Man for Himself

Pre-Stylers | The Best For Your Hair Type: Explained

Pre-stylers: What is a pre-styler? What do pre-stylers do? Which pre-styler is the best for your hair type?

What is a pre-styler and how do you use them?

The what and the why of a pre-styler is actually fairly simple.

A pre-styler is a hair product used before styling (often with a hairdryer). It takes your hair from its natural state to that of something more in line with how you want to style it.

If you have fine or limp hair, you might use a pre-styler for thickening and adding volume; or perhaps your hair is naturally frizzy and you need a product to tame and smooth the hair before you style it.

There is a pre-styler for everyone…


Types of pre-stylers

There are so many pre-stylers on sale promising to work wonders for our hair, so to make things a little easier for you I’ve chosen a handful of my favourites products that you should definitely know about.

To Protect 

These pre-stylers aim to protect your hair from damage caused by heat and can be used on all hair types.

My go-to heat protectant is Fudge Tri-Blo. The product not only protects up to 235 °C,  but it also helps to smooth the hair before styling and even adds a little plump.


To Smooth

These products aim to tame the hair by conditioning and smoothing the hair cuticle. Smoothing pre-stylers perfect for guys with coarse and wiry hair.

Label.m Grooming Cream is the perfect lightweight product, keeping the hair soft and smooth whilst allowing it to be styled and worked. This product is great for creating sleek, formal hairstyles.

Other great smoothing pre-stylers include Aveda Shampure Thermal Dry Conditioner or Hair Custard from Lush (it smells amazing!)

Click to shop below:


Label M Grooming Cream
Lush Hair Custard
Aveda Shampure Thermal Dry Conditioner



For Volume

Voluminous pre-stylers are great for creating big hair. Volume pre-stylers can be used to add structure to fine hair or tighten and define curly hair.

If you’re a guy who wants a high quiff, then theres nothing better than a mousse! My go-to is Bumble and Bumble’s Full Form Mousse which thickens and defines the hair, leaving it feeling big and full of volume.

If you’re working to a budget, try L’Oreal Studio Pro’s Boost It Volume Mousse; Fish Platinum Fishfoam Volume Styling Mousse; or Toni and Guy Volume Plumping Mousse.



Click to shop below:



L’Oreal Studio Pro Boost It Volume Mousse

Fish Platinum Fishfoam Volume Styling Mousse 

Toni and Guy Volume Plumping Mousse Volume Foam

Aveda Pure Abundance Style Prep 

To Thicken

Thickening pre-stylers aim to plump the hair by expanding hair strands. They are most beneficial when used on fine, flyaway hair.

Some of my favourites have always been the Aveda Thickening Tonic; and Label M’s Thickening Tonic or Fudge Urban Inflatable Jelly, which are great if you’re on a budget.

For a real boost and noticeable thicker hair I would recommend Nioxin‘s Diaboost, Thickening Gel and Thickening Spray.


Click to shop below:

Nioxin Diaboost Thickening Treatment 
Nioxin Thickening Gel
Nioxin Thickening Spray
Aveda Thickening Tonic
Label M Thickening Tonic
Fudge Urban Inflatable Jelly


For Texture

These products add movement and a more rugged finish. They can be used on all hair types.

Although a pre-styler can help to add texture, it’s worth also taking a look at your haircut. Your barber can cut into the hair, reducing some of the weight whilst adding definition to the style. Once you’ve nailed the cut, you can focus on the products.

Sea salt sprays are great for texture. Go for Toni & Guy’s Sea Salt Spray or Fudge Urban Sea Salt spray.

Remember, sea salts can dehydrate your hair, so don’t overdo it. Other great – non-dehydrating – options include Bumble & Bumble’s Surf Foam Spray Blow Dry (a mousse, sea salt hybrid); Aveda Texture Tonic; or Lush’s Mr Dandy’s Hair Candy.

Click to shop below:

ush-mr-dandys-hair-candy-pre-styler aveda-texture-tonic-pre-styler

Toni & Guy Texturising Sea Salt Spray
Fudge Urban Sea Salt
Bumble & Bumble Surf Foam Spray Blow Dry
Aveda Texture Tonic
Lush Mr Dandy’s Hair Candy


Watch the video below for more advice on the best pre-styler for your hair type.

  • Alex7 says:

    Are By Vilain pre stylers good?

  • Daniel says:

    Hi Robin, I wanted to pick your brain about pre-styler suggestions. I have curly/wavy hair (genetics) which get tangled in the morning. I usually style it with a neat side part but as I am letting grow out it is getting harder to tame. Do have any suggestions on a pre-styler? Btw I live in Canada I don’t if that may affect your suggetion. All the best!

  • Qinyao Zheng says:

    Thanks for this article! You really opened my eyes to more products for the hair!
    I’m an asian with fine and somewhat thin hair, i don’t feel my hair dropping more than usual, just that since young i have a flat and limp crop and high forehead so i think i need volume and maybe texture? I have been introduced to Sea Salt Sprays which work well usually but just wondering if i should add in the volumizing and/or thickening to my regime?
    And if i were to add them in, how should i go about applying them? understand that thickening is also to work onto damp hair before blow drying, sea salt spray is somewhat similar to that. Can i add them both before blow drying or is there any sequence to this? or should i only use one or the other and not both at the same time? Appreciate your kind response to this!
    Thanks in advance 🙂

  • Dawn Tobin says:

    I had written to you earlier. I had posted the wrong insta link of the hairstylist.

    Posting the right one now

    🙂 Thanks

  • Dawn Tobin says:

    Dear Robin
    I am a makeup artist and I have been struggling to understand if I could use Gels on brides hair as a pre-styler, along with the heat protectant before I go on to using the curling tong. I feel so upset my hairstyle don’t turn out the way I would love them to.

    Here in India, i have wasted so much money on classes but I have never been taught the right way of hair-styling. And travelling abroad for a course is beyond my affordability.

    I watch pictures of hairstyles and would love to know what products used would give me the effect of thickness and a neat clean hairstyle with clean curls. Thank you so much have a lovely day. Love Dawn