Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays | Trying out new hairstyles with new hairsprays

Today, I am reviewing the top range of Kenra Professional hairsprays — and trying out a new hairstyle variation to test each new hairspray!

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

First, some context. I signed up with Brandbacker a couple of years ago, an online service that matches up brands with style “influencers” (a fancy term for ” bloggers”). Bloggers apply for possible campaigns they’re interested in, and companies review and select bloggers who they feel are a good fit for their brand or product. (Through Brandbacker, I have reviewed the Billion Dollar Brows kit, which I still use, and more recently reviewed Finesse shampoo + conditioner, which I’m also still using.) I only apply to review products that feel authentic or interesting to me, are in my price range, and/or inspire me to think of new ways to experiment with my style, makeup, or hairstyles. Y’all know how I like to try new things!

For this campaign, here was my pitch and idea for a review post of the Kenra Professional hairsprays:

Librarian for Life + Style | Personal pitch for Kenra Professional campaign via Brandbacker

So I saw this as an opportunity to get to learn about and compare different kinds of hairsprays and to try out new hairstyles at the same time — and to demonstrate that short-haired ladies also like to experiment with our hair! Viva la short-haired lassies!

I had also admitted in this post last fall about my regular haircare routine that “I’ve never been able to find a hairspray that I really like,” so this felt like a good opportunity to try and see if I could finally find a hairspray that I like.

Here are the samples I received from Kenra Professional:

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

  • Kenra Volume Spray 25, 1.5 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Platinum HiDEF Hairspray 16, 8 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Ultra Freeze Spray 30, 10 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Platinum Finishing Spray 26, 10 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13, 10 ounce bottle

What’s with the numbers?

The back of the hairspray bottles clued me into what the numbers in the hairspray titles meant. They have a “hold index,” ranging from 0 (no hold) to 30 (most hold). And whatever the number of the hairspray, that’s where it falls in that “hold index.” Clever!

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

What is Kenra Professional?

Kenra Professional describes itself as a professional brand for stylists. “Our passion is developing best-in-class innovations, delivering superior and reliable results. Kenra Professional strives to elevate the stylists’ artistry and craft.”

Kenra Professional logo

Their website provides an interesting history and timeline for the company. They were founded in 1929 in Indianapolis with a “no tweeze” wax depilatory (!) and launched their first haircare line in 1960.

There is information about their products on their website, but not for purchase. Their products are most easily available on the Ulta site, and through salons — which makes sense, since they’re a company catering to stylists.

Let’s see how a regular, non-stylist person like me did with a stylist’s hairspray tools!

Note: I tried the hairsprays in order of their hold index, starting from 13 (the Perfect Medium Spray), all the way up to 30 (the Ultra Freeze Spray).


Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13


What the product promises:

“Perfect Medium Spray 13 combines styling control with a touchable, brush-through hold. This medium hold spray is fast-drying and finishes with a high shine.” It promised control without stiffness and to help with static and fly-aways.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

This full-size bottle of this hairspray sells for $17 on the Ulta website with a 4.5/5 rating. There’s also a travel-size option available on the Ulta website for $7.

My hairstyle idea:

In essence, this was my “control group” in this hairstyle and hairspray experiment. I started with this hairspray, as it was the lowest on the hold index, and it seemed like a more everyday “go to” kind of hairspray. So I stuck with my everyday hairstyle, with my bangs brushed forward, to test the promise of a “touchable, brush-through hold.” (FYI, I go more into detail about my usual haircare routine here in this post.)

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using the Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13

The hairspray smelled a little metallic right when I first sprayed it on, but that went away after a bit. My hair was definitely touchable all throughout the day. It didn’t really feel like I had any hairspray on at all, but that could be due to the fact that I tend to go pretty light on hairspray in general. It was quite windy this day last weekend, and I was walking around a lot outside. So my hair did wilt a little by the end of the day, which you can particularly tell in the side view in the right column. But no static or flyaways, and my hair did feel and look shiny.

Final verdict? Thumbs up, except for the initial smell of the spray. I will make sure I have the bathroom fan on when I use this again.


Kenra Platinum HiDEF Hairspray 16


What the product promises:

“HiDEF Hairspray 16 is a light-defusing finishing spray that holds tousled, undone styles with a matte, flake-free finish. The perfect finishing spray for any textured style.” It promised a matte finish, instant drying on contact, and the best choice for “undone styles” and “beachy waves.”

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

This hairspray sells for $23 on the Ulta website with a 3.5/5 rating.

My hairstyle idea:

I don’t have much hair to try out “beachy waves,” but I have been inspired by Adina @ Blue Collar Red Lipstick and her short pixie ‘do, especially when she curls the longer front part of her hair, as seen here. So I decided to try out this new kind of short ‘do for myself! I watched a couple of hair tutorial videos online for how to do beachy waves for short hair, including this video by Dominique Sachse, and this video by stillglamorus.

I brought out my smaller curling iron to curl the shorter pieces underneath and used my flat iron to create a wave effect on my longer hair up front.

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using Kenra Platinum HiDEF Hairspray 16. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Platinum HiDef Hairspray 16

It took much longer than my usual haircare routine to do this look, and toward the end, my husband shouted out from the living room, “I can smell the hairspray!” But I actually preferred the smell of this hairspray over the smell of the Perfect Medium Spray 13, plus I felt like the HiDEF spray played nice with the dry shampoo paste I had rubbed into my hair, to give it a bit more “grip” for the waves. I sprayed it over the waves before I finger-brushed them out a bit, and then again after I had played around with my part and the waves.

By the end of the day, as you can see, my hair had wilted a bit, and the style looked a bit messier to me with the ends a little frizzed out. But my hair didn’t feel too crunchy during the day, and I was able to brush it out easily at the end of the day.

Final verdict? I thought it worked well with the dry shampoo paste I use regularly. I also look forward to trying this hairspray out on my everyday style, just to compare how the “matte” finish compares to the “shiny” finish.


Kenra Volume Spray 25


What the product promises:

“Volume Spray 25 provides the maximum amount of volume and hold possible. It leaves hair looking natural and shiny while imparting the strength and volume necessary to make any style last all day.” It promised a fast-drying, flake-free, wind-resistant hold.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

The full-sized can of this hairspray sells for $18 on the Ulta website with a 4.7/5 rating. There’s also a travel-sized option, like the one I’m holding, available for $7.

My hairstyle idea:

When I thought about a hairdo that would put the hairspray’s volume and hold promise to the test, I thought a backlift hairstyle with sideswept bangs and a headband or scarf would do the trick.

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using the Kenra Volume Spray 25. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Volume Spray 25

The back of the hairspray bottle had a recommendation to build up volume in layers using the spray, so that’s what I did when I teased sections of the hair on my crown for the little pouf in the back. I also teased my bangs a little and sprayed those, swooping those to the side and pinning them at the base. The wide hair scarf helped support the poufy back bit, I think.

The day started out clear but had a misty drizzle by the end of the day. But that’s a good test for hairspray in the Pacific Northwest, to see if it holds up in misty rain conditions! And I’m pretty pleased with how my hairstyle held up. It wilted a bit, of course, but the volume at the crown is still decent. And my hair didn’t feel crunchy or sticky during the day. My bangs did “break” in the middle, so I had to pin them up higher halfway through the day, which explains why the bobby pin is so much more obvious on my hair in the after pics.

Final verdict? This one is the best-smelling of the bunch thus far, and I was impressed on how well it held up in drizzly rain. I also got lots of compliments on my hairstyle that day!


Kenra Platinum Finishing Spray 26


What the product promises:

“Finishing Spray 26 is the ultimate firm hold hairspray, providing maximum control with long-lasting lift and style retention. Its fast drying, humidity resistant formulation finishes styles with high shine, and it is completely shampoo soluble.” It promised a non-drying, all-day hold with shine.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

The full-size can of this hairspray sells for $22 on the Ulta website, with a 4.7/5 rating. There’s also a travel-sized option available for $9.

My hairstyle idea:

I’ve been wanting to try a more sculptural “quiff” hairstyle for a bit, to shake things up a bit. A “quiff” is a hairdo that has longer hair puffed up in the front, with shorter hair in the back and sides. Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton have been known to sport quiff hairstyles. I looked at a few hair video tutorials for inspiration, including this “Messy Pixie Cut Hairstyle Tutorial” video from Sarah H., another video called “7 Ways I Style my Pixie Cut” from Sarah H., and this “Rockabilly Pixie” video from KaYkAy.

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using the Platinum Finishing Spray 26. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Platinum Finishing Spray 25

Much to my surprise, this turned out to be my most favorite hairstyle thus far — but my least favorite hairspray. My hair felt stiff and crunchy, and I was hoping that nobody else would want to touch my hair, because it didn’t feel that good to my fingers! (Thankfully, no one did, although I did get compliments on the hairstyle.) I also had a little trouble getting my bobby pins out at the end of the day, because the hairspray had stuck them to my hair! It’s a serious hold, for sure, and an effective hold as you can see from the pics, but it just felt like too much for me personally.

Final verdict? Since we don’t have the kind of humidity like they describe, I’m not sure how useful this hairspray would be in the long run.


Kenra Ultra Freeze Spray 30


What the product promises:

“Ultra Freeze Spray 30 locks styles in place with a long-lasting, ultra-firm hold. This fast-drying formula defines, sculpts and freezes styles in place, while providing humidity resistance with a high shine, flake-free finish.” It promised the firmest hold while also keeping your hair shiny.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

This hairspray sells for $19 on the Ulta website with a 4.4/5 rating.

My hairstyle idea:

To put this high-shine and firm-hold promise to the test, I went for a slicked-back, wet look, with visions of Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible” video in my mind. I’ve tried this look before, but it tends to break up in chunks by the end of the day. So this hairspray sounded perfect to try for this kind of look again! I also upped the ante by doing a zig-zag part on the side, instead of my usual straight side part. [Here’s a video tutorial on how to do a zig-zag part yourself.]

Basically, I wanted comic-book hair — and I got it! 😀

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day, using the Ultra Freeze Spray 30. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Ultra Freeze Spray 30

I *loved* this look! People kept asking me all day if I had gotten my hair cut. Nope. Just different styling products! 😀

I was admittedly a little wary about using this strongest hold hairspray, the Ultra Freeze 30, the day after my disappointing outing with the 26. But I ended up really liking the Ultra Freeze 30! It definitely lived up to its description of being fast-drying and having ultra-firm hold. And my hair did look shiny. After the initial “freeze” of the hairspray, I realized that I could run a comb through my hair to break up the initial crunchiness — and it still held! My slicked-back hair did not break all day, and I had a very long day at work. (And after work, hence the different backdrop for these “end of the day” pics.)

Final verdict? Definitely keeping the Ultra Freeze 30 for when I need extra hold!

Any favorites?

The Volume Spray 25 was my favorite overall — and of course, the smallest bottle! I also appreciated the HiDEF Hairspray 16 for its matte finish, and the Ultra Freeze 30 for its shiny and extra-firm hold.

What I liked overall:

The packaging of the Kenra Professional sprays is sleek, which I liked. The nozzles on the sprays also click to the side to close or open, so that’s a handy detail.

I had honestly never thought much about differences in hairspray before — the idea of using different hairsprays for different purposes — and I liked that this review challenged me to better appreciate those differences. I understand now how the matte finish of the HiDEF Hairspray 16 would be a more appropriate choice for textured hairstyles, and how the shiny hold of the Ultra Freeze 30 would be a more appropriate choice for sleeker hairstyles. I could actually see and feel those differences up close, which was gratifying to discover, considering I’m NOT a stylist — just a woman doing the best she can with her hair on a daily basis.

When I was looking at different hair tutorials videos online, I also started noticing how many others were also using Kenra hairsprays! That speaks well about the brand to me.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

What I didn’t like:

The initial metallic smell of the Perfect Medium Spray 13 — all the other sprays smelt fine to me — and the crunchiness that resulted from the Platinum Finishing Spray 26. (I will try and see if any of my colleagues at work who have more textured hair than I do might benefit from this spray.)

And while I now can appreciate the differences in these hairsprays, that means that I now will have to keep mental track of which is which and when I need to use each one — but that’s also where the hold index and the tips on the back of the bottles come in handy!

Would I purchase this myself?

I do plan on purchasing a full bottle of the Volume Spray 25, as lack of volume is the main issue I have with my finer-textured hair. And I’m seriously considering travel sizes for the other sprays I did like, just in case… y’all know how much I love travel-sized products! 😉 The prices are a little spendy but not unreasonable, in my opinion, especially for a salon and stylist market. I am sure the full-sized bottles will last me a long time!

Overall, I quite enjoyed this hairspray and hairstyle experiment — and I hope y’all did, too!

Which of the hairsprays or hairstyles did you like best? Have you used Kenra Professional hairsprays or other products before? Please leave a comment and share!


Full Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, in conjunction with BrandBacker and Kenra Professional. I received samples of Kenra Professional’s top five hairsprays in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own and 100% honest.


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6 thoughts on “Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays | Trying out new hairstyles with new hairsprays

  1. Brenda N

    Hi Jen, I have a pixie cut (super short & textured), so this was a fun post. I really liked all the looks, but the beachy waves were different & cute. I also liked the scarf look. Well, I guess I liked them all!. My hair is also fine textured, but there’s a lot of it, so, I use spray for styling & texture (as opposed to paste, which weighs it down). I’ll have to check Kenra out.

    Reply
    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      Yay for pixie cuts! It’s funny, the dry shampoo paste I usually use feels lighter to me than using hairspray, which I’ve always felt in general weighs it down. My hair is also fine-textured — but there’s a lot of it, similar to yours 🙂

      Reply
  2. Is This Mutton?

    Great post Jen, it’s good to see a “normal” person trying a hair product and different styles, and getting honest feedback! (Coincidentally I’m writing about hair styles this week, having had a new “do” myself).
    Thanks for joining the Fabulous Friday link up!
    Gail

    Reply
    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      Thank you for this comment! It definitely took some time to put this post together, so thank you for reading it and enjoying it! My husband was amazed that we had taken all those photos after 5 days just for 1 post! But I felt I needed to be thorough in my review 😀

      Reply

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