Starting with a good, even foundation is critical for making the best of any makeup look, but does the same go for hair? If the newest trend in hair styling is to be believed, then the answer is yes. The latest products to hit the market are being pitched as bases for your hair that function similarly to those you use on your face—by smoothing out the surface, glossing over imperfections, and creating a lasting foundation that will keep your style looking fresher for longer.
The idea of a “base” for your hair might seem like little more than a marketing gimmick, but strip away the faddier elements and you’ll find that these primers are actually quite useful. In fact, they’re ideal for someone who doesn’t use any styling products at all, because they address issues like frizz, heat and UV protection, and manageability. Oribe Foundation Mist ($24, oribe.com) can be used as a leave-in conditioner, a style-refreshing spray throughout the day, a heat protectant, or even as a cutting lotion for stylists. The spray is full of proteins, emollients and conditioning agents that add body, shine and softness to all hair types.
R+Co One Prep Spray ($20, randco.com) is similar in its versatility—it detangles, conditions, and evens out the porosity of the hair to help additional products adhere evenly to strands. You can also take it one step further and add a CC cream to your routine. If the 10-in-1 doesn’t tip you off, Alterna Caviar CC Cream for Hair 10-in-1 Complete Correction ($25, sephora.com) seeks to achieve in one bottle everything a hair product could ever have to offer.
Think of them like you would a base coat for your nails before a manicure: Sure, you could go without it, but it’s just never as good. There’s something to the idea of using a single product to create a clean, perfected slate for styling, rather than relying on layers of single-use products—it’s just smart.
Read more: The 5 Rules of Heat Styling Your Hair