Hair Care

My budget-friendly straight hair styling routine

October 31, 2013
Ion volume spray, Tresseme styling spray, Control Freak serum
Ion Volume Builder, Tresemme Styling Spray, TIGI Bed Head Control Freak Serum

I’ve always thought my hair was a pretty even blend of my parents’ two different hair textures: my dad has smooth, straight strands while my mom has course waves. Thus, my hair falls pretty straight but also has a few stubborn, uneven waves and loads of flyaway hairs. It’s not quite one nor the other. I’m in the habit of blow drying it most days, but I’ve generally struggled to find styling products that I can rely on to help my hair behave day after day while not weighing it down or leaving it feeling gunky. My goal is to have softer, smoother hair and to tame flyaways, and I’ve recently locked in on a combination of products that I really, really like.

I’ll start with shampoo and conditioner. I’m currently using TIGI Bed Head’s Dumb Blonde line, which I’ve written about here. The shampoo can leave my hair feeling a tad gunky, but in general the pair is working fine for me. I really like that even though it’s formulated for bleached hair, I’m never at risk of over-conditioning, which would weigh down my fine hair and is a common concern of mine.

When I get out of the shower, I gently brush and towel dry my hair. I then tend to focus on skincare and the first steps of my makeup. I usually do about 50% of my makeup before starting on my hair styling, and this just helps my hair dry a bit. If I start to blow dry my hair while it’s still very wet, it wants to fall very flat and it’s very difficult to inject any volume.

The first styling product I use is the Ion Volume Builder spray. This is something I picked up from Sally Beauty Supply, and the original price is listed to be $8.29, or $7.29 for members, but I got it on sale for $5.49. I’m really liking this. I randomly part my hair and spray it on my roots and then massage through with my fingers. It’s very thin and watery but has a nice slippery texture that’s easy to work into hair. It has a nice, light smell, but I don’t notice the smell linger in my hair for long. I’m not sure I get a ton of thickening with this, but I do get lift at the root and a general lightness to my hair. It’s sort of like the lift I get after a significant hair cut, when hair feels extra light after loosing the weight at the bottom. This spray seems to be able to replicate that feeling day after day, and I find it to be a really pleasant effect.

Ion Volume Builder spray
Ion Volume Builder spray

The bottle says “heat-activated thickening for fine, limp hair,” and the website says that it “gives light texture with a touchable hold.” Light texture and touchable sound perfectly accurate to me. It’s paraben-free too.

The next product I reach for is the Tresemme Styling Aid Smooth Iron Style & Hold Spray. Ok, that’s kind of a mouthful … when I look at the bottle I mostly just see Styling Spray, so that’s what it is to me. I got this at Target for $5.49 when I was looking for a spray to help with styling. It was sitting next to the Heat Tamer spray, which tons of people rave about as their go-to heat protectant. As I looked at the two bottles in the store, it appeared that they both provided the same protection against hot styling tools, but that the Iron Hold offered the extra help with smoothing and hopefully coercing hair into obedience. I’ve had good results with this and I think it does exactly what I expected it to do.

Tresemme Styling Aid Smooth Iron Hold Spray
Tresemme Styling Aid Smooth Iron Hold Spray

I spray this liberally from root to tip in anticipation of applying heat throughout all sections of my hair. My hair stays soft (don’t be afraid of the words iron hold). This is also great for using on dry hair before straightening or curling, as well. Cheap and versatile!

Lastly, I reach for the TIGI Bed Head Control Freak serum. This can often be found at hair and beauty stores for $17-19, but you can also find it at discount stores for around $13. Nordstrom Rack has a permanent Bed Head display, and that’s where I picked mine up. This is a slightly green, slightly sparkly gel that offers heat protection and smoothing. For me, this helps make my hair soft and shiny, and goes a long way toward eliminating flyaway hairs. It never feels heavy, and I have equal success using it on both wet and dry hair. A little goes a long way and I always end up fearing that I squirted too much into my hand, but I also never have bad results. It never feels too heavy, sticky or goopy. The serum has a fresh, fruity scent that smells sort of like green apples, but I don’t find it lingers once I’ve smoothed it through.

TIGI Bed Head Control Freak serum
TIGI Bed Head Control Freak serum

I run this through most of my hair, just generally avoiding the roots. A number of people on Ulta’s site say in their reviews that it’s effective at smoothing natural curls, as well. When I went on an extended vacation, this was the one styling product I brought with me because it was easy to take a little bit in a travel container, it provides heat protection, frizz control and shine, and it can be applied whenever I need it.

After working those three products in, I’ll blow dry my hair. I find that when I use good, reliable styling products, my hair is just easier to work with. It won’t rebel with a strange, errant wave or a mess of flyaway hairs, and I won’t need to be as precise in my blow drying technique. It will just magically want to look alright on its own. I do tend to run a flat iron through some of the front pieces of my hair, but I don’t need to. I’m having really great luck with this combination of products and am happy to put the experimentation aside for awhile!

The results
The results

What are your favorite go-to hair products?

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