…and we’re back! This time I’ve got a small army of FFAF-tested and approved styling products, from pomades to the holy grail of hairspray to newfangled goop like wool shake gel slush texturizer, which is nonsensical but amazing. Despite all this I have to say my product usage is on the minimalist side, which I touched on in the first post in the series. Let’s dive in!
All but two of these products are mine, so we’ll get them out of the way first. The Layrite Super Shine Pomade ($16) and Baxter of California Soft Water Pomade ($18) belong to the tomboy. She favors her beloved Layrite over everything else and recently threw out any half-used pomades in her medicine cabinet, but I saved the Davines No. 6 Glossy Plasteline for Wizards ($15) and American Crew Grooming Cream ($8-$12) from going into the bin, and I use them on my bangs or ever-so-sparingly to smooth flyaways and such, especially with complicated updos.
Both the Layrite and Soft Water Pomades have a fair bit of shine, leave short hair pliable but well-behaved, and don’t make a sticky mess on your head. They’re also pretty long-lasting, unless you’re actively getting rained or snowed on, and are nice enough to run your hands through after an hour or so. The Soft Water Pomade is definitely a lighter hold, so it’s especially good for touchups!
Lush’s Sea Spray ($12.95) is really fantastic for giving you bona fide beach hair. It really gives you that authentic salty, slightly sticky feel, along with the wonderful smell and texture you’d get from an actual day spent seaside! Behold Redken’s Wool Shake 08 Volumizing Texturizer ($17). This product is insane and really difficult to describe, but it’s the only styling product I own where I can honestly say I’d be devastated if it were ever discontinued. Here’s the deal: My hair is pin straight, thick as thieves and strong, strong, strong. The best-reviewed products for creating beach waves do nothing for my mane, and I’ve tried them all — Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray, Fekkai’s Summer Hair Beach Waves Spray (both $25), and even the super expensive Après Beach Wave and Shine Sprayfrom Oribe ($37 and still a really great product) — but I can air dry my hair, spray 2-3 spritzes of Wool Shake into my hands, scrunch it in (starting underneath and gradually working my way through the top layer of hair) and it looks amazing:
No heat styling, no hassle, just perfectly tousled, undone loveliness. Le sigh. via my Instagram. A little goes a long way, and many reviews claim it’s brilliant for fine, limp hair as well. If you use it generously on curled or waved hair, you’re suddenly and effortlessly in high-fashion hair territory, my friends. Such a great little product. It does have a semi-matte finish and I recommend using caution if you’re spraying it directly onto your hair - I’ve found the results much better when you use your hands to apply it, and by saving the outside or top layer of hair for the end, it helps keep things shinier. The only drawback is that you won’t have soft, touchable hair your crush can run their hands through, but it’s not crunchy or unpleasant to touch, either.
The last four products are definitely my most-used staples: Living Proof Nourishing Styling Cream, $26 — Super high-tech product from the evil geniuses at MIT, this cream uses a “miracle molecule,” PolyfluoroEster, to “create a weightless shield on hair that blocks humidity absorption, smooths the cuticle, and repels dirt.” It’s also really smoothing and conditioning, I feel it makes my hair more supple and full, and acts as a protectant. If you’re at all familiar with the whole “your lips but better” thing, then this is “your hair but better.” Part-primer, part-protectant, part-power boost for truly resilient, superhero hair. L’Oreal Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray, $14.99 — Easily the most recognizable and popular hair spray ever, and in a completely evil aerosol can, but I won’t use anything else. It doesn’t interfere with shine, the hard work put into heat styling, it has a long-lasting vice grip on curls and waves, and leaves hair soft, soft, soft. (Which is important because my wife can’t ever keep her hands out of mine.) Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Cream, $25 — Like a super luxe highlighter for your hair, this imparts megawatts of shine, a nice little bit of smoothing power, without ever weighing hair down. It’s perfect, which is why I’ve gone through half a dozen tubes of it since discovering it awhile back. Kim Vo Twist & Tame Curling Balm, $18.99 — If I’m using a diffuser attachment to create beach waves, this is my go-to product. It’s really soft, protects hair and imparts shine, and coaxes just enough bend into my hair to keep things playful and pretty. I’ll add it to damp hair after a shower, scrunch and diffuse until my hair is 80% dry, and then let it air dry completely, or I let it air dry and then use a curling wand or iron. Really great for brushed-out, Chloé-girl curls. These make great stocking stuffers and most come in handy-dandy trial sizes so you can give ‘em a spin without forking up big bucks for the full-size products. Let me know if you have any questions and please share your favorite styling products in the comments.
I’ll be doing a Q&A next, so please send in requests and let me know what you want to see in a video tutorial!
Catch up with the series:
Part 1: Care & Maintenance
Part 2: Hot Tools
Part 3: Reinforcements