How Much Hair Product Do You Really Need?

Carolina Herrera Fall 2012Backstage at a fashion show, or by reading a red carpet hair how-to, you'd assume you need a gallon each of five different products to get the perfect ponytail. But how much product is really needed, and how much is good for our hair (and budget)?

"You don't want runway hair every day," says LB of the Andre Richard Salon in Philadelphia. "When I go out, I wear my hair huge, so I use a ton of hairspray and a ton of mousse. You don’t want to be doing that to your hair every day."

"As far as product for every day to get what you want, most products if they’re professional they’re triple concentrated, so less is more," she said. "You’re not going to go through a tube in a week because you don’t need a lot of it."

Redken Stylist and Grooming Expert Jenny Balding agrees. "I always recommend that the 'every day' product that a woman chooses is as light as their hair can handle. I always want my clients to look beautiful as if no product has been used. Effortlessly beautiful!" she said. "I like to recommend Redken Satinwear 02 prepping blow-dry lotion and also Redken All Soft Argan-6 oil, it’s not heavy and you can use a little and build up."

Sometimes if you're rough on your hair, a repairing product can seem like the answer, but it can cause more damage and build up in the long run. "You don't want to pile on the product every day, it’s not good for your hair. It’s going to build up, it’s going to make it snap," LB said. "Even treatments – girls think, 'Oh, if my hair’s dry I’m going to do a deep conditioner five times a week' – that’s bad for your hair. Less is more."

What about when it comes to the big events when you do want a more dramatic look? "For runway, it all depends on the look you are creating," Balding said. "You might be trying to make the hair look a lot thicker or perhaps very sleek for example. So either way you will almost surely need to use more product than you would for the every day to create."

Different hair textures require different amounts of product, and distribution is key. "Product should always be evenly distributed throughout the hair, especially when using a blow drying product on wet hair," Balding said. "If the hair is very thick, you should take sections starting at the nape and work your way up. Then use a large tooth comb after to evenly distribute before blow-drying – and remember, this is when the hair is damp. With fine or medium textured hair, use required amount of product and evenly distribute throughout for best results."