What’s in a Hair Spray? Your Complete Guide to Different Spray Holds

Find out the difference between hair spray holds and which hairstyles each one is best for!

Shopping for hair spray used to be simple. People didn’t have a lot of options so they picked up whatever’s on the top shelf. Everything else was pretty much the same anyway. Well, a lot has changed since this product was first introduced to us. And now, with all the different types available, the hair spray situation has gotten, well, better actually. But it also got really confusing.

To help you understand this amazing styling product better and figure out which one works best for what, we define the different hair spray holds and share with you our favorite products, too.

1. Light/flexible Hold Hair Spray

Hair spray guide: Asian woman spraying on her long black hair
Which hair spray should you go for? Read on to find out.

If you just want to make sure flyaways won’t suddenly pop up in the middle of your day, or if you’re going for a natural-looking hairstyle, this is your go-to hairspray. Since the hold is not too strong, it allows you to restyle your hair throughout the day, making it a great pick for when you want your daytime ‘do to transition seamlessly into a glam date night look.

This also works great for fine hair that doesn’t require strong hold. A hair spray with light/flexible hold will give you a natural, “undone” look. If you speak makeup, it’s the hair counterpart of the no-makeup makeup look.

2. Creation Hair Spray

Hair spray guide: Asian woman spraying on her long hair
This type of hair spray helps you create smoother hairstyles. Credit: Natasha Estelle

This one also has a flexible, lightweight finish, but holds hair for much longer. As the name suggests, it’s specially formulated to create and fix hairstyles and can be sprayed onto the hair several times as you do your ‘do.

Editor’s tip: To smoothen out frizz on hairstyles, use TONI&GUY Body Amplify Creation Hairspray. To make this product work for you, spray it evenly over your dry, styled hair. It provides definitive hold and control that will take you from day to night. Its firm, reliable hold holds everything from sleek ponytails to volumized updos.

3. Medium Hold Hair Spray

Hair spray guide: Asian woman with long teased hair smiling outdoors
Add grip and volume to your hair before teasing by spritzing a medium hold hairspray.

If you want control, movement, and bounce all at the same time, a hair spray with this strength is what you need. This type is great for creating smooth hairstyles, for teasing, and for giving silky locks a bit of a grip. No more braids slipping out or updos that keep sliding down. To use, spray it on your tresses before you start styling.

4. Firm Hold Hair Spray

hairspray: Model is holding up the hairspray and is ready spray it on her hair
Firm hold hairsprays are perfect for simpler hairstyles. Credit: Natasha Estelle

This hair spray is perfect for you if you like to style your hair everyday. It gives firm hold on easy to medium-difficult types of hairstyles. Best of all, it’s economical because you only need to spray the mid-lengths and ends or your comb to apply it on your hair.

Editor’s tip: Secure your hairstyle no matter how simple it is by spraying on some VO5 Firm Hold Hairspray for a lasting hold. It doesn’t leave any sticky residue, so you can feel comfortable and airy all day.

5. Extra Hold Hair Spray

Hair spray guide: Asian woman spraying on her short curly hair
An extra hold hairspray gives firms support to your hairstyle without weighing it down.

This type gives more control than medium hold and is ideal for holding glamorous hairstyles, like curls and waves, in place. Pick this product for fabulous, long-lasting hairstyles without the added weight on your hair. 

Editor’s tip: When styling your hair, always have a bottle of TRESemmé Salon Finish Extra Hold Hairspray ready. This all-around hairstyle product provides maximum hold with extra flyaway control without making your hair stiff and sticky. It gives water-free, humidity-resistant flexible hold.

6. Extreme Hold Hair Spray

Hair spray guide: Back of Asian woman spraying on her black chignon hair
Keep updos in place with an extreme hold hairspray.

Fancy occasions call for fancy updos, and fancy updos call for extreme hold hair spray. If you’re going for an intricate chignon or an elaborate braided updo, you would need a strong, long-lasting hold to keep your hairstyle intact all day long.

Editor’s tip: When creating elaborate hairstyles or updos for thick hair, use TRESemmé Freeze Hold Hairspray. This product gives long-lasting extreme hold complex hairstyles. Your fancy looks will never fall flat with this hardworking, weather-resistant product.

7. Ultimate Hold Hair Spray

Hairspray: Model with a bottle of hairspray is getting her hair done.
Use ultimate hold hairspray for your updos. Credit: Natasha Estelle

For the strongest hold, go for the ultimate hold hair spray and trust that your hairstyle will hold its shape for a long time. It’s perfect for more sophisticated updos like buns, knots, and braids. It lets you move around more freely without worrying about your hairstyle.

Editor’s tip: Enjoy your hairstyle all day when you use VO5 Ultimate Hold Hairspray. It doesn’t wear your hair down nor leave a sticky feeling. You can also apply it on your brush to tame flyaways.  

The key to a perfect hairstyle is getting the right styling products, so it’s important that you know exactly what each one does. Remember: the more complex the hairstyle is, the stronger the hold of hair spray you would need.

Next Read

Putting your hair in a bun? Aside from a good hair spray, you can also use a sock to keep it in place. Yes, a sock. Learn how to make a sock bun in this tutorial.