Of all the grooming products for men hairspray has to be the hardest sell. In the last few years there have been attempts to flog men everything from eyeliner (marketed as cringe-inducing Guyliner) to false eyelashes (risible) and hair dye (successful apart from the ads which are clearly dubbed by the hard of hearing). But hairspray for men? It’s the toughest nut to crack and presumably an ad agency’s worst nightmare. Which is sad really because I’ve always thought it was one of the most useful products a man can have, especially for those ‘thin of thatch’. Seriously.
Weirdly, companies had no such qualms about selling this most glorious of grooming products to men in the past. Over the years various attempts have been made to get men to play with the spray. Even grooming behemoth Gillette had a go by proclaiming that ‘wet hair was dead’ and the dry look was hip with this glorious ad…
Then in the Seventies there were some truly hilarious attempts to win men over with hairsprays with names like Cossack and Falcon. Why they didn’t just come clean and call one Phallus I don’t know (I’m checking to see whether the name is registered for male grooming products the moment I finish this post).
The adverts for such products are always fun to watch, of course. Take this one for The Natural Way (which sounds faintly like the name of a Nudist Colony to me) for example…
I myself, when I had hair, had absolutely no problems carrying the can. In fact, back in the Eighties I used so much of the stuff that if my hair didn’t smoke when I dried it I felt something must be very wrong with my styling technique. Quite often I’d use a whole half can of hairspray to ensure I had suitable height and rigidity.
Eschewing expensive brands, I used Boots’ own hairspray which was essentially Bostik in a can (you never knew whether to style your hair with the stuff or just sniff it from a plastic bag) which left your hair littered in white flakes after a night out. In fact, so ‘claggy’ was it that the first time I used it I woke up the following morning thinking I’d developed contact dermatitis.
I mean, If you’ve got one of those deconstructed quiffs so popular at the moment it’s great. If you’ve got thin, fly-away hair that waxes just weight down it’s great. If you’ve got the kind of spikey do usually only seen on male Russian Eurovision entrants it’s great.
And I’m telling you it’s positively manly stuff, thereby giving you permission to spray away unhindered by any self-limiting notions of girliness. Hell, Schwarzkopf even do a gym-bag-sized version in their excellent 3D styling range. It’s unscented and, helpfully, has ‘Men’ written on the can so what’s your problem? If you want great-looking hair don’t just pray – spray!