These Are the Only Hair Sprays Worth Buying, According to Hairstylists

Hair spray is an essential styling product, but a lot of us have a love-hate relationship with it. You've probably had some run-ins with hair sprays that left your hair sticky, stiff, or crunchy. Does the term "helmet hair" apply to your experience with some products? Even though it might have preserved your hairstyle, it also might have transformed your hair into something that didn't look quite natural.

Now, there are so many great hair spray formulas that keep your strands in place but leave room for movement so your hair looks more natural. Plus, you've got a lot of options to choose from for your specific hair type and need, too. Want a little more lift? Choose a volumizing spray. Something to control frizz? There are products for that. And if you really do need to lock everything in place and have something that's similar to the old helmet hair sprays of the past, there are super-strong-hold versions.

What to Look For in a Good Hair Spray

"Hair spray, once considered a vestige of post-war presentation, has undergone more than your typical makeover," says hairstylist and groomer Timothy Aylward. "Innovations in polymers and powders have ushered in a new generation of multitasking spritzes designed to democratize beautiful hair." With that in mind, finding the right product for your hair concerns and needs doesn't have to be a challenge. While some hair sprays may be uniquely formulated to address frizz and keep strands in place all day, others deliver hours of texture, volume, and movement. In the end, it doesn't matter if you decide to go with a product listed at a luxury or drugstore price point as long as it accomplishes what you need.

I polled some hairstylists for their favorite recs to help you shop. Take a look at their favorites below, plus some other editor must-haves.

Best Overall: L'Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray

Almost every hairstylist I spoke to recommends this classic hair spray. "For all hair types, I recommend Elnett—a classic with supreme hold and comes in an array of options from color-treated to extra strong hold (my favorite)," says Dritan Vushaj. "It's extremely brushable and has the best hold. The scent reminds me of a bygone era."

Customer review: "I love this hairspray! It doesn't weigh down my long curls and holds nicely. It's firm but not sticky and easy to brush through. It's my new favorite hairspray and I wish I would've tried it sooner."

Pro: Ultra-fine mist with a humidity-resistant formula

Con: None

For All Hair Types

2. R+Co Outer Space Flexible Hairspray

"For all hair types, my go-to hair spray is R+Co's Outer Space. It's very lightweight and long-lasting, but your hair looks natural without looking like you just left the salon! I love it because it has a matte finish," says hairstylist Dimitris Giannetos.

Customer review: "The scent is very nice, not too strong. It gives my fine, wavy hair the right amount of hold, support. I can run a brush or comb through it, and it still looks great. The day after l wash my hair, it's still holding a style."

Pro: Offers hours of hold and flexibility

Con: Not ideal for those sensitive to fragrance

3. Bumble and Bumble Spray de Mode Flexible Hold Hairspray

"Sometimes you need one product that can do it all, one holy-grail spray that can declutter your counter or be thrown in a weekend bag. My all-time favorite is Bumble and Bumble's Spray de Mode," says Aylward. "This miracle of modern hairdressing is light enough to refresh second-day hair but can also be strong enough to transport your high pony to snatched territory. Best of all, it's foolproof! Spritz on bangs before blow-drying for an instant refresher that lasts all day, mist strands pre–flat iron for a humidity-proof sleek look, or apply point-blank to ponies to keep your baby hairs from having a tantrum."

Customer review: "This product is perfect for my fine and pin straight hair! It’s light but still holds my curls and it smells great. Great for the perfect natural wave look. I’m on my third or fourth bottle!"

Pro: Provides a natural-looking, frizz-free hold

Con: Reapplication needed for all-day wear

4. Hair by Sam McKnight Modern Hairspray

"Hair by Sam McKnight's Modern Hair Spray is my all-time favorite," says groomer and hairstylist Ben Talbott. "This is a premium multitask styling mist, and the fragrance is sublime. I use this on all my clients after I've finished their blowouts—a little spritz of this magic to the roots gives the style more longevity. It's also translucent and doesn't show up in the hair if you add too much, and has the added benefit of giving some extra volume to the style. You can also use a spritz of this magic on each section before you use a hot tool to set the style."

Customer review: "This is such a versatile product. It gives a light but great finish when creating curls or waves and on straight hair. It brushes through so easily to beautiful shine and a modern finish with a gorgeous fresh fragrance!"

Pro: Offers a brushable, firm-hold finish

Con: None

The 17 Best Hairsprays of 2021 for Every Type of Hold



For Thin Hair

5. Oribe Free Styler Working Hairspray

"For a light, brushable finish, my go-to hair spray is always Oribe's Free Styler Working Hairspray. This doesn't weigh the hair down and will tame any fine flyaways," says hairstylist Iggy Rosales.

Customer review: "I've tried a lot of hairsprays over the years and this is hands down the best one! I love that its super lightweight, doesn't feel "crunchy" and has great hold. I've recommended this to several friends as well, it's that good!"

Pro: Gives a light, flexible hold with a satin finish

Con: Luxury price point

6. Redken Max Hold 32 Hairspray

For thin hair, Giannetos uses hair spray like Redken Max Hold 32 because it combines texture and lasting hold without making the hair crunchy and heavy.

Customer review: "As far as hair products go, I’m very very picky about what I like or don’t like. I do special event hair makeup and this stays in my kit. It provides such good hold without being super sticky or overly fragranced. I’ve bought about six cans so far and have no plan to stop purchasing!"

Pro: Provides all-day hold without any crunchiness 

Con: Reapplication needed for all-day wear

7. R+C Balloon Dry Volume Spray

"For those with straight, thin, or limp hair, I love Balloon by R+Co. This aerosol, part dry shampoo, part texturizing spray, imparts just the right amount of grip and fluff to make even the laziest of ponytails presentable," says Aylward. "To use, just flip your hair over and spray loosely, focusing on roots and the back of the head where hair tends to get flat, and ruffle with your fingers. So easy even the most hungover among us can pull it together for an early morning Zoom call."

Customer review: "The first time this product was used on my hair was the first time I asked for a shag haircut. I had also gotten bangs; this has been my favorite thing to keep the bangs and top layers around the crown looking full. I totally recommend it."

Pro: Delivers volume and texture with a great hold

Con: Not ideal for those sensitive to fragrance

8. Kevin Murphy Bedroom Hair

"I recommend Kevin Murphy's Bedroom Hair. It's technically a 'texturizing hair spray,' but it's great for lifting hair and sort of filling it up, giving a slept-in vibe when you need it, or a perfect spray for teasing if you want some extra volume. All Kevin Murphy products are cruelty-free and smell pretty without an overpowering presence of scent," says Vushaj.

Customer review: "Where has this been all my life?! It took a little bit to figure out the right amount for my hair. It doesn’t take much (a little too much and it’s way to stiff) and it’s easy to build. Gives my hair nice texture and brings back big waves on second or third day hair that lost its mojo."

Pro: Adds unparalleled volume, texture, and body

Con: Slightly drying with heavy application

9. Bumble and Bumble Thickening Dryspun Volume Texture Spray

"It's great for fine to medium textured hair. It's not as shiny as some, but it will provide the scaffolding to plump up your hair to sky-high volume," says Talbott. "I recommend putting your head upside down, giving a good spray of the product, then give yourself a good massage of your scalp/roots to achieve that sex bomb, vampy, gorgeous hair."

Customer review: "I love this spray for setting my style and giving my hair texture. After washing my hair is usually too silky smooth but this spray helps hold my waves in place. You only need 3-4 long sprays as I can see myself going through it pretty quickly."

Pro: Offers lightweight, non-gritty texture and hold

Con: High price point

For Thick Hair

10. Got2b Glued Blasting Freeze Spray

"Got2b's Blasting hair spray is always a favorite with super-strong, thick hair. It can tame any hair, and you can continue to layer it for a shellacked finish," says Rosales.

Customer review: "This hair spray keeps my hair in place all day. Really helps keep my bun and fly-always in place. I'm an army girl so this hair spray helps me keep my hair in regulation despite all of the things we do throughout the day."

Pro: Delivers a long-lasting and strong hold

Con: Slightly sticky finish when layered

11. Sachajuan Hairspray Light and Flexible

"The key with thick hair is layering hair spray," explains Vushaj. "So I like to work in sections as I'm laying or curling the hair. I'll spray a section after it's styled and then spray the next section. Each section is no bigger than the width of the round brush that I'm using."

Customer review: "I really like this hairspray. The packaging is so beautiful. The scent is super sophisticated, not like anything I've used before, and I love it. The formula is not crunchy at all and has a nice hold. The spray comes out well too. I would definitely recommend it!"

Pro: Seals in styles with a lightweight finish

Con: Luxury price point

12. Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Multi-Purpose All-in-Oil Milk

"For thick hair, my favorite spray to add definition, shine, and just a bit of weight without feeling sticky or stiff is Shu Uemura's Essence Absolue Multi-Purpose All-in-Oil Milk," says Aylward. "This milky multitasker strengthens and refines coarse textures, adds mountains of shine, and gives just enough definition for the perfect beach waves."

Customer review: "This is the best product for my naturally curly hair that I've used to date. Curls are soft big and beautiful!!! I recommend anyone to get this product for themselves and see the difference it makes."

Pro: Refines thick, course textures

Con: None

The 17 Best Hairsprays of 2021 for Every Type of Hold



For Curly and Textured Hair

13. SheaMoisture Hold and Shine Moisture Mist

"For textured, curly hair, I love Shea Moisture's Hold & Shine. It hydrates the hair and gives it a beautiful shine," says Giannetos.

Customer review: "I spritz this into my wet hair, comb through, scrunch, and my hair dries with silky soft waves. It's a great product at a great price; better than some higher end more expensive products."

Pro: Keeps hair shiny and frizz-free, affordable price point

Con: None

14. Fekkai Shea Butter Curl Refresh

"I love Fekkai's Shea Butter Curl Refresh. This sulfate-free formula is light enough to be used on even the babiest of curls, but when layered can add refreshing definition to more voluminous textures," says Aylward. "It works beautifully as a base for freshly washed curls as well as midweek pick-me-up to counteract bedhead. To use, apply liberally all over. I recommend using a diffuser to drive the ingredients further into the hair."

Customer review: "Lightweight spray that really boosts my curl pattern and helps the fight against frizz. Don’t be scared to give your curls a good drink of this product because it really helps for thirsty curls. I personally love hair products I don’t necessarily have to get my hands into, and this one shows great results."

Pro: Uses botanical extracts to help hair retain lasting hydration

Con: Does not combat frizz effectively

15. DevaCurl Flexible Hold Hairspray No-Crunch Finishing Styler

"DevaCurl runs the show in all curly styles for me. They completely get how to ration each ingredient, which is integral in textured/curly styling," explains Vushaj. "Avoiding hair sprays with too much water in them or with too much alcohol is important. (Water will shrink the curl; alcohol will dry it.) DevaCurl's flexible hair spray reduces frizz, controls humidity, and leaves no gross residue or tacky feel to the hair."

Customer review: "I'll start off by saying I prefer a flexible hold hairspray so this was made for me! My hair doesn't feel crunchy at allthis hairspray helps hold the style while still allowing my hair to look shiny and feel soft. The scent is pleasant and not overwhelming, too!!"

Pro: Does not leave behind a sticky or flaky residue

Con: Reapplication needed for all-day wear

16. Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray Medium Hold

"Moroccanoil's Luminous Hairspray Medium Hold is my pick for curly, kinky hair," says Talbott. "It is lightweight, moveable, and it fights frizz and humidity. The fragrance is divine, and it is infused with argan oil and UV filters, which help moisturize and prevent sun damage to your beautiful tresses. It won't go crunchy or crispy and gives a nice shine to the hair. It's an ideal choice if you like to change your style throughout the day and to keep any wayward curls in place."

Customer review: "I’ve tried to branch out on finishing products but I always come back to this hairspray. Perfect hold, no flakes, and helps keep my flyaways down. Also does a great job at keeping hair slick in humidity."

Pro: Provides weightless, flexible hold

Con: None

At a Drugstore Price Point

17. Tresemmé Extra Hold Hairspray

Stylists and beauty editors alike can't stop raving about this extra-strength hair spray by Tresemmé that protects against humidity and frizz while providing all-day frizz control.

Customer review: "This product holds your hair so well and controls the frizz! I like it because no matter what I do, my hair stays using this product! 10/10 recommend"

Pro: High performance at an affordable price point

Con: Stiffening for ultra-fine hair

This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.