Hairspray is just one of those basic beauty staples. It is very versatile, and necessary for a lot of styles. Unfortunately, store-bought hairsprays can be toxic to health and the environment. Not only do they contain many of the 13 worst ingredients to avoid (most notably DBP and DEP, formaldehyde, and fragrance) they also often come in aerosol containers.
These aerosol containers use a secondary set of chemicals called propellants to get their contents out in a misted form. Much of the time those chemicals include Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which are linked to cancer and can cause headache and lightheadedness. They also build up when used indoors.
So, why not make your own? It’s safe and easy, and it works well! It will also save you money. It cost me 64 cents to make one batch of this hairspray. One batch was a huge amount that, if it doesn’t expire, will last me for years. I also don’t use hairspray very often, so if you use it every day it obviously won’t last as long. Still, you can’t beat that price.
I found the original recipe from Wellness Mama, but I made a few changes. Here is how you make the hairspray:
Ingredients and supplies:
- 2 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons white sugar (organic is preferred)
- 1/2 tablespoon isopropyl alcohol (I used 99%)
- 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil (I used grapefruit and tangerine for this- yummy smells!)
- A pot to boil water in
- An empty spray bottle
- A funnel
- Boil the water. Once the water is boiling, dissolve the sugar in it, mixing well.
- Turn the heat off and let the mixture cool to room temperature
- When the mixture is cool, add the alcohol and essential oil, stir well
- Using a funnel, pour into your spray bottle
- Use the same as you would any other hairspray- make sure you shake before use
The spray bottle I had on hand was quite small, so I stored the rest of the mixture in a glass bottle.
So- I decided to put the hairspray to the test by curling my hair. I’m not very good at curling my hair. Ok- I’m bad at curling it. I saw a pin on pinterest that said you should put your hair in a high ponytail and curl random sections (obviously this will only work with long hair). Since I am so terrible at curling my hair I figured it was worth a try- because if it looked terrible I wouldn’t have to post pictures anyways. And it would still tell me how good of a hold the hairspray has.
So I tried the method. I was very skeptical. But somehow, even with my lack of hair curling skills, it worked!
Was it the amazing hairspray, or the method? I like to think it was both.
Seriously, this hairspray is great. It doesn’t have the yucky “hairspray” smell I’ve gotten used to over the years (must be those VOCs…). It smells like grapefruit! And it has a nice amount of hold without being sticky or very crunchy. This picture was taken about an hour after curling my hair. The curls held up nicely.
I give this hairspray an A+. Usually when I try to curl my hair the curls are gone in a few hours, but with this homemade hairspray they lasted!
Try making it and let me know how it goes for you!
Where can you purchase essential oils at?
You can get them at health food stores like whole foods. I usually get them online because there is a larger variety. Amazon has a bunch of great oils (theres a link to the grapefruit and tangerine oils I use in the post) and I also really like Mountain Rose Herbs.
I’m not going to lie. I’ve seen this recipe that you’ve adapted and I’m a bit freaked out about putting sugar into my hair. I’m not sure why, but it’s a natural product. I guess I’m thinking it will bring bugs or be sticky….lol. It’s a mental thing. Thanks for sharing this on Merry Monday. I might give this a whirl.
The sugar is so diluted and dissolved in the water, you would hardly know it’s there! It just helps provide hold. Good thing to consider with bugs now that it’s summer, though.
I had no notion that you could make hairspray! This is fantastic, though it takes me about 2 years to go through a bottle! Would love for you to stop by and share at Fridays Unfolded this week!
Great idea! Maybe one of the oils could be one that naturally repels bugs? A win win!
I’ll have to try this, thanks for sharing :)
Great idea! I do have some citronella oil…
I love this hairspray, it’s better than any store bought hair spray I have ever used. Unfortunately, believe it or not, I am diabetic and using this hairspray makes my blood sugar go up so I had to quit using it. Would love to find a recipe just as good that does not use sugar.
Wow, I had no idea that was possible! I’m trying to think of what you could use in place of sugar, but I can’t come up with anything off the top of my head. If I think of something, I’ll let you know!
Nicki Woodard says
“Off the top of my head” !!! Pun intended ? :-)
Not at all! Wish I could say it was!
What about honey?
Here is a link to a hairspray recipe using orange juice, if that is a good replacement. Good luck.
Patty Powell says
There are recipes that call for a lemon (instead of sugar) for blonde hair or an orange for use on darker hair.I just found it online. I haven’t tried it yet but I”m game.
Angie C @ Infinite Health & Wellness says
Hi there, just wondering would this spray hold up for a wedding… for the bride’s hair.
I can’t see why not. It has a really nice amount of hold to it. I can’t guarantee anything- but I would totally use it for any style for an occasion.
Alicia Wilson says
Hi Susie, How long can you keep the hairspray with the vodka preserving it??
Hi Alicia. I’ve kept mine for about 6 months and it is still great. I used an isopropyl alcohol, which was 99% alcohol, so it is a good preservative. I don’t know how regular vodka would do.
Brit den Biggelaar says
Hi, I get real bad asthma attacks when using traditional hairspray. I’ll try your recipe for next week’s dance party. Thank you for sharing. Wish me luck.
Absolutely! Let me know if it works out!
Great idea! I recently found out im allergic to tree nuts and peanuts so im going all natural for beauty products. Great post! Did you curl and then spray? Im worried about the sugar and heat!
I did a little spray all over and curled and then added additional spray. You should test it out yourself to see what works with your hair.
Can you make it without stinky, allergenic “essential oil”? I need something completely fragrance-free, and essential oils are nothing but stenchy perfune.
Yes. It does smell like alcohol when fragrance free, so it is not scent free. But the essential oils are there just for scent so if you don’t like them, no need to use them.
Wow I would love to try this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing this! Your blog also looks really interesting. I am excited to check out more of our posts! In the past I have tried a similar recipe but I think the sugar quantity was too much as my hair became crunchy, crispy and crystallised. However, I am excited to try it again. If you don’t want to make a huge quantity and you just halve the recipe, is that ok?
Yes, of course! It makes a lot.