A woman comes into the shop, picks up a can or a tube, looks at it puzzled, then asks “What does this do?” – a phrase I hear everyday. There are many styling products out there that look similar but are quite different. The packaging and the color of the pomade you just picked up may look like the paste your stylist just used but it is quite different. The can of hairspray may be the same shape and color of the thermal setting spray your bff uses, again, it is quite different. Being me, I have compiled a list, a “what it does” list if you will, with some examples, so you have somewhere to begin. * Almost all Professional Salon hair care lines will offer each of these products.
Mousse – A great product for all over volume and hold. Some mousse will foam up like whipped cream when dispensed (metal can), – Joico JoiWhip. Others, Liquid mousse for instance, will have a more watery consistency and pool in your hand (plastic bottle) – RUSK Plumping Mousse, a great option for baby fine hair. *Best results on towel dried hair, followed with blow drying
Root Boost – To be applied directly at the root to add volume – gives lift at the root alone. Root Boosts are in spray format, some foam – BIG SEXY Root Pump, some liquid, NIOXIN Root Boost. Both work well, it comes down to personal preference of a foam or a spray. *Best results on towel dried hair, followed with blow drying.
Gels – A very versatile product. Great result on damp or dry hair – depending on the style/look you are after. Gels can be used on towel dried hair for volume and control while blow drying, or on dry hair for a more slicked back look or for control for a more funky style. Gels can be an awesome tool for roller sets as well. Usually available in medium – JoiGel Medium and firm hold – AG Hard Gel, and some to offer a shine factor. *If you have darker hair, look for the product to say non flaking, like KMS HAIRSTAY Styling Gel & QUANTUM FixGel.
Shaping/Styling Sprays – A hairspray that comes in aerosol and pump format that comes in 3 hold factors, (Aerosol) soft – AG Aerodynamic, medium – Sebastian Shaper, and firm hold- Goldwell Magic Finish. (Pump – Joico JoiFix Medium). A workable spray = able to brush and restyle your ‘do as needed without giving yourself a beehive or a breakdown. * A firmer hold can get too sticky if too much is applied, so if you like to brush your hair throughout the day, stick to a soft to medium hold.
Finishing Sprays – A hairspray that is exactly that – a hairspray to be used to finish off your style. A firm hold – Joico JoiMist, or an Ultra Firm Hold – BIG SEXY Spray and Play Intense. These sprays are not as workable and can tend to get sticky when too much is reapplied. Available in aerosol format (see above) or pump – Joico JoiFix Firm or Matrix Finishing Spritz. ** Joico’s newest addition – Joico POWERHOLD is a very versatile hairspray – it is a finishing spray with a hard hold factor that can be brushed through and the hair restyled without a sticky residue or matted mess, and offers 72 hour humidity resistance. ***Some offer a shine factor such as KMS HAIRSTAY Maximum Hold.
Wax – A great styling agent for sculpting certain styles. Waxes can offer great texture and definition. Some waxes offer a matte finish – American Crew Matte Wax, some offer shine – AG WAXX- the label will always state the hold factor and shine factor. Most waxes will appear hard in the container (not liquidity – is liquidity a word? …sounds good to me).
Styling Glue – Exactly that. A styling glue for the hard to hold style, think Mohawk circa 1982. Joico Ice Spiker is the best I have come across-holds up in a hurricane.
Clay – A medium hold styling product. Offers a matte finish – Sebastian Craft Clay. A product that looks and feels like, well, clay. Quite workable and best for shorter styles. * Hair Paste is very similar to Hair Clay, has a firmer hold factor and matte finish – KMS HAIRPLAY Molding Paste.
Pomade – A pliable/workable styling product. Usually a watery consistency – d:fi d:tails Pomade. Great for separation and slicked back looks. Most pomades have a high shine factor, so a little goes a long way. Use too much and you could end up looking like Danny Zuko.
* Pomades/Clays/Waxes – all mimic each other – it really comes down to the hold factor/shine factor you are looking for and how you feel about products in your hands. Pomade/Wax tend to be a little more sticky, Clay tends to be more dry.
Thermal Sprays – A spray that offers thermal protection while using a blow dryer or flat iron. Available is aerosol – bain de terre Magnolia Spray, and pump bottles – Redken #11 IronShape, GOLDWELL Sleek Perfection & Quantum Heat Shield. Some thermal sprays offer a shine factor and offer little to no hold factor.
Thermal Setting Sprays – A spray that is to be used to help set a style, such as curls or an updo – Matrix Biolage Thermal Setting Spray. Most thermal setting sprays will offer a medium to firm hold factor. An awesome tool to use with hot rollers or a curling iron to keep the curls all day. * Not recommended to be used with a flat iron.
Shine Spray – a great addition to any vanity. Shine sprays will add shine to your ‘do. Shine spray do not have a hold factor, their job is to add shine. Some shine sprays will offer thermal protection – SOMA Prism & bain de terre Glossing Spray.
Cuticle Sealer – A serum to be applied to towel dried hair (for best results) to tame frizz and flyaways and lock out humidity. Offers a low shine factor and thermal protection – SOMA Solace.