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Spray, mousse or gel: which is the best hair finisher?

To make any hairstyle or hair more perfect, it is important to know and know when to use each of the hair finishers. The function of finishers is to help give a final effect to the hair, whether creating volume, defining curls, fixing hairstyles or helping to leave the strands more organized.

Spray, mousse and gel are the best known, however, there is also a wide variety among them, and some even have more than one purpose. According to details Regina Valente, hair stylist at Studio Über in São Paulo, the finishers can be used for the most diverse functions. “They help to untangle the strands, to define and, as the name implies, to finish the hairstyles”, she summarizes.

Leave-in is among the most used finishers. “Without rinses are preferred by women and men who use them to make their hair smoother or to define curls”, explains Rhafael Trindade, hair stylist at The Spa. Fixing spray, ointment, silicone, among others are also cited by Regina as the most popular.

How to use each type of hair finisher

Knowing how to use each type of finisher can help you make your hair look better. In addition, many of the products have more than one purpose, and knowing them helps to have more functional and versatile products. For this, with the help of hair stylists, here is a list of the main finishers, their functions and how to use them.


Function: the mousse shapes the hair for the hairstyle, helping to tame the strands when making the brush or curling iron. The product also helps to add volume for both those who want to do a hairstyle and for those who want to define their curls.

How to use: This cosmetic should be used while the hair is damp. To define curls, apply and then scrunch your hair with your hands and let it dry naturally or blow-dry it with a diffuser. To help with volume, use it before the brush, applying through the hair from the middle to the ends.


Function: one of the most traditional finishers, the gel is responsible for fixing hairstyles and leaving the hair in place. “Gel is one of the oldest products and, even today, it is possible to make use of it with a multitude of hairstyle models, from the neat all tidy back, even to model the sides to make a mohawk, with wet effect, or dry”, explains Regina. There are several types of gel, which can have products with strong, medium or weak fixation.

How to use: when the hair is clean, the gel fixation will be better. Apply the product to the fingertips and spread on both hands to distribute evenly through the strands. The hair must still be damp for a better effect of the product. After spreading the product through your hair, style it until it looks the way you want it. Remembering that the gel has a hard finish and, after drying, your hair will not be malleable.

Fixative Spray

Function: the setting spray is ideal for keeping your hairstyle firm and tidy for a long time. There is also variety in fixation: light, medium and strong. “The stronger the hair, the harder the hair and the firmer the hairstyle will be”, says Regina. If you have fine hair, you can choose from one of three attachments. For those who have thicker hair, the ideal is to give preference to medium or strong fixatives. If the hairstyle is loose, the tip is to prefer lighter fixatives. You can also use hairspray to eliminate frizz and make your hair fuller. Most fasteners will not damage the wires.

How to use: unlike the gel, the fixing spray should be applied to dry hair. How to use it depends on the desired effect. To fix hairstyles and eliminate frizz, the ideal is to apply it when the hairstyle is finished. Use a comb to give the final finish, if necessary. As for fixing the curling iron or flat iron, you can either apply it before or after using the tools. If applied before, the result will be thicker hair. The only tip is to wait for the spray to dry on your hair, before using the flat iron or curling iron. If you use the setting spray just to finish the curling iron or flat iron and you want a more natural effect, give preference to lighter fixatives and spray only a small amount on your hair.

volume spray

Function: as the name implies, the volume spray is intended to give volume to the hair. “The result depends on the texture of the hair, but it is possible to achieve from a slight volume to a wavy one”, details Regina. According to Rhafael, the volumizing spray can help even the finest hair get the “Brigitte Bardot” effect. The product also adds volume to the roots for hairstyles and a messier effect on the curling iron, in addition to making the hair fuller.

How to use: the ideal for the volume spray is to apply on wet hair. Spray the product all over the hair, if the expected effect is a voluminous hair from root to tip. For voluminous roots only, apply to the root of the hair only. The way you dry your hair will also affect the result. If you want hair with volume, but with a natural, messy effect, let it dry naturally. If your intention is to create hair with volume but discipline, make a brush. For voluminous waves, finish the hairstyle with a curling iron.

shine spray

Function: the shine spray is a silicone spray used to remove the opacity of the hair, as defined by Regina. It can be used both for those who have dull hair, and to return the hair’s shine after using the setting spray. The shine spray also helps protect against moisture, preventing hair from frizzing throughout the day. The product, in addition, nourishes, moisturizes, disciplines, eliminates odors and brings softness to the hair.

How to use: apply the product after finishing the hairstyle, be it a brush, a curling iron or something more elaborate. The tip is to avoid applying to the root so that the hair does not look oily. Another tip is not to exaggerate the amount of product because, instead of leaving your hair shiny, it will look oily.

saline spray

Function: for those who like the look that sea water leaves their hair, the saline spray is the product that was missing. “Saline is the newest spray style, it provides that look of when the hair comes out of the sea and dries, it is a kind of dry oiliness, it stylizes the loose strands”, defines Rhafael. For Regina, the saline spray also has the purpose of making the hair thicker, giving volume to the strands. “The hair gains stripped waves, as if it had just left the beach, allowing for an elaborate and stripped look at the same time”, emphasizes the hair stylist.

How to use: There are two ways to use saline spray. You can choose to apply it before drying your hair, this helps the strands to dry more relaxed, with waves and looking like they came out of the sea. Spread the product through the hair and knead the strands so that they gain texture. Another option is to apply the spray after dry hair. To give the stripped look, in this case, you need to make a babyliss.


Function: the ointment has a very similar purpose to the gel, however, its difference is that it does not leave the hair looking wet. Rhafael explains that the ointment has a gelatinous consistency and does not set as much as the gel. “The ointments are more creamy and sticky and have better fixation for more precise hairstyles”, explains Regina.

How to use: the application of this product is simple, just spread the ointment on the part of the hair you want to model, remembering its fixation characteristic for precise hairstyles, such as tufts. As the ointment has oil in its composition, it is very important to wash the strands to remove all the product from the hair after use.


Function: wax can be compared, in its purpose, with ointment. For Rhafael, the difference between the two is their degree of fixation. “Waxes are drier and firmer”, sums up the hair stylist. Waxes should be used to finish more classic hairstyles, as Regina teaches. “They are easy to apply on short hair, to change the hairstyle throughout the day. Waxes are more suitable for everyday use because they have a lighter texture, without oil and do not harden the hair”, points out the hair stylist.

How to use: apply the product to the hair and style as you wish. As it is malleable and does not make your hair stiff, you can change your hairstyle throughout the day.

texturizing powder

Function: another product that helps to give body and volume to the hair is the texturizing powder. Ideal for creating volume at the root, creating a full voluminous hair or a hairstyle with only the voluminous root. “The powder is great for adding volume to the roots of the hair and also helping with hairstyles for those who have very straight hair and without volume, as it is incorporated into the strands, leaving them with a thicker texture”, teaches Regina. The texturizing powder can also be used by those with short hair, helping to style it, as Rhafael details.

How to use: the texturizing powder should be used on dry and clean hair. Apply to the root, massaging it to create volume. Although most powders are white, it will not show through the hair. The product leaves the thread a little stiff and only comes out with washing.

curl activator

Function: for those who want to keep their hair with defined curls, the curl activator is a necessary finisher. “The purpose of the curl activator is to give shape and revive the curls, eliminate frizz and control the volume”, details Regina. This product is specifically for women who already have at least wavy hair. For those who want to create curls and add volume to straight hair, the most suitable product is saline spray.

How to use: apply curl activator to wet hair. It is important that the product is spread over the entire hair. Knead the strands so that the curls begin to define. To dry your hair, the best way to keep the curls in place is to use a diffuser.


Function: leave-in has several purposes, but the main one is to make the hair silkier and help when detangling. Other purposes of the product are to reduce frizz and make the hair less voluminous. It works like a leave-in cream and serves to help define hair shapes.

How to use: after washing the hair completely, apply the leave-in along the entire length, avoiding going close to the root. An important observation made by hair stylist Regina is that most leave-in products do not have thermoactive protection and, therefore, you should avoid using the dryer after application or using a thermoactive product to complement it.

Be a

Function: the serum is a finisher that recovers the ends and restructures the hair. “The product helps to recompose the hair fiber and seal the scales of the wires, leaving them less brittle and reducing frizz”, declares Regina. According to Rhafael, the serum also helps to give a temporary feeling of softness to the hair. “However, the use of the serum does not dispense with hair treatments”, reinforces the hair stylist.

How to use: for an effective effect, the serum should be used with already clean and dry hair. “Do not apply the serum to the roots, as it will leave a…

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