How To Layer Hair Products 101
Let’s be real: No one wakes up with naturally perfect, textured hair. It just doesn’t happen. Any and all hairstyles ranging from the sleek and straight to elaborate updos need some help to look and stay fabulous. Luckily for us there’s a beauty product for any hairstyle and concern at our fingertips. Need some added texture to your limp locks? There’s a product for that! Need a little added shine to your dull mane? There’s a product for that! Need to refresh your hairstyle before you head out to happy hour? That’s right, there’s a product for that!
But just because there’s a solution to all hair issues under the sun, doesn’t mean we should be piling them all on haphazardly. There is actually a rule of thumb for layering hair products — and here’s how to get it done right.
Rule of Threes
When it comes to layering products, it’s important to survey your hair situation for the day and pick no more than three items to address those hair issues. Any more than three products could leave your hair greasy.
For sleek, shiny hair: Start with a leave-in conditioner, then apply heat protectant prior to using a blow dryer or flat iron. Once your hair is dried and straight, apply a smoothing serum or oil. Try the Matrix Biolage HydraSource Daily Leave-In Tonic and the Redken Satinwear 02 - Prepping Blow-Dry Lotion.
For beachy waves: After your wash, apply a leave-in conditioner. Next, thoroughly spray your locks with a sea salt spray and smooth any rough texture out with a styling wax like the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle TXT IT Hyper-Fix Putty.
For texture: After your wash and dry, apply a volumizing spray and a styling wax.
For natural volume: Start by applying a leave-in conditioner or detangler, then work in a root lifter like the Kérastase Lift Vertige.
For glossy curls: Start with an anti-frizz serum like the Garnier Fructis Marvelous Oil Frizz Defy, then apply a leave-in conditioner and flexible hold hair spray or setting spray to keep your curls buoyant and bouncy throughout the day
There’s a reason all hair products come with application instructions. All products work differently and are activated by different elements. For example, heat protectants, root lifters and most volumizing sprays should be applied prior to taking a blowdryer or heating tool to your mane. Leave-In conditioners and anti-frizz serums should be applied to clean, damp locks. Make sure you carefully read the directions on your product packaging and allow it to guide your hairstyling process.
Don’t Mix Products With the Same Purpose
When layering products, make sure each one has a distinct role. Avoid mixing products that serve the same purpose. For example, combining items designed to set and hold a style (like gel and hairspray or mousse and hairspray) could leave your hair crunchy and stiff. By the same token, mixing a sea salt spray and texturizing powder could be overkill and leave your hair feeling sticky and unmanageable.
Avoid putting a lot of product in your hair. This principle is particularly important when layering products. Apply small portions of creams and serums (about a dime-sized amount each) and be sure to hold all sprays about six inches away from your hair. If needed, gradually build on your product portions, but it’s important to keep it light to avoid product build-up.