MSRP

Interested in more professional product recommendations? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.