An overview on setting hair using styling or fixing products.

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Fixing-Styling Products
Women, and to a lesser extent men, use hair fixing or hair styling products to create temporary changes in their hair volume and fiber. The hair setting products are useful in setting hair to suit the requirement of particular hair styles.

Due to lack of time, more and more people are turning to these hair setting products rather than adorning their hair by braiding or with decorative accessories like hair pins and other hair braiding products.

There are a myriad of fixative or styling products available in the market. The purpose of using fixatives is to change the physical properties of hair. Other than setting hair these products make the hair gentle, if it is rough. The application of fixative products prevents the strands from overlapping one another.

Fixative or styling products usually contain a high degree of adhesiveness which keeps the hair fiber close to each other. This effect of the styling product leaves the hair setting intact and undisturbed even if it is not combed for a longer time.

The common hair styling products that are widely used by both the genders are :
  • Mousses
  • Gels
  • Styling Spray
Composition and characteristics of these styling products
Mousses are an important hair styling product which are soft to touch and can be easily removed from the hair after a few washes. These conditioning mousses contain cationic water soluble polymers which provide a smooth texture to the hair. Anionic fixative polymers in mousses make the hair more manageable.

Also some mousses contain temporary colors that can be easily removed after a few washes. Hair colors like permanent coloring is more stable and remains in the scalp for longer time.

Gels originally contained aqueous solutions of substituted methylcellulose ethers which leave an unpleasant gum on the hair. But today PVP/VA and vinylcaprolactam /PVP/ dimethyaminoethylmethacrylate copolymers are formulated with gels and the results are much more pleasing.

The modern formulation of silicones in hair sprays provide, sheen, and lubricate the hair fiber. They can also increase the resins resistance to humidity.

Procedure and effects of using hair styling products
Mousses are applied to wet hair during blow drying to subsequently create an impact on the hair setting and style. Mousses are more preferred by matured people while styling gels and waxes are favorites for younger age groups.

In the early 1990s, polymer styling products were introduced which incorporated organic acrylate cross polymers with grafted side chains. These styling products induce spot welds, maintain a more flexible hold and minimize grooming force and damage.

Tips while using hair styling products
There is a misconception that hair styling products are only to be used on healthy hair. But people who suffer from severe hair loss, low hair density or develop fine hair generally have a deep desire for setting hair. This hair setting helps them to hide their baldness, enhance volume and thickness of the hair.

The fixatives or styling products can give you satisfying results provided the specified rules are followed:
  • While using rollers or hair dryers apply mousse
  • Set the hair dryer at low heat in order to prevent damage
  • Use flexible hair spray if you want to keep the hair soft and manageable
  • To keep your hair style intact and untangled use rigid hair sprays
Styling your hair can be one of the best parts of any beauty regime provided you know the details of hair styling products and is also aware of your hair and scalp type. Improper hair styling can lead to severe hair fiber defects like Trichorrhexis Nodosa.

So do proper research and collect the adequate pre-requisite information. Then go ahead and try the suitable products which will only amaze you by their after-effects.

John Gray, “Hair Care and Hair Care Products, 2001, Clinics in Dermatology, 19:227–236
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