It might sound silly, but I get sooo excited when I find a great homemade personal care recipe.
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 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.
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.
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.
Makes 1 cup
Ingredients & Supplies
1 cup water (use filtered please*)
4 teaspoons sugar (use more or less according to how strong you want the resulting spray to be)
The following essential oils are optional (I recommend Rocky Mountain Oils (formerly Native American Nutritionals). See notes below to read why I chose them.):
2 drops Geranium
2 drops Lavender
2 drops Peppermint
2 drops Rosemary
Spray Bottle – This one has good reviews.
1. Heat water in a small saucepan to boiling.
2. Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
3. Allow to cool. Add essential oils (if using).
4. Place in spray bottle. (A funnel comes in handy here :).
5. 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, as well as all homemade personal care product.
1. I think the 4 teaspoons of sugar is just right but feel free to adjust according to what you want your spray to act like. Of course, if you add too much, you will end up with residue on your hair so be careful.
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.
Non-Toxic Hair Spray
Don't Feel Like DIYing?
Updates from 2016 and 2017.
First the 2017 Update. Since I wrote this post, I have been so wanting to share a safer hairspray with you that I love, but I have never found one.
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.
Well, they ALL came up short.
I literally felt like Goldilocks, even though my locks aren't golden :).
The hairsprays were either too sticky, too stiff, didn't work, or were too wet.
I just wanted something that worked!
Well, here it is. My favorite safer hairspray of all time–Monat Refinish Control Hairspray!
This hairspray is amazing. Just right spray – not sticky, not wet, not too stiff (you can literally brush or comb through it)–and it holds!
It's not cheap, but it's a HUGE bottle and you can always sign up for the VIP program and save.
I can tell you that these products are hands down the best hair products I have ever used.
And you know I'm on top of ingredients. I pummeled the company with questions about their ingredient–they don't have any toxic fragrances (I have the list of all of the ingredients that are in their fragrances), and I'm very pleased with their corporate ethics, and more.
And I love my hair! And the rest of their products are amazing too–plus they even help if you are dealing with hair loss.
Update from 2016:
Here's another option.
Since writing this post, I had actually gone back to using my (ugh) White Rain “Unscented” (come to find out that it still had artificial fragrances in it…..sigh) spray most of the time, and really want to get away from it. So I went on the hunt for some other good hair products.
Well, I stumbled on this product and it's great.
It actually works better than my DIY hair spray as either a spray or a beach spray. If you're not into making your own DIY Hair Spray, or you just want to try out a fabulous, non toxic hair spray, this product is lovely.
Plus it works like a volumizer too.
It's got lots of nourishing ingredients in it so it doesn't dry your hair out anywhere near as much as other sea salt sprays and it only has essential oils for fragrance (not icky toxic fragrances!)
It's not inexpensive, but a little goes a long way and it really holds with a natural look so I don't find myself touching up. And it really brings out the natural waves in my hair.
If you end up trying it, please let me know what you think.
My hair is happy.
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