The Right Way To Use Your Styling Products

Identifying the right styling products for your hair type is like finding the perfect pair of jeans. Once you have The One, you're ready to make a lifetime commitment. But, when it comes to a hair product, how you use it is just as important as the formula itself. It's one thing to have a shelf full of pro stylers, but that means nothing if you're using them all wrong. So, we asked stylist to the stars, Aviva Perea, to give us her expert advice on how to maximize the efficacy of everything you use. Her 10 tips will help you streamline your regimen — and ensure you’re getting the most bang(s) for your buck.
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Close The Caps
“Nine times out of 10, when I go to my clients' houses I notice that their shampoo and conditioner caps are left open — a huge pet peeve [of mine],” Perea states. Leaving your bottles open allows air to seep in, oxidizing the active ingredients and reducing their efficacy.
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Distribute Evenly
Say goodbye to the spritz and tousle. To make sure your styling product is penetrating each strand, you have to distribute it evenly. “Taking the time to properly apply the product before you blowdry your hair will save you time in the end, because the product will work the way it’s supposed to, and you won’t have to layer on more,” Perea advises. Using duckbill clips, start at the nape of your neck and apply your styler in one-inch sections working your way to the top. Try this technique for anything you apply prior to blowdrying.
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Multitask With Non-Multitaskers
You’ve heard it before: Less is more. And, despite the fact that there are so many products on the market to help you achieve your desired look, you don’t need them all. “Use one product in all of the ways that you can so you don’t have layers of build-up,” Perea says. Finding a few star products means you won’t have to shampoo as often, either. Remember, just because your favorite styler doesn’t claim to be a multi-tasker doesn’t mean it isn't one. For example, she uses the cult-classic hairspray L’Oreal Elnett Satin as a shine spray, too.
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Use Oils In Moderation
“There’s a misconception that if you use a hair oil after your blowdry, you’ll have silky, shiny hair,” Perea says. “But, in reality, the hair's cuticle is sealed once it’s dried. Adding oil will only weigh it down and add build-up.” So, if you have extremely fried hair, apply hair oil to your strands from the mid-shaft to the ends before your blowdry.
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Emulsify Your Mousse
To aid in the proper distribution and “wake up the active ingredients” in your favorite mousse, Perea says to rub the dollop in between your hands so it emulsifies into a lotion-like texture before you apply it to your damp hair. This way, you don't end up with a straight-from-the-can blob concentrated on one section.
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Embrace Volumizer
Whether your hair needs added volume or not, don’t be afraid to use a thickening lotion, volumizing mousse, or even a body-building gel or serum. "Women get overwhelmed by volumizers, but they should really look at them like setting lotions," Perea explains. Using a lightweight volumizer before you blowdry will help add control to your style and make it last longer.
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Step Away From The Can
To avoid ‘80s-style mega-hold or random wet spots, make sure to hold the product a good distance away from your hair when spritzing. "Always keep your hand moving when using a finishing-spray product," says Perea. "You want to make sure it's coming out in a light, even stream, even if it's in a pump." As a general rule, if you have fine hair, hold the bottle at least six inches away from your head. If you have thick hair, go for at least three.
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Warm Up Wax
Whether you’re defining layers with wax or using pomade to style a pixie, you want to make sure the product is workable and doesn’t leave your strands looking greasy. Start using less than you think you need and warm it up in the palms of your hands so it becomes soft. “You can always add more as needed, but once it’s in, it’s stuck,” says Perea. The softer you make it, the easier it will be to use.
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Shimmy Dry Shampoo
The trick to getting the most out of your dry shampoo is in the application. “You need to move your hands a lot as you’re using dry shampoo,” says Perea. “Shimmy your fingers into it so it really distributes, but don’t massage your scalp as that will only release more oil.”
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Spritz A Mascara Wand
Besides essential stylers, Perea’s kit is loaded with mascara wands. “Sometimes you need a prop to achieve a look," she explains. Use them to tame flyaways by spritzing on a lightweight hairspray and brushing them down. Have a cowlick? You can smooth it out in the same way using a heavier hairspray. They also come in handy when you accidently use too much dry shampoo — just wet the wand and go over white spots.
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