I have pretty fine dry hair that’s generally unmanageable and fairly difficult to style. Its natural texture is on the wavy (frizzy, really) side, but it doesn’t really hold styles that well without a bit of help. I usually curl it with a hot iron, but it tends to lose curl pretty readily.
I’ve tried traditional heat-protection sprays before (Tresomme, usually) and while they sort of help, they don’t really offer any kind of significant long-term hold or styling help. Which is fair, really, since I don’t think that’s their primary purpose.
I came across the Living Proof Flex Spray a couple of years ago after venturing into my local Sephora looking for a styling product that would work well with a hot iron (or hot rollers, which I sometimes use). Once I explained the situation, the Sephora rep immediately suggested this stuff.
I balked a bit initially because I thought it was “just” hairspray, albeit more expensive, and wasn’t at all keen on using hairspray as a styling product. Sounded like a weird idea and a recipe for a crunchy hair disaster.
Turns out that this is actually quite a different product than your usual hairspray. It’s not a traditional “finishing” hairspray of the sort that you’d use to set things after styling but rather a “working” hairspray that’s meant to be using *during* the process of creating the style. It really helps things hold much better without being stiff or sticky, and is surprisingly easy to use. You can use it again after styling as a finishing spray, though I’ve never felt the need to do so.
While it can be used on damp/wet hair (for styling with a blow dryer, for example), in practice, I use it primarily on dry hair when I curl it with a hot iron, and I think that’s actually the best way to use it. It’s a very lenient product and you don’t have to worry too much about whether you’re using too much (I’ve never once used it and then thought, eep, used too much, must wash immediately!).
You also don’t have to be super-precise about dispensing it. I basically spray an approximate section of my hair with a light spray of product and brush through; alternatively, sometimes I spray it directly onto a brush and then comb it through my hair. Either way works just fine! I then curl as usual.
The end result is a style that holds up much better and for far longer than it would otherwise. Even on a typical San Francisco late afternoon, when the ocean commences its daily assault against the sunkissed city and the fog and wind roll in, I’m always surprised that it hasn’t fallen flat. It’s not going to look the same as it did many hours earlier, but I can definitely tell that it’s withstanding a fair amount of punishment and quite well, actually.
I've been using the Living Proof Flex spray off and on for about two years and while it's initially on the expensive side (more than what I'd usually spend for a styling product), a bottle lasts a surprisingly long time and I'm still working on the second bottle. I also find the scent very pleasing: kind of a slightly earthy, sweet sugar/vanilla smell that somehow manages to not be cloying. Some people find it strong, but I think compared to most hairsprays, it's pretty mild and plays well with other scented products if you're using more than one.
-Great product if you have hair that doesn't hold styles well, especially when using a curling iron.
-Flexible hold that isn't sticky or stiff. If you don't like the feel of traditional hairsprays, this is a great alternative!
-Easy to use and can be used to style wet or dry hair. It's a pretty lenient product meaning that you don't have to worry too much about overdoing it or being super precise.
-Since it can be used to style dry hair, I've often used it to fix/restyle a bad blowout. Best product I have for this purpose, actually!
-Smells great (vanilla-ish, but in an earthy, uncloying way). Of course, this one is subjective!
-More expensive than drugstore-priced styling products, but not aware of any offerings that offer quite the same functionality.
-If you want a truly strong hold that barely moves, this is probably not going to be enough.
-If you don't have long, healthy, smooth, thick and lustrous locks in the first place (neither do I!), this is not going to be the product that changes that. No product will. My hair is not amazeballs and never will be. Just expect easier styling with heat-based tools, longer hold, and curls that don't fall out in less than an hour. Everything else is gravy.