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Is Hairspray Bad for Your Hair? Harmful Effects + Safe Alternatives (2024)

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is hairspray bad for your hairWell, excessive use can certainly cause issues.

Many conventional formulas contain harsh ingredients like alcohol and Propellants that can dry out your locks, clog pores, and even irritate your scalp.

But don’t ditch the spray just yet!

Opting for natural or alcohol-free varieties can provide style without the damage.

And proper application from a distance in moderation minimizes risks.

Of course, limiting hairspray altogether promotes healthier tresses.

But if you can’t resist that perfect hold, choosing wisely and using sparingly is key.

Want to learn more about safeguarding your strands?

Key Takeaways

  • Hairspray can be a double-edged sword – while it tames frizz, overuse leads to buildup, dryness, and brittleness, leaving your locks in need of some serious TLC.
  • The harsh truth? Many hairsprays contain ingredients like alcohols and propellants that can wreak havoc on your hair and scalp, causing irritation, clogged pores, and even Respiratory Issues. It’s like inviting a toxic frenemy into your beauty routine!
  • But fear not, there are safer alternatives out there! Natural, plant-based formulas and alcohol-free options can give you the hold you need without compromising your hair’s health. It’s a win-win situation for both style and strand survival.
  • At the end of the day, moderation is key. Use hairspray sparingly, like a sprinkle of fairy dust, and prioritize overall hair health through gentle care. Your tresses will thank you for treating them with the love and respect they deserve.

Is Hairspray Bad for Your Hair?

Yes, hairspray can be bad for your hair. Its ingredients like alcohol and propellants can dry out and damage hair over time, leading to breakage and split ends.

Potential Health Risks of Hairspray

Potential Health Risks of Hairspray
You may have noticed skin irritation or respiratory issues like coughing, wheezing, or sneezing after using hairspray. These are potential health risks associated with the ingredients found in many hairspray formulas, including propellants, alcohols, and polymers that can disrupt hormones, decrease lung function, and even ignite due to their flammability.

Skin Irritation

Hairspray can wreak havoc on your skin, leading to:

  1. Allergic reactions like redness, itching, and irritation
  2. Scalp irritation from product buildup
  3. Dry, flaky skin due to drying ingredients
  4. Clogged pores and acne breakouts

Many hairsprays contain toxic ingredients, so it’s essential to read labels and opt for gentler, natural formulas to minimize these health risks. Your skin will appreciate it!

Respiratory Issues

Hairspray’s volatile compounds can wreak havoc on your respiratory system. When inhaled, you may experience:

  • Coughing fits and wheezing
  • Shortness of breath or chest tightness
  • Nasal congestion and sinus irritation

These symptoms are especially concerning for those with asthma or other respiratory conditions. To minimize risks, use hairspray sparingly in well-ventilated areas.

Decreased Lung Function

Repeated exposure to hairspray inhalation can decrease lung function over time, posing a significant risk for:

  • Chronic coughing and wheezing
  • Shortness of breath during activities
  • Long-term lung damage and respiratory complications
  • Increased susceptibility to respiratory infections
  • Occupational hazards for hair stylists and professionals

Prioritize your long-term respiratory health by opting for safer alternatives like Mermaid Sea Salt Hairspray, Giovanni Hairspray, or Bounce Curl.

Ingredients in Hairspray and Their Effects

Ingredients in Hairspray and Their Effects
You’ll want to pay close attention to the ingredients found in hairspray products. Propellants like butane or propane can be respiratory irritants, alcohol is drying to hair, and polymers like polyvinylpyrrolidone form the stiff, crunchy film that holds your hairstyle in place.


Those propellants used to expel that spray from the can? They can be toxic. In fact, repeated exposure beyond certain limits can disrupt hormones and heart health—especially worrying for professionals like stylists. To minimize risks, always use hairspray:

  1. In well-ventilated areas
  2. Within safe occupational exposure limits
  3. While following regulatory standards
  4. Away from ignition sources due to flammability


Another concerning ingredient in hairspray is alcohol. You’ll find it in many formulas, but it’s problematic because:

  • It’s highly flammable, posing a fire risk
  • Dries out your hair and scalp, causing brittle strands
  • Can clog hair follicles, leading to hair loss
  • Irritates sensitive skin and eyes upon contact
  • Contributes to that dreaded "crunchy" helmet-hair look

While alcohol provides hold, it ultimately compromises your hair’s health. Seek out alcohol-free hairsprays for safer styling.


And those polymers in hairspray that provide the hold? They can be a double-edged sword. While essential for keeping strands in place, they can also:

  1. Cause buildup on hair over time
  2. Lead to greasiness and weighing down of strands
  3. Contribute to dryness and brittleness with overuse

Safer Hairspray Alternatives

Safer Hairspray Alternatives
If you’re concerned about the potential risks of traditional hairsprays, you’ll be pleased to know that there are safer alternatives available. These include natural hairsprays containing beneficial ingredients like aloe vera and sea salt, as well as formulas that are alcohol-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free.

Natural Hairsprays

Looking for a healthier hairspray option? Consider making the switch to plant-based, natural formulas. You’ll find:

  1. Essential oils that nourish strands
  2. Sea salt for textured body
  3. Aloe for hydrating hold
  4. Biodegradable, eco-friendly ingredients

Natural hairsprays allow you to style your ‘do with ease, minus the harsh chemicals. Embrace the botanical benefits!

Alcohol-free Hairsprays

Alcohol-free hairsprays offer a safe alternative if you’re concerned about the drying effects of alcohol. These formulas provide:

  1. Medium to strong hold without stiffness or crunchiness
  2. Protection from humidity and frizz
  3. Flexibility for restyling throughout the day
  4. Gentleness on hair and scalp

An excellent option is Bounce Curl, which delivers lasting hold sans alcohol.

Paraben and Sulfate-free Hairsprays

You might consider paraben and sulfate-free hairsprays for a safer option. These avoid potentially harmful ingredients that can:

  • Cause scalp irritation
  • Clog hair follicles
  • Lead to product buildup
  • Result in dryness and brittleness
  • Contain drying alcohol

Opting for gentler, plant-based formulas can give you the hold you need without compromising hair health.

Proper Use of Hairspray

Proper Use of Hairspray
When applying hairspray, it’s essential to hold the can at least 10 inches away from your hair to avoid over-saturating strands and potential irritation. Use short, deliberate bursts while evenly distributing the product throughout your hair, avoiding direct application to the scalp area.

Application Distance

Besides using safer hairspray alternatives, proper application distance is essential for healthy hair. You should:

  1. Hold the can 10-12 inches from your head
  2. Avoid spraying directly onto your scalp
  3. Mist in short, even bursts
  4. Allow the product to fully dry before brushing

Holding the can too close can lead to overspray, dryness, and potential scalp irritation. A little distance goes a long way for luscious, touchable locks.

Spray Technique

You’ll also want to pay attention to your spray technique. Hold the can 10-12 inches away and:

  • Spray in short, controlled bursts
  • Move the can continuously for even coverage
  • Avoid over-spraying one area
  • Tilt your head to reach harder-to-spray sections
  • Use a comb or brush to evenly distribute product

Proper application prevents scalp irritation, alcohol dryness, and buildup. But moderation is key – we’ll discuss that next.


Of course, moderation is key when using hairspray. Too much can lead to buildup, causing dullness and weighing your hair down. Be mindful of your application frequency to prevent damage. Consider these tips:

  1. Use hairspray sparingly, 1-2 spritzes max.
  2. Limit use to special occasions or when needed.
  3. Alternate with natural styling products.
  4. Focus on overall hair health through gentle care.

Healthy Hair Practices

Healthy Hair Practices
You should avoid overusing hairspray, as excessive application can lead to dryness, brittleness, and buildup that damages hair. Prioritize your hair’s health by using hairspray in moderation, opting for gentler formulas, and incorporating nourishing hair care practices into your routine to maintain overall well-being.

Avoid Overuse

While hairspray can be convenient, overuse can lead to:

  1. Product buildup on your strands
  2. Excessive dryness and brittleness
  3. Scalp irritation from close application

Be mindful of how often you rely on hairspray. Too much can damage your hair’s health over time.

Prioritize Hair Health

Prioritize hair health by avoiding practices that lead to hair breakage and split ends. 1) Gently brush hair with a wide-tooth comb. 2) Limit heat styling tools. 3) Rinse thoroughly after using products. 4) Treat your scalp with nourishing, natural remedies. A little TLC goes a long way for luscious locks.

Focus on Overall Well-being

Hair health reflects overall well-being. Focus on:

  1. Mental health: Manage stress through exercise, meditation, or therapy.
  2. Body image: Celebrate your unique beauty and inner strengths.
  3. Self-care: Indulge in activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul.
  4. Balanced lifestyle: Prioritize sleep, nutrition, and healthy relationships.

When you nurture yourself holistically, radiant hair follows naturally.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Hairspray dangerous?

Yes, it can be. Hairspray contains harsh chemicals that irritate skin and lungs when inhaled repeatedly. Yet, if used sparingly and properly – hair held at a distance – you’ll likely avoid serious issues. Moderation is key for frizz-free locks without compromising health.

Is putting body lotions/creams on hair bad for hair?

While body lotions hydrate skin, using them on hair isn’t advisable. The heavy, greasy formula can weigh hair down, cause buildup, and make it appear dull and lifeless. For best results, stick to products specifically designed for hair care.

What happens if you use too much Hairspray?

While hairspray helps tame unruly locks, overusing it can lead to buildup, dryness, and brittleness. Too much can weigh hair down and clog follicles, preventing healthy growth.

What are the disadvantages of using a hair spray?

You risk dryness, brittleness, buildup, and irritation if overusing hairspray. Too much can suffocate strands and clog follicles, so use sparingly and avoid the scalp area.

How often should hairspray be used?

You should limit hairspray use to special occasions or styling needs. Frequent application can lead to buildup, dryness, and potential irritation. Moderation is key for healthy hair.

Can hairspray cause hair loss?

Like a bad relationship, hairspray’s grip can cause damage over time. While occasional use is harmless, frequent applications may trigger excessive shedding and thinning hair. Moderation is key to maintaining your luscious locks.

Is hairspray safe for children?

You should avoid using hairspray on young children. The chemicals and propellants can irritate their sensitive skin and lungs, potentially causing respiratory issues or other health problems.

How to remove hairspray buildup?

To remove hairspray buildup, try using a clarifying shampoo that strips residue. Alternatively, mix baking soda into your regular shampoo for a DIY clarifying treatment. Gently massage and rinse thoroughly for clean, buildup-free hair.

Are hairsprays with specific ingredients safer?

Yes, hairsprays with gentler ingredients like aloe vera, sea salt, and plant oils may be safer options for your hair. Look for alcohol-free, paraben-free formulas to minimize dryness and irritation.


While hairspray may seem harmless, its excessive use can ironically damage the very hair it’s meant to style.

Yet, by opting for safer alternatives, applying from a distance in moderation, and prioritizing overall hair health, you can achieve your desired look without compromising your tresses.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.