It used to be that no self-respecting man would be caught using hairspray. At least not publicly, that is. But times change. While hairspray is, traditionally, targeted for women, many men now use it as a useful styling tool.
Besides, there’s not a lot of difference between hairspray and other men’s styling products – which we’ll explore in this post about the best hairspray for men – and many savvy, grooming-minded gents use hairspray, including the John Frieda Luxurious Volume spray, our top choice among seven sprays we review.
We’ll also look at the similarities and differences of different hairsprays for men and provide a brief tutorial on how to apply hairspray the right way.
So, spray away men. Your hair will be the better for it.
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Before you buy: 7 Things to consider when purchasing hairspray
Choosing the right hairspray is the same for choosing most products, i.e., the more research you do the better. Knowing what to research is more than half the battle, however, so consider the following factors when buying hairspray:
1. Your type of hair
One of the most important factors in choosing hairspray is your type of hair. While hairspray, generally speaking, works best for men with thicker, wavier hair, you’ll have a variety of sprays from which to choose, whether you have thick, thin, or curly hair. Read the label carefully because it often says what type of hair for which it’s intended.
2. Strength of hold
A spray’s “hold” refers to how effective it is for keeping your hair in one place. That’s of particular importance when Mother Nature turns nasty. Hold is a key selling point of hairspray, but you may only need a moderate to light hold if you want your hair’s waves to move naturally.
3. Type of hairspray
Hairspray comes in a variety of types and which one you choose not only depends on your hair type but how you plan to use it. Here’s a brief look at some of the different “qualities” found in hairspray:
We’ve briefly mentioned hold already and it’s important to read the label – or reviews of others – to learn what level of hold a hairspray provides. In general, hairspray offers three kinds of hold: flexible, medium, and maximum.
- Thickening (or not thickening)
This factor gets back to your type of hair; if you have thinner hair, then it’s wise to look for a hairspray that’s labeled “thickening.” Thickening sprays add texture and provide a lift to hair that’s otherwise limp. Volumizing spray (it will say so on the label, in most cases) offers the same benefits in that it makes your hair seem thicker and more full.
- Frizz control
Fighting frizz is essential, especially if you have dry or wavy locks that can get all out of whack in windy, rainy, or muggy conditions. You want a spray that helps to keep your waves in motion but without looking like you stuck your finger in an electrical outlet.
- Weightless spray
This type of spray is, as the name suggests, a lighter weight type of spray. It allows you to add texture to your hair but without a stiff hold; you can move your hair around and into position with your fingers or with a brush without feeling like your combing a helmet.
The list of ingredients in hairspray is often extensive and includes a variety of exotic (or non-exotic) chemicals that potentially may scare you away. Most of the chemicals, however, are polymers and you shouldn’t be put off by them when you’re selecting a spray that fits your needs.
When in doubt, however, look for a spray that has plenty of natural ingredients that won’t hurt the environment. Many, many hairspray manufacturers take environmental responsibility seriously and it’s worth taking a look at those that do.
A hairspray’s finish refers to its volume, but also its shine, hold, and whether it leaves your hair looking natural, or one with a shinier finish which is more noticeable.
You’ve probably heard of the big-name brands, such as Paul Mitchell and L’Oreal, and most of them produce high-quality hairspray. But it never hurts to check out smaller companies that can compete with the big guns while offering a lower price.
In general, a high-quality hairspray will cost somewhere between $8 and $30. You may have to pay more for some brands, but a higher price shouldn’t matter all that much if you can afford it and the product is good. Of course, a higher price tag doesn’t guarantee a better product.
Let’s move on to our reviews of the best hairspray for men.
The 7 best hairsprays for men 2019
Thin and fine hair can fall, well, a little flat. Try as you might, it never seems to look quite as good as it should because of its relative lack of volume.
Enter John Frieda’s Luxurious Volume Fine to Full Blow-Out Spray – the best men’s hairspray for thin hair. It creates a volume that’s soft to the touch while giving the appearance of more hair. You’ll also love its texture and how it ensures that fine hair won’t fall flat.
It’s also incredibly lightweight and won’t leave your hair feeling thick and crunchy. Among the benefits of using lighter weight sprays is that it allows your hair to remain flexible and natural-looking even with your styling product in place. It also features a firm hold that lasts throughout the day without having to reapply the spray.
To get the best results from the Fine to Full Blow-Out Spray, spray it liberally on towel-dried hair (not hair that’s blow-dried, as you would when using many other hairsprays for men).
Make sure that you cover the roots and underside of your hair while distributing the spray evenly from root to tip. Then blow dry your hair completely to activate the heat polymer technology that’s part of the John Frieda spray formula.
None of this spray’s benefits come as a real surprise; part of John Frieda’s mission is to find solutions tailored to each type of hair, from thin to thick to curly and wavy. All of their products come from understanding what makes each type of hair unique.
- Great for adding volume to thin hair
- Lightweight feel
- Firm but not-too-firm hold
- The spray’s consistency is too thin for some users
Men with thin to flat hair should give serious consideration to buying John Frieda’s Luxurious Volume Fine to Full Blow-Out Spray. It adds volume and texture but without weighing your hair down.
Many men can do without the strong fragrance that comes with many sprays. Consort for Men’s Unscented Extra Hold spray solves that issue while still providing everything you’d expect from a quality spray.
Indeed, Consort markets this spray as being for “regular” guys who love to spend time in the outdoors but don’t necessarily want to carry a comb or brush with them. And, we assume, don’t want their hairpsray’s scent to be too obvious. We also like this spray’s hold, which is firm enough to keep a man’s hair in place without being overly stiff or sticky.
In short, it gives your hair hold and style without knowing that it’s even there (to you or others). And the hold is strong enough for active men who sweat a lot.
Consort’s hairspray formula is fast-drying and contains no water. The hold should last 12 hours with normal use. Moreover, it doesn’t leave a greasy or glossy-looking shine. The aerosol spray bottle makes for easy application
- No overpowering scent
- Excellent hold
- Non-sticky texture
- Some users say it leaves a slight residue behind
Consort’s Unscented Extra Hold spray is the best unscented hairspray on the market. You get all the benefits of a firm-hold hairspray without an overpowering fragrance.
Some hairsprays provide an excellent hold but come with a few downsides such as excess stickiness. Or, the hold looks more than a bit unnatural – like a hurricane couldn’t knock a single hair out of place.
Thankfully, you can buy products such as TIGI’s Bed Hard Head Extra Strong Hold Hairspray that provide a firm, butt-kicking hold but without the stickiness and helmet head. You’ll get the hold you desire, one that defies humidity, among other issues, and can retain your preferred hairstyle throughout a long day. It also protects your hair against dryness.
Another plus of this spray is that it works for all types of hair and styles. But it’s particularly good for men who prefer messy and casual hairstyles that look like they haven’t been styled at all (a look that many men desire). If you have a frizzy or otherwise unruly manly mane, however, TIGI’s Hard Head Spray will help to keep things in place.
Again, it’s hard to beat the overall hold of this spray but it still gives your hair enough flexibility and movement. It dries almost instantly, without leaving the overpowering crunchiness of some sprays, and its formula works to condition and repair your hair.
TIGI’s formula also includes aminomethyl propanol, the serves to adjust your hair’s PH level. Moreover, the spray leaves a nice shine (but not too shiny) and a pleasant citrusy scent. You generally won’t need to apply more than a thin layer in the morning, but you can it layer it throughout the day if necessary.
- Superior hold
- A little goes a long way
- Helps condition hair
- The nozzle is sometimes harder to control
TIGI makes great styling products and their Bed Head Hard Head Spray is no exception. It keeps your hair in place and works well for many different styles and hair textures.
Do you want your hair to have more volume? If so, Boldify has a hairspray just for you. Their Thickening Spray is the best hairspray for volume, and that’s saying a lot considering how many contenders there are to the crown.
Here’s another thing we like about this spray and Boldify’s products in general: their products don’t contain parabens, alcohol, or sulfates and if you’re looking for the best natural hairspray out there, the Thickening Spray rates near the top of the list.
But let’s get back to the volumizing qualities of Boldify’s Thickening Spray, which comes with a 60-second guarantee in which your limp locks will get a noticeable lift in a minute or less.
Boldify advises users to spray a moderate mist over wet hair and then letting it dry to get not only exceptional thickness and volume, but also a layered textured finish with just enough hold to keep it all in place.
The moderate but not heavy hold comes from a lightweight formula that doesn’t leave a sticky buildup or weigh own your hair like many other hairsprays for men. As the folks at Boldify put it, it’s a “hair texture spray + volume spray without the gunky residue.”
Another Boldify Thickening Spray benefit is that it makes for easy styling thanks to its lightweight hold and how it provides a natural definition. You can easy it as a pre-styler, or to keep things in place after you’ve styled your hair the way you want, and it’s no surprise that it’s a go-to product of many barbers and stylists.
Boldify’s Hair Thickening Spray not only works well for men with limp hair but also is effective for men with thinning hair because it helps to provide increased thickness. If you’re a man with thin hair, you’ll appreciate how this spray allows you to be more ambitious and creative with hairstyles. It’s also effective when used on short hair for the same reasons.
On the other hand – and it’s another reason why we like this spray – it’s an effective styling solution for men of all hair types and textures. No matter what type of hair you have, however, Boldify’s Hair Thickening Spray offers both short and long-term improvements to your hair.
Last, but not least, Boldify offers a 100% money back guarantee which means you can try it risk-free.
- Thickens hair
- Lightweight, non-sticky formula
- Doesn’t contain harmful chemicals
- Some reviewers say it leaves hair a little dry
Boldify’s Hair Thickening Spray works brilliantly for men with thinning hair while also having enough versatility to suit every man’s styling needs. You’ll love its lightweight formula that doesn’t leave a sticky buildup or weigh your hair down.
OK, so Clubman’s Non-Aerosol Styling & Grooming Spray isn’t, at least according to Clubman, that is, technically a “hairspray” it still does everything you’d expect from one. The notion of a grooming spray is more palatable for those men who get a bit squeamish about using a product (hairspray) that they think is mainly for women.
But what’s in a name, anyway? Clubman’s spray works, which is the most important thing, and is perhaps the best non-aerosol hairspray for men available today. Among other things, we like its hold and quick-drying, non-flaking formula that works effectively on all hair types, including wavy and curly.
The formula is lightweight and never feels heavy on your hair, and has a subtle, yet manly scent that appeals to many men.
Clubman’s spray comes in an 8-ounce pump bottle that dispenses the product in a fine mist. It’s easy to apply and you don’t have to worry so much about drenching your hair with it.
Finally, Clubman’s Supreme Non-Aerosol Styling and Grooming Spray comes at a price that’s very affordable, especially when you consider the overall quality of the product.
- Lightweight feel
- Subtle but pleasing fragrance
- Easy to apply mist
- May not provide as strong of a hold as other sprays
Clubman’s Supreme Styling & Grooming Spray is an excellent alternative for men looking for non-aerosol sprays that are, well, a bit more masculine. It works well with other styling products, such as pomade and wax, and is versatile enough to use on many different hair types.
You can argue that Awapuhi’s Wild Ginger Texturizing Sea Spray isn’t hairspray at all, but in our mind that would be splitting hairs (no pun intended). It does everything that products labeled “hairspray” do while backed by the Paul Mitchell name.
If you’re like us, you wonder just what Awapuhi is, or means, and it turns out to be a ginger plant commonly found in Hawaii, among other tropical locales. It has a unique fragrance, which you’ll notice in this spray, but one that doesn’t overpower the senses.
Its scent isn’t the main reason why we chose this spray, however, although it’s a nice attribute for men who don’t mind a bit of fragrance in their styling products. We like it because, for one, it’s perhaps the best flexible hairspray available to men; it provides a subtle hold without impeding your hair’s natural movement.
In turn, the latter makes the Awapuhi Wild Ginger spray ideal for creating tousled, beach-like hairstyles while adding the right amount of volume and texture. You’ll like how it adds volume to thinner hair, or enhances your already-thick locks.
Another one of this spray’s pluses is that its formula helps balance the moisture of your hair and scalp to provide a natural, healthy-looking finish while enhancing volume. It’s a water-based spray, so it leaves no sticky residue and washes out easily in the shower.
What’s nice, for men and women, is that the Awapuhi Wild Ginger sprays helps eliminate the need to use styling tools (and heat) for creating the wavy, bouncy kind of style many people prefer. You’ll achieve the tousled, messy look that many people prefer, but it won’t look like bed head, either.
- Makes it easy to create a natural look
- Lightweight formula
- Excellent fragrance
- Somewhat pricier than other hairsprays for men
The Awapuhi Wild Ginger spray is a great product for any man looking to achieve a naturally-looking or tousled type of hairspray. You’ll even like its scent.
The Sebastian Shaper hairspray is another product with enough hold to make it ideal for active men while providing enough control without restricting the hair’s natural bounce and movement.
This isn’t a spray intended only for active men, however, thanks to it lightweight blend that’s suitable for all hair types and styles. Again, its hold isn’t light, sticky or crunchy, and you can easily comb your hair while wearing it.
Sebastian’s Shaper Hairspray also helps give your hair a natural shine that never looks glossy or greasy.
- Fantastic hold
- Retains your hair’s natural bounce and movement
- Great for active men
- Scent is a bit strong for some
Sebastian Shaper’s spray is known for its superior, yet natural hold, one that outperforms many other sprays. It helps to keep your hair from becoming too messy while still maintaining its natural look.
How to use hairspray for men to keep you looking your best
There’s no reason to be intimidated by hairspray, even if you’re slowly emerging from the “hairspray is for women” cocoon in which many men have lived in for many years. It’s a great tool for achieving the hairstyle you want. That said, here are some techniques for applying hairspray that you can master in no time.
Make sure your hairspray is tailored to the finish you want
We included finish in our hairspray-buying tips and it’s worth another mention. Have a clear idea what type of finish you want to achieve, whether it’s one with a high shine, more volume, or a natural matte. Again, read the label carefully; it should include an indication of the spray’s hold.
Begin with dry hair
It’s best to apply hairspray to dry hair. You want your hairspray to provide hold, but not feel crunchy or resemble a helmet resting on the top of your head. If you apply it to wet hair and then let it dry, the possibility of helmet-head is greater, so only apply it after your dried your hair (and then styled it with another grooming product, if you so choose). Note: You should always try to apply hairspray on clean hair, although it may not be as clean when or if you need a touch-up bit of spray during the day.
If your goal is to achieve a wet look, it’s OK to apply a small amount of water to dampen your hair and then apply hairspray. Use a hairdryer and comb – preferably one with wider teeth – to get your desired style.
Applying the spray
Shake the can of hairspray for a few seconds to ensure that its ingredients are mixed properly. Also, make sure that the nozzle is free from any obstruction so that it provides an even mist of spray. Hold the can about 8 to 15 inches away from your hair and spray a moderate amount. “Moderate” is the key word here; avoid applying an excessive amount that leaves your hair too stiff or crunchy. Use a circular motion when applying the spray.
If you want to add more overall volume to your hair, keep your head tilted downward and spray the underside of your hair toward its roots to provide extra lift. Or, if your goal is to add more texture or give your hair a “messy” look, simply apply a bit of spray on your hands and rub it into the hair from the roots up.
A key point to remember when using hairspray is to apply only a light coating on your hair instead of applying so much that it looks like a layer of dew.
Apply only where needed
There’s no need to spray all of your hair if you only want to target certain areas for styling. For instance, don’t spray the back of your head if you prefer to maintain a natural there.
Use your hairspray with other products
One of the beauties of hairspray is that it works superbly in conjunction with other hair styling products such as gel, pomade, clay, etc. Apply your styling product first and then use hairspray before the product dries on your hair. You’ll still get the look that you’re trying to achieve with the other products, but with an even firmer hold.
How hairspray compares to other styling products
Today’s man has more hairstyling products available to him than ever before. Hairspray is just one option, albeit a good one, and works effectively on a variety of hairstyles and hair types. But how does hairspray stack up against all the rest? Let’s take a brief look:
Hairspray is versatile. It adds hold. It’s lightweight enough not to weigh your hair down. You can use it to help you achieve different styles. It also has advantages that other styling products don’t have, including that it – especially when targeted for your hair type – will leave a more natural look. And it’s great for styles and hair types that require more volume.
Hairspray is also the ideal finishing product and for use after you’ve applied other products to your hair, if you use multiple products, that is. You can use hairspray to cover the outer layer of your hair, or you can spray it deeply into its roots to coat it and give it more lift.
We spoke earlier about three primary types of hold that hairspray offers – flexible, medium, and maximum.
- Flexible hold sprays have the least amount of staying power and work best with longer hairstyles. They allow some natural movement and just enough control to reduce frizziness.
- Medium hold hairspray offers a slightly stronger hold than flexible hold sprays while allowing a bit of natural movement (when not used in excess).
- Maximum hold spray provides the most hold of all and works best for anyone who wants to keep every strand of hair in place the entire day. You’ll still maintain the definition and texture of your preferred hairstyle while keeping it locked into place. If your other styling products don’t provide the hold you require, then give your hair a couple of spritzes of maximum hold spray to keep it locked and loaded.
Not that hairspray has a spotless reputation. It used to contain chemicals that were harmful to humans and even contributed to ozone layer erosion. While hairspray formulas have come a long way and become safer, it still contains chemicals, including formaldehyde.
And, while hairspray side effects are less likely to occur nowadays, you may experience issues such as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin, and overly dry skin and hair, especially if you’re allergic to any of a spray’s ingredients. It always pays to read the label, or do your research, to learn what ingredients are in a spray’s formula.
Men use hair gel more than any other styling product. It offers a firm hold and a high shine, although its hold, like hairspray, varies from product to product.
While gel is the go-to product of many men, it has some drawbacks – including that it can cause excessive dryness because the chemicals found in many gels strip moisture from the hair. It can also cause your hair to become overly frizzy.
Hair wax is useful for attaining a variety of hairstyles, from messy to those with more structure. It has a medium hold that’s not as firm as hair gel but still pliable enough to allow you to restyle your hair when needed. Waxes tend to have a medium shine that’s not overly glossy.
Ah, pomade – the stuff of pompadours, quiffs, and other neat, slick-looking hairstyles. Pomade is creamier than wax and less drying than gel, and has a medium to lightly-hard hold that still allows you to restyle your hair throughout the day.
Pomades fall into two main categories: oil-based and water-based. Oil-based pomades include grease or petroleum products, but can clog the pores of your scalp if used in excess. Water-based pomades may not provide a firm of a hold as their oil-based brethren, but they wash out easily and don’t impede your hair’s natural movement.
Clay is a relative newcomer to the men’s hairstyling game and offers various benefits, including that it nourishes the hair and scalp because it contains a healthy dose of minerals and nutrients that are good for hair health. It also has a firmer hold than pomade and adds thickness to your hair. It’s also lightweight and absorbed into the hair without leaving a noticeable residue behind.
If you have a hairstyle that requires extra volume but don’t want to weigh your hair down, then you may want to give styling clay a try.
Hair creams work well with coarse, curly, or thick hair and give hair flexibility with a very light hold. Most creams include moisturizing ingredients and act as a conditioning lotion to help keep frizziness at bay. A cream is a good option if you don’t like the weight of pomade or wax.
Paste is a versatile men’s styling product that provides medium hold and shine. Hair paste typically is thicker than pomade and suits most hairstyles. A quality paste gives your hair flexibility and separation while also adding volume and texture when you apply it before blow drying your hair. Most paste is water-based and easy to wash out.
How we chose the best hairspray for men (2019)
The good news is that you shouldn’t have much problem finding a hairspray for men that fits your needs and hair type. With that in mind, our goal was to offer a selection of sprays that were effective for many hair types and lengths, and also offered different types of hold, shine, and even price. When possible, we tried to include products that were a little less chemical-heavy.
As always, we carefully considered the reviews of others, particularly the reviews of those who use or have used the products.
How about you? Do you use hairspray for men and, if so, what’s your go-to spray? Have you tried the sprays on our list? We welcome your feedback and suggestions.