Order for Placing Styling Products on HairQ: I was wondering if there is a correct order for placing styling products on your hair (such as mousse, root spray, serum) prior to blow drying in order to get the best benefit of these products. Thank you for a wonderful web site.
A: Actually, while there's no official order of use for hair styling products, there may be some general guides suggested by manufacturers (which will be listed on product packaging). There are also some generally accepted techniques used by professionals to adjust and adapt the specific products effects to get desired results. Allow me to explain:
Your general bodifying and all-over hold products, such as styling gels, mousse and setting lotions are usually applied to towel-dried hair prior to styling. This means that there is enough moisture in the hair to allow the products to be distributed evenly, and the results are typically as expected from this method of application.
However, applying these products to dry hair, generally requires more product to saturate the hair and evenly coat it, and this results in stiffer, stronger hold and firmer styling results that last longer. There may be situations where this is the desired effect.
Conversely, when you apply your styling products to wet hair that has yet to be towel-dried, the products are slightly (or significantly) diluted in the distribution and subsequent towel-drying phase. The results in these cases are a lighter hold and effect in the finished style.
Protective, texturing and smoothing products are generally applied to damp hair prior to drying and styling, since their purpose is usually to prevent damage and frizz or fly-away strands. These, however, can be used on dry hair at the end of the styling process in order to add shine, smooth targeted areas, or in the case of texturing products, give firmer results.
Root Sprays fall under the same category as bodifying agents and styling products. The damper the hair to which it is applied the more muted the effect will be. For maximum volume and lift, most root spray is used during the drying process, after the hair has been partially dried.
To get your maximum benefit from your products, learn how they work and play around with the order in which you apply them to see the various looks you can get. Once you are comfortable with how an individual product responds with your hair in a particular application technique, you can use multiple products to further enhance the results you want.
For example, for maximum lift at the scalp, you can start with styling gel applied to damp (towel-dried) hair and begin blow drying the hair with your head inverted. Once the hair is partially dry, use a root-lift spray at the scalp line and continue drying the hair, either with the head still inverted, or by holding the hair up and away from the scalp as you dry sections to create volume in targeted areas. Use the root spray on the hair once dry to further pump up the lift in specific areas if you so desire.
How to style hair