What do you look for in a hairspray?
Superior hold? Of course. A volume boost? Absolutely. A lovely scent? Yes! Chances are, that increasing your risk of cancer, running the gauntlet with skin irritation, and inhaling carcinogenic gases are likely not at the top of your list - but these could be exactly what you’re purchasing when you’re browsing that cosmetics shelf. The chemicals in hairspray can be alarming.
Toxic Hair Spray = More serious implications for your health
The official word: The National Institute of Health - where would be without this public body and protector of human health? Safe to say that they can be considered a fount of knowledge when it comes to what’s good for us. And they say that it’s unknown whether all of the ingredients in hairspray are safe for human use. Oh, and previously hairspray manufacturers have knowingly included ingredients that have had cariogenic effects, including those that have caused angiosarcoma of the liver (cancer of the liver).
Propylene glycol – Antifreeze for your follicles
Propylene glycol is the stuff you top up your car with – you know, that chemical that’s so tough that it can withstand temperatures of -34 degrees. Propylene glycol has been linked to: red, itchy skin; allergic reactions; kidney and liver toxicity; and stupor, convulsions and other unspecified severe mental symptoms.
Propellants – Heart pounding stuff!
Propellants are used to push all those chemicals out of the can and onto your hair. But this practicality comes at a cost – with propellants linked to allergic skin reactions, asthma and breathing difficulties. In some cases, they’re even (and rather frighteningly) linked to fatal heart complications.
Alcohol (but not the kind that makes you merry)
The alcohol content in hairsprays isn't only a source for potential scalp and skin irritation, it’s also an ingredient with potentially the most serious of consequences. When coupled with hydrofluorocarbons and other hairspray ingredients, alcohol increases absorption rates. Inhaling significant amounts of hairspray spritz can cause acute poisoning, where symptoms include low blood pressure, breathing problems, and even a coma.
Plastics, pregnancy and protecting the little ones
Phthalates are a group of plastics that can be found in many a hairspray brand, and the biggest problem with these is that they mess with our hormones and can put the skids on the development of the reproductive system. Today, they’re strictly banned in the EU from use in children’s toys, with previous research linking phthalates with birth defects and developmental abnormalities. No such luck in the US, however - consumers must simply learn to be diligent ingredient checkers.
But wait, what if your hair spray smells lovely?
Not all hairsprays smell like chemically induced bio hazard substances. Some smell lovely. But it might be these that you should look out for the most, as ingredients that contribute to the fragrance of a product can be lumped together and go completely unlisted, so the manufacturers are able to protect their Intellectual Property.
All of the above – plus the bystanders in the room
Hopefully the health impact of hairspray has now truly and deeply stuck in your mind – and if you should go on to use it again, just remember that we’ve covered is just as applicable for anyone else unfortunate enough to breathe the fumes that hover around you during application. You may have noticed that aerosols usually have instructions telling you not to use them in a confined space. There’s a big reason why.
Sugar-Based Natural Hair Spray – Just as nature intended
Sugar-based natural hair spray removes the plastics, the phthalates, the chemical perfumes and the propylene glycol. In fact, they remove the hocus pocus concoction of chemicals altogether and instead opt for solely natural ingredients. What of the results? Well, in addition to providing for seriously firm hold, such products are also better for your hair - for happier follicles and shinier locks – all while minimally compromising on hold and volume. So, when it comes to Toxic Hair Spray Cloud vs. Sugar-Based Natural Hair Spray, we’d say that it’s game-on in favor of the natural product. When Mother Nature provides plentiful ingredients for sticking and slicking our hair into any style, it’s worth wondering – just why are we surrounding ourselves with a thick fog of harmful chemicals with each spritz of traditional hair spray?
Breathe fresher, upgrade your hair spray.
When you know the harsh reality of living in the spray cloud, you want to make a change to better your health. I know I did, and I made it happen. I hope that I've helped you to breathe easier, or at least that you should get started soon!
There are very few truly natural hair sprays out there, but Enovvia hair spray is at the front of the pack. It smells good and is free of propellants and toxic chemicals. If you are interested, their website is here: Enovvia Organic Hairspray.
Thanks for reading! 😊 -Melinda C.