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Want gorgeous, perfectly coiffed hairstyles but hate the nasty ingredients in most hair sprays?

Yeah, me too. 

Fortunately, there are some great companies out there making healthier, more natural versions. 

The best non toxic hair sprays combine plant-based ingredients, essential oils, little to no alcohol, and no aerosols. 

In a bit, I’ll share a few of my favorites! But first, let’s learn what ingredients to avoid and which ones to look for. 

Toxic Ingredients in Regular Hairspray

Phthalates

Phthalates have been classified as environmental toxins and have been strictly banned in the EU from use in toys and baby care products.

They are in everything from plastic packaging to nail polish, perfume, toys, skin care products, shampoos, deodorants, perfumes, and yes – hairsprays.

In all these applications, phthalates are used to make brittle and stiff polymers more flexible and soft.

Hairspray manufacturers use phthalates for preventing the notorious helmet-hair effect that older generation hair sprays have.

Phthalates are currently going through scientific scrutiny as a result of high levels being found in women in their childbearing years.

Ahead of the US (at least in this case), European Parliament has already issued consumer alerts and prohibitions on the use of dibutyl-phthalate (DBP) in beauty products.

The concern is that they are suspected of causing birth defects, liver and kidney damage and hypersensitivity in the immune system.

They infiltrate the body when inhaled or absorbed through the skin – both of which occur when using hair spray.

Formaldehyde

This is a naturally occurring preservative that’s used in hairsprays (and many other cosmetic products) to prevent and kill mold and bacteria growth.

Unfortunately, formaldehyde has been deemed both a human carcinogen and an environmental toxin and has been linked to cancer of the nose and lung cancer.

Repeated exposure to this chemical can lead to allergic skin reactions, immune system damage, inability to urinate and internal bleeding.

If you’ve already been exposed to formaldehyde from household materials such as wall insulation or carpet adhesives…

(and considering its prevalence – you probably have)

…adding hairspray-released formaldehyde might be what pushes your exposure past the tipping point.

Fragrance

What does the word ‘fragrance’ mean anyway?

This term was created to help companies protect their ‘intellectual property’ or their ‘secret formula.’

The ‘fragrance’ or ‘natural fragrance’ described on hairspray labels is just a catch-all term for introducing chemicals in such low concentrations that they don’t warrant a report.

Since there is no requirement to list individual fragrances, it’s almost impossible to know exactly what you’re putting on your body.

If just the term “fragrance” is listed on the label, you could be putting on a combo of up to 100 individual synthetic fragrances that are hazardous to your health.

These minute levels of ingredients have been associated with everything from respiratory distress to dermatitis and allergies.

It also causes multiple chemical sensitivities with a mixture of symptoms like disorientation, mood disorders and breathing difficulty for hypersensitive individuals.

Propylene Glycol (PEG)

Propylene glycol is a synthetic petrochemical mix commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent.

It is manufactured from the same chemical used to create solvents, hydraulic fluids, and antifreeze – you know thestuff that can withstand low temperatures and is used to top up your car fuel so it doesn’t freeze?

Propylene glycol is classified as a skin irritant and penetrator, which allows other toxins and chemicals to reach the bloodstream.

It has also been associated with hives, dermatitis, and allergic reactions as well as kidney and liver toxicity in humans.

Alcohol

Alcohol acts as a water and oil solvent that dries up the skin quickly.

However bad it may be, its potential scalp and skin irritation isn’t the big concern here.

It can lead to far more serious health consequences.

When alcohol is coupled with hydrofluorocarbons and other ingredients (as found in hair sprays), it increases its absorption rate and can lead to acute poisoning.

Inhaling significant amounts can lead to breathing problems, low blood pressure, and even a coma.

Ingredients to Look For In Natural Hairspray

Plant-based natural hairsprays are healthier alternatives that remove the hocus pocus concoction of chemicals to provide shinier locks without compromising on hold and volume.

Here are some natural ingredients to look for in healthier hairsprays:

Geranium

Geranium contains high antioxidant and flavonoid content that helps fight against free radicals and keep the hair healthy and strong.

It also helps prevent hair loss because it contains a high content of amino acids – the building blocks of healthy hair.

In addition, geranium helps regulate serum production to serve as an excellent treatment for dry or oily dandruff.

Oregano

Native to Europe, Asia, and the Mediterranean, oregano is beneficial for hair and can heal scalp conditions (like dandruff) that affects hair growth.

It also stimulates hair growth and can help combat dermatitis, scalp inflammation, and hair loss.

Rosemary

Rosemary is an herb that has been used for centuries as an effective hair care ingredient. It helps to stimulate blood circulation in the scalp to counter hair loss.

It also contains analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, which make it an excellent ingredient for soothing inflamed scalps.

It’s even known to add shine and thicken thin, lusterless hair.

Some other ingredients to look out for are:

  • Lavender
  • Ylang ylang
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Glycerin
  • Peppermint

Our Favorite Non-Toxic Hair Sprays in 2019

There are plenty of options out there for healthier hairsprays, but these are some of the best. Plant-based ingredients replace the chemicals, and essential oils replace the synthetic fragrances!

Best Spray for a Natural Firm Hold: Josh Rosebrook

This hairspray is made with pure plant ingredients that will leave your hair feeling lightweight while keeping your hairstyle in hold.

Josh Rosebrook Firm Hold Hair Spray | 4 Fl oz

Unlike other hairsprays, it allows your hair to move naturally without feeling flaky, sticky or dry.

Also, its active herbal infusions such as oregano, thyme, horsetail, lavender, and sage can help stimulate follicle circulation to promote hair growth.

If you are searching for a naturally scented hairspray to hold your hairstyle all day, then John Rosebrook will do the job – without the side effects.

Best Non Toxic and Fragrance Free Hair Spray: Ennovia

This is an unscented, sugar-based hairspray that holds and leaves your hairdo looking perfectly coiffed.

Enovvia All-Natural Hair Spray, Unscented, Best Non Aerosol Styling Hold Hairspray, 8oz

Using pure and natural ingredients – without the use of petroleum, synthetic fragrances, artificial colors or other harsh chemicals –  this Ennovia natural hairspray provides hold that lasts all day.

Best Hair Spray for Fine Hair: Intelligent Nutrients

This USDA-Certified Perfect Hold Hair Spray is a food-grade spray that applies organic plant power for manageable long-lasting hold – even for those with finer locks!

Intelligent Nutrients USDA Certified Organic Perfect Hold Hair Spray - Organic, Non-Aerosol Hair Spray with Natural Strong Hold - Free From Plastic, Phthalates + Preservatives (6.7 oz)

Just a few spritzes to get a silky, thickening hold that lasts all day.

Best Natural Hair Spray for Lice: LiceLogic

If you’re a parent, you’ve probably dealt with lice. And if you haven’t…get ready – the odds are stacked against us! Haha 🙂

Desperate times call for desperate measures, but we shouldn’t have to compromise with toxic ingredients to get rid of lice.

This natural lice prevention hairspray by LiceLogic helps get rid of the bugs without the use of parabens, phthalates, or formaldehyde.

LiceLogic Natural Lice Prevention Spray For Kids, Repels Super Lice, 8 oz - Lavender - Non Toxic Ingredients, With Natural Plant Based Enzymes And Essential Oil, No Pesticides

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it bad to use hairspray every day?

Using hairspray everyday can damage your hair since it’s usually combined with washing your hair daily to remove its effect. Our hair produces natural oils that act as moisturizers and protectants, but the daily use of hair spray and other hair care products disrupts natural oil production. This can lead to dry, split and unhealthy looking hair.

Is hairspray bad for your skin?

Hair spray contains lacquer and alcohol that can dry out your skin, causing it become dehydrated, which ages you.

Hair sprays usually also contain repellents that are known to cause skin irritation and itchy red bumps. For this reason, you should look for a more natural hair spray without them.

Is hairspray harmful to your health?

Certain ingredients in hairspray such as propylene glycol have been linked to adverse health effects. However, more research is still needed to verify these claims.

Whether you have fine, thick, dry, or oily hair, I hope this quick non toxic hair spray guide helps you find the best one for your hair type! 

Want to detox your makeup too? Check out this roundup of non toxic eye liner!

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