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Best Hair Sprays

Updated July 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 119 Models Considered
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  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 151 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best hair sprays

    Last Updated July 2018

    You’ve spent all this time on a cute updo, and you don’t want it to come tumbling down as the day goes on. The solution seems obvious – you need some hair spray – but it’s a little more complicated than that.

    While it’s true that all hair spray does essentially the same job, its effectiveness will vary depending on your hair type and how you style it. Hair sprays come in a variety of different holds and finishes, and it’s important to understand these differences if you’re going to find the product that fits your needs.

    If you’re in a hurry, check out our five top recommendations above. There are options for all different hair types. Or you can read on to learn more about how to choose the ideal hair spray for you.

    The right hair spray for you depends on your hair type and style and the finish you’re going for.

    Hair spray features to consider

    Hair type

    Your hair type is one of the biggest considerations when choosing a hair spray. Each type has its own qualities and challenges, and each type often requires a different approach.

    • If you have thick hair, your hair is heavy. You’re going to need a strong-hold spray, especially if you’re styling it in an updo.

    • If you have fine hair, you need a lightweight hair spray that won’t weigh down your hair. You might also want a product that adds some extra body.

    • If you have color-treated hair, make sure that the hair spray you choose won’t dull your color. Most products that are suitable for color-treated hair say so on the label.

    Hold

    Hair spray comes in three different types of hold. You may have heard these referred to as light, medium, and strong, or as flexible, medium, and maximum.

    • Light (flexible): As the name implies, this type of hair spray provides the least amount of hold. Generally very lightweight, it is used for holding curls in place while still allowing your hair to move about freely. However, a lightweight spray isn’t strong enough to hold updos in place.

    • Medium: A good middle ground, medium-hold spray can keep your hair in place while adding volume and bounce to curls. It’s a favorite among those with unruly hair who want to tame their locks and still look natural.

    • Strong (maximum): This type of spray is your best choice if you wear your hair in an updo or you need your hairstyle to stay in place all day, such as for a wedding. This type of hair spray also helps add volume to fine hair to make it look thicker.

    Function

    In addition to holding your hair in place, hair spray can help do other things, too. What do you want your hair spray to do for you?

    • Add volume: Most medium- and strong-hold hair sprays help add volume, too, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a suitable product if your hair needs a little body.

    • Protect: Some hair sprays help to protect your hair against UV rays, which can damage hair and dull color-treated hair. This might be something to think about if you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the sun.

    • Tame: If your hair is thin and flyaway or prone to frizz, select a product that resists humidity.

    • Add shine

    EXPERT TIP

    Hair spray can help neutralize static and frizz. Use it as finishing spray even if you don’t style your hair.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    The alcohol in hair spray helps it dry quickly, and it can also help keep your hair from getting oily.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Finish

    You’ll find hair spray with either a matte or shine finish. The right one for you depends on your hair type.

    • Shine: If your hair is naturally dull and dry, going with a shine finish could give your hair a healthier, more vibrant look.

    • Matte: If your hair is naturally oily, adding more shine may just make your problems worse. In that case, you should choose a matte finish hair spray.

    Aerosol vs. non-aerosol

    Hair sprays come in two types of containers: aerosol and non-aerosol.

    • Aerosol: You’ll find pressurized hair spray in the most aerosol containers. When you press on the nozzle, you release a continuous stream of hair spray. Aerosol sprays are ideal for adding volume.

    • Non-aerosol: These containers are not pressurized and don’t produce a continuous spray. Each pump of the nozzle releases some hair spray. You can dispense these products into your hand to apply to the hair, giving you more control over the amount of spray you put in your hair and where you put it.

    Texture

    Any hair spray can leave your hair feeling sticky and stiff if you apply too much, but some are more prone to this than others. Make sure the product you choose is lightweight and doesn’t ruin your hair’s natural texture. It should have enough hold that your hair stays in place without making it feel crunchy or sticky.

    Drying time

    This is a relatively minor concern, but if you have to run out the door in a hurry, you’ll want a hair spray that dries quickly. Most hair sprays dry within a couple of minutes, at most, so this shouldn’t be an issue for most people.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    You can use hair spray on your eyebrows and flyaway hair near your face, but spray it into your palm first and apply it by hand to avoid getting the product in your eyes.

    Hair spray prices

    Hair spray ranges in price from under $5 to over $30.

    You’ll typically find that the more expensive products hold your hair better without weighing it down or feeling sticky or stiff.

    While $20 or $30 might seem like a big investment, these products usually last a long time, especially if you don’t use hair spray every day.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    You can also use hair spray to get rid of static in clothes and dry nail polish more quickly.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Overspraying or spraying too close to your hair can result in a crunchy, sticky texture.

    Tips

    • Hold the hair spray at least a foot away from your hair. This will help you avoid using too much and ending up with stiff, crunchy hair.

    • Keep the container in constant motion while you spray. This will prevent you from applying too much hair spray to any one spot.

    • Periodically check the nozzle. If the nozzle is partially clogged, it could spray unevenly.

    • Avoid brushing through a lot of hair spray. While you can brush through light-hold hair spray without too much trouble, brushing through a lot of strong-hold hair spray can damage your hair.

    • Spray underneath hair strands. This will add even more volume.

    • Use hair spray to tame flyaway hair. Apply a small amount of hair spray to your fingers and gently comb them through your hair.

    • Spray your hair while it’s in curlers. This will give your curls maximum hold.

    • Spray hair before and after braiding. This will give your braids maximum hold.
    Hair sprays contain alcohol, which can dry sensitive scalps. If your scalp is sensitive, use the spray on the ends of your hair and avoid the roots.

    FAQ

    Q. How much hair spray should I apply in order to hold my hair in place?

    A. Lightly cover all of your hair with the spray, keeping the product moving continuously. If you find that the hair spray isn’t holding your hair well enough, we recommend switching to a stronger hold rather than applying more hair spray. If you apply too much, your hair will just feel sticky and stiff.

    Q. Should I buy both a light- and a strong-hold hair spray?

    A. That’s an option if you plan to wear your hair in different styles. A light hold is best for loose curls, while a strong hold is better for updos. Or you could try a medium-hold hair spray and see if that works for you.

    Q. I don’t want my hair spray to make my hair too stiff. How do I avoid this?

    A. Make sure you’re holding the canister about a foot away from your head, and keep it moving as you spray so you don’t get too much hair spray in one spot. Apply small amounts at a time and let it dry before assessing whether or not you need more.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Enid
      Enid
      Editor
    • Kailey
      Kailey
      Writer
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer