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Hairspray is like the blue denim of hair care: it’s versatile, necessary, and pretty much everyone should own a pair (or in this case, bottle). But traditional formulas can be full of alcohol, making them an issue for anyone with dry, brittle, colored strands. And yes, we know that alcohol-free hairspray formulas are few and far between, but there are a handful of options we’ve tried and tested, and can vouch for the fact they measure up to their alcohol-laded contemporaries.
So if you’re looking for a gentle, alcohol-free hairspray option that won’t dry out your locks, you’ve come to the right place. Just keep scrolling to shop the best alcohol-free hairsprays.
Best Overall: Kenra Professional Shaping Spray 21
This product is lauded as "the first professional alcohol-free hairspray" and we’ve got to say it lives up to the hype. It offers an extra firm hold, but the absence of alcohol means it won’t leech the hair out of moisture. It has that classic, high-shine hairspray finish too, which makes the strands look healthier (and we’re certainly not opposed to that).
Best Drugstore: Herbal Essences Bio-Renew Flexible Airspray Alcohol-Free Hairspray
This alcohol-free hairspray has antioxidants, aloe—both of which are designed to keep the hair soft and smooth, not crunchy or stiff. It has a light-to-medium hold, a flexible finish that brushes out, plus it smells fresh and clean. A great choice for everyday use.
Best Volumizing: SexyHair Healthy Pure Addiction Alcohol Free Hairspray
Hands up if you love big, voluminous hair (raises hand). Thankfully, you can still have all of that and then some using this alcohol-free hairspray from SexyHair. It’s a fine mist that adds grip, so tease it into the root areas for bounce and texture.
Best Strong Hold: Pantene Pro-V Airspray Hair Spray
If you need a super-strong hold, try out this pick from Pantene. It’s slightly sticky when used in excess, but a light misting all over will prevent frizz, flyaways, and fallout. Our tip is to apply at arm's length so you don’t end up with too much product.
Best Soft Hold: Rahua Voluminous Spray
On the other side, this option from clean haircare hero Rahua gives such a beautiful, soft, touchable hold. It’s a certified organic, plant-based alternative to give the hair bounce, volume, and grip.
Best Scent: Christophe Robin Instant Volume Hair Mist with Rose Water
While not a traditional hairspray, this volumizing mist still does a great job of giving the hair hold and building a little volume at the roots. Plus, it smells like roses so works to refresh second-day hair.
Alcohol-free hairsprays might not exactly be the biggest category in beauty, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find some stellar product options. As far as we’re concerned, the two standouts are Kenra Professional Shaping Spray 21 and Herbal Essences Bio-Renew Flexible Airspray Alcohol-Free Hairspray. Kenra is a great option if you want a firm hold and that shiny, blowout finish, whereas Herbal Essences is the perfect flexible, everyday formula to lightly set your style. Or, you can do as we do and keep both on hand depending on the occasion (because one can never be too prepared).
What to Look For When Buying an Alcohol-Free Hairspray
Hairstylist and salon owner Anthony Nader is the first to call out the fact it’s really tough to find a hairspray formulated without alcohol, purely because they’re aerosols designed to give the hair hold. In most instances, normal hairspray is okay to use, but Nader points out that for certain hair types, it can dry the strands out and lead to scalp irritation…which is where alcohol-free options come in.
Hold is probably the most important factor to consider when choosing an option for your hair type. The schtick with some alcohol-free formulas is that they come in an atomizer and not an aerosol, so won’t offer the same grip as a traditional formula (which is fine if light hold is all you need). But if you need a firm hold, you’ll find a few fitting options in the below list.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Alcohol-free hairspray is a tough category to crack, so you can rest assured Emily Algar scoured the market and compiled the best of the best. Our office is also full of dry-haired dames who prefer to keep alcohol out of their styling routines, so you know we’ve done the legwork for you. Finally, we’ve also tapped a hairstylist for this feature, so you know these products are actually going to do what you want them to.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any alcohol-free haispray from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at email@example.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.