“This has been around forever so it’s often overlooked, but hairspray is essential to keep strands in place and maintain flyaways,” explains R+Co’s Australian ambassador Barney Martin. And for those who recall the hurricane-proof hairsprays of yesteryear, good news: it’s no longer a one-size-fits-all formula. Today’s lighter, finer sprays offer movement and staying power. Just know this: use too much and you may get white flakes. Instead, “mist a little on your brush and run over hair for instant taming”, says Martin.
2/ Leave-in treatment
This miracle worker not only “makes hair look super healthy and glossy on the outside, it also works on rehydrating your hair from the inside”, explains Martin. All hair types can
benefit from a leave-in treatment, which can be applied to just the areas that need the most attention (often mid-lengths and ends). Martin prefers cream formulas as they tend to be more lightweight than others and won’t weigh down your hair.
3/ Sea salt spray
This is the key to cool-girl style. A couple of things to remember: “Use on damp
hair, spritz into the palm of the hands and not directly on hair, and use it on mid- lengths and ends (not the roots) to avoid a crispy finish,” advises Martin. Want even more texture? Switch your hairdryer to a gentle, cool setting and use your hands to scrunch in the product. “For beachy texture, apply to dry hair or post-blow-dry to deconstruct the finish,” adds Martin.
4/ Curling wand
“A quality tool will provide even heat distribution and reduce the likelihood of burning the hair,” explains Martin. His can’t-live-without device: a curling wand for creating the coveted S-bend kink. The trick to natural-looking waves (as opposed to pageant-style princess curls)
is to leave the ends of the hair alone.
5/ Heat shield
A thermal protector works in two ways: it shields against the harmful effects of heated styling tools (think dullness, breakage and colour fading) and it can help speed up the styling process. “You wouldn’t sit on the beach without sunscreen because you know how damaging that can be to your skin – why would you treat your hair any differently?” asks Martin. The lesson: don’t pick up a tool without using a heat protector first. You need to mist a heat protector on every inch of your hair, from root to tip. Don’t skimp.
Like hairspray and mousse, gel has found it hard to shrug off its bad-’80s-hair association. But don’t fall for that: used correctly, gel can give day-old hair a sleek new look – just
remember to start with a little and add more accordingly. “Rub a dollop of gel between your palms and slick through your hair, from front to back, for a strong, graphic style
or a super-slick pony or bun,” suggests Martin.
7/ Dry shampoo
This almost doesn’t need an explainer. From extending a blow-dry to refreshing dirty hair, adding texture to mid-lengths, volume to roots, grip to braids and giving a finished style that effortlessly undone look, dry shampoo is the overachiever of your arsenal. Don’t get
too close – always spray roots from a distance to absorb oil without leaving behind those telltale white marks.
“Mousse has always been a stylists’ favourite because it absorbs evenly into the
hair and lays the foundation for a voluminous blow-dry that will last all day and
night,” says Martin. You have to shake the can vigorously (otherwise the formula will come out watery), and coat hair from the roots right down to the ends.
9/ Shampoo & conditioner
Finding the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type is a game changer. They’ll clean and repair while promoting healthy hair and long-lasting style. “Massage shampoo on the scalp in circular motions using your fingertips, and leave the conditioner in for as long as the bottle recommends,” advises Martin.
Good-quality brushes (together with tools, see #4) are the investment pieces of your hair kit. “It’s worth spending money on these as they’ll last longer and ultimately pay for themselves,” says Martin. Ceramic-barrelled brushes retain heat and help speed up drying, while boar-bristle brushes are ideal for perfectly smoothing the hair. “For a smooth yet bouncy blow-dry, use a boar-bristle brush and aim the nozzle of your dryer downwards,” suggests Martin.