Is Hairspray Bad For Your Hair?

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Hairspray is a wonderful invention. It keeps your beautiful blowout or updo in place, but at what cost? Is it really bad for your hair?

You might be worried about going through a whole can of the stuff in a week, but I’ve got good news for you – hairspray doesn’t inherently damage hair!

Now, that’s not to say that you can’t do some damage, since it does depend on the ingredients in your hairspray as well as how you use it.

And the truth is, hair damage can be caused by a number of things. From trauma to the hair itself, to genetics, and of course, coloring or overprocessing.

There are plenty of ways to damage your hair that don’t have anything to do with hairspray.

Hairspray Isn’t Technically Bad For Your Hair

Ingredients can vary from brand to brand, but for the most part, none of them will be outright bad for your hair.

The only ingredient that’s potentially harmful is ethanol, which can dry out your strands if you use it frequently.

There are so many different types of hairsprays nowadays that you can easily find one without ethanol in the ingredient list.

You might worry about hairspray making your hair crunchy, too. You can avoid this by using a flexible hold hairspray, which will give you plenty of hold without making your hair sticky and hard.

The only way to make your hair crunchier than usual is if you empty half the can onto your head at once.

It’s How You Use It

illustration of woman spraying hairspray on hair

The main factor that determines whether your hair will be damaged or not by hairspray is how you use it.

If you’re using a lot everyday without washing your hair regularly, guess what? You’ll probably end up with less-than-stellar looking locks.

After all, there will be some buildup if you just keep piling on the stuff without washing it out and conditioning your hair properly.

But as long as you have a good hair care routine going, using hairspray won’t damage your tresses.

How To Keep Hair In Place Without Hairspray

So, What Does Damage Hair?

Unfortunately, there are some things out of our control that play a part in our hair. Things like hormonal changes and genetics can lead to us having hair that isn’t as perfect as it used to be.

However, that also means that there are a couple of things that we can do (or not do) to help keep our hair healthy! Below are six of the biggest reasons for damaged hair and even hair loss.

Heat Styling

Heat is probably the number one reason for hair damage short of coloring your hair.

Styling with hair straighteners, curling irons, and hair dryers all fall into this category.

Always use heat protectant when you’re going to straighten or curl your hair with an iron. It’s even better if you can avoid using heat all together!

Nowadays, there are hacks for just about anything, including how to get heatless curls. If you absolutely need to use a hairdryer, try to use it on its lowest setting, too.


You can’t run from genetics. Unfortunately, hair loss and bad hair in general often comes from our DNA.

We inherit certain genes that tell our bodies what they should do with our hair.

Some people are born with fine hair, while others may have thick, curly locks. While this might seem like a disadvantage at first glance, it’s actually quite beneficial!

If you’re someone who has inherited thinning hair or poor hair growth, then you’ll have to live with it. You can’t change your genetics, so you must learn to deal with your hair appropriately.

Don’t overdo it with chemicals, and don’t try to force your hair to be a texture or shape it’s not. Just take care of your hair and trust that it will grow back.

If you know that your family has a history of bad hair days, it’s better to focus on your diet and overall health to ensure you get the healthiest head of hair you can.

Otherwise, consult with a medical professional if you have unexplained hair loss.


Okay, dandruff itself doesn’t cause hair loss or bad hair, but a lot of itching does.

When you have dandruff, you will likely suffer from a super itchy scalp.

The downside (other than having dandruff)? You will scratch your head, and keep scratching until it goes away (which could be a long time).

What does this mean? You’re very likely to accidentally scratch and rip some hair out of your own head. 

Dandruff is usually caused by something, whether that’s certain hair care products, or a skin condition on your scalp. There are  ways to prevent some dandruff, like being mindful of the products you use.

If you notice dandruff coming back after trying another product, you can consider switching brands. Or, you can ask your doctor about other treatments for dandruff that they might suggest.

Alcohol Intake

woman drinking alcohol out of a glass mug

Because drinking alcohol can lead to altered hormone levels and dehydration, it can be linked to hair loss.

Your hair is a mirror of your own health, and when someone drinks a lot, they are unlikely to be very healthy.

Not only because of the alcohol itself, but because it tends to go hand in hand with nutritional deficiencies and, as we mentioned, hormonal changes. 


Hormones have a huge effect on us, as well as our hair. Our bodies rely on hormones to get things done, so naturally things will change when our hormones do.

One of the biggest hormonal changes people can experience is, of course, pregnancy. 

Pregnancy hair loss is a pretty common thing, and it’s all down to hormones, not hairspray! But it isn’t just pregnancy that causes hair loss; men also lose hair because of changing hormone levels.

The point is, hormones play an important role, and it affects everything from your body to your hair. So, it makes sense that it would impact your hair, too!

Chemical Processing

Any kind of chemical processing – whether you’re bleaching, coloring, or perming – is one of the most damaging things you can do to your hair.

That’s because you’re actually breaking down your hair’s proteins to take on a different color or texture than it’s natural state.

The chemicals involved are quite harsh to both your hair and skin, which can result in lots of negatives: fried hair, irritated skin, and even hair loss.

If you really want to change your hair color or texture, it’s best to have it done professionally in a salon. You’ll want to care for it well afterwards too to ensure your hair is well-hydrated and conditioned to stay in good shape. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re worried that using hairspray is ruining your hair – unless you’re really overusing it to the extreme, it’s unlikely that it’s the culprit.

As long as you’re regularly washing and taking care of your tresses, there’s nothing wrong with using hairspray to give you that extra oomph where you need it.

But if you’re not liking how it’s treating your hair, try using an alcohol-free finishing spray or a texturizing sea salt spray instead. There are so many options on the market these days that you’re bound to find a product that works without compromising the look and feel of your hair.

Emma Lee
As long as she can remember, Emma has been obsessed with beautiful hair. Her favorite look is pin-straight, sleek glass hair. She's had multiple styles from short and permed to long and natural throughout her life, and knows full well that how your hair looks can make or break your day.

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