Polymers for "Hold" in hair products

I've seen many different types of polymers used in everything from mousses to creams to hairsprays and the like, but I am curious of the differences between them and when and why certain ones are used over others.  Below are some examples of the polymers that I am assuming are used for "hold" in products.  Could somebody on the forum, or at the BB discuss some of the differences in some of these?

VP/VA copolymer
VP/DMAPA acrylates copolymer
Polyacrylate-2 Crosspolymer
Maltodextrin/VP Copolymer


  • The quick answer is that different polymers balance hold, feel, and humidity resistance differently. The first two you mentioned give a very stiff hold that some people find too crunchy and they can pick up some moisture. The other polymers are designed to over come that but the hold may not be as crisp. 
  • I always find that any of these polymers tend to get sticky and offer limp hair when it gets humid.  In general, what is the best holding polymer for very humid environments?  I have some products that are great up until the summer.
  • We did a lot of testing on Tresemme hair sprays (the Tres II version specifically) to show it gave the best balance of hold, feel and humidity resistance. You might start with that. 
  • Interesting, thanks!
  • Was your testing limited to the hair sprays, or any other products from the Tres 2 line?  I notice they have gels, mousse, and a variety of sprays.  Do they all use the same general philosophy/ingredients?

    Also, side question about thermal protection.  What are the ingredients to look for for thermal protection?  Does it really matter as long as you're putting something on your hair before hitting it with heat?
  • The testing I was referring to was specifically for hairsprays. 

    Regarding thermal protection: We've written about that before. You may find this helpful: 

  • Thanks so much.

    Sorry for a barrage of asinine questions, but one more thing: Is it ok to use shampoo on your face?  I mean it's just convenient, the pH seems ok, and your scalp is skin, so what could go wrong?
  • Even though shampoos are not optimized for washing your face, most likely nothing will go wrong.  

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