Hairspray make you think of crunchy, stiff strands? These innovative picks (for every hair concern, type, and hold level) will make you reconsider.

By Rebecca Dancer
Updated Dec 24, 2019 @ 8:00 am
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Hairspray is one of those beauty products that, thanks to the formulas of yesteryear, often gets a bad rep. But if visions of sticky, stiff strands have made you swear it off forever, allow us to reintroduce you to the wonders of hairspray — courtesy of updated iterations that deliver strong yet still touchable hold and flexible, brushable volume.

Whether you’re rocking an intricate updo or simply looking to tame a few flyaways, having the right hairspray on hand can fix just about any hair woe. It’s a tried and true beauty arsenal staple — but that’s not to say that all hairsprays are considered equal.

Here, we’re rounding up the best of the best, from UV and thermal protective hairsprays, to dry shampoo hairspray hybrids, to our favorite non-aerosol option. Behold, the best hairsprays for every need, hair type, and style.

Best Light Hold Hairspray: Bumble and Bumble Does It All Light Hold Hairspray

Credit: Courtesy Sephora

If you’re at all like celebrity hairstylist Jesus Guerrero, who always looks for “a lightweight hairspray that lives well,” this one from Bumble and Bumble is just the thing. The light hold formula provides subtle control (goodbye frizz and flyaways) while still leaving hair brushable and allowing for natural movement. Better yet, it works on all hair types, from pin-straight to tightly coiled.

Shop now: $32;

Best Medium Hold Hairspray: Kérastase Laque Couture Medium Hold Hair Spray

Credit: Courtesy Sephora

For hairstyles that require just a bit more hold, while still maintaining an overall flexible amount of control, reach for this bestselling option from Kérastase. A few spritzes will provide lasting hold without leaving any crunchy or stiff strands behind. Plus, it also protects against UV rays and humidity.

Shop now: $28;

Best Flexible Hold Hairspray: Living Proof Flex Hairspray

Credit: Courtesy Ulta

“This is my absolute favorite,” says celebrity hairstylist Owen Gould. “Light hold, no build-up, heat protection, and incredible smell.” Spray this onto damp or dry hair and Living Proof’s patented Flexible Web Technology will provide reworkable, medium hold — plus heat protection up to 450 degrees.

Shop now: $26;

Best Strong Hold Hairspray: Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray Strong Finish

Credit: Courtesy Sephora

Like all Moroccanoil products, this strong-hold hairspray is infused with argan oil to help boost smoothness and shine and condition the hair’s outer cuticle layer. It also miraculously provides a firm hold without flaking out the next time you comb or brush — something that many, if not most, strong-hold hairsprays definitely cannot claim.

Shop now: $24;

Best Extra Strong Hold Hairspray: L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray

Credit: Courtesy Target

This drugstore bestseller is a perennial favorite of hairstylists for a reason: It works. The extra strong hold formula is dispensed through an ultra-fine micro mist, so as to leave hair feeling soft and touchable while still providing long-lasting staying power.

Shop now: $11;

Best Volumizing Hairspray: Sexy Hair Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play Volumizing Hairspray

Credit: Courtesy Ulta

Spritz on this fast-drying hairspray whenever you want to really pump up the volume. It promises movable volume, lift, and hold that won’t wilt in the face of humidity or heat (it also protects against damaging UV rays).

Shop now: $19;

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

Credit: Courtesy Ulta

Formulated with a patented AntiFade Complex, Pureology’s Style + Protect Lock It Down Hairspray contains antioxidants and full spectrum UVA + UVB sunscreens, making it the ultimate sun-protective option.

Shop now: $28;

Best Hairspray with Heat Protection: Chi Infra Texture Dual Action Hairspray

Credit: Courtesy Ulta

We all know that heat styling tools can cause serious wear and tear on our strands, especially those that are color-treated, so using thermal-protective styling products is paramount. In addition to thermal protection, this hairspray also promises to strengthen and condition hair, thanks to positively charged silk molecules in the formula.

Shop now: $17;

Best Hairspray for Humidity: Oribe Imperméable Anti-Humidity Spray

Credit: Courtesy Nordstrom

There are few beauty-related blunders that are worse than prepping and styling your strands to a tee, 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 promises to extend the longevity of your hairstyle even in the most humid of climates (it was supposedly tested by the brand in Miami, so you know it’s legit).

Shop now: $42;

Best Hairspray for Curly Hair: Ouidad Going Up! Volumizing Texture Spray

Credit: Courtesy Ulta

Curly strands need flexible hold, sans crunchiness, and this new volumizing hairspray from Ouidad delivers all of the above. It’s formulated with non-drying raw silk powders, which work to add texture and volume for all curl types, while mongongo oil and manuka honey help tame frizz and keep curls tangle-free.

Shop now: $34;

Best Drugstore Hairspray: Nexxus Comb Thru Volume Finishing Mist Hairspray

Credit: Courtesy Target

When it comes to drugstore hair care and styling options, Nexxus always seems to deliver. This lightweight, fine mist hairspray is the perfect finishing touch to keep frizz and flyaways in place without feeling stiff.

Shop now: $9;

Best Non-Aerosol Hairspray: Aveda firmata Firm Hold Hair Spray

Credit: Courtesy Nordstrom

If you prefer a non-aerosol hairspray, reach for this option from perennial favorite, naturally-based Aveda. It builds up to a firm, brushable hold and can be spritzed onto damp or dry strands. The small, non-aerosol nozzle provides ultimate control, allowing for application on small areas such as around the temples.

Shop now: $23;

Best Superfine Hair Spray: Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray

Credit: Courtesy Nordstrom

Billing itself as the ideal combo of a dry shampoo and a hairspray, Ouai’s ultra-lightweighht Texturizing Hair Spray is formulated with volcanic ash minerals that absorb oil and refresh your strands and scalp while simultaneously building volume and keeping flyaways at bay. What more could you ask for? Oh, a spa-like scent — it has that, too, as does the entire Ouai line.

Shop now: $26;

Best Bargain Hairspray: Tresemme Tres Two Ultra Fine Mist Aerosol Hairspray

Credit: Courtesy Target

For an anti-frizz, flexible hairspray (technically, it bills itself as a super fine mist) that doesn't break the bank, look no further than this drugstore favorite from Tresemme, which provides firm control for less than five dollars.

Shop now: $5;