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Hairsprays have come a long way. Once upon a time, the market only consisted of strong hold formulas that smelled toxic and gave a straw-like finish. Now? “Hairspray doesn’t have to make your hair stiff to be effective,” says Tommy Buckett, celebrity hairstylist and BondiBoost Brand Ambassador. “Formulas have come a long way. Hydrating and nourishing hairsprays can have more of a flexible hold without making your hair feel too crunchy or sticky.” Options range from uber-fine mists that feel nonexistent to stronger-hold options infused with good-for-your-hair ingredients.
There’s a hairspray for every updo, beachy wave, and slicked-back bun. Some are made specifically to fight humidity-induced frizz or lock in a curl on the finest of fine hair types. To make sure you’re picking the best hairspray for your specific needs, we’ve (literally) sprayed dozens of hairsprays in search of the most high-performing, long-lasting, luxurious-feeling formulas out there. To see our top picks, and get some tips from the pros, keep reading.
What to Look For in Hairspray
- Hair Texture
The best hairspray for you actually has a lot to do with your level of hair texture—take it from hairstylist Monae Everett. “If the hair has less texture and does not need to stay in place for a long time, I will select a flexible or medium hold spray,” she explains. “If the hair has tight curls or coiled texture and/or needs to stay in place without moving for 12 or 16 hours, then I will select a strong hold hairspray.”
- Type of Hold
You’ll likely find three types of hairsprays: Strong hold, medium hold, and flexible hold. The best option for you likely depends on the type of style you’re trying to achieve. “Use a strong hold hairspray for updos or styles that need more of a structured hold,” explains Buckett. “A more flexible and brushable hold can be used on hair that needs to move without looking or feeling too stiff—it’s perfect for long haircuts that need to hold a blowout or beach waves.”
If your hair is naturally curly, but thermally straightened, Everett recommends sealing the straightness in with a medium hold hairspray. “It allows the hair to hold the style without wetting the hair and making it revert back to a curly style.”
The Best Hairsprays
- The Best Hairspray Overall: Oribe Superfine Hairspray
- The Best Hairspray for Textured Hair: Sebastian Professional Re-Shaper Hairspray
- The Best Flexible Hold Hairspray: ColorWow Cult Favorite Firm + Flexible Hairspray
- The Best Strong Hold Hairspray: TRESemmé Extra Hold Hairspray
- The Best Heat Protecting Hairspray: Living Proof Style Lab Flex Hairspray
The Best Flexible Hold Hairspray
I have *very* thin hair, so hairspray and I have long had a contentious relationship. I hate feeling like my hair is straw-like or sticky, but my style regularly falls flat. Enter: ColorWow, one of the only hairsprays that genuinely feels like an uber-fine mist. I never experience any crunchiness, grittiness, or stickiness. Instead, my hair remains feeling like hair. The formula also has a special UV and color protection filter that prevents my (fake) blonde hair from developing a nasty yellow tinge.
Pros: Super fine; Invisible feel; Protects color
The Best Stylist Recommended Hairspray
“My new favorite hairspray is BondiBoost Flex & Shine Hairspray. The aerosol-free hairspray is flexible, brushable, hydrating and has an amazing smell. Hairsprays are traditionally damaging and drying to the hair, but this formula has Marine Algae Extract, Seaweed Extract and Pro Vitamin B5 that help nourish without causing damage or further breakage. It’s a great go-to for effortless day-to-day styling, especially in the hot summer months.” — Tommy Buckett, Celebrity Hairstylist
Pros: Celebrity stylist-recommend; Great smell; Protects hair
Cons: A little sticky if you don't apply correctly
The Best Extra Hold Hairspray
“Extra-hold hairsprays historically have a pretty bad rep. They can sometimes give you what I lovingly refer to as “helmet hair,” where your hair doesn’t move an inch after being set in place. But, this one from TRESemmé doesn’t do that. It’s strong-hold, yes, but it doesn’t feel like a strong-hold spray. I have medium-thickness hair that doesn’t really hold any style I put it in, but a few spritzes of this make long-lasting styles possible. The spray is even, so you won’t end up with wet spots in specific parts of your hair that make it feel sticky.” — Julia Marzovilla, E-Commerce Editor
Pros: Editor-approved; Great for updos
Cons: A little stiff
The Best Hairspray for Textured Hair
“My go-to hairspray for all hair textures is the Sebastian Professional Re-Shaper hairspray. I love the fact that I can use it from straight to curly hair, on thermally styled hair, and to finish to any style for long-lasting hold and humidity protection.” — Monae Everett, Celebrity Hairstylist
Pros: Celebrity hairstlyist recommended; Good for textured hair
Cons: Strong smell
The Best Fine Hairspray
Very rarely can you call a hairspray customizable, but that’s exactly what this Oribe hairspray delivers. Depending on how close you hold the bottle to your head and how much product you apply, it will give anywhere from an uber-light, barely-there hold to an ever-so-slightly more intense medium hold. The special “it factor,” so to say about this hairspray however, is that it gives the hair an intense shine alongside a whiff of the brand’s iconic Côte d’Azur scent.
Pros: Fine mist; Smells great; Buildable hold
Cons: Not strong enough for unruly hair
The Best Shine-Boosting Hairspray
By design, hairsprays can dull your hair’s natural shine by drying out your strands. To combat those dulling effects, Moroccanoil has infused their hairspray with a hefty dose of argan oil. What does that do, you ask? It adds extra shine and an added dose of smoothness so your hair looks shiny and healthy. Still need convincing? It has humidity-proof, frizz-fighting powers, making it a summer staple. Spray a thin layer before walking out the door and your style will be locked in all day.
Pros: Hydrating; Frizz fighting
Cons: Strong fragrance
The Best Hairspray, Finish Spray Duo
You spend a good hour curling your hair only for it to fall flat in a matter of minutes. Sound familiar? I challenge you to spray this flexible hold finishing-meets-hairspray on each layer of hair before you pick up your hot tool. Do that, and I pinky promise you’ll get a longer lasting style. This particular spray is designed to be workable and soft, while still securing the shape you want. Thanks to the expertly designed nozzle, only a thin layer of product comes out at a time, so you won’t be left with gooey or sticky clumps.
Pros: Multi-benefit; Texturizes
Cons: Requires a lot of product for hold
The Best Heat Protectant Hairspray
The two facts you should know about this hairspray: It doubles as a heat protectant—and it can be used on damp hair. The unique technology, which stems from an MIT laboratory, can be applied directly to post shower hair and provides thermal protection up to 410 degrees. You can blow dry your hair with peace of mind (no damage! yay!) and lock in a more voluminous, longer-lasting style thanks to the hairspray’s medium hold.
Pros: Multi-benefit; Heat protectant
Cons: A little drying
The Best Multi-Benefit Hairspray
A hairspray doesn’t *just* have to be a hairspray, according to Virtue. In fact, they made sure their formula was packed with six benefits. Hold is the obvious feature, but a few sprays is also going to give you protection from pollution, provide UV protection, seal out the undoubtedly unwanted effects of humidity, strengthen hair, and give a breathable feel to the hair. Just make sure to shake the can and hold it 10 to 12 inches away before spraying away.
Pros: Humidity proof; Pollution protection
Cons: Not very strong hold
The Best Texturizing Hairspray
You won’t believe me until you try it for yourself, but this is the only styling product you’re ever going to need. As the name suggests, it’s a texturizer and a hairspray with the ability to boost volume, lock in a style, and provide some extra grit. The most enticing feature? It also acts as a dry shampoo. The formula is packed with oil-absorbing volcanic minerals capable of absorbing excess oil and grease; you’ll be able to prolong your blowout by at least one day with this product by your side.
Pros: Acts as a dry shampoo and texturizer
Cons: Feels a bit gritty
The Best Non-Aerosol Hairspray
This hairspray looks a little different than most—it’s not aerosol. It’s a liquid formula that spritzes out of the bottle into a fine mist. A liquid hairspray can be sticky, but thanks to this expertly designed formula, it’s actually quite the opposite. Sugarcane takes center stage and is responsible for providing a brushable yet firm, long-lasting hold. As for scent? A blend of essential oils is infused into the product, so you’ll get whiffs of lavender, orange, and palo santo throughout the day.
Cons: A little sticky
The Best Strong Hold Hairspray
While a stronghold hairspray might not be your go-to for everyday use, there is a time and place for it. If you need to lock in a style for all day (or night), have an updo that can’t budge a bit, or want to slick down flyaways in a slicked back style, this R + Co spray is for you. It surprisingly doesn’t get crunchy or flaky and is relatively easy to brush out at the end of the night. Just be warned: You’ll want to wash it out after a day of wear—your scalp will thank you.
Pros: Style will hold
Cons: Feels a little heavy
Meet the Experts
Distinguished hairstylist Tommy Buckett has always loved transformation, even as a child. While growing up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, he would set up a makeshift salon in the family kitchen, recreating his friends' latest trends with box color and styles seen on TV's "My So Called Life.
The moment he could, Tommy moved to New York City, where he got the opportunity to work under Sally Hershberger, learning from the best. Later on, he began working with Marie Robinson, his peer and close friend, when she opened her 5th Ave salon. Most recently, Tommy worked as the lead stylist for renowned Serge Normant to further expand his editorial portfolio and hone his celebrity roster.
Buckett has worked with celebrity talent for countless cover/fashion shoots, national TV shows, red carpet, and press events. His list of famous clients most notably includes Elisabeth Moss, Amber Heard, Claire Danes, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Felicity Jones, Zosia Mamet, Sadie Sink, Ashley Benson, Maya Hawke, Molly Shannon, Ali Wong, Sofia Black-D'Elia, Lea Michele, Krysta Rodriguez, Cristin Milioti and Nina Dobrev.
Editorial clients include Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Vanity Fair, New York Mag, Allure, In Style, L'Official, Dazed, GQ, LA Confidential. He has collaborated with creative teams on runway fashion shows for Marc Jacobs, Rodarte, Marchesa, Alexander Wang, Rebecca Minkoff.
Buckett has also served as spokesperson and brand consultant for beauty brands such as Kerastase, Garnier, Sedu, and Dyson. He is a trusted expert providing product review and video content creation for beauty sites such as Byrdie, Violet Grey, and Harper's Bazaar.
He built his reputation on making the most discerning clients feel their best. From effortless cuts to brushed-out red-carpet, Buckett has become widely known for his ability to accentuate a client's natural hair texture perfectly.
Backed-up by two decades of training and experience in the fields of beauty, fashion and branding, Monaé Everett is an American Board Certified Haircolorist with a diverse educational background. Additionally, she earned degrees in Communications and Sociology from George Mason University.
As a major force in beauty, Monaè has worked under top global hair care brands, such as Wella, Sebastian, and Mizani, which makes her the perfect presenter for your next event. She is the industry expert for all hair textures.
Monaè’s professional work has been heavily displayed in the world of film, television, print, heater, and numerous New York Fashion Week shows. National media giants such as Glamour, Harper’s BAZAAR, ESSENCE, InStyle, and Yahoo! Beauty tap Monaè regularly as a trusted voice and authority in the beauty and style industry.
Her work can be seen in media ranging from Harper's BAZAAR to Yahoo! and ESSENCE to Hair's How. Monaè’s diverse work has been displayed on such celebs including Tia Mowry, Yara Shahidi, Emily Tosta and Nickelodeon starlets Lizzy Greene and Sofia Wylie.
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Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.
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