Homemade Alcohol-Free Hairspray that Works

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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’m 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”.

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.

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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.

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

Perhaps you’re like me. I’m sensitive.

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 having a hard time finding a brand that I could use without feeling foggy headed.

Plastic Hair

Did you know that most hairspray has plasticizers in it? No wonder it holds so well!

Drying Alcohol

If your hair brittle or frizzy, it might be the alcohol in your hairspray. It sure isn’t doing you any favors.

Homemade Hairspray in clear glass bottle

Why Make Your Own Hairspray?

Reduce 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.

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!

Save the Environment

Fewer chemicals.

Fewer plastic containers.

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

Healthier Hair

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

There are recipes for salt hair sprays on the internet too.  They might be fun to use, but salt is drying for your hair when used on an ongoing basis.

Thankfully, sugar doesn’t have the same drying effect.

You can add essential oils to your recipe, which I recommend.  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. Here’s a link to the last post, where I announced the company that I chose.

Lady spraying homemade hair spray on her hair

Recipe Notes

1. 2 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 to avoid the toxins in tap water.

3. This hairspray should last quite a long time due to the vodka, but do discard if it smells off. 

3. You’re probably wondering, “Won’t I be a bug’s best friend if I use this?” I was worried about that too, but from mine and others’ experiences, that’s not a problem at all. 

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 really a problem.

Other Natural Personal Care Items To Try

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

hair spray in bottle and woman spraying her hair collage with text overlay
bottle of hair spray

All Natural Homemade Hairspray

This is simply the easiest homemade hair spray ever for an all natural, gentle hold.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Makes: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water (filtered)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (use more or less according to how strong you want the resulting spray to be.)
  • 1 teaspoon vodka
  • 3-5 drops essential oils (optional, for scent and slight preservative action)

Instructions

  • Heat water in a small saucepan to boiling.
  • Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
  • Allow to cool. Add vodka and optional essential oils.
  • Pour the solution into a spray bottle, using a funnel if desired.

Notes

1. 2 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 to avoid the toxins that are in tap water.
3. This hairspray should last quite a long time due to the vodka, but do discard if it smells off. 
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 mine and others’ experiences, that’s not a problem at all. 
4.  Technically, if you are going to use the essential oils in this spray, you might want to add an essential oil emulsifier. However, because you are spraying this on your hair and not on your skin, it’s not really a problem.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!

Don’t Feel Like DIYing? Fairly Clean Hairspray Options

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.

I Recommend
GIOVANNI L.A. Hold Hair Spritz - Maximum Hold - 5 oz (3 pack)

GIOVANNI L.A. Hold Hair Spritz - Maximum Hold - 5 oz (3 pack)

Giovanni's Firm Hold Hair Spritz is a maximum-hold spray that's aerosol free and works great. Colo-safe, cruelty-free and last I checked does not have artificial fragrance but uses natural essential oils instead.

Also this hairspray is another one that I like. It’s very reasonable and is low on the toxic scale too.

I Recommend
White Rain Advanced Formula Extra Hold Hair Spray 7 oz (6 pack)

White Rain Advanced Formula Extra Hold Hair Spray 7 oz (6 pack)

White Rain's Unscented Extra Hold Hairspray is a fairly clean option for those who really want a traditional hold from their spray without a bunch of fragrance. The bottle size is great too - fits well in most purses, gym bags, etcetera.

And If you have one you like, please do share!

What hairspray do you currently use?

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Recipe Rating




 

451 Comments

    1. Yes it does. But this is the information from Beautycounter. You can see that they are very very careful about what they use:

      The urea used in the Style Sea Salt Spray is used as a humectant, which increases water content of the top skin layers and reduces the loss of moisture from the product during use. The urea we use is not a formaldehyde-releaser. Those are specific chemical compounds that are commonly used in cosmetics as a preservative. Formaldehyde-releasers are on our Never List: formaldehyde-releasers (i.e. quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, or bromopol).

  1. I have been making and using this recipe for a couple years now for me and my kids. It is awesome! I’ve never had any problems with bugs or mold etc. And I just store a bottle in my bathroom cupboard, usually for a few weeks. I think it works better than store bought and no nasty fumes! Yay! Thank you ?

  2. I had sprayed this solution on to my curls and my hair turned back to normal. Utter waste . y did this happen

    1. Some people’s hair doesn’t do as well as others. What kind of hair do you have? I have been experimenting w/ a DIY Salt Spray that mimics the one that I highlighted farther down in the post. That might be of interest?

    1. Basically you need to use any water-based product up within 3-4 days and have it refrigerated in order to not have an issue w/ its integrity. I’m hoping to address this more in the future.

  3. Can you add a bit of vodka to this for it to keep longer? In a body spray DIY the person said that it’s a natural anti-bacterial, and to add like two teaspoons or so.

    1. I am sorry but I am trying to find good information about antibacterial actions of things like this but it is not easy to figure out. Please do use caution. Thanks!

  4. Ah this sounds like music to my ear!
    I’m a hairdresser working in a small salon (one man band) for a local charity. I’ve been working there for almost 3 years and I’m now suffering with wheezing, tight chest, coughing and my sinuses are at their absolute worst.
    Do you think this would help me? And trying to convince my lovely clients, too. I wear a mask when I spray hairspray but there’s only a dodgy extractor fan and all windows are painted solid.
    Any advice would be much appreciated ~ thank you
    Jules

    1. Ugh!!! I wonder if you will have to get a different job if you think you are allergic to all of the products? Or move to a less toxic brand? Let me know.

    2. Hey ? i am also a hair stylist. I have been one for over ten years now. My honest best advice could be to get a better ventalation system but you really need to find something eles to do that isnt harmful to your lungs. I suffer from horrible asthma after 6 years of working in chemicals and iron smoke. I stubbornly didnt quit and two years later my lung xrays worsened. As well as two of my coworkers developed cancer one was lung cancer. She was never a smoker. Passion is hard to let go of make a wise choice of what you keep doing hair wise and what you can let go of when it comes to being exposed to various chemicals. Read the saftey data sheet on the products you use on a regular basis and that might help you move on.

  5. Ok, I was slightly skeptical about this in the beginning but so far it’s holding up and I’m enjoying it ^^

    1. You can’t use olive oil instead of the essential oils but I’m working on another spray that you could use it in. Actually, you could try, but really shake before using it and it might be a little too greasy.

  6. Soo, what happened regarding sugar and bugs?
    (From your post above: “’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 ;-).”)

  7. Hi! I heard on a website that sugar is not good for hair. ?s it true or not? I just want to ask it and sometimes i use lemon juice when my hair sprey is run out. ?t works 🙂 ? don’t see any change on my hair when i use lemon juice.

    1. Hi Martha.

      Sure thing. The image goes to the product and I put another link in in the post. Let me know if that works for you.

      I’m going to be testing out other products but so far so good. I like that it doesn’t have the toxic fragrances and give nice body. I’d love to know what you think should you try it. A little goes a long way. I don’t find myself applying and reapplying.

  8. The essential oils will keep bugs away. I use peppermint oil diluted in water for my cat to keep fleas away. It works! I’ve used the sugar & water & it does work. Now I’ll be adding essential oils to it too. Thank you. 🙂

  9. I will definitely try this but have two questions. Can you use a curling iron with this in your hair, and how do you know if the solution has expired.

    1. Yes, you can use a curling iron on it. I can’t speak to the expiration but I would use filtered water and only make small amounts. Adding some essential oils with antibacterial qualities will help keep it longer and you could store it in the fridge as well. Enjoy!

  10. I was so excited to find this alcohol-free hairspray!! I am anxious to try it, but I would like to get the glass spray bottle online and don’t know exactly what to buy. One post said her bottle sprayed too wide. Thanks for your suggestions.

    1. Hi there. I’m not sure – I just found one on Amazon that has good reviews that I think should work well – it’s in the Ingredient / Supplies list. Hope that helps!

      1. When I went to the site for the sea salt spray, I saw that it is one that you put in before styling. They don’t say to use it as a hairspray. Which way did you use it?

        1. I use it both ways. I really like it. I have heard about others doing that as well. I sometimes put some extra conditioner or a conditioning spray on my hair to prevent it from drying b/c my hair gets dry easily. I will be writing more about hair care in the future too :). I hope you like it.

        2. Hi again, Bonnie.

          I should have mentioned this — one of the ways that I most use the spray is on the ends of my hair. Are you familiar w/ Sea Salt Sprays? This one really ads a nice body to my ends and a lift and I can scrunch my hair to make waves that hold. I can also spritz it for a spray. Hope that helps.