Man for Himself

Your Guide To Pre-Stylers

The basics of pre-styling. Part 2 of our Hair Products Guide series.

In part 1, we introduced the many hair product types and the three main steps of hairstyling: Pre-Styling, Styling, and Fixing/Finishing

In this article, we’re going to talk a little more about that initial step, pre-styling, and what kinds of products are best for you and your hair type. 

What is Pre-Styling?

Pre-styling is the first step in styling your hair. You will generally add a pre-styler to damp hair. 

There’s no point using a wax, clay or paste if you’ve not worked through the pre-styling phase. A pre-styler will help to provide the foundation to a great hairstyle. This is also where you can start to tackle any little problems that you might personally have with your hair.

You could pre-style to thicken, add volume, smooth or just to heat protect.

Pre-Stylers: The Types

Pre-stylers can range from anything like a spray, oil, serum, gel, cream, or even a mousse. It’s important to find the best one for your hair type



The most basic and minimal of the pre-stylers. Primers tend to have heat protectant in them. A primer can also help to smooth and detangle the hair. 



Brands like label.m have a really great smoothing and anti-frizz range. A smoothing pre-styler could come as a spray, serum, oil or even balm.

They’re perfect if you’ve got coarse hair that’s quite rough to the touch.

sachajuan-ocean-mist-sea-salt-spray-product-review-man-for-himself SachaJuan Ocean Mist


Texture helps to add movement and definition into the hair. 

Sea salt sprays are a great way to do this. Favourites include Ocean Mist by Sachajuan. Or if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you could try from Toni & Guy or Fudge Urban.

You could also try a texture spray. Texture Tonic by Aveda has none of the drying qualities of a sea salt spray, but it does provide loads of gritty movement. 

Aveda Thickening Tonic


A thickening pre-styler will help to boost and plump your hair. 

Thickening products mainly come as sprays. Two of my favourites include this one by Aveda and also from Bumble and bumble. Nioxin also has a great line of thickening pre-stylers, including their thickening spray and Diaboost.

bumble-and-bumble-full-form-thickening-mousse-product-man-for-himself Bumble and bumble Thickening Mousse


What’s the difference between thick hair and voluminous hair? Volume is more about that height, whereas thickening is mainly in the body. You quite often get a thickening spray that will also give you the body and the volume. But, if you just want the volume, then your go-to should be something like a mousse.

Bumble and Bumble’s Full Form Soft Mousse (pictured) is a great product to really give your hair some height!

Be careful not to go overboard with a mousse. Using too much can cause your hair to feel crispy. 

In addition, there’s a sort of grey area where some people use styling products as a pre-styler. It’s doable, but you may really want to think about what kind of hair foundation you’re looking for.

Thickening, volume, texture, smoothing. Think about what it is you want for your hair! 


Check out pre-styling products here

The Best Pre-Styler For Your Hair Type | Hair Product Guide | Ep. 2

Hair Products You Actually Need | Hair Product Guide | Ep. 1