If you ever struggle with getting your curls to stay in place without immediately deflating, it may not be your curling iron to blame. Forgetting to use a hairspray can mean the difference between perfectly defined curls that last all night, and strands that kind of look like they just kind of gave up. No matter if you like beach waves, tightly coiled ringlets, or have natural curls that just need a little bit of help to stay defined all day long, hairspray to hold curls is the final touch you need to help keep your style from quite literally unraveling. But with so many options floating around the internet—and different curl patterns to work with!—which ones really provide the best hold?
What ingredients to look for in a hairspray for curly hair
To answer this, we turned to hairstylist and queen of all things curly, Patricia Silva, owner of Rock Rock Salon in Queens, New York. "The most ideal hairspray for curly hair are ones that do not have alcohol and silicones," Silva says. FYI, alcohol-based products can often cause your curls to dry out, depending on your curl pattern and texture, and the same rules apply when it comes to shampoos and conditioners for curly hair. However, this makes them perfect to use on a humid day when you want to keep moisture from ruining an updo or a fresh blowout—the salon owner isn't totally against the idea of sprays with alcohol. "The key is anything in moderation!" Silva says.
Worried about crunchy curls?
If you're worried about crunchiness, opt for a hairspray with a flexible hold (aka, one that's more lightweight). For Silva, these are a safe bet for keeping your strands flake-free and naturally soft. "I tend to stick to products that are always more on the flexible side vs. strong hold, especially since the strong hold generally could potentially cause flakiness in the hair, especially finer textures," Silva says. On the other hand, hairsprays with strong holds firmly secure your hairstyle in place.
To help you sort through the best hairsprays to hold your curls, take a look at these standout picks below.
Best hairsprays to hold curls
Designed with naturally curly hair in mind, this medium-hold hairspray from Ouidad is a two-for-one solution that makes styling a breeze. Not only does it lock in your curls, but it also helps set them as they dry. “When I diffuse curly hair, it protects the cuticle of the hair, [and] helps dry the hair faster with a soft finish,” Silva says. Additionally, the non-aerosol hairspray features jojoba oil and hydrolyzed silk protein to help hydrate and nourish your locks.
1. Long -lasting hold
2. A little goes a long way
1. Strong scent
Although this Oribe spray is a bit of an investment at $42, its ability to keep your curls (natural curls, heatless curls, or other) salon-quality in any climate is well worth the extra coins, according to Silva. Its special copolymer formula is designed to tame frizz and keep your curls intact even on the most sweltering of days. For Silva, the spray is also a personal favorite because of its “buildable” nature that allows you to create a stronger hold as you layer in more product.
1. Protects from humidity
2. Light hold, but buildable
3. Strong scent that many say is lovely
2. Strong scent
As its name suggests, this hairspray is a great pick for those looking for a strong-hold solution. It’s perfect for creating updos and can even be used as the foundation for braiding styles. But unlike some firm-holding sprays, you don’t need to worry about the crunchiness. Its formula is super lightweight and can easily be brushed through once applied. Plus, your hair gets some extra TLC thanks to high dose of argan oil that’s loaded with antioxidants.
1. Great for all all hair types
2. Soft finish
3 .Pleasant scent
That’s right—we’ve got Oribe again. While some hairsprays may leave your hair damp and feeling heavy, Oribe Superfine Hairspray does the total opposite. It’s incredibly lightweight and sheer, which makes it great for styling different hair types (especially fine hair) without weighing it down. And while the formula does contain some alcohol, this helps to provide a “ultra-dry finish” so that your hair isn’t sticky after application.
1. Provides light to medium hold
2. No overbearing scent
3. Easy to control
1. Contains alcohol
Gonna be out all night? The Garnier Fructis Style Control Anti-Humidity Hairspray may be what you need to polish off your updo if you plan to sweat it out in the club. Described as the brand’s “strongest holding spray,” this solution provides 24 hours of firm hold and a layer of protection against frizz. It’s also infused with bamboo extract to help smooth and soften your hair as you comb through your strands.
1. Provides strong, flexible hold
2. Protects against humidity
3. Pleasant fruity fragrance
1. Not ideal for everyday use (it’s pretty heavy duty and can take a while to wash out completely)
For the times when you want bedhead-like curls but don’t know how to make them bounce, this Ouai spray is great to have on hand. It’s a super lightweight hairspray that helps add texture and lift to your curls. It does this using various fruit extracts and volcanic minerals, which helps absorb oils and gives your curls an all-around fuller look.
1. Adds texture
2. Great for fine hair
3. Provides light, flexible hold
1. Small bottle
2. Contains aerosol
This pick from Bumble and Bumble is a straight-forward, no-frills kind of firm-holding spray that works on nearly any hair type. It locks in curls, but it’s also great to use as a setting spray to smooth out your hair before your blow drying sesh. For the best results, use 10 inches from your hair and spritz evenly throughout your strands.
1. Great for color-treated hair
2. Provides strong hold
3. No aerosol can
This Kérastase Laque Couture Medium Hold Hair Spray is almost always sold out, and for good reason. While it provides medium hold for your curls, the spray also helps protect your hair color from UV damage and stubborn frizz that shows up without your permission.
1. Provides medium hold
2. UV protection
3. Great for all hair types
Nexxus Maxximum Finishing Mist contains the brand’s special Fluid-Fix Technology that makes the spray super versatile. While it does provides a strong hold that helps you to better style your curls, you don’t have to worry about the usual buildup or flakiness that’s often standard with firm-holding sprays. Also, it has a lot of flexibility so that your hair isn’t left feeling stiff after a few spritzes.
1. Provides strong hold
2. Smooth finish
1. Strong citrus scent
For that “I just spent all day at the ocean” look, minus the annoying flyaways, this leave-in mist helps define and hold curls. It’s formulated with sea salt to add texture to your hair, and Moroccan argan oil for shine. Plus, it’s paraben and sulfate-free.
1. Provides hold and shine
2. Light scent
1. Can leave a sticky feel
Keep your curls looking fresh for up to 120 hours with this SexyHair hairspray. It’s formulated for all hair types and will give your hair the volume you’ve been craving. Spray onto wet or dry hair, and you’re good to go for the day (and then some).
1. Strong hold
2. Can be used on all hair types
1. Contains aerosol
Best hairsprays to hold natural curls
With coconut oil and shea butter, the Cantu hold mist will rehydrate your curls and hold them in place. It’s designed for Type 2 waves, Type 3 curls, and Type 4 coils, and can be used on damp or dry hair. It doesn’t contain any harsh ingredients such as mineral oil, sulfates, parabens, or silicones.
1. Nice scent
1. Some reviewers say it leave hair sticky
If you love the effortless style of beach waves, look no further than this La Tierra Sagrada Sea Salt Spray to complete your styling. Its formula is chock-full of moisturizing ingredients including: spring water, sea and mineral salts, palo santo essential oil, rosemary essential oil, and vitamin E. Together, these help create a hydrating solution to gently lock in loose, natural curls (versus curls created with a styling tool). For the best results, apply some directly to your roots to add volume or spritz onto your ends to give some texture.
1. Adds volume
1. Minimal hold (your hair needs to already be naturally curly)
For thick and curly hair, this Shea Moisture spray is like a nourishing treatment for your natural curls. It hydrates your hair with every spritz and keeps frizz to a minimum with the help of ingredients like: coconut oil (a moisturizing agent), silk protein (for smoothness), and need oil (to add shine and reduce frizz).
1. Reduces flyaways
2. Enhances texture
3. Great for thick curl patterns
1. Minimal hold (this formula only works for those with naturally curly hair)
If you’re just looking to maintain and enhance your natural curl pattern, the Hairstory Undressed Texturizing Spray deserves a spot on your beauty counter, says Silva. The salt-free formula not only adds shine, but it also helps prevent hair breakage, thanks to hydrating ingredients like rosa damascena water and aloe vera leaf juice.
1. UV protection
2. Sheen style
3. Adds texture
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