I’m not going to lie. I’ve spent most of my adolescent, teenage, and adult life feeling personally victimized by hair spray. (Anyone else?) After years of dancing and spraying ponytails, buns, braids, curls, and crimps into sticky, glue-like oblivion (and suffering the damage-inducing repercussions), I found hair spray to be the least appealing option on the menu where haircare is concerned.
However, since becoming a beauty editor and having the opportunity to interview and even sit in the styling seat of some of the best hairstylists in the businesses, I’m a woman turned. Over the past few years, my strands have been doused with all kinds of formulas that have never come close to the Elmer’s-esque aftermath of my Aqua Net nightmares of the past. Even more intriguing? So many celebrity hairstylists I’ve consulted use and love affordable, drugstore hair sprays, claiming they’re just as effective as pricey counterparts. Those gorgeous styles we ogle at during celeb-studded red carpets? (OMG—remember those?) They’re often dusted, finished, and secured with drugstore staple names such as Suave, Dove, and L’Oréal.
To prove my point, I did some research. I combed through tons of red carpet breakdowns from previous award shows (my inbox is a gold mine), I referenced previous how-to stories we’ve written here on Who What Wear, and I even DM’d a few of my favorite hairstylists to confirm which drugstore hair sprays are good enough for the pros. Keep scrolling for the final consensus and our official rundown of the best hairstylist-approved drugstore hair sprays.