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Hairstyling products

Updated on October 1, 2011
Bad hair day?
Bad hair day? | Source

With all the various hairstyling products on the market, its easy to get confused about which products are best for your hair. Some of the items sound like they should be eaten and not applied to hair! I finally took the plunge earlier this year and had my hair cut short, thinking that it would be less hassle to maintain, and it is - with the right products. Hairdressers have a knack of creating a masterpiece by carefully drying and teasing every strand with some sort of miracle potion. They bamboozle you by trying to sell you several products from their well stocked shelves which all look very appealing, but you have no clue how or when to use them. Well read on as I attempt to explain these potions to you:

Hair mousse

Not to be confused with desert mousse, although they do smell delicious, but wouldn't do much for your hair if eaten!

Hair mousse is designed to create lift and volume to your tresses. It is normally applied to damp towel dried hair. It should be applied to the roots of your hair and combed through to the ends. This product will add bounce to hair once it has been blow dried, and it ideal for all lengths of hair.

Hair gel

Hair gel is applied to dry hair and gives a more textured or sculpted look to hair. When the gel has dried it can not normally be reworked as it sets in the style you have created. Gel can come in a tub or as a non-aerosol pump version which is sprayed on in a fine mist. This is particularly good if you are putting your hair up for a special occasion as it lasts on average 8-10 hours. Gel has to be brushed out if you want to re-work your style.

Heat protection products

A must for those who use a hairdryer or straightening irons to style hair. The purpose of these are that they form a protective layer around the hair. They usually come in cream or liquid form and most are applied directly before blow drying. If using hair straighteners, then there are some sprays on the market which are applied directly before straightening. This gives added protection as some straighteners reach heats of 220 degrees which can cause a lot of damage and split ends if not treated beforehand.


Hair wax is similar to gel, but the main difference is that with wax, it can't be brushed out - it has to be washed out. It is applied to dry hair by working through with fingertips to achieve the desired look. It adds texture and shine to otherwise dull or flat hair.

Hair serum

Serum is a product a bit like syrup which you rub into your hands and apply from the middle of your hair through to the ends. It restores shine to hair as well as controlling frizz. Only a very small amount is required as it goes a long way.


This is a stiffer consistency compared to gel or wax, and is used in a similar way to give a textured but more controlled hold. Again, this should be applied to dry hair before syling. As it contains body-building fibres, it gives a very structured look and can be re-worked unlike gel.


Clay is especially good for shorter hair styles. It has a matte finish and gives a defined textured look to short hair. It works by warming a small amount in the palm of your hands and working through the hair. Use fingertips to style separate strands for the look you want.


Once you have mastered the look that you want, hairspray is used to hold the style in place. It comes in either aerosol or non-aerosol pumps of varying sizes from handbag size to jumbo. Spray onto styled hair at a distance of around 8 inches. There are many strengths of hold on the market from natural hold to mega hold.


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    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      Hi Cloverleaf, I know what you mean. At the shops this morning I saw a tub of texturising hair putty - what's that all about! I will just be sticking to my wax I think! Thanks for reading.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Jacqui, Thanks for explaining all the different types of hairstyling products available. I'm not sure I would be brave enough to use clay on my hair! I'm sure I would end up looking like that cat! :-)