Hairstyling product

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Hairstyle products are used to change the texture or shape of hair or to hold a hairstyle in place. When applied properly, most styling products will not damage the hair aside from drying it out. However, some styling products contain ingredients that can dissolve natural oils and many also contain ingredients which can cause build-up that results in so called "dull hair". This may result in problems such as dry hair, hair breakage, eczema, and the thinning of hair.


Hairstyling products have had a significant impact on the creation of certain hair styles and trends throughout history. In 1948, Chase Products became the first company to package hair spray. Hair spray became very popular in the 1950s due to its ability to keep hair in place and prevent hair styles from falling out.[1] For the ancient Egyptians, physical appearance was very important to the embalming process used in the creation of mummies. Hair was often styled to maintain the individuality of the deceased. A fatty substance, now known as hair gel, was used to style hair and keep it in place.[2]


Cans of hairspray

Hair wax[edit]

A small pot of hair wax

Hair wax is a thick hair styling product containing wax, which helps hold the hair in place. It does not harden as some products do, such as hair gel, but instead leaves hair pliable. Hair wax has been used for many years. A waxy soap-like substance was invented by the ancient Gauls as a hair styling agent and was not used as a cleaning agent until many years later.[3][unreliable source?] According to Elle, hair wax is one of the most popular beauty products. Many manufacturers are now creating technologies in hair removal and releasing different versions of hair wax, such as pomade, putty, glue, glypto, whip, and styling paste.[4]

Hair mousse[edit]

Hair mousse is a toiletry added to hair for extra volume and shine. It often comes in either spray or cream form. It adds volume without causing clumps or buildup. It is a lighter and foamier alternative to hair gel.


Pomade is a greasy or waxy substance that is used to style hair. Pomade makes hair look slick and shiny. Unlike hair spray and hair gel, pomade does not dry and often takes several washes to remove, although a special shampoo may be used. Other products which make hair less greasy include olive oil, dish washing liquid, and lemon juice. Most pomades contain petroleum jelly (and in fact petroleum jelly can be used alone as a pomade) and mineral oil, and many also contain some sort of wax. They may also contain perfume and coloring agents. A plethora of pomades are still in production today and vary in factors such as weight, shine, and scent. The stiffest will have a higher proportion of beeswax[5] while the lightest may have a higher proportion of oils.

Hair gel[edit]

Hair styled with hair gel

Hair gel is a hairstyle product that is used to stiffen hair into a particular hairstyle. The result that it produces are usually similar to, but stronger than, those of hair spray and hair wax, and weaker than those of hair glue.

Hair spray[edit]

Hair spray is a common household aqueous solution which is used to keep hair stiff into a certain style. Weaker than hair gel, hair wax, or hair glue, it is sprayed to hold styles for a long period. Using a pump or aerosol spray nozzle, it sprays evenly over the hair. The product may leave hair feeling "crunchy" unless brushed out. Hair spray was first developed and manufactured in 1948 by Chase Products Company, based in Broadview, Illinois.[6]

Its active ingredients are called polymers, which keep the hair stiff and firm without snapping. Solvents, which make up most of the content of the hairspray, are responsible for carrying these polymers in a solution.[7]

Originally, the solvent was a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). CFCs are nontoxic, nonflammable, and make almost ideal aerosol propellants. However, when it was learned that they cause destruction of stratospheric ozone, they were replaced with other solvents, such as alcohols and hydrocarbons.[8]

One of the polymers used is polyvinylpyrrolidone, which is water-soluble. The non-water-soluble polymer polydimethylsiloxane is added to make the hold last a bit longer. Pytocalcious chemicals are another family of ingredients in hair spray, which increase the amount of minerals in the hair's root causing the hair to become stiff.

Other polymers used in plastic-based hairsprays are copolymers with vinyl acetate and copolymers with maleic anhydride.

Some hair sprays use natural polymers and solvents like vegetable gums dissolved in alcohol. One popular ingredient is gum arabic, which is made from the sap of certain species of the acacia tree. Gum tragacanth is another herbal gum that is used to stiffen calico and crepe, as well as hair.

Hair volumizer[edit]

Hair volumizers are used to temporarily add volume, body and shine to thin or flat hair. Hair volumizers are also used by balding men to make their hair mass look dense. They come in many forms such as shampoos, conditioners, sprays, pomades and lotions.

Hair volumizers contains humectants, which work by attracting moisture from the surrounding areas to the hair strand, thereby swelling the hair and making it look thicker. Various polymers present in the volumizer coat the hair strand, making it look thicker and shiny.

Shampoo and conditioner forms of the volumizers are used just like ordinary shampoo or conditioners. The spray and lotion form of volumizers are used on damp hair, near the roots of the hair. In use, the person flips their head downward and gradually blow dries the hair, with the air being blown along the shaft of the hair until the hair is dry.


Other types of products include serums, leave-in conditioner, clays, hair tonic, hair dry powder shampoo, and heat protection spray.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hair Spray facts, information, pictures | articles about Hair Spray". Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  2. ^ McCreesh, N. C.; Gize, A. P.; David, A. R. (2011-12-01). "Ancient Egyptian hair gel: new insight into ancient Egyptian mummification procedures through chemical analysis". Journal of Archaeological Science. 38 (12): 3432–3434. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2011.08.004. 
  3. ^ "All about hair wax". 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2016-10-28. 
  4. ^ "History of Hair Removal". ELLE. 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  5. ^ "BEESWAX: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings - WebMD". Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  6. ^ "Chase Products Co. - History". Retrieved 2016-10-26. 
  7. ^ "How hairsproy is made". Made How. Retrieved January 3, 2016. 
  8. ^ "The Montreal Protocol". Retrieved 2016-11-03.