Every woman probably uses hairspray, at least once in a while, because it is a dry styling product that can make any hairstyle look better and last longer. When it comes to hairspray, it’s hard to find an excellent alcohol-free formula that actually works! The reason for this is that alcohol helps hold the hair in place. But, alcohol causes hair to dry out in mere seconds, so it’s no wonder your hair looks brittle after many uses.
If you have colored or damaged hair, you must swap the alcohol-based hairspray for a better alternative that doesn’t dry out your hair even more. So, if you want that intense hold that lasts all day without the damage, check out our list of the best alcohol-free hairsprays!
What is the difference between alcohol and alcohol-free hairspray?
The main problem with alcohol-based hairsprays is that they are full of chemicals that dry out your hair strands. As well, alcohol as an ingredient is very drying, so after you use hairspray repeatedly, you’ll end up with hair that is dry and brittle to the touch.
The reason manufacturers use alcohol as an ingredient in hair spray is that it is a solvent that keeps styling polymers in a soluble form. You’ll notice that many alcohol-free hair styling products come in a pump form as opposed to an aerosol.
A hairspray that is made without alcohol usually contains many more natural ingredients and extracts. Therefore, the spray is in natural form and doesn’t cause much damage. The disadvantage is that many of the alcohol-free formulas are not as strong hold like the others. So, you might need to re-apply more often to get the desired hold.
7 Best Alcohol-Free Hairsprays
Best Value: Pantene Pro-V Level 2 Ultra-Lightweight Airspray Hairspray for Smooth Finish
Pantene Pro-V is one of the most well-known brands when it comes to hair styling products. This particular hairspray is affordable and competes well with other alcohol-infused formulas. The advantage of this product is that it offers the same amount of extra-strength hold as another similar one. So, by choosing an alcohol-free formula, you are not sacrificing the quality and hold power.
A spritz or two is enough to keep hair in place all day long. So, you can rest assured that it’s effective and won’t let you down. Of course, you have to consider that it is a level 2, so it won’t make your hair sticky; it offers a medium type of hold. We chose this as our best value hairspray because it is inexpensive and does what it claims to do. As well, it leaves hair feeling soft and shiny.
- This spray does not dry out your hair, and it leaves hair feeling moistures, shiny, and voluminous.
- Since it doesn’t make hair sticky, it is easy to brush out, and you don’t need to wash your hair immediately.
- You can buy this product for approximately $5.
- The formula is not an aerosol, so it’s easier to control where you spray it. It has a pump sprayer.
- If you use more than two or three pumps, the product becomes sticky. Therefore, it’s best to use this spray sparingly.
Best Maximum Hold: Aussie Air Spray Alcohol-Free Hairspray Maximum Hold
This one is definitely a budget-friendly pick for those of you looking for a cheap and effective hairspray that doesn’t damage your hair. It’s hard to find alcohol-free hairspray at drugstore prices, but this one is just that. At level 2, this hairspray will leave your hair feeling soft to the touch, but it offers pretty good hold.
The formula is strong enough so you can use it on any type of hairstyle. As well, you’ll like that it doesn’t have a chemical scent. Instead, it has a floral fragrance of citrus and jasmine, which is pleasant. Overall, this is a great cheap alcohol-free hairspray, and we recommend it for those of you who want natural-looking curls without the crunchy texture.
- This formula is infused with nourishing jojoba oil, aloe, and sea kelp, which make hair soft and shiny.
- The hairspray doesn’t dry out hair at all so that you can use it for styling hair according to the curly girl method.
- It doesn’t leave a crunchy or sticky texture in your hair. Instead, locks look soft.
- It works well for up-dos and ponytails.
- The can sprays out a lot of product at once so it can overload your hair with product, make sure you spray from a distance.
Best Clean Formula: Honeybee Gardens Hair Spray Alcohol Free, Herbal Mint
If you are looking for a clean formula, this is the best alcohol-free hairspray option. It is not an aerosol and sprays on like a mist. The best part about this product is that it’s made from all kinds of natural ingredients that are actually good for your hair. For example, it contains chamomile, rosemary, and lavender. So, it’s an excellent vegan formula that delivers hold and shine.
Because this hairspray is made of botanical ingredients, it doesn’t leave behind a sticky residue on your scalp. It won’t dry out your strands, and you can style them in any way you prefer. This is a unisex product and works well on men and women’s hair for any type of hairdo.
If you want a product that minimizes waste and environmental damage, you’ll be glad to know this is not an aerosol and has no propellants.
- This is a mist type product, so it is not sticky and doesn’t leave a crunchy texture in your hair.
- It offers a good hold that lasts all day. You can re-apply throughout the day for extra hold.
- The product doesn’t flake, doesn’t irritate the scalp, and doesn’t leave hair looking stiff like most hairsprays.
- It has a good price ($14), considering it is a natural product.
- The nozzle spray isn’t great – it can leak product, and when you apply it, it goes everywhere, including the neck and back, so be careful.
Best Organic: Organic Excellence Wild Mint Styling Spray, Alcohol-Free, pH Neutral
For those of you who want a high-quality organic hairspray that is packed full of natural ingredients, we recommend this styling spray. It has a light mint fragrance that doesn’t cause any irritation. As well, it’s made with organic ingredients such as lavender, grape seed oil, and rosemary. Since it is a pH neutral product, it is healthier for the body than alcohol-infused hairsprays and won’t disrupt the skin’s pH levels.
You can use this product in a bunch of ways because it is versatile. It works on wet or dry hair and offers a medium level hold. As well, it is highly moisturizing and leaves hair flexible and brushable. So, you can say goodbye to sticky clumps and stiff locks and opt for soft and shiny looking hair.
- This hairspray is made in the USA and certified vegan, cruelty-free, and organic, so you can rest assured that there are no harsh chemicals in there.
- The formula is nourishing and doesn’t leave hair dry and stiff.
- This is one of the few alcohol-free hairsprays on the market with a neutral pH level, which is beneficial, especially for women with health problems.
- Many customers complain about the spray bottle, especially the nozzle which doesn’t spray out the product in a fine mist consistency. Instead, it comes out in goopy chunks.
Best Light to Medium Hold: Herbal Essences Bio-Renew Flexible Airspray Alcohol-Free Hairspray
On those days when you need a light to medium hold for a laidback hairstyle or loose curls, this is a great drugstore hairspray. Best of all, this product doesn’t damage your hair. On the contrary, it is packed with antioxidants and nourishing ingredients to protect strands and repair any damage. It contains bamboo and aloe, which make hair stronger, shinier, and healthier.
If you struggle with lifeless, dry, and dull hair, this product claims to infuse your strands with life in as little as three weeks of use. Therefore, consider this product as a mix of hairspray and treatment. The reason it’s good for your hair is that it is free from alcohol, parabens, colorants, and gluten. So, at less than $15, it’s a good value product.
- This formula offers a light to medium hold, so it’s excellent for a hassle-free on the go hairstyle.
- The bio renew formula contains antioxidants which help to purify your strands and protect them from the impurities caused by other styling products and pollution.
- It works well to tame frizzy hair, offering a sleek appearance. It’s also great for flyaways and baby hairs.
- Hair looks shiny after spraying.
- This hairspray is sold at most drugstores at a good price, so it’s widely accessible for all budgets.
- Some customers complain that this product is so sticky that it’s hard to work with. It has a glue-like texture.
Best Shaping Spray: Kenra Shaping Spray
Consider this the most premium alcohol-free hairspray on our list. As the name suggests, this is a shaping spray with a hairspray effect. It is used to style all hair types and styles, so it is a versatile premium product. This one is best for those women looking for extra-firm hold. It competes very well with regular hairspray.
Best of all, this product leaves hair looking shiny and soft. As well, it infuses the strands with moisture, instead of drying them out. It’s easy to work with this product because it offers a few minutes of working time in which you can bend, pull, straighten, and curl your hair any way you like. Even though this hairspray is more expensive than others, it offers better results; that’s why it made our list!
- It has a long action time, so you have enough time to style your hair any way you want, so it’s better than a traditional hairspray.
- This spray offers a good firm hold.
- It offers more shine than some other similar products.
- This is the first professional shaping spray with no alcohol.
- It is an excellent choice for women with allergies and sensitive skin and scalp because it doesn’t irritate or cause scalp flakes.
- The nozzle seems to get clogged quite easily, so the product doesn’t spray out and comes out in glops.
- Can leave hair wet for a few minutes until it dries.
Best Styling Gel: DermOrganic Flex Hold Sculpting Spray for Hair with Pomegranate Anti-Fade Extract – Alcohol-Free Styling Mist
This product has a gel formula that offers a strong hold and lasting results. It’s great because it provides the firm hold you’re used to having in a hairspray, but it also works as a sculpting cream. It doesn’t leave hair feeling heavy or overstyled because it has a lightweight formula that makes it suitable for use on all hair types. Therefore, you can create tousled waves, retro curls, and even use it to keep flyaway hairs at bay when you’re wearing a sleek hairstyle.
The formula does not leave residue on the scalp as many alcohol-based hairsprays do. You can use it on colored hair and feel confident that the DermOrganix hairspray won’t damage your locks at all. So, if you need a multi-use product that works on all hair types, this is a great option. The main reason we love it is that it offers a firm hold, and it replaces a slew of other styling products with just one bottle.
- Safe for all hair types, so women with dry, damaged, chemically-treated, colored, and even thin hair can use this styling mist.
- This formula is made with natural ingredients, such as aloe vera, which heals hair, Moroccan argan oil, which gives shine and brilliance, and many fruit extracts that work to keep hair healthy-looking.
- This product doesn’t contain any gluten, parabens, or artificial additives. Additionally, it is cruelty-free and vegan.
- Some customers complain that the hold strength is not great because it doesn’t last all day.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose A Good Alcohol-Free Hairspray
Before you go to buy hairspray, you need to consider a few things. First of all, ask yourself these questions.
- What is my hair type? – Each formula can be tailored to one hair type or more, so make sure you don’t choose a formula for sleek hair if you have curly hair, for example.
- What do you want to use the spray for? What type of hairstyle are you thinking about, and how much hold does it need. There are light, medium, and firm hold products out there.
- What ingredients are you okay with using? There are many organic or natural formulas, while others have a lot of chemicals but are still alcohol-free. It’s up to you to choose what you’re comfortable with.
Consider the hairspray’s additional benefits. Most styling products do more than stiffen the hair. Some alcohol-free hairsprays offer added moisture, and some make hair shinier; some are best for curls, and some sprays make hair look more voluminous.
When choosing the best product, think about what kind of effect you want and look at what the product claims to do.
Here’s what you should know about alcohol-free styling products
First, since these alcohol-free hairsprays are not aerosols, their nozzles and spray buttons tend to malfunction, which makes application harder. It’s not as easy as spritz and go. The liquids are goopy and sticky and often go all over your hair, face, body, and even bathroom. Many women complain that their tiles become sticky and need cleaning.
Second, these types of hairsprays don’t offer the same type of hold as level 4 or 5 classic aerosols. So, if you need to wear a specific hairstyle that requires an all-day hold, it might be best to opt for a different type of styling product. These alcohol-free formulas offer light to medium hold and work best for that “carefree” and “beach-wave” look.
Is hairspray safe to use?
Both alcohol-based and alcohol-free hairsprays are safe to use, but if you have a sensitive scalp and dry hair, experts recommend an alcohol-free formula. As an ingredient, ethanol is known to dry out hair strands, and that’s why many people avoid this ingredient. It can cause mild irritation and an itchy scalp when used excessively.
Generally, alcohol-free hairsprays that are made with natural ingredients are healthier for your hair. It does not affect your hair’s nutrient and moisture levels the same way that a classic hairspray does so that you can use it more often with less worry.
So now that you’ve read through our list of alcohol-free hairsprays, you can make an informed decision and choose a product with the hold level your hairstyle needs. Generally, there are no significant price differences with these products, so buying an alcohol-free product won’t break the bank. But, it’s an easy way to keep your hair nourished and damage-free in the long run!