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The Daily Dish Hair

Meet the 8 Holy-Grail Hair Products You've Spent Half Your Life Looking For

Our cabinets were overflowing with 7 half-empty bottles of hairspray, 3 dry shampoos, over a dozen shampoos and conditioners ... so we called in the pros.

By Katherine Kluznik

Before we go any further, please take a moment and peek inside your bathroom cabinet. If you’re anything like me, here’s what you’ll find: 7 half-empty bottles of hairspray, 3 dry shampoos, over a dozen shampoos and conditioners, and a motley crew of serums, beach sprays, and hair oils — most of which you only needed to try once to know you’d never use again. And there they now sit, with you no closer to finding the holy grail products you’ve been searching for ... how long is it now — decades?

I think I have a solution: Let’s call in the pros. “For professional hairstylists, finding the right products is a job requirement,” says hairstylist Fae Norris of L.A.’s Neighborhood Salon in Echo Park, who’s tested out literally hundreds of products on her clients before whittling down her favorites to the list of eight perfect products ahead.

Sebastian Shaper Plus Hairspray

Why Norris loves it: “This is the spray I would recommend to my sister, Grandma and the guy next door. I’ve been using it for entire career, on styles ranging from emo bangs to seventies shags, and it’s never let me down. It's strong enough to hold any style, stands up to humidity, and can still be beautifully brushed out and worn for a couple of additional days before needing a wash. A magic spray.”

Pro tip: “Shaper also works great as a pre-blow out spray and will hold a style for days. Spray on wet hair (I typically hit just the root area) and, using a round brush, blow out from roots to ends. It holds almost all styles weightlessly and without build up, so hair still feels clean. It’s also great for taking those pesky cowlicks out of bangs. Just spray on wet and brush in all directions, pointing down while drying.  Finish off with a quick, light all-over and you’re on your way.”

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo

Why Norris loves it: “I’m a big fan of dry shampoos and no matter what’s happening on your head — this is the one that delivers. It has a super-fresh scent and actually makes hair look and feel healthier. Because it’s so good at absorbing grease and oil, there might be a touch of residue, but don't worry, it brushes right out. Definitely doesn’t leave the white gunk you see with some others on the market.”

Pro tip: “While dry shampoo is fantastic at soaking up dirt and oil, it's also great for delivering slightly bed-head/sexy volume in clean hair too. All you have to do is put a little pomade in first. The dry shampoo will stick to it creating that perfect day-two hair look we all know and love.”

Davines Ol Oil

Why Norris loves it: “OI oil works for almost every single hair texture and type, wet or dry, and leaves it all better than it was. It’s hydrating without being greasy and lightweight enough for even fine hair. But it still has what it take to smooth even the frizziest of curls while protecting and conditioning damaged hair. A wonderful one-size-fits(-almost)-all product.”

Pro tip: “Use it on wet hair over a leave-in conditioner. Because the oil locks in the conditioner, the result is unbelievably soft hair. Looking for beach waves? Use it under a salt-water spray. I like it in the morning over a dry shampoo to keep my hair looking healthy all day. A hack? It works great on cuticles too!”

Bumble and Bumble Tonic Lotion

Why Norris loves it: “This hair tonic makes the cut because it can, and should, be used by anyone and everyone looking for standout locks. It's sort of like a lightweight, leave-in conditioner but delivers so much more. It will refresh flat or dry hair, inhibit product build-up, detangle, protect against the elements, and actually treats dry and flaky scalps. A great choice for those who don't like the feeling of product in their hair. Not the best choice if you don’t like the smell of tea tree.” 

Pro tip: “This tonic lets you think outside of the box in creating your own regimen. It can be used as treatment, conditioner, styling aid, refresher and protector. It’s even an awesome hydrating facial spray.”

Captain Blankenship Mermaid Sea Salt Hair Spray

Why Norris loves it: “This is my newest love in the world of salt sprays. It has everything I look for. A dreamy, beachy rose scent while delivering big volume, curls and airy waves. The added bonus is the aloe and sea kelp formula is kind to the hair. You get all the moisture without the chemical weirdness. I’ve got guess Captain Blankenship was a health nut.”

Pro tip: “Spray and scrunch and this stuff will give you ALL the curls. Spray after you curl and rake your hands through to tone down any overdone hair.”

Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner

Why Norris loves it: “The shampoo is free of parabens and sulfates yet still gets hair clean. This is actually a first for me as most paraben-free products I’ve tried come up a little short. It’s color safe, hydrating and leaves the hair clean and shiny. I can’t think of a hair type I wouldn’t recommend it for. The conditioner is equally marvelous. As the name implies, it not only hydrates but it actually feels like it’s doing something. The result is super softness and shine. And while all noses vary, the scent is a big driver for me. I love it and it will last for days.”

Pro tip: “The word on the street, or actually the pool, is that if you use this combo before swimming it helps to prevent chlorine damage.”

Agadir Moisture Masque

Why Norris loves it: “This is a legit hair healer. It’ll bring back even the most bleached, stressed and damaged hair. It came highly recommended to me as being the 'most expensive stuff at CVS.' Had to try it, and I’m a believer. It's thick, and should stay on a minimum of 5-10 minutes (if not longer), but when you rinse your hair WILL be in better shape. Amazing.”

Pro tip: “Wash your hair (twice if needed) and put a generous handful all over the hair. If your hair needs some serious additional love, put a cap over it and leave on a couple hours before rinsing it out.”

IGK Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm

Why Norris loves it: “This is one of the products that makes my travel-bag cut. I use it on wet hair to lock in moisture and give my waves a little structure. With dry hair it instantly hydrates, cuts the frizzies, and delivers shine. It’s one of the best multi-use products I’ve found and is always in rotation.”

Pro tip: “If traveling, apply with a little water before getting on an plane and it will prevent your hair from drying out. Put it on wet hair and air-dry for a frizz-free, beachy look, or mix it with a few sprays of salt water for textured waves. This one works great before blowouts, particularly in dry or humid climates, because it hydrates and holds without residue. The added bonus is you can cocktail it with almost any other product and reap the benefits.”

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