Homemade Alcohol-Free Hairspray that Works

This super simple homemade hairspray takes only 2 ingredients, is a breeze to make, and is a great way to clean up your every day beauty routine! Plus you'll save a load of money too!

Homemade Hairspray in clear glass bottle

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

- 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 Hair!

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!

Homemade Hairspray in clear glass bottle

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 are 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 is 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.

Lady spraying homemade hair spray on her hair

Other Natural Personal Care Items You Might Like

If you're into making your own products, here are some others to try.

- Nourishing Hand and Body Cream
- Hand and Body Scrub - this is so easy and works great!
- Invigorating Body Wash - so much better than store-bought!
- Nourishing Hair Rinse

bottle of hair spray

All Natural Homemade Hairspray

This is simply the easiest homemade hair spray ever.
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Makes: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water (use filtered please*)
  • 4 teaspoons sugar (use more or less according to how strong you want the resulting spray to be.)
  • Spray Bottle - This one has good reviews.

Optional Essential Oils

Instructions

  • Heat water in a small saucepan to boiling.
  • Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
  • Allow to cool. Add essential oils (if using).
  • Place in spray bottle. (A funnel comes in handy here :).
  • Use quickly and store in the fridge for a longer lasting spray. Please do take care to not keep around for a long time as bacteria might grow and use only clean utensils and containers for this spray.

Notes

1. 4 teaspoons of sugar works well, but feel free to adjust the amount according to how much hold you would like. Of course, if you add too much, you will end up with residue on your hair so try adding just 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon at a time.
2. *Please use filtered water when making personal and home care products that you won't be using right away. Tap water has loads of stuff in it that you don't want sitting around for a long time. Read "Is Your Water Safe" for more info.
3. I know--you're wondering, "Won't I be a bug's best friend if I use this?" I was worried about that too, but from what I've read it's not the case. One summer comes I'll be able to tell you for sure. I guess you could use citronella oil in the spray ;-).
4.  Technically, if you are going to use the essential oils in this spray, you will want to add an essential oil emulsifier. Since you will be spraying this on your hair and not on your skin, it's not as much of an issue, but to be on the safe side, you might want to do it.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!

Don't Feel Like DIYing?

Believe me, I have tried TONS of hair sprays. As in basically all of them on the market.  Natural, unscented, supposedly unscented (but they really weren't), and even traditional hairsprays that said that they didn't have dangerous fragrances.

I am still on the hunt for good ones but this spray from Giovanni is pretty clean as far as artificial fragrances go. If you have one you like, please do share!

What is part of your natural hair care routine?

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435 Comments

    1. Hi there. I just updated the recipe to help you work up from the 4 tsp. It's hard to say - your hair is of course really heavy....do you spray all of it?

        1. I think it likely won't work for that much hair. It's more of a light hold. But I have been surprised by some commenters. Try it and see! 🙂

    1. Hi there. Welcome! Are you asking if you need adult supervision? It's just for mixing sugar and water, so no, you should not unless you have some kind of special situation outside of the ordinary.

  1. Hi Adrienne,

    Thanks for the recipe. Here I would like to know what is the purpose of adding sugar?

    We used to use a so called "natural" hair spray where the base is a blend of avacado carried oil, peppermint essential oil, emulsifier, and water. But we would like to add other ingredients such as argan oil, aloe vera oil, lavender, as well as the rosemary, geranium essential oils.
    1. Would it be good to replace the distilled water with floral water (i.e. rose water)
    2. What natural emulsifier should I use in this case?
    3. What is the suggested percentage between the water, oils, emulsifier?

    Thank you

    1. Hi there. You are so welcome. The sugar is what holds the hair. Think of how sugar gets a bit sticky--that's the hold. Water of course would do nothing.

      Did your spray hold hair? Sounds more like a moisturizer to me.

      1. I guess you could? I am not sure what you mean by "would it be good"?
      2. That is a tough question. I'm not well versed enough to speak to this. I have been reading up on emulsifiers, but I don't have enough knowledge to pick the best one.
      3. I can't say about this either. I hope to learn more about this topic in the future and want to make more hair products. Stay tuned!

  2. The sea salt spray wont leave the scalp and hair dry? As I have problems with my scalp before I buy this product I will like to know.
    Thanks
    Aida

    1. I never noticed a problem with my scalp but then again, not much spray gets on there. As for the hair, it's definitely nowhere near as drying as most of the salt sprays on the market. I know some people who love it and use it all the time, while others think it's somewhat drying for the hair.

      The company has a great free return policy with a 60 day money back guarantee and they have a sale going on right now--spend $125 and get 2 free sunscreen products so it's a great time to buy. I'm happy to help with anything. Thanks for reading!

  3. I would suggest using organic sugar. Just like any food or drink that you would put into your body, make it organic, as much as possible.

    1. Great idea! Not sure how much it matters if it's on your hair and not your scalp but of course it could be touching your face, etc. Thanks!

        1. How long would a non alcohol version ( sugar filter water essential oil) last in the bathroom cabinet? Could i add rubbing alcohol instead of vodka to preserve it and give it an emulsifier?

          1. Hi there. I can't make shelf life claims but water and aloe start to breed bacteria pretty quickly so I wouldn't recommend leaving it in the bathroom for very long. Vodka itself is a preservative but each will have differing properties. Hope you enjoy it!

    1. Hello there. First of all, I don't allow self promotion on my blog--thanks for understanding. I outlined some of this in the post but some people are sensitive to it and others are concerned about safety. Hope that helps!

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