7 Natural DIY Hairspray Recipes for Every Hair Type

Hairspray

Cait Knoll

Looking for a natural and wallet-friendly hair product to keep your 'do in place? We consulted experts Jazmin Alvarez and Gretchen Friese to bring you a roundup of our favorite homemade hairsprays. Not only are these DIY recipes free of aerosol propellants or artificial fragrances that may trigger allergies but they are also a breeze to whip up. You'll know what's in them—not to mention, how to pronounce their ingredients—so you can be confident that you aren't exposing yourself, your hair, or even the environment, to harmful chemicals. Best of all? They're totally customizable to your specific concerns and preferences. Just keep in mind that you may need to use some hair gel or other product, in addition to the homemade hairspray, to get the same effects that commercial hair sprays deliver. Consider it a more than fair trade-off.

Meet the Expert

Keep scrolling for some easy natural hairspray recipes you can DIY at home.

Brown Rice + Yucca Powder

Brown rice on white background

Floortje / Getty Images

Alvarez let us in on her DIY recipe that features brown rice, yucca powder, an antioxidant-rich cleanser, and an essential oil of your choice. "This recipe can work for most hair types and can be adjusted (more or less yucca) depending on the texture," says Alvarez. "For curly to oily textures, use more yucca, for straight, thin or wavy, use less." 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup organic brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon yucca powder
  • Essential oil of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Boil brown rice in 1 ¾ cups of water for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Strain while reserving the rice water.
  3. Set it aside to cool.
  4. Once cool, add yucca powder to the rice water mixture.
  5. Slowly add ¼ cup of water until you get a thinner liquid consistency.
  6. Add 1 to 2 drops of your favorite essential oil.
  7. Pour into a spray bottle and shake until combined. When not using, keep in the fridge for preservation.

Aloe Vera + Water

Aloe vera plant, gel, and juice

Everyday better to do everything you love / Getty Images

By now, we're all aware of the magical healing powers of aloe vera for irritated, sunburnt skin. But did you also know that this natural moisturizer rich in fatty acids, amino acids, and vitamins, can do wonders for the hair and scalp? "Aloe vera contains enzymes that repair dead skin cells on the scalp which may help promote hair growth and prevent itching on the scalp. It also acts as a great conditioner and leaves your hair all smooth and shiny," Friese tells us. This makes it especially beneficial to those with dull, dry hair and/or scalp. "The best form of aloe vera to use on your hair is the raw gel of the plant but it can also be mixed with coconut oil or apple cider vinegar," she adds.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup aloe vera gel
  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil apple cider vinegar (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, mix together aloe vera gel with water.
  2. Whisk in coconut oil or apple cider vinegar (optional).
  3. Transfer to a spray bottle. Remember to shake thoroughly before using.

Extend your hairspray's shelf life by adding a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol.

Lemon + Water

Lemons and a juice bottle on a yellow background

twomeows / Getty Images


This recipe requires no more than two ingredients and 20 minutes out of your day. The citric acid in star ingredient, lemon, works double-time by enhancing your hair's shine and promoting scalp health by absorbing excess oil. It's also a natural way to lighten your hair—in case you're interested.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cups water
  • A pot
  • A stove or hot plate
  • A strainer
  • An empty spray bottle

Instructions:

  1. Slice the lemon into wedges.
  2. Place the lemon wedges in a pot, and cover them with water.
  3. Bring the lemons and water to a boil, and hold them there, until only half of the liquid remains.
  4. Allow the boiled lemon water to cool.
  5. Then, strain the lemon water, and place it in a clean spray bottle.
  6. Label the spray bottle with its contents, "Homemade Lemon Hairspray" and the date you prepared it.
  7. If the finished spray feels sticky to the touch, just dilute it with a bit of water. It's easy to tweak.
  8. Store your hair spray in the refrigerator between uses. It should keep for up to a week. If your hairspray becomes cloudy, shows signs of mold growth, or smells funny, discard it sooner.

Orange + Water

Orange and orange slices stacked vertically

twomeows / Getty Images

The previous recipe can also be made with an orange. Try it both ways, and see which you like best. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to your hair spray, to customize the scent or improve the condition of your hair. Those with dry, brittle strands may want to use a bit of ylang-ylang, bay, geranium, and/or sandalwood. Meanwhile, grapefruit, lime, mandarin orange, niaouli, tangerine, tea tree, and vetiver are great for oily hair. And if you're looking to stimulate hair growth, rosemary may help. Just don't add the essential oils until your hair spray has cooled since these oils can't take a lot of heat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange
  • 2 cups water
  • A pot
  • A stove or hot plate
  • A strainer
  • An empty spray bottle

Instructions:

  1. Slice the orange into wedges.
  2. Place the orange wedges in a pot, and cover them with water.
  3. Bring the oranges and water to a boil, and hold them there, until only half of the liquid remains.
  4. Allow the boiled orange water to cool.
  5. Then, strain the orange water, and place it in a clean spray bottle.
  6. Add a few drops of essential oil to your hair spray.
  7. Label the spray bottle with its contents, "Homemade Orange Hairspray" and the date you prepared it.
  8. If the finished spray feels sticky to the touch, just dilute it with a bit of water. It's easy to tweak.
  9. Store your hair spray in the refrigerator between uses. It should keep for up to a week. If your hairspray becomes cloudy, shows signs of mold growth, or smells funny, discard it sooner.

Need a stronger hold? Just cook the orange-water mixture down further. Once you achieve a hold you like, make a note of the cooking time, so you can replicate the results again and again.

Sugar + Jojoba Oil

Jojoba seeds and oil

JuanamariGonzalez / Getty Images

If you've got straight or wavy hair and are looking for a light hold, you're in luck. Alvarez shared this recipe with all-star haircare ingredient jojoba oil. Not only is it incredibly soothing and hydrating but it also fights frizz, reverses damage, and controls dandruff. For extra hold, simply add more sugar, Alvarez tells us.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon jojoba oil
  • Essential oil of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Boil water and add sugar.
  2. Heat until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and allow the water to fully cool.
  4. Add and then add jojoba oil and one to two drops of your favorite essential oil to a spray bottle.
  5. Shake to combine. Store in the fridge in between uses. 

Rose Water + Sugar

Rosewater

Carol Yepes / Getty Images

How do you keep a hairdo in place while emitting a floral sillage—sans perfume? Why, with a rose water hairspray, of course. This DIY recipe calls for nothing more than rose water and sugar. But for extra hydrating powers, "Many people use glycerine along with rosewater to help keep moisture in the hair." comments Friese. A rose water-based hairspray is great for those with scalp issues, chemically damaged hair, or who live in dry climates, she adds. That's because rose water is a mild astringent with anti-inflammatory properties that is said to stabilize hair's pH balance and help to prevent water loss, Friese explains.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rose water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Directions

  1. Using a saucepan, heat rose water.
  2. Stir in sugar until fully dissolved.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Once cool, transfer to a spray bottle and shake well before using.

Castor Oil + Sugar

Castor oil

kellyreekolibry / Getty Images

There are a lot of hair oils to choose from when considering which to add to your regimen, but castor oil is a solid choice. "Applying castor oil to the hair on a regular basis may help lubricate the hair shaft, which increases elasticity and decreases the chance of breakage. Castor oil increases blood flow to the scalp, which promotes healthier hair and possibly promotes hair growth," says Friese. Try adding it to your natural hairspray to treat or prevent hair loss or soothe a dry, flaky scalp. "It can be heavy and sticky so it's a good idea to dilute it with other natural oils like coconut or jojoba," advises Friese.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon castor oil
  • ½ teaspoon coconut oil or jojoba oil

Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, heat the water and stir in the sugar.
  2. Set aside to cool.
  3. Add the castor oil and either coconut or jojoba oil to the mixture.
  4. Transfer to a spray bottle and shake thoroughly before each use.
FAQ
  • What are the main ingredients in hairspray?

    Hairsprays are made with polymers that enable hair to hold a specific structure. Common ingredients are copolymers of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and polyvinyl acetate (PVAc).

  • What are the side effects of hairspray?

    The National Capital Poison Center deems hairspray minimally nontoxic when used correctly. That being said, "unintentional eye contact, inhalation, or ingestion of small amounts of hairspray might produce minor irritating effects."

  • Does hairspray damage your hair?

    Hairspray can lead to dry, brittle hair due to the high alcohol content. Also, a buildup of hairspray may cause dandruff-like flakes between washes.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Steinemann A. Fragranced consumer products: exposures and effects from emissionsAir Qual Atmos Health. 2016;9(8):861-866. doi:10.1007/s11869-016-0442-z

  2. Skinmed. "Rosemary Oil vs Minoxidil 2% For the Treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized Comparative Trial." 2015.

  3. 6 final report on the safety assessment of vinyl acetate/crotonic acid copolymer. Journal of the American College of Toxicology. 1983;2(5):125-140.

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