Products have come a long, long way from the days of crunchy curls, and using more than one at a time can actually help you extend the life of your style, rather than sabotage it.
Having an entire bar of product available when I was a stylist triggered some truly excellent combinations. Some things just work better when you make your own personal potion! Whether you rock a pixie cut, curls, or are a blowout kween, you can be getting so much more out of your style by pairing complementary hair products.
I put together some combos and asked a few pros what they think. Here's what we came up with.
Air-Drying & Diffusing
When you air-dry, texture and softness is the goal. No matter the curl pattern, adding a bit of memory and conditioning is the best way to define each strand and keep hair in great shape.
Mix a pump of Keratin Complex’s Kerabalm and a dime-sized amount of Verb Curl Cream to end up with shiny, sturdy curls no matter your drying technique, and you will have dream hair. Keratin Complex’s conditioners, keratin and humidity protectants join forces with the hyaluronic acid, henna extract, ginseng, and lightweight polymers in Verb’s Curl Cream to make a moisturizing drink for curls with soft hold.
Drew at Laicale’s favorite curly cocktail:
"I love Oribe Supershine Light Styling Cream all over with a pea of Rock Hard Gel massaged around the hairline to control fuzzy edges. I also love Dry Texturizing Spray at the root and Après Beach thru the ends as a perfect way to finish beachy lived in hair, a day two look on day one."
Word dropped a few months back that John Frieda brought back one of my all-time favorite hair products, but it's a little less moisturizing than I had hoped. It uses Epsom salt, sea salt, and polymers to give you stunning waves, but works even better when paired with a serum.
Marula Hair Treatment & Styling Oil is silicone-free and perf for the slightly more crunchy among us. Castor, marula, rice bran, and passionflower oil all mingle with essential oils of cedar, lavender and rosemary—all great oils for hair.
If you also need to fight humidity, grab Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil, which, in addition to silicones, has coconut, argan, sweet almond, grapeseed, safflower, and olive oils. Use a pump or two of either on damp hair before misting generously with Ocean Waves for dreamy beach hair that is soft but still has tons of texture.
Steph at Pembley Salon loves this combo for beach hair:
"Salty Dog by Evo works on wet or dry hair and gives you texture, a small amount of hold, and a little bit of grit. In short: perfect post beach hair. Mix with Layrite Grooming Spray, which has hold and the ability to brush out the next day with very little resistance and next to no build up. It smooths flyaway hair and adds a small amount of shine."
The OG hair cocktail that performs time after time is heat protectant + styling mousse. Mousses are not what they once were; today’s mousses contain conditioners and vitamins that make it silly not to use one when blow-drying hair.
Here we have the high-end and drugstore options for this cocktail: a dollop of foam—in this case either Wen Nourishing Mousse or Schwarzkopf’s Volume Mousse—distributed through strands before misting on a nice coating of heat protection from either Oribe Royal Blowout Spray or Schwarzkopf Heat Protection Shine Spray. The conditioning and hair-plumping action of the foam makes blowouts smooth and lasting, as the memory from polymers allows those round brush waves to stay for days. When paired with thermal protection, you can blow out guilt free and not worry about heat and manual damage.
Roman Kusayev at Roman K Salon uses this mixture for beautiful blowouts:
"Mix a dime size of Shu Uemura Satin Design and Essence Absolue on the ends first on toweled dry hair and then blow dry. Satin Design has thermal protection and provides lots of moisture to the hair without weight and Essence Absolue creates a hydrating barrier."
Shine & Hold
Giving any style or length a fine mist of hairspray can do more for you than you think! I like to do one better and mist soft-hold hairsprays on a final look followed by a shot or two of shine spray on ends.
Macadamia Professional Flex Hold Shaping Hairspray gives you a medium hold with brushable, touchable texture that isn’t stiff or sticky, and it's formulated with penetrating macadamia oil. I mist this on hot-roller curls as they cool, more after letting them down; then I spray Agave Revitalizing Shine Spray on a paddle brush and loosen up the curl. This technique can be used on any hair style for perfect hold and shine.
Extra-Frizzy or Damaged Hair
If your hair is frizzy or damaged, you need a bit more prep to keep things perfect. Adding a humidity blocker and more protein can fill in broken hair spaces and form a film over strands that locks in a style for days.
When I first tried Novex Blindagem Leave-In, I found it to be incredibly effective and affordable. Adding a pump of Keratin Complex Keratin Replenisher is a perfect way to help damaged hair withstand your day. Hydrolyzed keratin and wheat and soy proteins help damaged hair lay smooth, and all is right in the world.
Gabby from Takamichi Hair says this about extra-dry or damaged hair:
"I love cocktailing Davines Oi Oil—a roucou oil—and mix it with Davines Momo moisturizing anti-frizz fluid. Super-hydrating and smells delish. Also ideal for coarse and dry hair without weighing hair down or making the hair look oily."
Shorter styles don’t have to feel left out! Nearly all of these cocktails will have benefits for you, too, but here's one just for you.
A texture spray will give you something to work with. Macadamia Professional Tousled Texture Finishing Spray is similar to a beach spray but without any salt. Soft-hold polymers and nourishing oils give hair bulk and movement without being sticky or dry. I think of this as a cross between dry shampoo and beach spray. Take a pea-sized amount of Verb Forming Fiber to define ends and smooth any frizzies, and you’re good to go!
Will at Chair No 5 uses these two products to make even short hairstyles last:
I hope you've learned so much today about mixing and matching product. It’s truly one of the most fun parts of doing your hair. I don’t think I ever use fewer than four or five on my hair!
Photos: Darnell Scott