10 hair products no kit is complete without
Exactly what every beauty kit needs
By Sherine Youssef
marie claire / September 20 2017
Wondering which hair products you should have in your beauty kit to cover you for every occasion, hairstyle or weather scenario imaginable? These are them. Some old, some new – all amazing and a must-have for every stash.
“This has been around forever so it’s often overlooked, but hairspray is essential to keep strands in place and maintain flyaways,” explains R+Co’s Australian ambassador Barney Martin. And for those who recall the hurricane-proof hairsprays of yesteryear, good news: it’s no longer a one-size-fits-all formula. Today’s lighter, finer sprays offer movement and staying power.
Know this: Use too much and you may get white flakes. Instead, “mist a little on your brush and run over hair for instant taming”, says Martin.
Product pick: KMS Hair Stay Working Hairspray
This miracle worker not only “makes hair look super healthy and glossy on the outside, it also works on rehydrating your hair from the inside”, explains Martin. All hair types can benefit from a leave-in treatment, which can be applied to just the areas that need the most attention (often mid-lengths and ends).
Know this: Martin prefers cream formulas as they tend to be more lightweight than others and won’t weigh down your hair.
Product pick: Pantene Pro-V Ultimate 10 BB Crème
Sea salt spray
This is the key to cool-girl style. A couple of things to remember: “Use on damp hair, spritz into the palm of the hands and not directly on hair, and use it on mid-lengths and ends (not the roots) to avoid a crispy finish,” advises Martin. Want even more texture? Switch your hairdryer to a gentle, cool setting and use your hands to scrunch in the product.
Try this: “For beachy texture, apply to dry hair or post-blow-dry to deconstruct the finish,” adds Martin.
Product pick: R+Co Rockaway Salt Spray
“A quality tool will provide even heat distribution and reduce the likelihood of burning the hair,” explains Martin. His can’t-live-without device: a curling wand for creating the coveted S-bend kink.
Do this: The trick to natural-looking waves (as opposed to pageant-style princess curls) is to leave the ends of the hair alone.
Product pick: ghd Curve Classic Wave Wand
Good-quality brushes (together with tools, see #4) are the investment pieces of your hair kit. “It’s worth spending money on these as they’ll last longer and [ultimately] pay for themselves,” says Martin. Ceramic-barrelled brushes retain heat and help speed up drying, while boar-bristle brushes are ideal for perfectly smoothing the hair.
Try this: “For a smooth yet bouncy blow-dry, use a boar-bristle brush and aim the nozzle of your dryer downwards,” suggest Martin.
Product pick: Mason Pearson Popular Pure Bristle & Nylon Brush
A thermal protector works in two ways: it shields against the harmful effects of heated styling tools (think dullness, breakage and colour fading) and it can help speed up the styling process. “You wouldn’t sit on the beach without sunscreen because you know how damaging that can be to your skin – why would you treat your hair any differently?” asks Martin. The lesson: don’t pick up a tool without using a heat protector first.
Do this: You need to mist a heat protector on every inch of your hair, from root to tip. Don’t skimp.
Product pick: TONI&GUY Heat Protection Mist
Like hairspray and mousse, gel has found it hard to shrug off its bad-‘80s-hair association. But don’t fall for that: used correctly, gel can give day-old hair a sleek new look – just remember to start with a little and add accordingly.
Do this: “Rub a dollop of gel between your palms and slick through your hair, from front to back, for a strong, graphic style or a super-slick pony or bun,” suggests Martin.
Product pick: Davroe Styling Construct Gel
This almost doesn’t need an explainer. From extending a blow-dry to refreshing dirty hair, adding texture to mid-lengths, volume to roots, grip to braids and giving a finished style that effortlessly undone look, dry shampoo is the overachiever of your arsenal.
Know this: Don’t get too close – always spray roots from a distance to absorb oil without leaving behind those telltale white marks.
Product pick: L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Dry Shampoo
“Mousse has always been a stylists’ favourite because it absorbs evenly into the hair and lays the foundation for a voluminous blow-dry that will last all day and night,” says Martin.
Know this: You have to shake the can vigorously (otherwise the formula will come out watery), and coat hair from roots right down to the ends.
Product pick: Joico Power Whip 09 Whipped Foam Mousse
Shampoo and conditioner
Sure, every woman has these, but finding the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type is a game changer. They’ll clean and repair while promoting healthy hair and long-lasting style.
Do this: “Massage shampoo on the scalp in circular motions using your fingertips, and leave the conditioner in for as long as the bottle recommends,” advises Martin.
Now that you know the hair products and tools you need to own, these are the products to put in your makeup starter kit.
For more hair expertise from the marie claire beauty team, go to marieclaire.com.au
If you had to pick just one hair product or tool you couldn't live without, what would it be?!
Main image credit: Getty