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The Hair Products You Need—And How to Use Them

Baffled by gels, pomades, mousses, and sprays? Hair pro Mark Garrison tells you what you need for your hair type.

Gels, pomades, mousse, sprays, blow dryers, flat irons, hair bands, clips, brushes, and on and on and on...will it ever stop? The variety and quantity of hair products and accessories on the market is mind-boggling, not to mention time-consuming!

A great haircut is key in order to get the look you want, so you really can swipe your bathroom counter clear except for a few must-have essentials. Read on to see what you should keep on hand:

You've Got: Thin, fine hair 
You Want: Thick, full hair 
You Need: Volumizing mousse 
How You Use It: While your hair is still damp, flip your head upside down, and rub the mousse throughout your hair from the roots to the ends. To evenly distribute the mousse, comb your hair with a wide-tooth comb. Blow-dry your hair with head upside down for added fullness.

You've Got: Straight or wavy hair 
You Want: Curly hair 
You Need: Curlers, hair spray, and volumizing mousse 
How You Use It: While your hair is slightly damp, set small sections using curlers like my "Candy Wrappers." The smaller the sections you create, the more volume you will get. Once your hair is dry, spray hairspray on each curl and at the roots for added lift.

You've Got: Dry, damaged hair 
You Want: Healthy hair 
You Need: Moisturizing shampoo,deep conditioner, silicone spray or gel sheen 
How You Use It: After shampooing your hair with a moisturizing shampoo, use a deep conditioner for added moisture. Leave theconditioner on for 3-5 minutes before rinsing. Apply a silicone spray evenly on dry hair, staying away from the roots (you want to avoid build-up on the scalp). If your hair is severely dry, opt for a gel sheen instead of silicone spray.

You've Got: Curly hair 
You Want: Straight hair 
You Need: Straightening balm (plus a blow-dryer and a flat iron) 
How You Use It: When hair is damp, apply straightening balm up the hair shaft almost until to the roots (steer clear of those roots!). Comb through to distribute it evenly, then blowdry hair using a large, round brush. Finish with a flat iron for a super-straight look.

You've Got: Kinky, curly hair 
You Want: Defined curls 
You Need: Leave-in conditionerand styling gel 
How You Use It: To give your curls added definition and hold, mix a leave-in conditioner or a pomade with a styling gel in the palm of your hand. Finger-comb it through damp hair section by section, avoiding the roots. Allow hair to air dry.

Mark Garrison

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