I’ll be the first to admit that store bought hairspray does it’s job. It works amazing. It sprays out evenly, and you can customize the hold by buying different levels of firmness. But, of course, there are some major downsides. First, hairspray is full of toxins. Even the hairsprays that come in normal spray bottles instead of aerosol cans are still full of chemicals. Most of the time the majority of the bad chemicals in hairspray are due to the fragrances. There are other ingredients that contribute to their toxicity as well, but fragrance is definitely what tops the list. Second, most of us have heard that aerosol is bad for the environment. The type of gases used in aerosols that was depleting the ozone were made illegal in the US in the 1970’s, but the gases used today are still known for contributing to global warming.
Buying vs. Making
I tried a few brands of organic hairsprays that scored well on the EWG website, and that worked okay for me for a few years. They didn’t work as well as my “full of chemical” brands, but they did the job. When I started working towards a zero waste home, I knew I had to come up with a DIY option so that I could prevent the trash that an empty organic hairspray bottle creates.
Whenever you switch from conventional products to organic, you have to give yourself and your hair time to get used to it. Organic shampoo and conditioner took about 3 weeks for my hair to get used to. Same with hairspray. It takes some adjusting whether you make it yourself or buy an organic brand. You’ll have to learn how that spray works, and you might have to try several different brands or recipes until you find one that works best for you.
The Hairspray Recipe I Use
I found this recipe from Jillee, and it has worked great for me so I’ve stuck with it.
1/2 cup of water
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol
6-8 essential oil drops (optional)
Heat the water in a saucepan. Add the sugar and stir till dissolved. Take it off the burner and add rubbing alcohol and essential oil of your choice. Mix well and pour into a spray bottle.
I use sucanat which is an organic raw sugar I buy from the bulk bins at our local health food store. I believe any type of sugar from sugar cane would work, but I wouldn’t recommend other sweeteners such as honey, stevia, or agave. I do recommend using an essential oil. The rubbing alcohol smells pretty strong, and unless you want to walk around with your hair smelling like a hospital, I’d suggest adding some oils. I used lavender, because it’s what I had on hand.
Another suggestion I have is if you test this recipe and like it, make a triple or quadruple batch. I will store the extra in my fridge and refill my spray bottle as needed.
A good spray bottle can make all the difference. I picked up a glass one at our health food store, but it does get clogged easily. I think this is due to the sugar. If that happens, just rinse the tip under hot water and the stickiness cleans itself off.
I have thin, fine hair. This hairspray actually works best for me if I spray it on my hair wet. It acts like a mousse would. It gives me volume and a bit of texture. I do spray it on dry as well, but I have to do it in limited amounts. Too much makes my hair look greasy. Just the right amount gives me a good hold and a nice healthy shiny look.
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