As far as men’s grooming products go, it isn’t one of the most commonly used. But it gives you a quick fix in so many different scenarios. You’re about to learn how to use hairspray in the most effective way possible.
Before we do, however, it’s important to answer a question that is often on a man’s mind before he reaches for that spray.
Should Guys Use Hairspray?
Hairspray should be used by men looking for a simple way to add a layer of hold to protect against humidity and rain. It’s especially useful for guys with thin, silky hair types who may struggle to keep their hair in place.
It should be applied after you finish styling and shouldn’t really be touched again afterward.
That’s because the hold you produce with hairspray is usually pretty stiff and not pliable. It isn’t ideal if you’re looking to restyle during the course of the day.
The somewhat crispy hold you get from hairspray is similar to what you’d expect from a hair gel or water based pomade.
It’s a “set it and forget it” type of hold that you shouldn’t have to worry about after you’ve applied it. To some men, this is very appealing.
Men with thicker or wavier hair types who find it easier to build volume and to make their hair stay upright may not find hairspray quite as useful.
They’d probably be better off simply applying an additional layer of hair product such as clay, pomade, or whatever else they use.
This would most likely be enough for them.
However, certain hairstyles are so tall and voluminous that all hair types could potentially benefit from a layer of hairspray.
The modern pompadour is a good example. It’s common to apply some hairspray after you’ve finished styling with a round brush, pomade, blow dryer, and whatever else is used.
It safeguards against the risk of the pomp falling flat after a couple of hours. A simple layer of hairspray can provide you with that reassurance.
Hairspray is also great for keeping flyaways down – those stray, pesky hairs that seem to spring up no matter how long you spend styling. When you’re looking for a slick and defined finish, flyaways can sometimes ruin the end result.
So, to sum that up, here are the men who would benefit the most from hairspray:
- Men who simply can’t get enough hold with their usual post-styling products.
- Men who struggle with flyaways no matter how hard they try
- Thin, straight, fine, soft hair types who struggle to keep their hair upright and in place.
- Men with complex, tall, and ultra-voluminous hairstyles
- Men who don’t mind a relatively stiff, “set it and forget it” hold at the end.
How To Use Hairspray In 5 Steps (Men’s Guide)
Here’s a step-by-step routine that men can follow to apply hairspray in a simple and effective way, each and every time.
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1. Wash And Style
Hairspray should be the final step in your styling process.
In other words, applied after you’ve washed, dried, and styled.
Although there are some who use hairspray as their only styling product, in general, this isn’t advisable.
It should be used as an additional layer of hold and for touch-ups, as opposed to the main styling tool used.
It should be applied to dry or nearly dry hair. Applying it to wet hair will usually make the finish stiffer, crispier, and more greasy looking – not ideal for most men.
Wash, dry, and style the hair as you would normally.
Let’s say you were styling a high-volume quiff or a pompadour. Washing the hair and getting rid of excess dirt, grime, and oil will reduce the weight and make it more likely that it’ll stay in place once you’ve styled it.
Blow-dry with a round brush and apply a layer of water-based or oil-based pomade to give it some gloss and hold.
Once you’ve finished styling, it’s now time to apply the hairspray to flatten any flyaways and keep it in place for the long haul.
2. Flatten The Flyaways
Flyaways are stray hairs that spring up despite your initial styling efforts. They could be anywhere.
Take a look in the mirror from different angles to see if you can spot any.
Cowlicks are common areas for flyaways. This is because the hair grows in many different directions here.
Trying to comb or style all of the hair here in one direction is bound to cause some of them to protest and spring back up.
Flattening flyaways can really make the difference between an amateurish effort and a polished finish.
It’s usually a good idea to flatten the flyaways before you start spritzing the hairspray.
What I like to do is spray a small amount of the hairspray onto my hand (palm and fingers) and use that to lay any flyaways flat.
It gives me a lot more control. Simply blasting these flyaways with sprays of hairspray isn’t necessarily going to flatten them. If anything, it’ll stiffen them up in their current, unwanted, upright position.
But applying a small amount to your hands and manually flattening them should do the trick.
You’ve got the usual control you can expect from your hands, with the hold you’d expect from hairspray.
If you’re struggling to flatten the flyaways, pay attention to the direction in which you’re trying to lay them down.
A common reason for hair sticking up is trying to style it against the grain. In other words, trying to lay it flat against its natural direction of growth.
So, try switching up the direction you’re trying to flatten it and try again.
3. Hold It At A Safe Distance
For one, spraying from too close a distance is going to do more harm than good. The pressure from the spray would be too much when held too close to your hair.
It’ll actually change the shape of the style itself due to the sheer force.
In addition, holding it too close will lead to a wetter-looking and stiffer finish.
You also want to keep it further away from your eyes.
Around 6 to 8 inches away from the hair is a pretty good rule of thumb. Holding it at this distance before spraying will lead to a light mist falling onto your hair as opposed to anything too heavy or wet.
It also means that it’ll fall onto a wider area of your hair instead of just specific and small areas.
This is less wasteful and more effective.
You don’t want all of the hairspray falling onto only a few areas.
4. Apply A Light Mist All Over
Bear in mind that all hairsprays are different. You should have a read of the instructions of your specific hairspray to ensure you’re using it safely and effectively.
In general, however, the following tips should serve you well.
After you’ve given it a couple of shakes and held it at a safe distance (6 to 8 inches away from the hair), you’re now ready to apply it to your styled hair.
Cover your eyes and nose with your other hand to protect them.
Spray a light mist over your hair from different angles. Remember, avoid focusing the spray on any specific area of your hair for too long.
Focus on a general, all-over spritz from various different angles for a few seconds only.
Using these core guiding principles should leave you with a finish that isn’t too shiny, wet-looking, or crispy.
Instead, what you’ve got is a light blanket of hairspray over your hair that looks (kind of) natural.
5. Leave It Alone
Hairspray isn’t meant to give you a pliable hold. In other words, it isn’t meant for restyling during the course of the day.
You can if you want to – but it won’t be easy. You’ll most likely have to apply a small amount of moisture to soften things up first before you’re able to.
But the hold from hairspray should be thought of as a final touch – something you “set and forget” for the day.
The hold it gives you should allow you to treat it like that.
Playing around with it will simply loosen the style up. Flyaways will rear their head again and you’ll struggle to flatten them out without using more product.
So, once you’ve applied the hairspray – leave the hair alone.
This does mean it’s important that you’re happy with the final style before you apply the hairspray.
It’s almost like locking in the style to prevent it from falling apart.
But once it’s locked, don’t touch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a couple of questions about hairspray that are frequently asked but rarely answered properly.
Can Men Use Womens Hairspray?
There is no reason why men can’t use women’s hairspray as they have exactly the same purpose – to produce an additional layer of hold.
As long as you ensure that you’re comfortable with any additional fragrances that may or may not have been used in the hairspray, it’ll be fine.
Can Hairspray Be Used Alone?
Hairspray should generally be used after the initial styling product has been used, in order to provide some additional hold. Using it as the only styling product will often lead to below-average results.
It’s meant to be used after your final styling efforts and not for the actual styling itself.
Although it’s unlikely to do harm, it’ll give you a worse aesthetic outcome.
Hairspray may not be the first thing that springs to a man’s mind when he faces styling troubles.
But it’s a surprisingly simple fix to a couple of key issues.
More specifically – a weak hold and flyaways.
Hopefully, you now know how to use hairspray to deal with these problems in a simple yet effective manner.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.