Hair spray is a styling product that is sprayed onto hair to keep it stiff or in a certain style. It can be dispensed from a pump or aerosol spray nozzle but most of us are familiar with the aerosol variety. Hairspray is different than other styling products because it’s not always used to actually style your hair, rather to hold your style and keep it that way all day. Not just for styling, hairspray is also used to protect against humidity and wind.
Chemically speaking, hairspray is a solution of long, chain-like molecules – called polymers – in a very volatile solvent. Originally, the solvent used were chlorofluorocarbons since they are nontoxic and nonflammable but it was learned that they harm the ozone. They were replaced with other solvents, like alcohols and hydrocarbons but those are flammable. Some hairsprays contain polymers that are also used as glue and some are water soluble, that make the hold last a bit longer. Other hairsprays use natural polymers and solvents like vegetable gums dissolved in alcohol or gum arabic, which is made from the sap of certain trees.
The most popular use of hairspray was to add volume to the hair and still used that way today. The process was to tease the hair first to get the volume desired then sprayed with hairspray to hold the style – that was then but this is now. These days, the hair should be brushed upside-down then use hairspray six inches away from the scalp before blow drying it to achieve amazing volume.
Put some hairspray on a nylon hairbrush and use it to sweep your hair back into a ponytail – no frizzy curls and flyaways. Use hairspray to get a wavy or messy hairstyle in the morning – spray some in, twist your hair into a bun and viola, wake up to voluminous hair!