Everything You Need To Know About Styling Paste
[The Ultimate Guide]

Styling paste is a must-have product for every hair length and type! It’s perfect for adding definition, texture and pliable movement to long or short hair.

One of the most versatile hair products, styling paste helps you control, shape and style your strands with ease. It might seem odd to use the words “hair” and “paste” together, but lightweight styling paste is flexible, non-sticky, and leaves hair smooth and shiny.

If you want to create gorgeous hairstyles with long-lasting hold and brilliant shine, read on to discover everything you need to know about styling paste.

What is Styling Paste?

Styling paste is a lightweight and pliable paste that gives your hair more definition, shape and texture for effortless styling. This product usually has a thick, semi-solid consistency and needs to be heated up before application.

When you rub styling paste between your palms, the natural warmth from your hands softens the product from a paste to a nearly-invisible cream. As you apply the product, it slips freely through the hair for even distribution. Then the paste cools and thickens to give your style stunning definition and long-lasting hold.

What Does Styling Paste Do For Your Hair?

Styling paste makes your hair more manageable and easier to style. It gives your hair more structure and control, creating the perfect foundation for any hairstyle.

Styling paste is the ideal product to prep your hair before braiding or upstyling. It helps your hair to stay where you want it and hold a shape with fewer pins. You can also use styling paste on loose hair to create separated texture, smooth flyaways and tame unruly ends.

Many styling pastes have a matte finish, but some (such as AIIR Styling Paste) give your hair a subtle glow and a boost of nourishing moisture. 

What Is The Difference Between Styling Paste, Styling Cream, Hair Gel, Wax, Pomade and Hair Clay?

There are literally thousands of hair styling products out there… which makes it tough to find the perfect product for YOUR hair!

When it comes to choosing between styling paste, styling cream, gel, wax, pomade, clay and other products, the key is considering your hair type and desired style. Here’s our quick guide to picking the best product for your #hairgoals:

Styling Paste vs. Styling Cream

Both styling paste and styling cream create definition, control frizz and tame unruly hair. The difference is that styling paste has a super-thick, pasty consistency, while styling cream feels more like a hair lotion.

If you want sleek, ultra-glossy hair with soft hold, a light styling cream such as AIIR Smoothing Cream is a great choice! For stronger hold and more piece-y, separated texture, go for a pliable styling paste.

Styling Paste vs. Hair Gel

Hair gel is one of the most popular styling products, especially for people with shorter hair. It typically creates stiff, shiny hair with little movement. Unfortunately, the alcohol and holding agents that “lock” a style into place can also dry out and damage your hair! It’s important to wash your hair thoroughly after styling with gel.

Gel is fine for performances or special occasions when you need that super-strong hold. For everyday use, it’s better to grab a flexible styling paste that allows you to touch, brush through and re-style your hair whenever you want.

Styling Paste vs. Pomade

Pomade creates dramatic texture and is a favorite for styling short hair. Make sure to choose a water-based pomade-- greasy oil-based products are almost impossible to wash out! Styling paste is preferred for braiding and upstyling because it provides pliable movement and a stronger hold.

Styling Paste vs. Hair Clay

Both styling paste and hair clay give the hair some structure and definition for better, easier styling. Hair clay contains a powdered clay ingredient that adds thickness and volume to the hair. It generally creates a matte finish with medium to firm hold. By contrast, styling paste creates subtle texture, body and shine while helping your hairstyle stay in place. Hair clay is a good choice for highly structured hairstyles, while styling paste is more malleable and allows you to brush out and re-style your hair as desired.

How Do You Use Styling Paste?

It’s easy to use styling paste! Apply a pea-sized dab to your palm and rub your hands together to emulsify the product. Use your fingertips to work the styling paste evenly through slightly damp or dry hair. Start with a small amount of styling paste and layer on more product as needed until you achieve your desired texture effect.

Here are some of the best ways to add styling paste to your hair routine:

Bump up the texture + body in dry hair

Goodbye, flyaways! Styling paste is perfect for smoothing unruly strands in dry, styled hair. Warm the paste in your hands and work the product through your hair for separated texture, natural volume and subtle shimmer. If you have stubborn flyaways, use styling paste on your fingertips to gently pat them down.

Air dry with style

Rushing to get ready between SoulCycle and girls’ night out? Try this: Wash and towel-dry your hair, then apply a little styling paste from roots to tips. Use your fingertips to separate and define small sections of hair. The added moisture from the styling paste will help your hair air dry with more control and less frizz, and the piece-y texture will look great on the dance floor!

Upstyle confidently

Buns, twists, knots and other updos are gorgeous-- but it can be a challenge to master these styles when your hair has a mind of its own! For a polished, yet perfectly “undone” upstyle, prep your hair with styling paste. This adds structure and grip to the hair to help it hold your preferred shape. Hunting for updo inspo? Try this 5-minute messy bun tutorial!

Create beautiful braids

The secret to Insta-worthy (and swoon-worthy) braided styles? Styling paste! It gives your hair some grit and texture for effortless styling with enhanced definition.

Prep your hair with a small dab of styling paste before braiding, and apply more as you work down the hair for better control and grip. When you finish styling, “pancake” the braid by pulling each section apart. This creates a fuller, softer look, and the styling paste helps your hair hold the shape. 

Go grunge

Throw on your comfiest flannel and pair it with these effortlessly cool 90’s waves. After waving your hair with a curling iron or flat iron, apply styling paste to your hands and gently tousle your hair. This is key for achieving definition and chunky texture (plus a hint of shine). Our founder Jenny relies on AIIR Styling Paste to get her signature rockstar waves!

Is Styling Paste Good For All Hair Types?

Styling paste is the ideal product for all hair lengths, types and textures. It makes unruly hair more manageable and helps fine, thin hair hold a style. Whatever your hair type, you need styling paste to create your dream hairstyles!

Read on to discover the benefits of styling paste for YOUR hair type.

Styling Paste for Short Hair

Rocking a pixie cut or a bob? Styling paste is amazing for adding definition and separated, piece-y texture to your short hair. Emulsify a small dab in your hands and apply it to sections of damp or dry hair with your fingertips. Then tousle and shake your hair, and you’re ready to go!

Styling Paste for Long Hair

While the possibilities for styling long hair are nearly endless, the extra length can make hair unruly and difficult to control. Prep long hair for braiding or upstyling with a flexible styling paste. This adds smoothness and grip to your braids, buns and twists. The result? Easier styling, enhanced definition, and hairstyles that look fresh all day (or all night).

Styling Paste for Fine or Thin Hair

If your hair is fine, limp or thin, you might think that styling products are a no-go. But in fact, styling paste is one of the best products for fine hair! Sleek hair that is lacking in the texture department often slips out of styles or falls flat. (If you’ve ever had your hair slide out of a ponytail at the gym, you know the struggle is real!)

Using styling paste as a prep product adds definition, texture and grip to the hair. This gives you extra control while styling and helps your hairstyles hold for longer.

For oily hair, be sure to pick a lightweight, water-based paste that won’t weigh down your delicate strands.

Styling Paste for Wavy Hair

Finding the right styling product for wavy hair can be a challenge. Your waves need definition, shape and moisture, but heavy curl creams can weigh down wavy hair (and make it look greasy). Instead, use a moisturizing paste to infuse your waves with hydration and enhance your hair’s definition. It works to prep your hair before styling, or to tame and control dry hair.

Styling Paste for Curly Hair

Give your gorgeous curls separated definition and smooth down flyaways with a pliable styling paste! This ultra-light product won’t make your spirals feel stiff, heavy or crunchy. It seals unruly ends, adds nourishing moisture, and amplifies your natural texture. For better control, apply a generous dab of styling paste before putting your hair into a braid or updo.

Will Styling Paste Weigh My Hair Down?

Styling paste will not weigh down your hair. It is a light, water-based styling product that gives your hair shape, definition and control without making it heavy. This makes styling paste a perfect option for all hair types, from super-fine to thick and curly.

Pro tip: When it comes to styling products, a little goes a long way! Start with a pea-sized dab and apply more styling paste as needed until you achieve the look you want. As a general rule, thicker and drier hair requires more product than thin, oily hair.

Can I Use Styling Paste Every Day?

Styling paste is safe to use on your hair every day. This gentle product is perfect for your everyday looks and special-occasion styles alike. It gives you just the right amount of definition, texture and hold. Use styling paste as a prep product for better hairstyling, or apply a dab of paste to dry/damp hair for added dimension and subtle-yet-defined texture with a hint of shimmer.

Pro tip: Looking for a daily styling product? Skip any products with drying alcohols that strip natural oils from your hair and “freeze” your style in place. Instead, go for a non-greasy flexible styling paste that replenishes moisture in your hair. This will keep your locks healthy and vibrant AND give you the freedom to re-do your hairstyle without washing first!

Does Styling Paste Make Your Hair Hard or Crunchy?

Many of us shy away from styling products because we don’t want stiff, crispy hair. But styling paste gives you the hold, definition and shine you want, with none of the crunchiness of a hair gel.

Styling paste is lighter and softer than hair gel (most styling pastes are based on water, not alcohol or oil). It creates a soft, touchable finish that is easy to brush out and re-style. This makes styling paste the perfect choice for today’s natural, “unstyled” looks. It doesn’t make your style hard or rigid-- it just gives your hair a little extra UMPH and makes it easier to work with.

You can even layer styling paste with other lightweight styling products for a dimensional effect. Just make sure to start with a small amount and apply more product as needed.

Is Styling Paste Bad For Hair?

Styling paste is not bad for hair, but it’s important to be aware of the ingredients in your product. Drying alcohols, salts and harsh chemicals can dehydrate and damage your hair.

A high-quality styling paste should have water (sometimes listed as “aqua” or “eau”) as the first ingredient. AIIR Styling Paste is infused with aloe vera leaf juice and blue agave to nourish and re-hydrate the hair’s cuticle. The natural plant-based ingrediants energize your hair for beautiful styling and long-term hair health.
Pro tip: If you use styling products regularly, it’s important to remove product buildup with a weekly clarifying treatment. You can purchase a clarifying shampoo or make your own hair rinse at home.
For an easy apple cider vinegar rinse, mix two tablespoons of raw, organic ACV with two cups of water (optional: add a few drops of your favorite essential oil). Pour this mixture over your scalp after shampooing, avoiding contact with your eyes. Let it sit on your hair for 1-2 minutes, then rinse out.
The vinegar gently exfoliates the scalp, removes dead skin cells and product residue, and leaves your hair shiny and healthy. It also supports faster hair growth!

Can You Bring Styling Paste on a Plane?

It depends on the size of the product. If your styling paste is larger than 3.4 ounces (100 ML), it can only be transported in your checked luggage.

In most cases, you can bring styling paste in your carry-on bag if it’s 3.4 ounces / 100 ML or smaller. AIIR Styling Paste is 3.4 ounces, so you can feel free to pack it with your other travel toiletries for an in-flight hair refresh. It’s recommended to check with your airline for country-specific guidelines.

What Is The Best Hair Styling Paste?

AIIR Styling Paste is the best hair styling paste. It makes hair more pliable and malleable for effortless styling with medium hold. This versatile styling paste works on all hair lengths and types to create separated texture, natural definition and subtle shine.

AIIR Styling Paste gives you the grip and control you need to create an endless array of beautiful styles, from braids and buns to top knots, twists and elaborate updos. It leaves your locks touchably soft (not stiff, greasy or crunchy) so you can easily brush out and re-style your hair anytime.

Use AIIR Styling Paste to prep dry hair before braiding or upstyling, and apply more product as needed while you style. Apply it to towel-dried hair for a smoother, better controlled air dry. Or simply work AIIR Styling Paste into dry hair with your hands, using your fingers to define small sections of hair for cool, chunky texture. However you style, you’ll love the enhanced definition, body, texture and shine that AIIR Styling Paste delivers!

This lightweight and flexible paste is infused with a unique blend of healing crystals and natural botanicals to support holistic Hair Wellness. Aloe vera leaf juice and blue agave seal unruly ends, tame flyaways, replenish moisture and add beautiful polish to your hair. Mica creates natural shimmer and shine, while pulverized moonstone soothes and calms your energy to help you regain inner balance (perfect for styling your hair before a big event)! The scent is light and airy with notes of citrus, inspired by magnolia blossoms on a fresh spring morning.

Best of all, AIIR Styling Paste is proudly vegan, ethically sourced, and free of all parabens, sulfates and gluten. AIIR Styling Paste is the best hair styling paste for healthy, beautiful hair, easier styling, and a more balanced and centered life.