With all of the blowout primers available on the market, InStyle.com Assistant Beauty Editor Marianne Mychaskiw went on a mission to find the best options for every hair concern, testing out different formulas week by week. Over a period of months, she narrowed the list down to the top five formulas to suit fine, thick, curly, and damaged strands. Read on to find your perfect match!
Who doesn't love a good blowout? The ritual with my blow-dryer and round brush has become a regular occurrence in my household because I can't justify a weekly salon visit and ever since Mad Men ended I don't really know what to do with myself on Sunday nights. After many failed attempts, I found that the only way my handiwork could be as good as the real deal was with the help of a solid blowout primer. So I decided to test out every single option that came across my desk to find out what really worked.
A little background: I have super-thick, naturally brown hair that used to be curly until I started killing it with my flat iron and straightening treatments. I used to color it a lot, so my locks have seen better days in terms of damage, but it's a vast improvement since the time I decided to go blonde. It takes a lot to keep my hair healthy while still feeding my addiction to the blow-dryer, so something that delivered adequate hydration while shielding my hair from frizz-inducing elements was a must. After months of testing blowout primers, I was able to narrow the massive list down to the top five options, so you wouldn't have to.
Best for Fine Hair: Living Proof Blowout, $24; ulta.com.
Admittedly, this was a bit sticky for my thick hair, but when my friend who struggles with her thin strands took it on a road test, it added the perfect amount of texture so her layers could really grip the round brush. Her hair is bone-straight and has trouble holding a curl, but the polymer-rich spray helped to lock in volume, and once set, her style looked perfect for days on end.
Best for Thick Hair: Frederic Fekkai Blowout Primer, $20; target.com.
Blowing out my hair often turns into an intense arm workout, and for that reason, I don't feel the need to go to the gym in the days leading up to my styling session. I'm not sure how the Frederic Fekkai team did it, but I'm so glad they did—a few well-placed spritzes on my damp hair makes the overall process much more manageable, and since I don't have to fight with the round brush as much, cuts down on styling time.
Best for Damaged Hair: Bumble and Bumble Blow-Dry Repair, $30; sephora.com.
This magical elixir was honestly the only thing that got me through my blonde phase. Going from my brunette base to a warm gold shade left my hair so damaged, that not even the most hydrating oil blend could help the cotton candy–esque texture at the ends. Somehow, this serum-in-cream fused the frayed pieces back together, and the damaged areas actually began to improve with each use.
Best All-Around: Oribe Royal Blowout, $64; oribe.com.
Oribe's Royal Blowout can be described in just three words: Kate. Middleton. Hair. It costs a pretty penny, but just a little goes a long way, so the bottle should last you a few months. Since it works for just about every hair type, it's the beauty equivalent of that obnoxiously cool girl from your high school who played every sport, fit in with every clique, and managed to keep up stellar grades despite being invited to every senior party.The unique silicone complex in the mist gives your hair an ultra-shiny protective layer, while the infusion of argan oil moisturizes and leaves your layers soft to the touch.
Best for Curly Hair: Sultra Heat Guard, $24; nordstrom.com.
Before I started keratin-treating my hair, this was the primer I'd use to transform my spirals into a sleek blowout. Curly strands have more curves than their straighter counterparts, so a few more passes of the brush and blow dryer are required to achieve smooth, bouncy layers. Sultra's patented formula acts as a shield against the excess heat, but infuses the cuticle with good-for-you proteins to ensure the health of your hair isn't compromised.