We all know the scenario: You’re standing in front of the mirror, hairspray (or other various hair product) in tow. In your attempt to actually break free from your everyday hair rut, you reach for the dust-covered mousse, gel, or hairspray can at the back of your shelf and prepare for battle. A spritz here, a glob there. Not bad. Could use a little more you think to yourself. So you squeeze on one more dollop and suddenly your masterpiece goes from Instagram worthy to total disaster in half a second. It’s an affliction many of us suffer from: overzealous use of product. To spare you over-saturated, hard, crunchy, or otherwise over-done hair that needs fixing ASAP, we chatted with expert stylist Taylor Brock from Butterfly Studio in New York so you never ruin another blowout again because of too much hair product.
If you’ve overused hairspray
Hairspray is great for keeping updos defying gravity and giving hair texture when needed, but if used in excess, it can make hair tacky, crunchy, and hard. Definitely not a good look on anyone. To fix this without hopping in the shower and starting from scratch, Brock says you can add a bit of hair oil cautiously. He says spray form is best for this particular problem. “Or a very fine mist of water just to re-moist and add back oil and moisture to cancel out the alcohol in the aerosol products,” he explains.
If you’ve overused an oil or serum
Similarly, you can also overdo it with the oil, causing hair to become a slimy, sticky mess. To fix this greasy problem, use a dry shampoo to help absorb some of the oil, says Brock. If you don’t have a dry shampoo handy (who are you?!), you can use a dry texturizing spray to help absorb and sex-up the look by adding more texture and creating a tousled sexy bed head look, he notes. Also just grabbing the hairline or oiled areas and blasting them with heat from your blow dryer helps work out and eliminate some of the excess oil, he adds.
If you’ve overused gel
“When gel leaves the hair looking wet, you can help dry it a little more with your blow dryer, and remember—you can always add more so start off with less,” explains Brock. “Honestly it’s quite hard to avoid not having the hair turn dry and flaky-looking when you use too much gel and need to break it up.” Fortunately, a little dry shampoo can be a good fix as well. “Dry shampoo comes to the rescue for most any hair fix!” he adds.
If you’ve overused dry shampoo
Although it can be a lifesaver, dry shampoo can tend to leave hair dusty with a touch of lackluster. “Using the right kind of dry shampoo for your hair type is a huge help in avoiding this—also working the product in after applying and not spraying the product too closely,” Brock says. “To help the dry dusty look, use a small bottle of water that mists rather than sprays a direct stream of water.” He recommends trying a water mist like Evian Natural Mineral Water Spray ($18, ulta.com), which is ideal for a quick moisture shot. “Shorter hair can simply wet hands or [your] hair and give a good shake before lightly raking fingers through hair,” he says. “It’s also a good method when you don’t have anything on you because you can always find water!”
If you’ve overused mousse
Lastly mousse is another common hair staple that’s way too easy to get a little product-happy with. If you’ve applied a bit too much in your locks and left them a little more sloppy than you’d intended, use your blow dryer and scrunch the hair as if you were still applying the mousse, making sure to hold a bit of the heat directly on the saturated section. “This will help absorb the formula and dry it more without interfering with your style,” Brock explains.