Reader Question: Can you do a post on layering products? Between mousse, waxes, texturizers, oils, etc I have no idea what goes together and what does not, or in what order to apply them. I was a teenager in the 80’s so I still basically use mousse and hairspray and need to get out of my rut! -Tammy
I can totally understand how overwhelming hair products can be if you are unfamiliar with them! I have found that a lot of stylists don’t communicate how and why to use certain products as they are finishing a clients’ hair, and that leaves the client (you!) in the dark!
And then they try to encourage you to buy it as you are leaving, but you aren’t exactly sure why you need it!
So, I’ll break down a basic rule of thumb for layering hair products, but since every hair texture is different, it ultimately takes some trial and error on your part to determine what works best for you.
Basic rule: Start with the thinnest/lightest products first, and work your way up to the thicker ones.
And let me chime in here by telling you that you don’t NEED to use multiple products. But if you do, this is a great way to get them to work effectively.
But if you do layer products,
I’ll run through a few of my favorite combo’s from my time behind the chair.
Naturally curly/wavy hair –> straight : I’d always use Redken Slim Supreme* first, despite it only being labeled for use on “fine hair”. I loved how light but effective this serum was. I’d also use it after the hair was dry and straightened, to seal everything down. After Slim Supreme I’d choose a creamier product to help soften and smooth the hair shaft as I blew it dry. More often than not, I reached for Redken Align. It’s a bit sticky, but it was great for resistant hair.
*as usual, the great products always are discontinued! I’ll try to find a dupe.
Fine or flat hair –> volumized : I would always, no matter what, start with my all-time favorite Aquage Uplifting Foam at the roots. Then I’d either add a non-aerosol spray like Redken Body Full Volume Amplifier or apply L’anza Healing Volume mishaft to ends. I recently tried Kevin Murphy’s Anti Gravity Oil Free Volumiser and I LOVED it. So that could be a good mishaft product to apply for lots of volume all over.
Curly –> curly : More often than not my curly haired clients wanted their hair straightened so it was extremely rare that I styled the hair curly, but a good concoction I’ve learned is serum + cream for the softest, touchable curls. If you need to use a bit of gel for hold, but hate the crunchy gel feel, mix a bit of a creamy product in with your gel to soften it a bit.
Straight hair –> textured, soft waves : I would typically save the bulk of my products for the dry, curled hair so I would keep it simple with a bit of It’s a 10 prior to blow drying. Then, after the hair is dry and curled with an iron, I’d use a texture spray, read this post to see some of my favorites, or even a texture powder at the roots to mess things up a bit. (Read this post if you want to know the difference between texture powder and texture spray)
In general, unless the hair was extremely limp and lifeless, I would always spray a bit of It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In treatment for repair and protection or KMS Free Shape to cut a bit of blow dry time.
So as you can see, there’s a great variety in the products I used depending on the clients’ hair and hair goal. Mixing and matching different products was always fun for me, and I’d recommend trying it if you are bored with your hair. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you come up with! But remember, use the lightest/thinnest products first!