From a Stylist: Hair Products That Are A Waste Of Money, Hair Products Worth The Splurge

People are always asking me how I have the most organized house.

LOL LOL LOL JK. No one has ever asked me that.

I DO get dozens of questions about haircare, though, since I’m a hair stylist (but I think it’s because I’m a hairstylist to really beautiful people) (not because I do much to my own hair during my first trimester) (as evidenced below on both counts).

Let’s do it. Let’s talk about hair product.

After nine years of salon experience, and dumping money into who knows how many hundreds of hair products, I’ve included my very favorite, tried and true products. While a good handful of items are a COMPLETE WASTE of money, I’ve found some little diamonds that are well worth every penny. I’m not loyal to any one brand, so the makers and price ranges vary! I don’t believe EVERY hair product needs to be professional. Am I allowed to say that?

Sidenote: I cannot (cannot cannot cannot) believe the number of people that are frustrated with their hair, but do not use ANYTHING in it. Maybe I can’t wrap my mind around that because I’m a stylist, but if you don’t like the way your skin looks, you put something on it, right? Makeup, lotion, something? If you don’t want frizz, use something in your hair.

I can change your color for you, but ultimately, your hair’s fate is in your hands.

That’s why, YES. YOU NEEEEEED at least ONE hair product in your own hair after washing. As a stylist, I usually use two or three:
1. A leave-in product for health/manageability (leave in conditioner, serum, balm, reconstructing lotion),
2. A product for styling (volumizing gel, mousse, sea salt spray, straightening lotions, etc), and
3. A product for finishing (hairspray, serum, oils, texturizing spray, etc).

If you choose just ONE product, a leave-in is most beneficial to your hair’s health. It coats your hair and adds a layer of protection against environmental factors, styling, and even water.

The following receive an Ashton Award (if Ashton Awards were real, I would prefer them be food related, but anyway) for being my favorite, general hair care items that I almost always have at the salon and can use on almost any hair type.

Best leave in leave in conditioner spray: Healthy Sexy Hair Tri Wheat Soy Leave In Conditioner. I use this on EVERY SINGLE CLIENT. It is perfectly light weight, adds moisture and slip to your hair. It allows you to comb through easily (gentle combing through tangled hair is THE easiest to avoid breakage issue, while rough combing the biggest perpetrator!)

*I would AVOID drugstore leave in conditioners as many tend to actually coat your hair with wax-y product, and over time, those layers and layers and layers of residue make it tough for me, your stylist, to get your color (specifically toner) just right. Toner cannot penetrate layers of built up hair product. Toner is what customizes lighter hair, and makes photos above achievable.

Best serum: Moroccan Oil. There are dozens and dozens of “Moroccan” knock offs, but this is my absolute favorite oil/serum. Even fine hair will appreciate the TLC (and smell!) of Moroccan Oil. Although the price tag is considerable, this bottle will easily last you a year. Use on wet hair as a leave-in, or dry hair to tame flyaways. (Paul Mitchell’s Super Skinny Serum is a second runner up.)

Best Hairspray: Meh. Don’t splurge on hairspray. While I think there are a handful of plain terrible, cement hairsprays at Walmart, most are all the same. (Don’t freak out at me, hairstylists.) Read the can, you know? You like strong hold? Get the strong hold. If not, don’t. That’s it! No need to spend much on hairsprays, but MY favorite that I constantly stock is Bed Head…mostly for the fragrance.

Best Blow Dry Spray: Goldwell Kerasilk Structure Balancing Treatment …but this isn’t necessary, honestly. I usually use one in the salon, but not at home on my own hair. It smooths out finished looks and perfumes the hair. It is one of my most asked, “Oh, what’s that amazing smelling one?”

Best Volumizing Product: This is a tough one, because what works for YOUR hair depends on YOUR hair type! My go-to Bumble and bumble Full Form Mousse, but I also love Big Sexy Volumizing Gel. Important!!: Work smallllll amount of product through the ends of hair (not just roots) for real volume. (I always recommend a mousse or gel over a spray because it’s easier to control. Sprays tend to get a little sticky if you get crazy…or the nozzle gets clogged and it sprays like a firehouse onto your scalp.)

Best deep conditioner: Enjoy Luxury Conditioner. Silky. That’s the only description you need. Luxurious and silky. I say “ehh” to having an amazing shampoo. The conditioner is where it’s at! (If you ever feel like a conditioner is too heavy, make sure you aren’t rubbing it in your scalp. Your scalp produces oil-a natural conditioner- so avoid the scalp and focus on the ends.) Close seconds: Redken All Soft Heavy Cream and Bumble and bumble Hair Dressers Invisible Oil Conditioner.

Best dry shampoo: Suave, man. Just plain ol’ Suave from the drugstore is, for blondes, comparable to every high end dry shampoo I’ve used. (If your hair is dark/red, try Bumble and Bumble’s tinted dry shampoo. It adds a little pigment, so your hair won’t look grey “dry shampoo-y.”)

Best Miracle Products

I made this category up, but these two are my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE products that I cannot live without. There is NOTHING on the market like them, and, in my opinion, they’re real break-through items that give my clients the “Ah-ha! I’ve been trying to make my hair look like this for years!” results.

BEST SMOOTHING: Kerastase Keratin Thermique Leave-In Heat Protectant. YOU GUYS. If you suffer from dry hair, this. Just this. I have never, ever used a leave-in product that is THIS effective. Your hair will never, ever be smoother or softer…IF you use the right amount and blow dry it into your hair. It’s a heat protectant…it’s intended to be used with heat. It’s pricey, which is why my link is to a travel sized product so you can try it first. If I could afford to send every single blonde client home with this, I would.

BEST VOLUMIZING: Bumble and bumble Dryspun. Bumble and bumble blew my mind with this, and I keep one in my salon and one in my bathroom drawer. It’s fragrance is head turning (truly, everyyyy client I use it on asks about the smell). This finishing spray adds texture without nasty grit. Spray through the ends for mega-volume, piece-y beach waves, or textured ends. I love it on straight collarbone length styles as well as waved styles of any length.

I’ve linked the products I’ve mentioned below for your online browsing convenience, or stop by The Hair Standard in Las Vegas to pick up your new Bumble and bumble staples.

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  1. This is such a great post! I am SERIOUSLY hair-challenged and I’m always looking for products that will work on my thin, straight, flat hair. I may have to invest in Dryspun! Thanks for the tip!

  2. Loved your blog, a lot of helpful tips, I have a question for you I would like to ask what should I use for a itchy scalp? I have tried a few shampoos and scalp treatment from the salon and I am in no luck. Thanks Christina

  3. Loved your post and the point you made about the fact that we use skin care so why not hair care. I have crazy thick hair so I’m always scared to use products in fear of having extra weighed down hair. Definitely going to consider your suggestions though. Any specific tips for gals with thick tresses?

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