“I Told You To STAY.”

My hair in its natural state is, depending upon your perspective, either admirably straight and fine and silky … or horrible lank bullshit that won’t hold a style to save its own life (and I’ve threatened its life with both 40vol developer and a collection of cheap wigs). Plus : I live in the deep south, where the humidity hovers around 98% basically always. AND : I am particular about scents to a degree that most would probably consider “fucking ridiculous, omg calm down,” so if it smells flowery or perfumey or fruity or sweet, I will probably bloody hate it. What’s a would-be big-haired girl to do? Out of all the multitude of things I’ve tried, these are the two I keep coming back to again and again :

STAY.

Aveda Pure Abundance : For me, this is The Hairspray To End All Hairsprays. It holds like WHAAAAAT, yet it’s not crunchy or sticky, the nozzle isn’t particularly prone to clogging, and it smells nice. Will it maintain your ‘do in its perfect freshly-styled state through six hours outside on a muggy summer day? Nope. But it *will* hold better than pretty much anything else I’ve tried, with none of the trade-offs (stiffly-shellacked helmet-head, goo-ifying in high humidity, etc) that most other firm-hold sprays offer. It also definitely does provide some volumizing effects on flat silky hair (especially if  you, ahem, tease the crap out of your roots). I started using this just a few months after it debuted over ten years ago, and it still trumps everything I’ve tried since.  $22 for a 6.7oz bottle on Aveda.com, and you can find it on Amazon, Nordstrom, and other assorted salon and beauty retailers as well.

R+CO Jackpot Styling Cream : I’m always leery of adding gels and creams and potions to my hair when it’s relatively unprocessed and silky-healthy, for fear I’m just going to weigh it down or make it feel greasy. But oh boy does this stuff work. A small amount — like a little gumball — worked through damp long hair after leave-in conditioners and before blow-drying will definitely add hold and longevity for curls and waves. No gumminess, no oiliness, no weight, smells nice, and a bottle lasts FOREVER. $25 for a 6oz bottle on R+Co.com, and it’s also available at a few other fancy-pants retailers including NM, Birchbox, and SpaceNK.

Products from these lines that didn’t work for me : 

Aveda : Firmata hair spray (didn’t hold as well), Air Control hair spray (ditto), Control Force hair spray (didn’t hold worth a damn, also smells like aerosol Right Guard, bleh), Brilliant Universal Styling Cream (provided zero hold, made hair feel gooey and oily and weighed it down).

R+CO : One prep spray (billed to me as a primer that would add hold; didn’t seem to accomplish anything), Outer Space flexible hairspray (nice packaging as always from R+Co, but this hold was absurdly weak). DO want to try their Vicious Strong Hold Hair Spray, though.

Got a favorite go-to for unstyleable, unholdable hair? TELL US.