Back in the day, traditional gel- and cream-based shampoos and conditioners, as well as standard sprays and styling aids, were pretty much all that were available. But, as the hair-care industry and science continue to evolve, so do the formulations from which we can choose.
Click through for eight hair innovations that make other styling products seem passé.
Get UV Protection Without Dullness
Sun protectants can be beneficial to your color but they are notorious for making hair dull and dry. Kérastase Soleil Huile Céleste($39) shields against environmental damage while infused pieces of microglitter and lightweight macadamia oil keep hair supershiny—never lackluster—regardless of where your time outdoors may take you.
What the expert says: “The reflective gold micro-particles prevent sun-related damage to the hair, like dryness. A must-have for sun lovers since this preserves the hair’s color,” says Rik Watters, stylist and owner of Rik Rak Salon in Miami.
Two Brushes in One
Whether you prefer a flat brush, one that’s round or even something more oval, Conair You Style Brush($10) imparts more than one variety into a single tool. Unlike typical hairbrushes, this two-in-one easily, and quickly, converts from a flat brush into a round brush with the push of a button. Plus, the combination of boar and nylon bristles ensures an even distribution of your hair’s natural oils.
Hydration in a Spray
Leave-in conditioners are nothing new—in fact, they’ve been around for years. We’ve tested and tried a variety of them but never met one that is aerosol-based as opposed to a pump, spray or even a cream. Give your hair the moisture it thirsts for with Francky L’Official Hair Show Liquidity ($20).
What we say: “A light mist that conditions the hair but doesn’t make it look or feel greasy, oily or weighed down. Ideal for fine or thin hair types.”
Remove Unwanted Hair Color
Louise Galvin Colour Remover ($20) is a three-part system from London-based celebrity colorist Louise Galvin that utilizes an activator and a remover to erase unwanted color from your hair and return it close to its natural color without any damage.
What we say: “An easy way to correct a hair-coloring mistake whether you’re at fault or your stylist is. This really helps to get your color back to a more neutral starting point.”
Rather than boasting a plethora of sudsy strand clarifiers that strip the hair, Shu Uemura Art of Hair Cleansing Oil Shampoo ($55) is an oil that removes dirt, product buildup and debris, mirroring the oil-to remove- oil formula found in their facial cleansing oils. The secret lies in the mix of oils and volcanic-derived Onsen Inspired Ferment, which, together, literally lift impurities off the shaft without stripping away essential oils that healthy hair requires. Plus, it doesn’t leave hair feeling heavy, greasy or oily but rather soft, bouncy, balanced and squeaky clean.
What the expert says: “Great for those who don’t love squeaky-clean hair. The hair is clean but has a second-day feel because it’s not left dry,” says stylist Calie Noble of Serge Normant at the John Frieda Salon in Los Angeles.
Smooths Strands and Adds a Touch of Shine
Compacts are reserved strictly for makeup, right? Not necessarily. Farouk Royal Treatment by CHI White Truffle Foundation ($25) is solid gloss amplifying formula that comes in a makeup-like foundation case—not the typical shine-inducing oil or spray, which makes for supereasy hair touch ups throughout the day.
What We Say: “Gives a subtle hint of shine so hair looks healthy and not the least bit greasy, oily or weighed down with product residue.”
What the Expert Says: “Ideal for all hair types, this balm provides moisture and shine without buildup or added weight. Plus, it helps diminish the appearance of frizz and split ends,” says Watters.
Fills in Gaps to Strengthen Strand
The things that make our hair look its best—color, straightening and heat styling tools—force it to hold a negative charge. The more negativity in the hair the more conditioning required. Infused with proteins and conditioners, Giovanni Magnetic Attraction Styling Gel ($9) turns the hair’s charge positive for healthier hair.
What We Say: “The gel formula builds volume and delivers a superstrong hold that lasts.”
Sticky-Free Root Lifter
Most volumizing mousses we’ve encountered are designed and packaged in the same way: a thick, sticky foam that needs to be dispersed into the palms before it’s applied to the hair. Counting a plethora of organic botanicals as key ingredients, the lightweight mousse formula Pureology Colour Stylist Root Lift ($22) can be sprayed directly to the roots, leaving your hands product-free.
What we say: “A nonsticky, nonflaking formula that gives a good lift right at the root.”