Hairspray Hold Guide: Cause There’s More Than One Way to Lock in Your Style

Serena Norr | 23 April 2016

Your ultimate hairspray guide.

That new hairstyle you’ve been creating and obsessing over only has so much life in it. Sad but true: There are only so many hours before your locks transform into a flat and lifeless heap—quite the far cry from its once-perfect configuration. One way to ensure that your hair stays put a little bit longer is to use one of our favorite hair products. Of course, we are talking about hairspray! No longer only about big hair, (and even bigger hairdos, thanks to those signature aerosol cans from the ’80s), hairspray has come quite a long way to the point where you can actually comb or brush your locks right after you use it, a.k.a. no more helmet head! Plus, there are now tons of varieties offering various holds—from light to medium to heavy—to ensure that you find the very best grip for your ’do. Read on to discover which of these sprays will work best for you.

Mini Hairspray History Guide

hairspray hold bun
Not all hairspray is created equally.

1940: The packaging of the aerosol hair spray can was inspired by bug spray.

1964: The product became increasingly popular and actually became the top-selling hair care product in 1964

1980s: Big hair was king as hair spray was used by everyone from valley girls to punk rockers.

1990s: Hairspray switched over to sprays and pumps in response to environmental concerns. However, the aerosol can is still prevalent

2000s: Hairspray comes in a variety of categories—offering consumers that opportunity to have options in how they style their hair. This includes offering a flexible, medium and maximum hold variety.

Hairspray Hold Guide

Dove Style + Care Strength & Shine Flexible Hold Spray

1. Light or Flexible Hold

This is the best type for those who need minimal control, and in some instances might even be scared of the power of hairspray. Often known for its flexible movement, these hairsprays are usually water-free and lightweight and work to hold onto your amazing style as it retains its natural swing.

We like: Dove Style + Care Strength & Shine Flexible Hold Spray

Best for: Beachy waves, side bangs, updos, braids, choppy layers

615908426069 Masterpiece Shine Hairspray-1

2. Medium Hold

Those who want a little more grip should opt for a medium-hold spray. You won’t have to stress about having a stiff and unmovable style, as these sprays work with the texture in your hair to create movement and bounce as well as lasting control. To use, comb or brush your hair to set the style.

We like: Bed Head by TIGI Masterpiece Massive Shine Hairspray

Best for: Bouncy curls, tight curls, controlled waves, wavy bob, lob

Catwalk Firm Hold Hairspray

3. Maximum Hold Hairspray

The granddaddy of all hairsprays doesn’t mess around. This type is best for those who want (and need) some serious staying power. Great for special occasions, these formulas tend to be humidity-resistant and last all day so you don’t have to stress about your hair moving all over the place. They’re also great when you need to tame frizz and flyaways and can’t afford to keep retouching your cowlicks.

We like: Catwalk Firm Hold Hairspray Spray Fixation

Best for: Tighter updos, side parts, twisted updos, pixie cut, curly pony

What is your favorite way to use hair spray?