There's a lot of misinformation and confusion about how hairspray works and what it contains, mainly due to this styling aid's controversial history. Let us separate fact from fiction.
Hairspray is one of the most commonly used hairstyling products. This liquid fixative is used to secure hairstyles and ensure all-day hold. Hairspray can also be used to create volume and tame flyaways. It's easy to see why hairspray is so popular.
Despite its staple status, there's a lot of misinformation and confusion about how hairspray works and what it contains, mainly due to this styling aid's controversial history. Let us separate fact from fiction.
The controversial history of hairspray
Hairspray was invented in the 1940s as a way to hold hairstyles in place. The basic formula, often cased in an aerosol can, consisted of a polymer, a solvent, and a propellant.
When the product was sprayed, the propellant forced the product out of the can to produce a mist and evaporated. The solvent, which kept the polymer fluid in the can, also evaporated. The remaining polymer then formed a stiff layer on the hair.
In the 1940s, the typical propellant was chlorine, fluorine, and carbon (commonly known as CFCs). However, unknown at the time, these evaporated ingredients were causing a hole in the ozone layer, and when this was discovered, CFCs were banned.
Modern hairsprays no longer contain CFCs and often use hydrocarbons and compressed gasses for their propellants. However, many sprays are still contained in aerosol cans, which leads people to believe that these products contain CFCs.
Hydrocarbons and compressed gasses are not without fault, as they're still known for their contribution to global warming. Consider a pump hairspray to reduce your carbon footprint.
What should I look for in a hairspray?
Hairsprays now come in many forms, with different strengths and finishes. Knowing the ingredients to look for is particularly helpful if you want a certain result.
Hairsprays still work in the same basic way they did in the 1940s: with polymers and solvents. The two most popular polymers today are polyvinylpyrrolidone, which is water-soluble, and polydimethylsiloxane, which isn't water-soluble. If you're looking for long-lasting strength, look for the latter polymer, which is found in Evo Helmut Extra Strong Lacquer for one.
If your hair is prone to frizz, look for a hairspray that contains aminomethyl propanol. This ingredient makes your hairspray more resistant to humidity, as it controls the pH of the product. ghd Final Fix Hairspray is perfect if you want to protect against humidity.
Hairsprays are often infused with oils to nourish the hair. For instance, Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray contains argan oil to keep the hair hydrated. Kevin.Murphy Doo.Over contains patchouli oil, which is known for its anti-ageing and anti-dandruff properties.
4. Natural Hairsprays
Natural hairsprays contain fewer synthetic chemicals and often use vegetable gum as the polymer. We recommend Neuma NeuControl Firm Hold Hairspray, which is also packed with vitamin B5 for healthy hair. You can browse our organic and natural hair products to find the perfect hairspray for you.
Just because hairsprays are now environmentally safe, that doesn't mean that the ingredients list should be ignored. The chemical names can often be confusing, but it's important to be able to decipher them so you can choose the best hairspray for your hair.