The hair spray guide: What different strengths mean

Jeanette | 13 April 2016

Take control with our comprehensive guide.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find any woman worth her well-coiffed tresses who don’t consider hair spray one of her go-to products. And we’re sure those who often spend time creating elegant and elaborate updos, or voluminous hairstyles that need holding in place can also attest to their brilliance. Because whether you need to keep your hair up, straight, wavy, curly, or even create texture, this wonder product can help to achieve the perfect ‘do and give you that sleek, salon-like finish and longer-lasting hold.

But if you think shopping for hair spray is a straightforward task, then think again. A lot has changed since hair sprays first entered the beauty market; there’s now not just one, but an over-abundance of types available. So, to help you avoid confusion on your next trip down the hair care aisle, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide that’ll hopefully shed some light on all the different strengths and what each is best for.


Tresemme Perfectly undone ultra brushable hair spray
TRESemmé Perfectly (un)done Ultra-Brushable Hairspray

Light/flexible-hold hair spray  

Great for: natural-looking styles, ‘undone’ looks and for going from day to night.

What it does: The lightest of the lot, this strength hair spray provides a flexible hold and keeps flyaways in check, which is great if you want to achieve natural-looking styles, or more ‘undone’ looks, or if you have ultra fine hair that doesn’t require much hold. Want your daytime hairdo to transition seamlessly into a glam night look? Then this flexible hair spray is the one for you.

We recommend: TRESemmé Perfectly Undone Ultra-Brushable Hairspray (250ml, £5.50).

This hair spray is specially designed to provide ultra fine control and is easily brushable, without stiffness or stickiness. Not to mention, it helps to protect your mane from frightful frizz, too!

TRESemmé Get Sleek Creation Hairspray
TRESemmé Runway Collection Get Sleek Creation Hairspray

Creation hair spray

Great for: creating and fixing hairstyles.

What it does: These formulations have been specially designed so that they can be sprayed onto the hair multiple times during the styling process to aid in creating a hairstyle. The layers hold the ‘do in a long lasting way, but the finish is still flexible and lightweight.

We recommendTRESemmé Runway Collection Get Sleek Creation Hairspray (300ml, £5.99).

Used this hairspray to achieve sleek, smooth styles with hair straighteners, and to help tame flyaways. Now that’s what we call a multi-functional product!

Toni & Guy classic medium hold hairspray
Toni & Guy Classic Medium Hold Hairspray

Classic/medium hold hair spray

Great for: creating smooth hairstyles, teasing and giving silky manes a bit of grip.

What it does: Want to control your hair, but don’t want to lose movement and bounce? Then you should go for a medium-strength hair spray. This classic hair spray is great for helping you keep your locks smooth, and can make teasing much easier. So, if you find that your braids frequently slip out or that your updo just won’t hold up throughout the day, give a medium-strength hair spray a go. Spritz it on your tresses before you style your hair and it’ll help provide you with some much need grip and texture, too.

We recommend: Toni&Guy Classic Medium Hold Hairspray (250ml, £7.49*).

Want a fairly good hold with natural movement? This hair spray provides control and smoothness with a touchable finish, great for a polished yet flexible finish.

TIGI S-Factor Hairspray
TIGI S-Factor Vivacious Hairspray

Volume/firm hold hair spray

Great for: glamorous volume and bounce, or reviving flat hair or hairstyles.

What it does: This strength hair spray is ideal for holding glamorous ‘dos in place. Movement is slight more controlled compared to classic hair sprays, but it might be the answer if you’re in need of volume. Try applying the hair spray to your roots for extra oomph. Tip: use this hair spray to revive fine, flat hair or blow out hairstyles that have lost their body, plus, if you’ve created gorgeous, bouncy curls and waves, this will help stop them from dropping out.

We recommend: TIGI S-Factor Vivacious Hairspray (£20.95*).

Reach new hair heights with this long-lasting, high-impact hairspray. Its nourishing ingredients guard the hair against dryness and it’s humidity resistant. It also provides a glossy shine for lustrous-looking hair.

VO5 Ultimate Hold Hairspray
VO5 Ultimate Hold Hairspray

Extreme hold spray

Great for: long-lasting hold to keep your elaborate updos in place all-day.

What it does: If you’re creating an intricate updo for a special occasion, then opt for an extreme-hold hair spray. It’s great for holding your hair in place for the whole day and setting elaborate wedding-appropriate hairstyles. Back in the day, strong-hold hair spray models were often referenced to as ‘lacquers’ because of their rigid hold, but hair spray technology has come a long way since then, and nowadays, this strength hair spray doesn’t always have to mean stiff, untouchable hair.

We recommendVO5 Classic Styling Ultimate Hold Hairspray (400ml, £3.29).

This fast-drying hair spray gives you an all-day hold that can easily be brushed out, leaving hair soft to the touch. Great for those jetting off on an exotic holiday because of its weather resistant formula: it provides a shield against humidity for 24 hours and helps to prevent frizz. Win-win!

*RRPs are Unilever suggested retail prices only, it is at the discretion of the individual retailers to set the actual price.

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