My junior high crush was Kip Winger. You know, lead singer of the late-80s metal-lite band Winger? What, you don’t know WINGER, you say?
I’ll give you a minute to catch up. Here’s the band’s tour-de-force, their ode to being hot for underage girls, “Seventeen.”
Sample lyric: “Daddy says she’s too young, but she’s old enough for me.”
(No, no she’s not, bro.)
My fixation on Kip Winger was mainly about two things, neither of which had to do with his songs: he was a former ballet dancer (he even scored a ballet for Oberlin, called Conversations with Nijinsky) and he had AMAZING hair.
Like many girls who grew up in the 80s, my dream hair involved volume and bangs. And the only way to force my hair into claw-bang shape, like my crush Kip Winger, was to spray the hell out of it with Aqua Net -- sometimes even when it was wrapped helplessly around the barrel of a curling iron, whose temperature was set to “forehead-searing.”
Fortunately, I soon discovered a musical world far, far away from Winger, (thank you, Pixies, for coming into my life). And I put away the curling iron for good, once I realized how incredibly stupid my hair looked with bangs. I didn’t have much use for hairspray after that.
When I finally rediscovered it, some 20 years later, I was happy to learn that hairspray had outgrown its hair-metal phase, too. Sure, there were still plenty of brands with options like Strong Hold or Extra-Super-Mega Hold. But others were offering something new: hold AND flexibility. No more extreme stickiness or flakiness!
A great recent example of this type of formula is Outer Space Flexible Hairspray from R + Co, a recently launched haircare line developed by three of the industry’s top stylists: Howard McLaren (former creative director of Bumble + bumble), Thom Priano (he basically invented the Abercrombie & Fitch grooming look), and Garren (who may be the top hairstylist in the world).
Outer Space is more interesting for what it doesn’t contain than what it does: no sulfates, parabens, mineral oil, or petrolatum. It, along with the rest of the R + Co line, is vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free. (Priano told me at the brand’s launch that he had long been wary of the ingredients in the products he was using on set and wanted to create a line without any of the “bad stuff.”)
What I like about Outer Space is that it has more in common with a volumizing spray than a traditional hairspray. It adds noticeable thickness, but manages to be super light, which is amazing for fine texture like mine. And it keeps all of my hair where it’s supposed to be/I want it to be, which is good for all the annoying cowlicks I have that become extra apparent on days I don't wash my hair or wear it straight.
And a big bonus: It doesn’t smell like traditional 80s hairspray. It contains coconut oil, which gives it a softly beachy scent and doesn't make me scared to walk near an open flame.
What's your favorite hairspray? Do you even use one on a regular basis?