10 Hairsprays to Style, Set, and Smooth Strands

Salon Grafix Shaping Hair Spray keeps every hair in place.

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Best Hairspray
Photo: Oribe/ Amazon/ Sephora

Like all beauty and hair products, hairsprays have gotten smarter over the years. You can no longer walk into a store and pick the first one you see off the shelf. Instead, find a product tailored to two things: your hair type and your desired hold level.

However, with an unlimited amount of options to choose from, you might be wondering where to begin. To help you feel less overwhelmed, we researched the best hairsprays on the market and even spoke to two celebrity hairstylists about what they look for in a hairspray. We then evaluated each hairspray's hold level, stiffness, and ability to withstand weather changes. The one that stood out to us the most was the Salon Grafix Shaping Hair Spray because of its fast-drying yet flexible hold.

But for anyone still interested in shopping around, read on for all of the best hairsprays.

Our Picks

Best Overall: Salon Grafix Shaping Hair Spray

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Also available at CVS, Walmart, and Amazon

What We Love: It's unscented, making it perfect for those with sensitive noses.

What We Don't Love: You may have to layer the product if you're looking for a stronger hold.

This hairspray does it all — it provides a medium hold that's touchable, flexible, and fast-drying. Use it with a comb to volumize roots, or spray damp hair to form it into a more wavy shape. And of course, you can also use it to secure styles for up to 12 hours. Shoppers who love it says it instantly provides volume without being stiff or sticky. You can even easily brush through your hair after you use it to tame flyaways. Since there's no scent (not even a chemical one from the can), it's a great hairspray to use for the entire family, even if someone is typically sensitive to aerosol can hairspray.

Hold: Medium | Scented: No | Size: 10 oz.

Best Value: Suave Max Hold Hairspray

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Also available at Amazon and Walmart

What We Love: This product offers a strong hold that's still soft to the touch for an awesome price point.

What We Don't Love: It sprays out of the can feeling very wet.

I love using this hairspray on wet hair to scrunch my naturally wavy hair into a defined shape that will last me up to two days. The vitamin and protein-enriched formula nourishes hair, while simultaneously taming frizz and fly-aways. The hairspray's long-lasting hold won't leave behind a stiff or sticky residue on strands, making it an ideal choice for slick back looks.

Hold: Maximum | Scented: No | Size: 11 oz.

Best Splurge: Philip B. Weightless Jet Set Precision Control Hair Spray

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Also available at Bloomingdales

What We Love: This ultra-fine mist leaves hair soft to the touch.

What We Don't Love: It doesn't offer a strong hold.

While hairsprays are great for providing hold to your hairstyles, sometimes they fight the look. When you're wanting a volume boost or some more oomph for your strands, reach for this one. This Philip B. hairspray won't cause product build up thanks to its lightweight, ultra-fine mist. This is the hair spray that celebrity stylist Kylee Heath uses on Nicole Kidman to tame flyaways, while still remaining soft to the touch. Even though it doesn't boast a strong hold, your hair will stay in place and feel ultra-soft.

Hold: Medium | Scented: Yes | Size: 9 oz.

Best Volumizing: Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray

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Also available at Revolve

What We Love: You can use it to add volume to flat or oily hair.

What We Don't Love: The fragrance is strong.

Billing itself as the ideal combo of a dry shampoo and a hairspray, Ouai formulated the ultra-lightweight Texturizing Hair Spray with volcanic ash minerals to absorb oil, refresh and build volume. In addition, if you're into fragrance, this one has a spa-like scent that matches the rest of the Ouai line.

Hold: Light | Scented: Yes | Size: 4.6 oz.

Best Light Hold: Eva NYC Shapeshifter Flexible Hairspray

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Also available at Amazon and Walmart

What We Love: It has a high-shine glossy finish.

What We Don't Love: The smell can be too much for some.

This barely-there spray comes out as a non-sticky mist and is a light hold, also known as workable hold. This means your strands can be manipulated or fixed—a section that needs to be re-curled or even brushing through day two hair—long after you've sprayed it. As a bonus, it adds a high-shine finish to strands. Since it's formulated with plant proteins and argan oil, it hydrates and smooths the hair follicles as it keeps them in place.

Hold: Light | Scented: Yes | Size: 8.3 oz.

Best Medium Hold: Kérastase Laque Couture Medium Hold Hair Spray

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Also available at Kerastase, Amazon, and Walmart

What We Love: This hairspray is versatile.

What We Don't Love: This product is heavily scented, which may irritate some users.

For hairstyles that require just a bit more hold while still maintaining an overall flexible amount of control, reach for this option from Kérastase. A few spritzes will provide lasting hold without leaving any crunchy or stiff strands behind. And if you have highlights or dyed hair, you'll appreciate it also contains a UV filter to help protect your hair against damage from the sun's rays.

Hold: Medium | Scented: Yes | Size: 8.8 oz.

Best Flexible Hold: Living Proof Flex Hairspray

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Also available at Ulta and Living Proof

What We Love: This hairspray has a light hold and a fresh citrus-like scent.

What We Don't Love: While all hairsprays contain alcohol, this one in particular seemed drying.

When pro stylists praise a product, you know it's legit. "This is my absolute favorite," says celebrity hairstylist Owen Gould, who counts Kristen Stewart, Drew Barrymore, and Julianne Moore as his clients. "Light hold, no build-up, heat protection, and an incredible smell," are all the reasons Gould is a fan. Living Proof's patented Flexible Web Technology—a combination of firm and pliable polymers (the "glue" of a hairspray)—allows your hair to have workable, medium hold when sprayed on damp or dry hair alike. Plus, it offers heat protection up to 450 degrees and is strong enough to hold styles in place and reworkable enough to change things up as needed.

Hold: Medium | Scented: Yes | Size: 7.5 oz.

Best Strong Hold: Sebastian Professional Re-Shaper Hair Spray

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Also available at Walmart

What We Love: It keeps intricate looks in place for hours.

What We Don't Love: The sprayer-tip clogs easily.

Get professional-level results at an accessible price point with this long-lasting hairspray. Although it has a strong-hold, it's reshapeable, so you can switch up styles throughout the day. It also helps to minimize frizz throughout the day, even in the most humid of conditions.

Hold: Strong | Scented: No | Size: 13.5 oz.

Best for Humid Weather: Oribe Imperméable Anti-Humidity Spray

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Also available at Sephora

What We Love: It's great for all hair types, including hair that's been color-treated or treated with keratin.

What We Don't Love: While it has additional benefits, it is quite expensive.

There are few beauty-related blunders worse than prepping and styling your strands to a T, only to step outside and have all your efforts instantly undone by humidity. Prevent this with an anti-humidity hairspray, such as this top-rated option from Oribe, which was tested by the brand in Miami, so you know it's legit.

Hold: Medium | Scented: Yes | Size: 5.5 ounces

Best with UVA/UVB Protection: Pureology Style + Protect Lock It Down Hairspray

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Also available at Pureology, Sephora, and Amazon

What We Love: It dries immediately after spraying.

What We Don't Love: This is a heavier mist that may not be suited for fine hair.

Pureology's Style + Protect Lock It Down Hairspray contains antioxidants and full spectrum UVA + UVB sunscreens, making it the ultimate sun-protective option. The formula also contains olive oil to keep hair from looking dull. After a spritz or two, hair stays put and has a radiant finish. The brand's signature scent — a floral blend of tuberose, almond milk, and cedarwood — smells lovely, but may be overpowering for those sensitive to fragrance.

Hold: Strong | Scented: Yes | Size: 11 oz.

What to Keep in Mind

Hold

A hairspray intended for daily use works differently than one meant to secure an updo. "When it comes to max hold hairspray, some styles I would utilize for strong hold are sleek ponytails, looks that have lots of body or volume, and any style where you really don't want your hair to move," explains Sebastian Professional educator and hair stylist, Angel Cardona. A strong hold spray is one that freezes every single strand into place. They work great for laying down edges, smoothing flyaways, or preserving your look for special events.

"Flexible soft-touch hairspray styles are best when you still want your hair to move around and not be stiff, like keeping your hair straight or spraying it on each section just before you curl so your hair will still bounce," he adds.

Scent

No matter which one you choose, there's no avoiding the fact that hairsprays have a strong scent. The alcohol alone, while not an additional fragrance, has a recognizable odor. Those with delicate skin or noses may have a heightened sensitivity to hair sprays, since brands often use fragrance to create a pleasant scent that lasts. Those will specific allergies or who get headaches from scented products should closely read the descriptions for trigger ingredients or opt for an unscented version.

Your Questions, Answered

What is the best way to apply hairspray?

According to Cardona, "the best way to apply hairspray is by holding the can 12 inches or more away from your hair, and with your other hand, zhush your hair a bit to allow the hairspray to get inside and not just on the top layer." Of course, you can adjust as you see fit, but generally, don't spray too close to the scalp or the hair itself to eliminate buildup.

How can you find the right hairspray for your hair type?

Using the right hairspray for your specific needs is important. Cardona explains that if you have curly hair, chances are you need extra moisture and hydration, so you'd want to make sure you aren't using an overly drying spray. Those with fine hair should look for a spray that feels weightless and won't pull down your style. If frizz is an issue, then a spray that has anti-humidity components may be the right pick for you. Some hair sprays also offer UV or heat protection as an added bonus.

How long does hairspray last?

While a lot of factors determine how long your hairstyle will last—the type of style, the weather, how much hairspray you use—generally hairspray is developed to last all day, says Cardona. "By the next day your style will most likely flatten out from sleeping on it but you can always refresh your style or layer on more product as needed."

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