What Does Hair Lotion Do?

There seems to be a product for every hair care crisis. With so many choices available, the functions and benefits of all of these products can be confusing. If you need hydration and a small amount of hold, hair lotion may just be the right product for you.


Just as body lotions lock moisture in the skin, hair lotions hydrate your strands. This is beneficial if your hair is particularly dry, or if you’re looking for protection before heading outdoors. Certain brands make formulas designed for fine, medium and thick hair. Hair lotion also provides a light hold without the stiffness of gel -- this is ideal for defining your strands, whether they are wavy, curly or straight.


Gels get their staying power with the help of alcohol. As alcohol evaporates, the style is held in place. Hair lotions, on the other hand, are alcohol-free, so you don’t end up with a hard finish. Instead, lotions for the hair are cream-based with oils. Some formulas are also infused with plant extracts. Such ingredients hydrate the hair while providing a more natural look compared with other styling products.

What It Doesn't Do

Since hair lotion doesn’t have the staying power of gels and mousses, it should not be used as such. The oils can help keep frizz at bay, but they can make the hair too shiny if your hair is already oily. Hair lotion also doesn’t add volume to fine hair, but rather defines your natural look.

Styling Tips

Depending on the look you want to achieve, you may need to use other hair products in conjunction with lotion. Hair lotion is best applied to damp hair before blow-drying. You can also use a small amount to touch up frizzy ends after your hair is completely dry. Don’t apply to the roots if you have oily hair, as this creates a greasy look. If you want extra hold without the look of gel, consider applying a lightweight hairspray as a followup to lotion before you head out the door.