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Brown Hair Comb Knot
Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Remember the good old days when hairspray was the end all, be all hair product? It was a simpler time back then: All a Southerner needed was her trusty can of Elnett and a teasing comb. Now if you stroll through the beauty aisle, it's hard to even find a frills-free can of hairspray thanks to all the latest styling formulations on the market. From volumizing powders and pomades to dry texturizers and everything in between, it's overwhelming for a girl to decipher which products she actually needs in her life. We talked with hair stylist, Laurie Heaps, to breakdown various stylers' "mane objectives" and to shed insights on the best way to use them.


Mane Objective: It adds volume and thickness to hair while reducing frizz and defining curls.
How To Use: Shake the can well and apply a quarter-sized amount evenly through strands. "If you're using a volumizing mousse (like Living Proof's Full Thickening Mousse), it can be applied at the roots to add thickness to fine hair," says Heaps.


Mane Objective: This styling aid provides long lasting hold and shine.
How To Use: "Try using gel for a wet look or to slick down the hair for a sleek pony or top knot," says Heaps. "Or apply gel with a tooth brush around your hairline to smooth flyaways."


Mane Objective: It infuses strands with shine while adding control. Its formulation tends to be lighter weight and more flexible than a gel.
How To Use: Pomade is ideal for slicked back styles. "Make sure to use sparingly—just a dab!" advises Heaps.

Dry Shampoo

Mane Objective: While its typical use is to absorb excess oil when you can't wash your hair, dry shampoo can also add texture and fullness.
How To Use: Hold the can about eight inches away from your head and spray into roots.

Styling Cream

Mane Objective: A cream is a perfect way to create a smooth, sleek style with a high gloss finish.
How To Use: Apply a dime size amount to damp hair before heat styling.

Volumizing Powder

Mane Objective: It adds height and texture.
How To Use: A little goes a long way. Rub it into roots with fingers in a circular motion. "Try Biosilk Volumizing Therapy Texturizing Powder. It provides a cool root lift to perk up any style throughout the day and it absorbs excess oils," explains Heaps.

Texture Spray

Mane Objective: A texturizing spray gives all hair textures a tousled effect and imparts strands with more grit and hold.
How To Use: Spritz and scrunch it in for a beachy style or use the spray before braiding to make hair less slippery.

Sea Salt Spray

Mane Objective: It adds body and texture to fine or lifeless hair.
How To Use: If you have finer locks, reach for a sea salt formula over a texture spray. Apply it evenly over damp hair and scrunch in with fingers. "For hair that's already dry, dampen it before application since it creates more volume," says Heaps.

WATCH: How to Perfectly Tease Your Hair

Hair Serum

Mane Objective: It polishes curls to reflect light while adding shine.
How To Use: Rub two to three drops between palms and gently smooth over dry hair concentrating mostly on the ends. Heaps recommends starting at the tips, then slowly working your way up towards the middle. "Move up the hair shaft only after most of the product is gone from your palms then smooth over the roots of your hair as a final step," she advises.


Mane Objective: Hairspray keeps the shape of your style in place and helps with frizz.
How To Use: Spray it on from eight to twelve inches away. Try layering it on for added control—just make sure the first coat is dry before reapplying.