Which hair spray is best?
Once you’ve styled your hair just the way you like it, you want it to stay put. Hair spray is a necessary finishing touch to every hairstyle. It holds onto curls and waves, maintains parts, and keeps hair straight — but those are only some features of this hair care essential. Depending on which hair spray you choose, you can add shine, fight frizz, tame flyaways, and even protect hair.
Read our buying guide on the best hair sprays and make every day a good hair day. We’re including our favorite, Sebastian Professional Shaper Hair Spray, which is known for its flexible, frizz-free hold that’s popular among runway show hair stylists.
What to know before you buy a hair spray
Your hair type is an important factor in choosing the right hair spray. Thick hair is naturally heavy, so you need a spray with maximum hold. Fine hair requires a lighter, more flexible hold so it doesn’t get weighed down by heavier formulas. Color-treated hair can be tricky; you want hair spray that protects and adds shine.
Hair spray either has a matte or shiny finish. A matte finish is best for oily hair, as it doesn’t add too much of a sheen. Hair sprays with shiny finishes are popular choices for those with dry hair in need of a glossy, youthful boost.
Aerosol vs. nonaerosol
Aerosol hair spray comes in a can with a pressurized nozzle, making application a breeze. Its continuous spray stream means hair spray is evenly distributed around the head. It’s great if you’re looking to add volume.
Nonaerosol spray requires individual pumps to dispense hair spray. Many people opt to spray product into their hands for more control over application, especially for bangs and around parts.
Specific hair needs
- Frizz control: If your hair is susceptible to frizz and flyaways, you need a hair spray with frizz control. It’s beneficial if you want to keep hair from frizzing throughout the day while attending outdoor events in humid weather.
- Protection: Hair is vulnerable to damage from the sun, especially colored hair. Protective hair spray formulas lessen UV exposure. Depending on the formula, they also coat hair to minimize the color-fading effect of the sun.
- Volumizing: If you like big hair, volumizing hair spray is essential. Its strong, buildable hold is perfect for formal styles and for holding teased hair in place. These formulas are lightweight yet effective — they’re designed to get the job done without adding weight.
- Light: Light hold, also called flexible, offers minimal hold so hair retains its natural motion and bounce. It works for those with fine hair or to hold soft ringlets. But with minimal hold, the spray can weaken throughout the day and, as a result, styles don’t always stay put.
- Medium: Medium hold is a popular everyday option for hair spray. It adds volume to hair and offers a springy hold for curls. Because its formula allows for slight flexibility, it strikes a nice balance between stay-put styling and modest motion of hair. However, medium hold can be too strong for those with damaged hair, leaving a crispy, crunchy texture.
- Strong: Strong or maximum hold hair spray is the go-to option if you need to freeze a hairstyle into all-day hold. They work well if you have thick or coarse hair and are considered essential for keeping updos in place. Strong hold can be too rigid for everyday styles, and if too much is applied, it can take on a helmet-like hold.
How much you can expect to spend on a hair spray
Drugstore hair sprays cost less than $10, but they don’t have hold or performance like salon-quality hair sprays priced between $20-$30. Spending this much on a hair spray means far better hold, styling quality and consistent frizz-fighting action.
Hair spray FAQ
I’m really sensitive to scents. Are there any hair sprays that don’t have overwhelming fragrances?
A. Yes. There are hair sprays with gentle yet fresh scents, like melon or grapefruit. There are also unscented varieties, though these can have a stronger smell of alcohol.
I want my part to stay put. How should I spray my hair?
A. You can spray hair a bit more liberally at the site of the part, but don’t overdo it. You can also lightly spray a teasing comb to pull through your part, which spreads spray through multiple layers for an overall better hold.
What are the best hair sprays to buy?
Top hair spray
Our take: This offers a strong, flexible hold with a salon finish. It holds styles all day, even in humid climates.
What we like: It is popular for its crunch-free consistency and frizz control.
What you should consider: Some say it needs a more reliable spray nozzle.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
Top hair spray for the money
Our take: This offers a lightweight finish for a medium-hold hair spray. It’s a solid choice for everyday use.
What we like: It feels natural and won’t weigh hair down. There is no residue or stickiness to its finish.
What you should consider: The scent can be a bit strong for those sensitive to fragrances.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
Worth checking out
Our take: This is a volumizing hair spray well-suited to achieving big hair styles.
What we like: It provides an overall polished finish that adds shine and promotes bounce with an all-day hold.
What you should consider: It dries fast, so make sure your style is finished, since making adjustments can be challenging.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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