Motions Foaming Wrap Lotion, $4.99
"You usually find it in the 'ethnic' aisle but it's an amazing product for any woman with frizzy—but still fine—hair," says Allison Woodruff, a stylist at Marie Robinson Salon in New York, who uses Motions Foaming Wrap Lotion daily on clients. "It smoothes waves and curls but never leaves them droopy." Woodruff's prescription: Comb a healthy dollop from roots to ends when hair is wet. Whether you air-dry or blow-dry, you'll get silky results.
L'Oréal Elnett Hairspray, $14.99 for 11 ounces
Hairstylists talk about this hairspray like chefs talk about a razor-edged Japanese knife: It delivers beautiful results, consistently, and it's an indispensable tool in their arsenal. A fine mist of Elnett gives incredible hold (even for the most vertiginous updos) and brushes out easily, so it doesn't leave hair fuzzy or dull. Before it became available in the U.S. four years ago, pros smuggled Elnett home from Europe in their suitcases. Now you can find it at almost any American drugstore.
Murray's Original Pomade, $3
Hairstylist River Lloyd at the Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon in New York has played the pomade field and always comes back to Murray's. It creates the perfect piece-y texture in short cuts but also adds luster to long hair. To make Murray's work for every hair type, just adjust the dosage, Lloyd says. A dab does the trick for cropped or fine hair; use more for longer or thicker hair. Rub the product between your palms until it softens into the texture of a lotion; press it on the ends of dry hair and work up toward the roots.
Infusium 23 Repair & Renew Leave-In Treatment, $6.99
The transformation is instantaneous when New York hairstylist Lisa Chiccine spritzes this leave-in conditioner on a client's hair: "As I comb it through, I can feel the hair getting softer." She recommends it for every hair type and has been using it on herself since she was a teenager. And this spray goes beyond post-shower detangling: Many experts recommend it to protect the hair at the beach or pool. Plus, it's brilliant at reinvigorating drooping curls—just spritz through dry hair and gently scrunch.
Conair Brush Mega Self Grip Rollers, $9.99
Hairstylists always have Velcro rollers on hand. You should, too. With a set of them in your possession, full hair is only about 10 minutes away. When you're done blow-drying—and your hair is still a little warm—put in about half a dozen rollers (one over each ear, two on top, two in the back). Go about your business (deal-making, egg-scrambling, child-wrangling, whatever) and take the rollers out before you leave the house. Your style will stay bouncy all day.
L'Oréal Nature's Therapy Mega Moisture Nurturing Creme, $10.49 for 8 ounces
Seriously thick conditioners can also be seriously expensive. This one, packed with sunflower oil, is an exception—and holds its own against any salon brand, softening coarse and brittle hair after just one use. Work it through hair in the shower and leave it on as long as possible before rinsing. To give hair even more luster, Chiccine recommends mixing this conditioner in your palm with a few drops of olive oil before applying it.
(This conditioner is available at SallyBeauty.com
Organix Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum, $6.99
Silicone is the double-edged sword of hairstyling. Nothing beats it for blocking out the humidity that creates frizz—yet it can quickly become too much of a good thing, making hair lank and greasy. This serum harnesses silicone's frizz-fighting power but is so lightweight that it's almost impossible to overdo. A couple of squirts smooth even fine hair without weighing it down.
Static Guard, $3.49 for 1.4 ounces
A solution for creeping skirts, clingy blouses and...unruly hair? Yup, a light mist of Static Guard on dry hair (hold the can six inches from your head) eliminates flyaways with no product mess or greasy residue. Another stylist trick: Spray Static Guard inside hats and hoods to prevent hair-raising experiences.
Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Styling Gel, $4.29
This curl's best friend does everything a gel should (smooth and hold curls in place) and nothing it shouldn't (petrify them). Lloyd is such a fan that he sometimes accompanies clients to the closest drugstore to make sure they get the right tube. His operating instructions: Comb a quarter-size amount through soaking-wet hair, from roots to ends and air-dry. You'll end up with defined, silky curls.
Next: 11 quick fixes for blah hair days