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Olive Oil sheen vs Pantene hairspray: Which is better for thick hair types?

Which product is better for black hair during the winter months?
(Shamontiel L. Vaughn)

"I'm surprised it's so cold in Chicago," says no one ever who has spent a winter in the Windy City.

And with cold weather comes dry hair. Whether you're managing the upkeep of your own long hairdo or a short 'do, keeping your hair (and skin) moisturized is incredibly important during the holiday season.

But should you be using hair sheen, hairspray or both? And what's the difference?

Hairspray is a liquid used to apply to hair to make it stay in place and often is used to help avoid ruining a hairstyle in humid weather. Obviously it's not humid outside in Chicago, but even your own home can be humid if the heat is too high.

Carpet can trap moisture, according to the Weather Channel. And if your home is humid and you don't use a dehumidifier, this can affect your hair, too.

Hair oil sheen is used to add shine to dry hair.

Both hair sheen and hairspray have perks, and sometimes beauty professionals will use both to combat the downsides of each other.

Hair oil sheen may add a "natural" shine to hair, but it can also weigh it down the same way oiling your hair would. If you've ever tried to oil your hair and then immediately curl it only to watch it flop down instead of stay upright, you're familiar with this issue. Some sheens also leave a fog or beads on top of your hair.

Hairspray is great for keeping your hair looking freshly done. The problem is the spray doesn't dissolve into hair and disappear. It stays packed into your scalp. So using hairspray everyday just adds to the everyday dirt that builds up in oily or dry hair, and you may end up washing your hair more often. But not using hairspray can lead to disappointment when five minutes after completing your hairstyle, you look like you didn't do anything at all.

Sometimes hairsprays will be a little tricky and advertise themselves with terminology like "adds shine." This may be a bit like your boss saying she can do your job without knowing the tasks (or having the ingredients) to do so. Believe it when you see it.


Hairstyle/Cut: Pixie-like cut with stack rows in the back (see photos)

Test: I completed a hair test using Pantene Medium-Thick Hairstyle hairspray with Level 4 (maximum hold) and Olive Oil (formerly Organic Root Stimulator or ORS) Nourishing Sheen Spray to see which did a better job with shine.


Oil sheen: As expected, Olive Oil spray felt softer on my hair after curling it into stack rows. It's also mildly shiny. However, the fog and smell of the spray hangs around for a bit contrary to what the back of the bottle says.

If your hair is short, it's important that the small curls in the back of your head look neat and strands are in the proper place. Otherwise your rows turn into a blanket. But sheen isn't meant to keep hair in place so had I not used hairspray, my curls would've looked slightly bushy from the blend of Vitamin E, olive oil and herbal extracts inside the Olive Oil sheen.

Hairspray: I've had no big complaints about Pantene's shampoos, conditioners or hairsprays. This is one of the few popular hair product lines that works well with relaxed hair for black women. The range of hair types that are considered for their products is one of the many reasons I flock to it. But like any other hairspray, packing it on will lead to extra hair washes. I usually wash my hair bi-monthly, but with the need for spray to keep curls in place (assuming I fail at "sleeping pretty," which is common) I wash my hair weekly. I also didn't see the "shine" I was promised.

Tips: Drying hair out can make it that much harder for your hair to grow back and grow healthy. Try switching between the two. Use sheen one day and hairspray the next. That way the buildup is less.

Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all her latest black hair & hair health entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Black Hair & Health channel at the top of this page.

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