Most of us are intimately familiar with the power of a good makeup primer. With it, your foundation glides on like silk, your skin maintains a fresh, matte finish, and your makeup doesn’t budge. Without it, you can be sure your look will melt off by lunchtime. It won’t come as a surprise, then, to learn that there are primers for your hair—and no matter if your locks are fine and frizzy or thick and curly, you should definitely be using one.
What’s a hair primer?
Let’s start at the beginning: a hair primer is a product that preps hair for styling. Primers are generally made up of a blend of conditioning and protective ingredients, and they come in a variety of different formulas. Depending on your hair type and styling routine, you may opt for a cream, spray, lotion, or balm primer. Hair primers are an essential pre-styling step in your haircare routine—especially if you blow dry or style with hot tools.
What does a hair primer do?
A better question might be, what don’t hair primers do? They protect your hair against damage from heat styling and minimize breakage from detangling and brushing. They condition and hydrate, leaving your locks softer, shinier, stronger, and more manageable—much like leave-in conditioners. They help other styling products work better and extend the life of your style. Hair primers even moonlight as hair refreshers, adding bounce and texture back into second-day styles. Many also contain UV-protective ingredients, making them like sunscreen for hair.
Which primer is best for my hair?
To answer this question, we brought in the experts at Bumble and bumble to help sort through the options and find the perfect primer for every hair type.
For fine to medium hair
This lightweight spray is an excellent all-around primer, especially for fine hair. Packed with nourishing vitamins, it detangles, preps hair for styling, and refreshes second-day styles with a weightless, no-product feel.
For medium to thick hair
Tonic Lotion Primer
Inspired by the elixirs used in old-school barbershops, this medium-weight primer spray is best for medium to thick hair that’s healthy, dry, damaged, or color-treated. Invigorating herbs and essential oils refresh your scalp while hydrating and detangling strands.
For dry or damaged hair
Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer
If your hair needs a little extra TLC, opt for this oil-infused, UV-protective spray. It instantly softens, silkens, and detangles coarse, brittle hair while taming frizz for sleek, shiny styles. Don’t be turned off by the long list of deeply reparative oils—it goes on weightlessly.
For wavy or curly hair
Bb.Curl Pre-Style/Re-Style Primer
Formulated with curls and waves in mind, this moisturizing primer not only detangles and hydrates—it also works to lightly define and shape curls on contact. UV filters protect hair from the drying effects of the sun, and when used on day two, it whips second-day curls back into shape.