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Hairspray: busting the myths and everything you need to know

We look at some of the myths and half-truths associated with this traditional hair product

March 18, 2011
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Most hairdressers have no qualms about 'finishing off' a coif with a quick spray of lacquer, but it's hard not to associate the product with the stiff and formal looks of our grandmothers' generation. Hairspray is a useful ally, though, and can be just what's needed to achieve and control certain styles, so let's take a look at some of the myths and half-truths surrounding this salon basic.


Best for extreme styles?

It's true that hairspray is essential to produce some of the exaggerated looks that grace the catwalks, but mostly we don't want such complex and extreme styles for every day. Geometric spikes and rigid ringlets aren't its only use, though: it can also help to achieve a softer, more feminine effect, and, more particularly, not just to achieve the effect, but to keep it.

Flat looks and fake finishes?

We can all picture the over-styled artificial looks of the Fifties and Sixties where the lacquer was sprayed on so thick it was like glue, but the product has come a long way since then. Lighter formulas mean that the same degree of control can be achieved without that flat look and clogged up feeling: the style is held firmly, but the hair retains its soft feel and natural movement. Modern formulas also mean that the 'wet hair' feeling that used to be associated with using lacquer is a thing of the past.

A professional product?

Hairspray is easy to apply and there's no need to leave it up to the professionals. You just need to be sure what effect you want to achieve and search out the product that works best on your personal hair type. Once you're sure of the look and the product, just remember that you need to apply the lacquer from a slight distance, not right up close.

Bad for the hair?

The newest products on the market include elements that are not only harmless but can actually protect your locks. Using lacquer during the styling process doesn't simply help control the hair, it also provides a protective barrier against the rigours of brushing and the damage caused by heated hair tools

How dirty is it?

All products that afford control for the hair can have a dirtying effect, so it's important to choose the lightest formula that works for the effect you want to achieve, spray from a slight distance and don't overdo it. Once you choose a product that suits you, you'll soon get used to how much to use.

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