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Is Hairspray Bad for Your Hair?

by Bridget Reed January 23, 2023 8 min read

Is Hairspray Bad for Your Hair?

This has been a question floating in most of our minds for decades — and let’s be honest, probably in the minds of our mothers, aunties, and grandmothers. To hairspray, or not to hairspray? 

Let’s dig into the history of hairspray and whether including it in your daily hair care routine is beneficial or detrimental.

What Is Hairspray?

Hairspray is a product we all have used at least once. Hairspray is made of polymers, fragrances, and propellants that, when sprayed, stiffen up the hair. It was first invented in the 1940s and has only become more popular year after year.

Hairspray is used by people all over the world to add the final touches to any hairstyle. It is most commonly used to keep your hair in place and your styles lasting all day long.

Hairspray is so commonly used that it is hard to imagine that it could be potentially bad for your hair if not used correctly.

Keep reading to find out the pros and cons of hairspray and how to use it.

Is Hairspray Bad for Your Hair?

Hairspray is not necessarily bad for your hair, but it can be somewhat damaging for your hair if you are not using it correctly.

What seems like such a simple question that should warrant a simple answer isn’t. Some factors in using hairspray determine if it can be detrimental to your hair.

Although hairspray seems like such an easy concept that anyone should be able to handle, there are some steps you can take to avoid damage caused by hairspray. Like many hair products, research must be done on how to use them, how often to use them, and what ingredients to stay away from that can be in them.

Washing and Conditioning 

You can make hairspray a part of your daily routine, but it’s a good idea to wash it out. If left on your strands, it can potentially cause damage to your hair.

Hairspray can dry out your hair when it is left in for too long. Use a deep conditioner when washing out the hairspray to restore moisture to your hair. Make sure to use a moisturizing conditioner created for your hair type.

Also, when hairspray is left in your hair overnight, it can lead to tangles and knots while you are tossing around while asleep. You might find yourself waking up with a rat’s nest if you sleep on a hair full of hairspray.

Hot Tip: Sleep in a silk scarf if you don’t have time to wash your hair before bed. This will keep your hair from knotting up. You can find silk scarfs in all sorts of cute looks, so you don’t have to compromise your fashion to wear them — no shame in wanting to look cute even when you sleep!

If you are using hairspray daily, add a hair mask to your hair care routine to add strength back into your hair. A hair mask is a conditioning treatment you massage into the scalp and leave for a few minutes before washing out.

Better Not Younger masks nourish your strands to health with a blend of deep-conditioning ingredients and more. Our conditioners can help you rejuvenate and maintain beautiful-looking hair day after day with ingredients that strengthen and smooth without any weight. 

Heat Styling and Brushing

It’s a good idea to avoid applying hairspray before using heated products. The high heat can impact how the chemicals in the spray affects your hair — the damage just isn’t worth it. Instead, it’s best to spray the hairspray after using heating tools to set the style.

It’s also best to avoid brushing through your hair when you have hairspray in it. If you brush your hair full of thick hairspray, you may find that you have to pull much harder to get the bristles through. Breakage, anyone?

Harsh Chemicals

A big downfall to hairspray is that many contain ingredients that are not-so-great. Avoid hairspray with alcohol or ethanol as an ingredient, which dries out the hair and can cause damage. 

If your hair becomes too dry, it becomes susceptible to breakage. Breakage is frustrating because you will be stuck with a bunch of small hairs all over the place, and if you are trying to grow your hair out, any breakage can be a bummer. 

Find hairsprays that contain more natural ingredients and less harsh chemicals. These hairsprays have all the same benefits, but natural ingredients are less damaging to your hair. You can find a hairspray with added nutrients, such as biotin, to give your added strength

At Better Not Younger, we designed our hairspray to be full of added nutrients to deliver instant volume and style while caring for your hair’s long-term health and strength. It’s really a win-win situation.

What Are the Benefits of Hairspray?

Hairspray is great for taming flyaways and helps your style last all night. Spray the hairspray under the top layer of the hair and fluff it up to create volume. You can also flip your hair upside down and spray underneath to add even more volume. Big hair, don’t care.

Hairspray can be a game-changer when you need to keep your curls intact. Just spray some on the finished curls, which will help them hold for longer. Without using hairspray in your curls, if your hair is naturally straight, it will probably fall faster than if you used hairspray. 

Using hairspray can open the doors for hairstyles you never thought possible. The world is your oyster! You can experiment with your hair and figure out what fun styles you like and dislike. 

Hairspray can also be used to hide oily hair. Let’s say you haven’t had a chance to wash your hair yet (no judgment) and need to run an errand where you don’t want your hair to look greasy. Just spray some hairspray on the roots of your hair and lift them to get a cleaner-looking style. 

How Should I Apply Hairspray?

Make sure to shake the hairspray bottle before using it and to spray it at least eight inches from the hair. 

Try not to spray too much hairspray into your hair. You want enough to hold everything in place but not so much that your hair feels like a brick wall.

Spray hairspray onto dry hair instead of wet hair. Spraying hairspray on wet hair can cause crunchy hard hair. Also, the polymers in hairspray have a harder time creating a hold on wet hair than dry hair. 

You can use hairspray to settle down little flyaways — when getting rid of flyaways, spray the hair and smooth down the sprayed hair with your hand. 

Make sure that the nozzle of the hairspray is not clogged so that it sprays in a mist form instead of spraying it all over the place. No one wants that. 

If you have an easily irritated scalp, try not to spray too much hairspray onto your scalp. When using a new hairspray with an easily irritated scalp, do a test spot first to ensure you do not react negatively. 

Are There Different Types of Hairsprays?

When picking a hair product, it is important to choose the right product for the occasion!

There are different types of hairspray that have contrasting effects. It is okay to try different kinds and find the one you like best. 

There is finishing hairspray. Finishing hairspray is firmer than regular hairspray. Finishing hairspray is a strong hairspray that is used to hold your hairstyle in place and add shine to your hair. Finishing spray is great for formal events with updos, such as weddings.

If you are worried about that hairspray smell, you can find hairsprays with different fragrances. Some hairsprays are softer to give you a less firm look. 

When shopping for hairspray, you will notice that they are categorized by their “hold.” This refers to how much movement the spray will allow — for instance, if you don’t want your style to move at all, find an extra firm hold spray. 

Can Hairspray Damage Your Lungs?

You may have heard that hairspray can damage your lungs, so you have avoided it. Your lungs will be fine when using hairspray, but you need to use hairspray sparingly. Moderation is important with most things, hairspray included.

Hairdressers are most at risk for problems with their lungs due to hairspray. They are most at risk because they are around these hair products all day long. This is especially true if the hairsprays they are using contain alcohol. 

The good news is that the average person won’t be breathing in hairspray all day! Breathe easy, knowing you are safe styling that hair every day. 

Support Your Hair Health With Better Not Younger

Hairspray is not bad for your hair if you apply it correctly and use the right products. When using any products in your hair, research what is in them and decide if it is best for your hair. 

Remember to use hairspray in moderation — too much can cause damage to your hair. Wash the hairspray thoroughly while using shampoos and conditioners that moisturize your hair.

Better Not Younger has a hairspray that has been formulated with naturally-derived ingredients aimed at nourishing your hair while giving you the high hold and volume you want from a hairspray. We strive to provide tools and resources to anyone, at any age, to support happy and healthy hair. And if you’re like the rest of us, you’ve been dabbling in hairspray since you saw your mom do it! 

Check out our blog for more information on how to care for your hair year after year. You deserve it!

Sources:

Hairspray Inhalation-induced Interstitial Pneumonitis Evaluated by a Transbronchial Lung Cryobiopsy |PMC

Comparison of Healthy and Dandruff Scalp Microbiome Reveals the Role of Commensals in Scalp Health | PMC

Regulation of Phytohormones on the Growth and Development of Plant Root Hair | PMC




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