Decoding Styling Products

By on October 9, 2009, in Beauty Knowledge Center, Hair, Well Being

Sure, it’s great to have the luxury of a professional hair stylist applying products and meticulously shaping your strands into a movie star ‘do. But for mere hair mortals, the reality of choosing the right styling product for your hair type and hairstyle can be a confusing and expensive process. If everyday salon visits aren’t a reality for you, try these styling product tips to ensure each hair day is a salon hair day.

Mousse can be used on wet or dry hair to enhance volume, texture, movement and shine. In general, mousse products are a great option for most hair types including naturally curly or wavy hair and thinning hair. It’s available in a wide range of formulas from very light to extra firm hold, and easily crafts a natural and soft style. Non-sticky mousse allows for easy re-styling from day to evening looks. A popular evolution of mousse is the gel-mousse products, which combine the benefits of both gel and mousse into one formula.
Best for: Fine, naturally curly or wavy, and thinning hair

Run a little lightweight moisturizing gel through the length of your wet hair to relax natural curls and create an instant fresh-from-the-beach look. For a wet look with lift, coat dry hair with gel and wear au natural. Most gels are multi-dimensional, working well to relax, sculpt, mold, freeze and scrunch all types of textures from fine to medium, straight to wavy. Whether you select gel in a tube, jar or spray form, beware of overuse as it can cause hair to appear greasy or stiff.
Best for: All hair types. Look for specific brands made for your particular hair type or styling needs.

Hair Sprays: Finishing, Freezing or Traditional
Today’s hairsprays are much more advanced than the original Aqua Net canister. Current hairspray products range from light hold formulas for natural movement without the stickiness to strong and super molding spray formulas for rigid hold. Non-aerosol, non-alcoholic and aromatherapy infused formulas also offer additional flexibility to customize the spray to your needs and preferences.

  • Hairspray with medium hold strength that is used on styles to maintain shape and hold is often defined as finishing spray.
  • Freezing sprays provide the firmest possible hold, as if the style was frozen in time. These products work best on extreme styles and provide perfect hold within seconds.
  • Most products include shine enhancement and SPF protection.
  • Best for: All hair types. Lighter sprays are generally better for fine hair while thicker hair requires spray with a stronger hold.

    Pomades, Glossers & Shine Serums
    This styling family consists of products that give hair a “mirror-like” affect by controlling frizz and flyaways. Products designed to promote shine tend to be less concentrated than pomades and glossers. Shine enhancers, glossers and pomades control frizz, promote smoothness and add shine. Glossers and shine serums, unlike pomades, are available in both liquid and spray-on versions.

  • Shine enhancers are often based upon Silicone Oils that act as emollients, sealing the hair cuticle, blocking static electricity and protecting the shaft from damage. Shine products are beneficial for coarse or chemically treated hair. Those with fine hair should opt for a spray shine product, as many serums can leave fine locks looking limp.
  • Pomades are thicker and more natural than wax and tend to be greasier than many styling formulas. Usually available in either humectant or anti-humectant options, they are perfect for creating soft, slicked back looks. They are most beneficial for thick and curly hair that needs extra hold and protection against frizz and flyaways.
  • Best for: Coarse, chemically treated, thick and curly hair.

    Used to create, manage and style uncontrollable textures, hair balm often comes packaged as a thick cream or putty-like texture, usually in a jar container. Balm can be applied to wet or dry hair depending on the ultimate styling goal – wet-hair application gives a more slicked-back look while a dry application is often used to achieve a “piece-y” look. Some balms are specifically designed to smooth frizzy hair, while others are formulated to enhance curls or straighten waves. They are often infused with hair-nourishing ingredients like Olive Oil, Soy Oil or vitamins.
    Best for: Thick or curly hair .

    With a little know-how and a bit of experimentation, you can find the right styling products to achieve gorgeous, enviable hair for any occasion.