These days, when you think of hairspray, it conjures images of 80’s glam rock bands, or the popular high school girls with gravity defying bangs.
If you lived through the 80’s like I did, then you will never forget the fog of hairspray in the bathroom after your sister did her hair.
That’s the past, though. It may seem like a quaint relic of the past, but there are now some very good reasons why men should be using hairspray. Hairspray has finally caught up with the hair grooming trends of the 21st century.
To know whether you should be using a hairspray vs pomade or gel or other hair products, we first have to identify what it does.
What Does Hairspray Do?
- What Does Hairspray Do?
- Is Hairspray Bad for You?
- Does Hairspray Damage Your Hair?
- When to Use Hairspray
- How to Use Hairspray
- Best Hairspray for Men with Fine Hair
- Best Hairspray for Men with Curly Hair
- Best Hairspray for Asian Men
- Best All Natural Hairspray for Men
- Best Hairspray to Use at the Gym
- The Best Hairspray for Men with Thick Hair
- Best Unscented Hairspray for Men
The main thing that hairspray does it provide hold for your hairstyle.
But, isn’t that what my gel does?
Well, yes. But your gel will hold your hair down because it is heavy. Your hairspray will keep your hairstyle uniform while not weighing it down.
If you have blow dried your hair into shape and want to keep it looking exactly the same way, then you need to use the hairspray to bond your hair together.
It can add or maintain volume. Just like back in the 80’s with those gravity defying hairdos, it can keep your hair in position no matter how high you like it.
If you use a clay, grooming cream or any other lightweight, matte finish grooming product, you may need to finish with some hairspray to keep it in place.
Is Hairspray Bad for You?
Hairspray has come a long way since it was eroding the ozone layer, but it still does have some chemicals in it.
First among them is formaldehyde. Some people are allergic and need to stay away altogether. But, obviously, it isn’t something you want to inhale for prolonged periods to avoid health issues.
The presence of “fragrance” is also worrying. Since they don’t need to label exactly what it is, it could be a chemical that isn’t meant to be inhaled in large doses.
The bottom line is that even though many hairsprays have come in line with other modern hair grooming products, you do need to read the label carefully. Unfortunately due to proprietary reasons, not all ingredients have to be listed so even if you do your homework you may not be getting the whole story.
Caveat Emptor, buyer beware, applies here.
Go with brands that have a good reputation and always avoid buying from the bargain bin. Spend a little more to make sure you’re getting a quality product.
Does Hairspray Damage Your Hair?
The same rules apply here for hair health as they do for your overall health when buying a hairspray.
Read the ingredients and go with a trusted brand. There are chemicals in the cheap brands, and even some expensive ones, so you have to pay attention.
As far as damage to your hair, there are a couple of things to avoid. Alcohol mainly. It dries out your hair and can make it brittle over time. Even all natural hair products can contain alcohol, so make sure you check the label.
Using too much hairspray and not washing it out in between uses can also clog the hair follicles and pores on your scalp. This could cause acne or dandruff.
When to Use Hairspray
Depending on what your goal is, you probably need some hairspray in addition to your other products. Don’t try to use just hairspray for high hold when a pomade or gel is what you really need. Though, hairspray will keep your hair in place during a hurricane for even the most complicated styles, it might be overkill.
If you have blow dried your hair you may have some fly aways. That’s the ends of your hair that just won’t stay down. If that is the case then you just need a quick spray to lock your hairs in place without weighing them down with gel or grooming cream.
Don’t touch it after, though! Once you spray, try to resist the urge to keep touching your hair. You’re only going to mess it up if you do that.
If you use a lightweight grooming product or live in a humid area which causes your product to lose it’s hold after a while, you need an insurance policy. A quick blast of hairspray will give that extra hold to get you through the entire day without worrying that your look is going to fail at some point.
If you want some texture or a kind of messy yet natural looking style, then a little hairspray on your hand worked into your hair can give that with ease. Spray some on your hand and then rub from the roots up. Mess your hair up a little and it will stay that way for a while.
How to Use Hairspray
First, make sure your hair is not wet.
The point of the hairspray is to give you more control. You don’t need crunchy hair or anything resembling a helmet.
When your hair is dry and then either styled with some grooming product or blow dried, hold the can about a foot from your hair.
In a circular motion, spray for a few seconds, quickly covering the entire area you want to style. You really only want a light coating that dries in seconds. Too much and it will look like dew on your hair.
That’s it. Put the can down and walk away. You’re done. Again, DON’T TOUCH IT!
Now, let’s get into the reviews of the best hairsprays for men. I’ll do it by category as you will use different hairsprays for different needs. That’s not to say you need multiple brands. I just mean if you have fine hair you will want a certain type as opposed to if you have wiry hair, for example.
Best Hairspray for Men with Fine Hair
Though Rodante markets this hairspray for all hair types, I find it works great for fine hair especially.
It sprays on very light so it won’t weigh your hair down. This is very important for when you have fine, thin hair. With fine hair, using creams or gels is usually out of the question since it holds your hair down.
Just a light spray of this Rodante hairspray will do the trick to not only keep your style in check, but will also give it a fuller look.
The mist is very fine. It’s almost like you have to wait a few seconds without moving for the spray to make it to your hair. It’s also nice to touch as it doesn’t get hard and form a sort of a crust. It dries very fast so it isn’t sticky when you touch it.
The only downside may be that it adds a slight shine to your hair. If your hair is blow dried before you spray it on, the shine is very light. If your hair is a little damp then you will see more shine.
Best Hairspray for Men with Curly Hair
This hairspray is perfect for guys with curly hair. It can do two different things for curls.
If you have wild curls and want to keep them calm, then using Frizz Ease will keep those curls from flyaways. Your hair will still have nice body without the curls being too dominant.
If you want to accent your curls, then this works for that, too. Just keep your hair a little damp after towel drying and spray on. Run it through your hair a bit and your curls will activate. In a good way.
The worst part about having curls, or so I hear, is how frizzy they can be. So either way, whether you want to highlight your curls or calm them down, you can be assured of a friss free style.
It’s alcohol free so your hair won’t get dried out and will be left feeling soft and full.
Another reason this is so great on curls is that it acts as a conditioner. Thick, wavy hair benefits from all day penetration.
With curly hair you also get the benefit of reactivating the hairspray by running your wet hand through your hair. With other hairsprays, you don’t want to touch it again and often would need to reapply to restyle.
Best Hairspray for Asian Men
Asian men have a really hard time finding not only the right barber to cut their hair, but also the right product. With straight, thick, wiry hair it is not easy to style and then even harder to maintain that style.
Leave it to a Japanese company to get it right then. The makers of Gatsby understand Asian hair so this hairspray works great.
This hairspray comes out in a fine mist, but offers very high hold. Once your hair is styled, a quick light spray will keep your hair in place all day. Make sure it is already styled exactly how you like, though since this dries almost instantly!
Whether you’re rocking a pompadour or just trying to keep your hair parted, you’ll find that it stays in place. If you do need to move it around, wet your hands and then try to move it around. It gives high hold, but it doesn’t form a crust, so you can easily get your hands through your hair.
Ok, you’ve got your hairspray sorted out. Now, it’s time to find a good barber!
Best All Natural Hairspray for Men
When I said that hairspray has finally caught up with the rest of the modern hair grooming products, I really meant it!
Now, there’s even an organic hairspray. And, if you’ve read my review of all natural men’s grooming products then you have no doubt surmised that I love John Masters products in general.
This organic hairspray is no exception.
Unlike some all natural products that may be guilt free to use, but don’t work as well as its peers, this hairspray actually does work as well as other non organic products. You get high hold, but a soft touch. It contains aloe vera to give your hair some moisture. Important because this does actually contain alcohol.
It is free of Preservatives, Paraben, Lanolin, Coconut, Topical Antibiotic, MCI/MI, Nickel, Gluten, Soy, and Propylene Glycol. Many of those products are known to be allergen producing in many people.
The one downside is that it is a spritz rather than aerosol spray. Aerosols, of course require a lot of chemicals, so to keep it organic, you have to go with a spritz. It doesn’t clog usually, though and the spray does come out as a mist.
And a little goes a long way with this so no need to really lay it on thick.
Best Hairspray to Use at the Gym
Anybody that has gone to the gym and still tried to look good knows what a challenge it is to keep your hairstyle going.
You sweat, the humidity is out of control and you’re moving all over the place. Not usually a place to keep up appearances for the ladies.
Unless you style your hair with this high hold, anti humidity hairspray. It is designed for women, but men can get the same benefits from it. Sometimes these women grooming products are just for marketing, anyway.
As with many of the hairsprays I reviewed here, this one goes on light but provides high hold. So, not matter what your style, it will keep it in place. And, since you don’t need much, if you sweat a lot it won’t mix with the spray and end up dripping down your face.
It does contain alcohol, which is so hard to avoid in hairsprays, so you should also think about a good conditioner to use to rehydrate your hair after you use this. The key is to not use much. Since it is high hold you shouldn’t need much anyway.
The Best Hairspray for Men with Thick Hair
Guys with thick hair may have given up on finding a hairspray that is strong enough to work without leaving them with crunchy hair.
Give hairspray another try with this high hold, long lasting formula by Redken, one of my favorite hair product brands.
Whether your hair is thick and wavy, straight or curly, your style won’t fall flat if you go with this hairspray.
If you have nice locks, you would hate to leave it dry or brittle after using hairspray. This is the opposite. Your hair will still feel soft and full bodied from the conditioning agents in it.
If you live in a high humidity area, then this is a good solution for a hair product that leaves even thick hair styled perfectly.
It does have a scent, but since it is a unisex hairspray it is kind of gender neutral. It isn’t a chemical type of scent that you normally find in a hairspray. It’s a little more citrusy and sort of smells like shaving cream.
If you live with a woman, make sure you keep it out of her reach, because guaranteed she will want to use it herself!
Best Unscented Hairspray for Men
When you want to use hairspray but really hate the smell of aerosol sprays then at least you have some choices. Like this high hold hairspray by Consort that is unscented.
Some people really don’t want to have to smell their hair product all day. Even if it is a pleasant smell, it can be distracting.
You still need it to work no matter if it is scented or not.
It doesn’t matter what type of hair you have, it works well on all types. It goes on fine and lightweight, so even if you have thin or fine hair, it won’t weigh it down. If your hair is thick or curly and you need high hold, then this will keep your hair in place.
This is also a great hairspray for active men as it can resist humid and sweaty situations like going to the gym, or running for a bus.
Designed specifically for men, it won’t be stolen by your wife or girlfriend. It isn’t really great for long hair. By long, i mean past shoulder length where you would need to layer the spray while you style. It just needs a light spray over your hair once it is styled the way you like.