Homemade Alcohol-Free Hairspray that Works

No need to spend money anymore on expensive hairsprays that are filled with artificial fragrances and chemical nasties. Make your own for pennies and look great for less!

It might sound silly, but I get sooo excited when I find a great homemade personal care recipe.

There are so many toxins in the things we put on our bodies – and they can lead to all kinds of problems from thyroid issues to adrenal fatigue and more.

So when I can find recipes for things like homemade toothpaste, homemade body cream, or homemade eye makeup remover that work well, I am all over it.

Hair spray is one of those things that I wish I didn’t have to use–but I do.

My hair just “needs” it.  Well, some of my hair does.  I used to use a lot more hairspray than I do now… but basically my bangs are the part of my hair that is typically “in need”.

Just like with other things, I have always opted for “fragrance-free” versions as much as possible, but still there are things in hair spray that I really don’t want on my hair.

But now that I have this super all-natural alcohol-free recipe, I feel much differently about it.

Hair Spray and Me

My love-hate relationship with hair spray has gone on for a long time.

I’ve always felt I needed it because my hair is “sorta-wavy-sorta-frizzy-definitely’s-got-a-mind-of-its-own” hair.

It’s fine, but I have quite a bit of it and when I let it dry naturally it’s really curly/wavy, but after a day or so it turns pretty limp.

Well, I used to not worry about the ingredients in hair spray but I’ve had to start reading hair spray labels for several reasons:

The Problems with Hair Spray and Me

Allergic Reactions – In my 20s, I started having allergic reactions to things and I thought one of them was hair spray so I started trying to get sprays without added fragrance. Not an easy task.

More Artificial Fragrances – Later, either the hair spray companies started putting more artificial fragrances in their products, or I became more sensitive. Whatever it was, I was really having a hard time finding a brand that I could use without feeling foggy headed.

Plastic! Finally I settled on one that I liked, but when I switched to a new hair care line, I found out that my hairspray had plasticizers in it. Well-no wonder it held so well!
I had actually been coating my hair with plastic. Yuk. Believe me–when my hair went through detox it wasn’t pretty.

Rather, I wasn’t pretty.

Alcohol – Recently, I’ve been noticing my hair getting more brittle or frizzy. I’m not sure what it is, but I dug around the internet and figured the alcohol in my spray wasn’t doing me any favors. I thought it was time to work on making my own alcohol-free hair spray.

Well, I didn’t think it would work–but it does.

And now you can make it too!

Why Make Your Own Hairspray?

1. Reduce your chemical exposure.

There are so many things in hairspray that you might not have thought about.

Check out “Is Your Shampoo Making You Sick” for more on what might be lurking in your hair products.

2. Save money (1 cup of water and 4 teaspoons of sugar is about as cheap as it gets!)

Compare that to well, some as much as even $25 for only 10 ounces!

3. Save the environment: Less chemicals made.

Fewer plastic containers used.

Even if you are recycling your bottles, it’s better to not have them made at all in the first place.

4. Healthier hair. The alcohol in many hairsprays are really drying. This spray makes your hair healthy and shiny.

Note that there are recipes for salt hair sprays on the internet too.  They might be fun to use, but the salt would be very drying for your hair when used on an ongoing basis.

Personally I wouldn’t recommend using those often.  Thankfully, the sugar doesn’t have the same drying effect.

You can even add essential oils to your recipe, which I recommend doing.  That way you have the benefit of aromatherapy and the possible benefits that your hair might get from the oils as well.

For example, as in my DIY Hair Growth Blend, the oils in that blend could be used in your hairspray and might benefit your hair.

You will note that I do recommend a specific brand of oils.  See my Best Essential Oils Series to see which company I recommend and why.  It’s a very interesting series–and the comments are worth checking out as well, but you might need to set aside some time for those :). Here’s a link to the first post, and here’s a link to the last post, in which I announced the company that I chose.

 No need to spend money anymore on expensive hairsprays that are filled with artificial fragrances and chemical nasties. Make your own for pennies and look great for less!

By the way, any of the following links may be affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.

Other Natural Personal Care Items You Might Like:

Nourishing Hand and Body Cream
Hand and Body Scrub
Invigorating Body Wash
Nourishing Hair Rinse

What is part of your natural hair care routine?

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. I used this hairspray but my hair became dry and brittle after drying. I don’t know why it happened but I think because it’s sugar water and I didn’t boiled till it became syrup I just heated and it became a little thuck but not syrup. Can you please tell me what’s wrong with this hairspray????

  2. Sounds fine but use a glass bottle instead of a plastic one when you use essential oils in the spray. The oils could leach chemical components from the plastic into your spray…

  3. Would this solution with the ugar be good for spring? Or is it not enough to attract bees or ther sugar prefered insects?

  4. Can you use tea tree oil to make this hairspray?

  5. I made this hairspray just as directed, using a few drops of pure organic orange essential oil. It seems fine and does work, but all of a sudden my scalp is very itchy and flaky. Would any of these ingredients cause that?

    • Hi there. Are you spraying it on your scalp? Anyone can be allergic to anything so I am not sure but I would be careful so you don’t have a worse situation.

      • Some essential oils can be phototoxic (which means they increase the skins sensitivity to the sun, sometimes resulting in burns or darker skin pigmentation), particularly citrus oils, perhaps this is why your head became itchy. Try a different essential oil, perhaps Geranium, Lavender or Palmarosa.

        • Hi Maree. Thanks for your comment.

          I got the following from the oils company that I work with:

          Oils that are phototoxic: Angelica Root, Bergamot, Cumin, Grapefruit, Lemon (pressed peel), and Lime (pressed peel).

          Citrus oils that are not phototoxic: Bergamot FCF, Lemon (distilled), Lime (distilled), Mandarin, Petitgrain Bigarade, Orange, and Tangerine

          If you use a phototoxic oil topically, do not expose the skin to sun for 12-18 hours after application. If the skin is covered by heavy fabric that blocks the suns rays, that is usually good enough protection. Thin fabric is not enough protection.

          If you want to use a citrus oil in a skin preparation, either make sure the skin is not exposed to sunlight for 12-18 hours or use a citrus oil that is not phototoxic.

          I hope that helps.

  6. I want to try it but I want to know if I but it on straighten hair will it go back to curly and can I use argon oil?

  7. Great post, thank you for sharing, I shall look forward to trying this out!

  8. Creative Sim says:

    I’m about to make this now…. I have Locs and I’m about to curl them and dry under a good dryer and was looking for a nice simple recipe to help with holding the curls… Wish me luck!?

    • Please do come back and share. I need to make a new batch of this :). I’ve been leaning on store bought and want to go back….

      • CreativeSim says:

        The hold was great, but I used way too much sugar (1 cup water, 4 tbsp Sugar), currently have sugar crystals in my hair!?… But as you said it’s super cheap so no big deal, I’ll just add more water to the mix and try again… Loving that I didn’t buy it from the store and would have ended up with a worthless expensive can of spray sitting around lol x

  9. simran azmi says:

    I think i wil be little sticky type :/

  10. simran azmi says:

    Can i use almond oil

  11. 1. Is the sugar okay for my hair and would it put a weird sticky-ness in my hair?
    2. What kind of sugar? Powdered sugar, brown sugar, white sugar, cane sugar, etc.?
    3. Does this spray get rid of nasty frizz and fly-aways?
    4. What kinds of essential oils? And is it optional to put essential oils in?
    5. Will it make my hair possibly more wavy?
    6. How well and long does it hold up hairstyles?
    Sorry, I ask a lot of questions 😛
    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi there!

      1. I’ve never had that issue at all and have never had a reader say that she did.
      2. I use white but I think any could work. If you use powdered use less. There is often corn starch in powdered but it’s so little I doubt it would make a difference.
      3. Yes, I think so.
      4. You can use any one you like but I would stay away from “hot” oils and would choose something like lavender, etc. that is a scent you like. It’s optional.
      5. A little more wavy – yes.
      6. Depends on your hair and the weather.


    • Sugar is perrrrrfect for hair … It is the best natural straightener … But use 100% natural brown – crystallised sugar … The chemically prepared sugar are no good.

  12. Danielle says:

    How do you store it? I would imagine in a refrigerator, but I thought I would ask.

    • I had mine on the counter. I am thinking that some kind of preservative would be needed if you don’t use it up quickly so making a smaller batch would be a good idea.

  13. can u tell way to make hairwax also

  14. Do you keep it in the fridge or can it be stored at room temperature?

    • I can’t make shelf life claims – it will depend on your water and the bottles you use, etc. However I recommend small batches and storing in the fridge as anything made with water can breed bacteria. I have stored mine at room temp and have never had any observable issues, but I haven’t tested the spray :).

  15. Are the essential oils just for fragrance so I can skip then because u don’t have any of these at hone and don’t want to go out and buy them

    • You do not need to buy them. They are for fragrance and might have some therapeutic effect on your hair but they aren’t needed. Enjoy!

  16. Hello there, I don’t have any of the oils you’ve listed neither can I buy them. I was wondering would using coconut oil do any good?
    Thank you.

  17. Do you really need ALL of those oils? Ordering all of them seems kinda expensive.

  18. How is this in the heat and humidity of summer? does it attract insects?

  19. Darlene Lubinus says:

    I have been using this product for two weeks now and wanted to give my opinion.

    First, I am a twice-a-week hair washer, run Aveda phomollient through my hair, blow-dry and then spray with TRESemme 4.. On the other days, I simply wet it with my hands and blow dry followed by a spritz of hairspray. As my products run out, I am replacing them with homemade ones, hence this recipe.

    I made the recipe exactly as stated except without the Rosemary oil since I didn’t have any. I spray my hair with this while it is wet and run through with my hands, then blow-dry, then spray a bit after dry.

    Some things I like other than the obvious lack of toxicity:
    1. The hold is GREAT! I am really surprised about that.
    2. There is enough product in my hair that I don’t have to spray it every time I style it. I just dry and it has hold enough to last all day long! Yeah, it lasts longer!

    Some things that are just ok:
    1. When I spray initially, it is a little heavy and my hair looks a bit wet and keeps that look. Not so bad for my “blow and go” style, but may not be what everyone wants.
    2. I bought a cobalt blue bottle from Amazon to put it in. The spray setting is a little wider than the store-bought and goes everywhere. That is more a matter of me learning how much to spray the bottle than the product itself. I bought a little 3oz. spray bottle for traveling.
    3. I have to keep it in the fridge so it lasts longer. Not a problem really since I am only using it twice a week.

    So, I am MORE THAN HAPPY with this spray! I will definitely keep using it and celebrate one more item that is a great choice for the environment and for my health, not to even mention my pocketbook! Thanks so much, Adrienne!

    • This is so great! Thanks for sharing! And I love blue bottles!!!! You are fortunate you only have to use it twice a week. You must have great hair!

  20. will this hold curls? I have straight hair and want to use this

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