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What is Hair Primer + How to Use It?

Chances are, you’re very familiar with the benefits of using a makeup primer before your foundation. It’s all about providing a smooth base, evening out imperfections, and helping your look last longer. But what exactly is hair primer and why do you need one?

In essence, hair primer makes your hair behave better. It can be a game changer if you’re looking for manageability, workable hold, and a frizz-free style. From detangling knots and adding shine to providing texture and definition, hair primer is a true multitasker. 

Incorporating hair primer into your styling routine ticks a number of boxes, whether you use it alone or in combination with heat tools and other styling products. Today, we’re breaking down exactly what a hair primer is, what it does, how to use one, and how to choose the best hair primer for you.

What is hair primer

What is hair primer?

Hair primers are to the hair what makeup primers are to the skin. They’re a lightweight, leave-in styling product that makes hair styling easier, reduces drying time, and provides a base for all of your other styling products. Hair primers create a protective shield against humidity, giving a smoother, more polished look to any hairstyle.

What does hair primer do?

The best hair primers are multitasking products that do several things for your hair:

  • Extend the longevity of your hairstyle
  • Protect against breakage and split ends
  • Moisturize the hair to reduce dryness and add shine
  • Create a humidity-resistant shield to prevent frizz and flyaways
  • Provide workable hold during heat styling
  • Reduce drying time
  • Enhance texture, volume, and definition 

Which hair types can use hair primer?

All hair types can benefit from using a hair primer! It’s the perfect pre-styler for smoother, frizz-free styles whether your hair is naturally curly or straight, fine or thick, long or short. No matter what hair type you have, it will make styling easier and help you achieve a more flawless finish. 

A hair primer can provide a boost of hydration and shine to dull, dry strands and give a smoother appearance to coarse or kinky hair. Massage it into the roots of fine or thin hair before blow drying to add lift and volume, or scrunch it into naturally wavy or curly hair to enhance definition and fight frizz. 

If you love a primer in your makeup routine, we’re betting you’ll love adding one to your hair styling routine, too. It’s a true, multi-tasking product for all hair types. 

Hair primer

What to look for in a hair primer

Hair primers come in a variety of consistencies, from gels and sprays to creams and balms. A lightweight cream formula is usually the most versatile for all hair types and the most effective for increasing manageability and providing hold. 

The best hair primers include ingredients that improve the overall strength and health of your hair, fight frizz, and increase shine and manageability. Here are some key ingredients to look for:

  • Propolis: Propolis improves the strength of the hair to prevent breakage and split ends. It also enhances texture and volume.
  • Honey: Honey is a natural humectant and emollient. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to nourish, condition, and boost the overall health of your hair.
  • Sweet Almond Oil: Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that improve hair health and protect it from damage. Has emollient properties to provide moisture, soften the hair, and add shine.
  • Polyquaternium-37: Combats frizz by reducing staticity. Provides hold and acts as a barrier against humidity.

How do you use hair primer?

Hair primer is super easy to use and only takes moments to apply. Here’s how to use hair primer in three easy steps:

Step 1: Cleanse and Condition Your Hair

Grab your favorite sulfate-free shampoo and cleanse your hair. Conditioner is next, of course. Feel free to use a traditional rinse-out conditioner or a leave-in, your choice. Towel dry and you're ready to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Apply Your Hair Primer 

Place one to two pea-sized amounts of hair primer into the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together to warm up the product and activate the ingredients. Distribute the product evenly throughout your damp hair from root to tip using your fingers or a wide tooth comb.

Step 3: Style as Usual

Now you’re ready to style your hair according to your preference. Whether you air dry or blow dry, flat iron or use a curling tool, a hair primer will help to ensure a longer-lasting, more polished hairstyle. 

If you’d like to enhance your natural curls, try scrunching the product into your hair and then allow it to air dry using the “plop” method. The primer will provide hold and definition while preventing frizz. Or, create beachy waves by allowing your hair to air dry in a braid or bun. 

If you’ll be using heat tools to dry, curl, or straighten your hair, be sure to apply a heat protection spray first. Hair primer plays well with other products too. Use it in combination with our Honey Infused Hair Oil for added shine and frizz control, or pair it with our Texturizing Wave Spray for instant volume and definition.

Pro Tip

Hair primer can be used after you style your hair, too. A tiny amount applied to styled hair will tame flyaways, eliminate frizz, create sleek buns or ponytails, and give a non-sticky, never stiff hold to any hairstyle. It’s a must for creating the “clean girl” aesthetic!

Hair Primer vs Leave-In Conditioner

What’s the difference between hair primer and leave-in conditioner?

Leave-in conditioner is part of your cleansing and conditioning routine. Its job is to hydrate without weighing down the hair, detangle, and improve overall hair health. Leave-in conditioners can benefit any hair type, but they’re particularly useful for fine, dry, or damaged hair.

Hair primer is applied after cleansing and conditioning as part of your styling routine. It can be used alone or in combination with other styling products. It’s most useful for increasing the longevity of your hairstyle, from air-dried beachy waves to a smoothing blowout to loose curls with a curling iron and everything in between.

Hair primer also works like a barrier product, protecting the hair against frizz by blocking humidity, so it’s ideal for creating sleek hairstyles, too. Although there is some crossover between the two products, there’s definitely a place in your routine for both.

Ready to try a hair primer for yourself?

Does it sound like a hair primer might be exactly what’s missing from your hair styling arsenal? Try Gisou’s Propolis Infused Polishing Primer! It’s a true multi-tasker that’s easy to incorporate into any styling routine. 

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