Hairspray is one of the key offenders when it comes to the most toxic beauty products. The Canadian Government classifies it as a “HAIR LACQUER”, which should give you a pretty good indication as to what you are about to read.

 

THE MOTHER OF ALL OFFENDERS

The National Institute of Health says that it doesn’t know if all ingredients in hairspray are safe for human use. That alone should make you wonder if you should be using this stuff at all! What makes things worse is that even ingredients that we do know cause harmful diseases and birth defects are still being used in hairsprays all the time!

First developed in 1940, conventional hairspray formulations have remained highly volatile, dangerous, and virtually unchanged. The only exception was a government mandate to remove CFC’s (Chlorofluorocarbons) in 1980 due to the depletion of the ozone layer.

 

SO, WHAT ACTUALLY MAKES HAIRSPRAY SO BAD?

 

POLYMERS

(just another name for plastic!)

FUNCTION: Gives structural support to the hair.

CAUTIONARY TALE: One polymer often used, polyvinylpyrrolidine, is also used to bind the layers of wood in plywood together. Do you really want this on your hair?!

NOTE: there are natural polymers available (ex. silk, wool and cellulose).

SEEN ON INGREDIENT LIST AS: Usually petroleum

 

SOLVENTS

FUNCTION: Used as a carrier for the active ingredients in hairspray.

CAUTIONARY TALE: Most often ethanol alcohol is used because it dries fast (and is VEYR drying to hair) and doesn’t corrode in the can. Ethanol use has been restricted because it is a volatile organic compounds (VOCs), contributing to air pollution, and is deadly when it comes into contact with an open flame.

SEEN ON INGREDIENT LIST AS: Usually ethanol alcohol. There are no acceptable replacement solvents approved to date.

 

PROPELLANTS

FUNCTION: Gasses, mainly butane and propane, responsible for propelling the hairspray out of the can.

CAUTIONARY TALE: Propellants have been linked to allergic skin reactions, asthma and breathing difficulties. They are highly flammable, so just think how harsh this would be on your hair if you blasted a blow dryer on hair coated with a flammable substance?

SEEN ON INGREDIENT LIST AS: propane, butane.

 

ADDITIVES

FUNCTION: Added to make hairspray more flexible and perform better.

CAUTIONARY TALE: Additives are just a bunch of chemicals that make the product work better, but serve no other purpose, exposing us to chemicals for no reason.

SEEN ON INGREDIENT LIST AS: Isopropyl myristate, diethyl phthalate, and silicones. (Plasticizers: added to make hairspray more flexible).

OR 

Aminomethyl propanol (AMP), ammonium hydroxide, morpholine, cyclohexylamine, borate esters). (Neutralizing and anti-corrosion agents: added to control resin solubility and help prevent the inside of the can from rusting).

4 KEY REASONS TO USE HAIR SPRAY & WHAT TO REPLACE THEM WITH:

 

1. FINISHING HOLD: A natural pump hair spray as this eliminates:

  • Propellants
  • Cetearyl alcohol
  • Stearyl alcohol
  • Lauryl alcohol
  • Replaces ethanol alcohol solvents with fatty alcohols (healthy for hair)  derived from nature Cetyl alcohol

 

2. TAMING UNRULY STRANDS:

  • Hair serums
  • Sea Salt Spray

 

3. FOR OILY HAIR: Dry shampoo.

 

4. TO VOLUMIZE: Dry shampoo.

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