13 Hairsprays to Try If You’re Tired of Stiff and Crunchy Hair

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There’s arguably no beauty product that’s experienced more of a ‘glow-up’ in the past few decades than the humble can of hairspray. Today’s spritzes are nothing like those of the ‘80s and ‘90s, where they were used to lock big hair in place with an impenetrable, shellac-like coating. Helmet head hair is a thing of the past, thanks to a wide array of new formulas that yes, deliver hold, but still leave hair feeling like hair. No matter your hair type or the look you’re rocking, a quick hit of hairspray can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring that style lasts from dusk till dawn.

Ahead, the best hairsprays that will fulfill all of your styling wants and needs.

Best Overall: L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray

L'Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray
Courtesy of Amazon

It wasn’t that long ago that this cult-classic was only sold overseas; we’ve heard countless stories about stylists flying back from Europe with cans upon cans stuffed in their suitcases. Happily, it’s available stateside these days, though it remains the gold standard among hair pros who rely on it for red carpets and photoshoots. To that point, it delivers some serious hold. But the really cool thing? Despite that strong hold, you can easily brush it out should you change your mind and want to re-style.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Bumble and Bumble Spray de Mode Flexible Hold Hairspray

Bumble and bumble Spray de Mode Flexible Hold Hairspray

Courtesy of Sephora

Simply put, this spray is a universal, fool-proof, crowd-pleaser. It works on any and every hair texture, from fine and straight to thick and curly (and everything in between). Plus, it’s equal parts working and finishing spray, meaning you can use it both as you’re styling to create volume and hold, and as the final step in your routine to set your finished style in place. But no matter how much you spray, your strands will still feel soft and touchable.

Best Drugstore: TRESemmé Compressed Micro Mist Level 2 Hairspray

TRESemme Compressed Micro Mist Hair Spray

Courtesy of Walmart 

The drugstore is home to a treasure trove of awesome hairspray options, but if we were forced to pick just one favorite, this would be it. First and foremost, it comes in four different levels of hold, as well as a fifth option for curly hair. And don’t worry, despite the skinny, compact size (which takes up much less room in an already crowded bathroom cabinet), it still contains the same amount of hairspray as a traditional can, thanks to a unique compressed technology.

Best Flexible Hold: R+Co Outer Space Flexible Hairspray

R+Co Outer Space Flexible Hairspray

 Courtesy of R+Co

Here’s a hairspray for all the hairspray haters out there. Spritz this on while styling to give your hair hold and volume, then one more time once you’re done. Trust us, you could keep on spritzing all day long and you’d never be left with crunchy strands, this is that lightweight and flexible. Also nice: The formula contains conditioning pro-vitamin B5 to keep your locks feeling extra soft and touchable.

Best Medium Hold: Kérastase Laque Couture Medium Hold Hairspray

Kérastase Laque Couture Medium Hold Hairspray

 Courtesy of Sephora

Goldilocks would approve of this mist—it offers the perfect amount of medium-level hold that’s neither too flexible nor too strong. Not to mention that it has the added benefit of delivering humidity protection to keep strands smooth and frizz-free, and even boasts protective UV filters to safeguard your color.

Best for Fine Hair: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Body Builder

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Body Builder

 Courtesy of Sephora

Using hairspray can always be a little risky when you have fine hair; spray on even just a little bit too much and you can instantly end up with limp locks. Enter the beauty of this pick. It delivers just a touch of light hold, but, more importantly, lots of airy volume at the same time. A totally unique nozzle (we have yet to see anything like it) lets you adjust the size and spray rate of the body-building polymers so that you can customize just how much volume you get. Tone it down for the finer pieces around your face, then amp it up for the roots and rest of your hair.

Runner-Up, Best for Fine Hair: Kenra Volume Spray 25

Not only does this formula add major body, but it also helps ensure your newly voluminous style says put—it boasts up to 120 hours of hold. On top of that, it touts 24-hour humidity resistance and 25 mph wind-resistance. So if you’re looking for a hairspray to save your style on those stormy, rainy days, this is it.

Best for Thick Hair: Dove Beauty Style + Care Extra Hold Hairspray

Dove Beauty Style + Care Extra Hold Hairspray

Courtesy of Target

As anyone with thicker hair will tell you, light and flexible hairsprays just won’t cut the mustard. A stronger formula, like this one, is a must if you really want to set your style. What’s nice about this choice is that yes, it gives you that strong level of hold and control, but without even a trace of crunch. Instead, tresses are still touchable and soft, though also nice and smooth, since the formula wards of frizzies, too.

Best for Curly Hair: Ouidad Curl Last Flexible-Hold Hairspray

To be fair, hairspray probably isn’t the first product that curly-haired girls will reach for. But along with your line-up of gels and creams, hairspray can play an important role, too—so long as you choose the right kind for your texture. Enter this option, specially formulated to keep curls in place with light, buildable hold that never feels (or looks) stiff. It also contains oat protein and sunflower oil to smooth and imparts a touch of shine.

Best Texturizing: Ouai Texturizing Hairspray

Ouai Texturizing Hairspray

 Courtesy of Sephora

Think of this as a hairspray-meets dry shampoo-meets texturizing spray mash-up where you get the best of all three of those worlds. It offers hold and texture, choice for looks like beachy waves, and has the added benefit of containing volcanic minerals that work to absorb excess oil, so it’s particularly perfect to use on days when you haven’t washed your hair. Not to mention that the floral-citrus scent smells delightful.

Best Shine-Enhancing: The Mane Choice Peach Black Tea Hair Spray

The Mane Choice Peach Black Tea Hair Spray

 Courtesy of Walmart

Many hairsprays can be drying, which then comes with the side effect of also leaving hair looking dull and lackluster. That’s why we appreciate that this pick (which also has the added distinction of being the only non-aerosol option on this list) contains oils and conditioning ingredients that leave tresses with a healthy, natural-looking sheen. The hold level is on the lighter side, so it’s best for fine to medium hair, though works well on both straight and curly textures. 

Best for Blow-Outs: Nexxus Comb Thru Volume Finishing Mist

Nexxus Comb Thru Volume Finishing Mist

Courtesy of Ulta 

As the name suggests, this pick is insanely featherweight, making it our go-to finishing step after a blow-out. Credit its proprietary Fluid-Fix technology that ensures your tresses stay full, bouncy, and totally touchable. The subtly glossy finish and sophisticated floral fragrance are just the icing on the cake.

Best for Updos: Alterna My Hair My Canvas City Slay Shielding Hairspray

Alterna My Hair My Canvas City Slay Shielding Hairspray

 Courtesy of Ulta

Even if you don’t reach for hairspray day-to-day, we’re willing to bet you’ll grab for one anytime you’re sporting any kind of updo, and you should make it this one. Along with buildable hold, it also offers heat protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, both attributes making it great to use at every step of the updo styling process. It blocks out humidity for up to 72 hours and is even infused with charcoal to help absorb oil and gunk while it does its holding duties.

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