Hair Products 101

With so many hair products on the market, trying to find the right products for you can be overwhelming. I’ve compiled a list of basic hair products with a brief description of each. If you are having trouble finding products that work for you, your stylist will be able to make some recommendations. If you haven’t found a regular stylist just yet, simply visit a local salon. Many salons sell retail products and will be able to assess your hair and help you find the right product for you.

A Few Reminders:

  • To fight frizz or dryness you’ll need to hydrate the hair. Leave-in conditioners, styling creams and oils work best for this, along with a weekly conditioning treatment.
  • To add body to fine hair try dry shampoo, lightweight mousse, root lifters and thickening products.
  • When rinsing your hair it’s best to use cool-cold water to smooth down the cuticle, or outer layer of the hair. Smoothing down the cuticle not only prevents color fading, but also locks in conditioner so you’re left with soft manageable hair!



Shampoo – used to cleanse hair and remove dirt, oil, and product build-up. Formulated for specific effects, such as volume or hydration.

  • Look for ‘color safe’ or ‘sulfate-free’ to preserve your color
  • Use clarifying shampoo to remove heavy build-up and to remove chlorine after swimming. Always follow with conditioner, as clarifying the hair can cause dryness.
  • Keep blonde hair bright with a purple shampoo to cancel out yellow/brassy tones

Dry Shampoo – absorbs oil between regular shampoos, comes in powder or aerosol form, apply at roots, let absorb, massage into scalp and brush through to remove excess product.

  • Great for adding body and texture before styling. I always spray some on before I do bridal and prom styles to help them last all night!
  • Works very well if applied before going to bed, absorbing oil while you sleep.

Conditioner – used to soften and hydrate hair, helps with detangling, formulated for specific hair types

Treatment/Mask – deeper penetrating conditioner, used for intense hydration or repair, usually left on 10-15 minutes with or without heat, then rinsed out, use weekly or as needed

  • Does your hair feel weak and brittle or break off easily? Use a conditioner with protein to strengthen hair that’s been damaged from chemical services or overusing heat tools.

Cleansing Conditioner – gentle product that cleanses and conditions in one step, used to remove dirt and product without stripping the hair’s natural oils, works best  on dry, coarse, and curly hair, works very well when alternated with your regular shampoo.


  • Tip : If you have heavy product build-up such as hairspray and gel, it’s best to use a clarifying or your regular shampoo.

Leave-In Conditioner – used to detangle and lightly hydrate hair, spray on clean towel dried hair and comb through, do not  rinse out. Some formulas provide benefits such as protection from heat tools, UV rays and color fading.

  • To prevent dryness and buildup from chlorine, spritz some leave-in conditioner on damp hair before swimming. This will also help prevent blonde hair from turning green!


Blow-Dry Products – creams, gels, sprays or other products formulated specifically for blow drying, these products offer various benefits including heat protection, extended life of blowout, control, moisture or volume.


Styling Cream – used to smooth and lightly control hair before heat styling or air drying.

Mousse – foam product used to add body and control, comes in varying degrees of hold, can be used before heat styling or air drying, great for all hair types

Root Lifter – used to add volume to fine or limp hair, apply sparingly at roots and work through the rest of the hair for added body

  • Most commonly found in a mousse form, but also comes in powder form. Root lifting powder works great for teasing, providing grip and hold to the teased hair.

Thickening Spray – for fine hair, used to add density or thickness, giving the appearance of fuller hair, blow dry for best results

Sea Salt Spray – lightweight saltwater spray used on damp or dry hair to add beachy, relaxed texture, blow dry with a diffuser for more texture or scrunch and air dry for a more natural look

Pomade – classic men’s grooming product, used to smooth hair for sleek styles such as a pompadour, varying degrees of hold and shine

Wax/Clay  – thicker than pomade, used to create messy texture, varies from light to firm hold, and matte to shiny finishes, can be found in a jar or spray form

Oil/Serum – used to condition and smooth hair, works best dry or curly hair to combat frizz,  use before blow drying for soft manageable hair, use after styling to smooth flyaways and add shine.

  • Remember to be very light handed with oils, especially when trying out a new one! A little bit goes a long way, and it’s very easy to use too much. Start out with a small amount, and add more as needed.

Gel – styling product with many uses, including scrunching curls, adding hold to blowouts, and creating sleek styles, comes in various amounts of hold and shine

Thermal Protector – used to protect hair against the extreme heat of styling tools, available in various degrees of hold and shine, to use mist on to dry hair before flat ironing or curling.


  • This is an absolutely essential product if you are going to use heat tools! I use it every single day on myself and clients.
  • For curls that last for days, try a firm hold heat spray, then follow with hairspray. For soft, touchable tresses, use thermal spray with little to no hold and follow with serum or shine spray.

Hairspray – essential product with many uses including adding hold, texture or shine and smoothing flyaways

  • For a sexy, messy style, use wax/clay to add a piecey look, then follow with a texturizing hairspray for hold and additional texture
  • For softer looks, opt for a light to medium hold spray, for long lasting styles, use firm to super firm spray.
  • If you don’t have access to a firm hold thermal protector, try using the one you have, then blasting with a little firm hold hairspray for extra staying power!

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