Hairstyling Products: Basic Knowledge You Should Know

Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

Gone are the days when hairstyling products had only one job to do: make your hair look good. Nowadays, hair styling products go beyond beauty and seek to fulfil multifunctional goals.

Thus, it is beneficial to have an understanding of the products in your arsenal - including the main ingredients and how they work.

This blog is here to give you the fundamentals, as well as inform you on the latest trends when it comes to using hair styling products effectively and beneficially. We hope that the next time you shop for a product, you know what to look for.

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Hairstyling Aids: An Overview

Hairstyling products typically vary depending on the physical form, application performance, and the effect on the hair or styling equipment to accomplish desired styles.

However, one general use of styling aids is that they should hold a hairstyle in place without causing negative impacts on the look and feel of the hair, such as messiness and dulling. Furthermore, these styling aids are a way of introducing body, volume, and control to a hairstyle. 

A heightened focus on hair health has resulted in the requirement of more multi-functional styling products, ones that provide hydration, nutrition, and reparation, rather than solely the use of styling.

In today's fast-paced society, styling products must also be able to help manage frizzy, tangled hair for the convenience of the appearance-oriented and time-constrained consumer.

Hair Styling Gel
Hair Styling Gel
A sleek styling product for a soft hold and a high-shine look.

Hairstyling Products: Then vs. Now

In the past, hairstyling products were mainly designed to provide a strong hold. While this is still important, people now tend to prefer a more natural feel.

As our lifestyles and perceptions of beauty change, so do our standards for hair styling products. A wide range of options are now available, depending on hair types, hairstyles, and hair status.

While the basic formulas for these products may remain the same, they often include lighter levels of polyols and low levels of styling polymers, as well as herbal extracts, proteins, and other additives. These products are meant to keep hair under control while providing enough moisture to keep it healthy and undamaged even with frequent use.

The advances in the cosmetic industry have enabled hair styling products to improve over time, offering a wide range of formulas tailored to different hair types.

For example, rougher hair will benefit from creamier or more detangling products, while fine hair may need a lighter formula or one that provides the extra body. Those with high hair density should look for products that offer additional detangling for easy combing.

Also, secondary use in original hairstyling products is now a norm due to formula upgrades. These products can provide multiple benefits, such as curl activators that moisten and enhance the orientation of curls while taming frizzy hair.

Any good styling product should be easy to apply, compatible with desired additives, and remove easily without leaving a buildup or unnatural look.


A Closer Look Into Hairstyling Products 

As discussed above, expectations for hairstyling products have grown beyond the styling functionality.

While it might be taken for granted now, it is substantial to read the ingredients list of a product if you want to make sure that you and your hair are happy with the results

Here are some ingredients you can usually find in most hairstyling products.


Polymers are made of macro-molecules and were originally utilized as fixative agents and thickeners for hair care products.

However, their use has advanced, and they are now a central part of styling and conditioning treatments thanks to the introduction of new polymers into hair care products.

Polymers for styling products are often soluble in water or alcohol blends. For the polymers to be effective, they must be able to adhere to the hair, or else they will result in unsightly flakes.


Various forms of parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isopropyl paraben, and isobutyl paraben) are used as preservatives in many hair care products

Recently, there has been a rise in apprehension surrounding the utilization of these compounds in cosmetics. Several studies have suggested that parabens may possess androgen antagonist properties and demonstrate genotoxic activity.

However, there is insufficient evidence to prove that parabens could lead to potential human health issues. Thus, making the claims that parabens are associated with hazardous health concerns at this point in time is unfounded.

Meanwhile, offering a nature-inspired hair care solution, our Scandinavian Biolabs’ products are always free from parabens so that you can enjoy peace of mind regarding this ingredient.

Hair Styling Gel
Hair Styling Gel
A sleek styling product for a soft hold and a high-shine look.

Hair Strength & Growth Bundle | For Men
Hair Strength & Growth Bundle | For Men
Developed to gently cleanse the scalp while helping to reduce hair loss



Another ingredient you might consider when checking your hairstyling products is silicones. 

For styling aids, silicones act as a protective seal by coating the strands and leaving your hair with a glossy and smooth finish. This ingredient may also be great for improving manageability and reducing hair breakage during wet combing.

Unfortunately, certain silicones can be hard to wash out, resulting in residue buildups that could cause further issues. Indeed, researchers have classified silicones into three groups according to their ability to be removed with water.

If you are looking to avoid the problematic effects caused by this ingredient, steer clear of those belonging to the stubborn group, such as dimethicone. Instead, opt for those easy-to-rinse ones, and you can sit back enjoying the benefits of your hairstyling products.

Proteins and alcohols

Although hairstyling products are for styling purposes, you may want to acknowledge the protein contents and short-chain alcohols lying in them.

Protein-rich products, which are the most common in “quick drying” protein gel formulas, support the cuticle by filling up broken spaces and adding structure to the entire length of the hair strand. That said, overusing them can cause protein overload, resulting in breakage due to hair dryness. 

Short-chain alcohols (e.g., ethanol, propanol, isopropanol) are sometimes called drying alcohol. This group of ingredients is used in hair styling products as an additive since they conveniently help decrease the drying time and ensure the proper and even spreading of the products on the hair. 

Yet, due to their drying characteristics, they may cause roughness for cuticles. As these alcohols simultaneously remove oil and water from the hair shaft, they induce the potential problem of hair dryness and frizziness.

Haircare brands may introduce more moisturising ingredients into their hairstyling products, ensuring their functionality while eliminating unwanted effects of the alcohols.


Quick Tips For Effective Use Of Your Styling Aids 

To choose a suitable hair styling product for your hair, understanding what type of hair you have is a need.

Either relaxed or fine hair tends to do better with lotions and spray or mist-type heat protectants, while thicker or coarser strands often require creams and serums with a bit more weight. 

For effective use of hair gels, there are some points you might need to consider in advance to increase their conditioning power.

First, your hair needs to be clean and conditioned before applying gels. Then, you can apply a moisturizer, oil, or other hydrating product to the hair before the gel to curb potential drying qualities.

Another way to achieve that goal is to combine the gel with butter or oil before use to promote conditioning and nourishing qualities on the hair. Noticeably, once the gel has set hard or dried on your hair, make sure you always re-mist your hair to weaken the gel before combing through or re-styling.

You should note to yourself how your hair feels after using protein-rich products.

When your hair becomes rougher, more rigid, more breakable, and less pliable, the alteration is another more moisturizing and less protein-heavy product to reinstate your hair’s natural elasticity and moisture balance. 

Pay more attention to the right amount of hair styling products in your daily use. A little can go a long way. You should avoid applying too much at the early stage since you can add more later until achieving the hairstyle you want. Putting it on bit by bit in several applications is desirable and more manageable.


Hairstyling products play a vital role in forming and holding your hair in different styles. In practice, their uses can be at almost any point in a hair care regimen: to start a hairstyle, refresh or change a hairstyle, and hold (fix) a hairstyle. In addition, they are expected to contribute to hair moisturization, nourishment, and other reparative benefits. 

There are changes related to this kind of hair product regarding ingredients, formulas, and uses. Ingredients are chosen and added based on hair types, hairstyles, and degrees of hair damage. The products also are used in a new way simultaneously with the traditional uses when they can be for restyling hair or making hair more organized and less frizzy. A good hair aid must ensure that it can be easily washed up and keep the natural appearance of the hair. Lastly, to avoid damaging your hair, the formulas of hair styling products nowadays also include low levels of herbals extracts, proteins, and other additives in their ingredients list.

Regarding ingredients in hairstyling products, polymers act as one of the main ingredients since they help hold the hair in place to get the desired style. Silicones are another vital ingredient that helps your hair achieve a glossy and smooth finish, but without proper removal, your hair can easily get dry. Also, beware of short-chain alcohols and protein overload. You may need to make sure not to overuse your protein-rich products while adequately moisturising your hair to make up for the drying effect of alcohols. 

To use styling products effectively, you need to know your hair types and information related to the chosen products. Avoid applying them too much at the beginning. Instead, you can go bit by bit so that you can avoid heavy, flaking, and dry hair later on.



The information we provide is not intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, cure or diagnose any disease or condition. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult your doctor.


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