Done With Aerosols? Replace Your Hairsprays With These Eco-Friendly Options

by Yoona Wagener
Amazon / Elite Daily

It isn’t always easy to find safe, eco-friendly hair products that work, but the best non-aerosol hairsprays deliver light to strong hold and are tested and approved by customers. But not all non-aerosol hairsprays are alike — so before you buy, make sure you know what you need from a hairspray based on your hair type and how you want to style it. Also consider the ingredients you can’t live without or want to avoid completely.

Many non-aerosol sprays are beneficial for all hair types, but products formulated to create lift or a very strong hold might prove especially effective for someone with thick, straight hair. For those with natural curls or short hair styles, moisturizing sprays that are thicker than liquid hairsprays but not as thick as gels could be just the thing for creating definition, smoothing, and locking in moisture without weighing your hair down.

Non-aerosol hairsprays are generally friendlier to the environment because of the ingredients they leave out of their formulas, such as compressed gases and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but what’s left can still provide numerous benefits to your tresses. Some use organic moisturizing agents such as shea and coconut oil instead of lanolin or mineral oil (which can be irritants), have understated plant-derived scents, or steer clear of perfumes, dyes, or chemicals that irritate allergies. And some choose to avoid potentially harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, phthalates, and parabens. But if you don’t have skin or scalp sensitivities and don't mind alcohol, fragrance, or smoothing agents such as silicones, many drugstore options can offer hold or definition without costing you a fortune.

Are you ready to leave aerosols behind? Start styling with one of these non-aerosol hairsprays.

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The Overall Best Non-Aerosol Hairspray For Most Hair Types

This ultra-strong non-aerosol hairspray offers 24-hour hold for daily hairstyles and those extra-special occasions when you want your hair to stay in place. Pleased Amazon reviewers with many types of hair (fine, long, straight, and curly) report that it does provide a solid hold without leaving hair overly crunchy or stiff. They give it a 4.5-star overall rating on Amazon, among 2,300 and growing reviews.

In addition to staying power, this hairspray uses bamboo extract to fight humidity and smooth your strands. This formula does contain alcohol and perfume, though, but Amazon reviewers also suggest that the scent is quite mild, but some with sensitive noses or scalps might prefer the next option.

Positive Amazon review: "I have been using this hairspray for years, I love that it is a pump rather than aerosol. It truly is humidity resistant, no scent and the best. I have tried $25.00 hairspray[s] that don't even compare to the quality of this spray.”

A Fragrance-Free Hairspray

If you're sensitive to scents, consider this gentle, dermatologist-tested, and fragrance-free hairspray. It's designed for those with delicate scalps, allergies, and fragrance sensitivities, which means it's completely free of dyes, perfumes, parabens, mineral oil, and formaldehyde. It even skips natural components that could bother some people, such as lanolin or botanical fragrances.

This non-aerosol spray does contain alcohol, which could be problematic for some with a sensitive scalp, but most Amazon reviewers report that it's gentle enough for their sensitive scalps and doesn’t aggravate chemical and skin allergies. Positive Amazon reviews also suggest that this is suitable for styling straight and thin hair as well as thick or curly hair as well — and offers a sturdy but not stiff hold.

If you prefer a slightly lighter feel, this product also comes in a Soft Hold variation, as well as in gel form. The three varieties of these Free & Clear products have an overall rating of 4.4 stars, from more than 4,000 Amazon reviews (over 1,400 of which are for the Firm Hold hairspray).

Positive Amazon Review: “I have severe allergies to any perfumes or fragrances. Finding hair products can be really challenging. If you are sensitive, you know that "unscented" and "fragrance free" do not always mean unscented or fragrance free. This really is. It holds my superfine straight hair like crazy and it lasts forever. I use a tiny bit - maybe the size of a pea - for my shoulder-length hair. Holds curls, updos and calms the frizzies. Part of my regular morning routine.”

A Moisturizing Mist With Soft Hold For Curls & Waves

This moisturizing mist is less of a traditional hairspray and more of a cross between a moisturizing leave-in treatment and a styling product. If you have waves and curls and prefer a lighter hold, this gel-like spray can be used on damp hair or on dry hair. Amazon reviewers note that it has a pleasant coconut smell and a light texture. Its other big strengths revolve around adding moisture and enhancing the texture of your tresses with natural ingredients such as neem oil, shea butter, and coconut oil for smoothing and shine. This product is also completely free of phthalates, parabens, sulfates, alcohol and petrolatum — plus, it's cruelty-free (but not free of natural fragrances). And, just ask Amazon reviewers how they feel — it has a 4.4-star overall rating on the site, with over 3,600 reviews.

Positive Amazon review: “This is a fantastic light-hold hairspray. I use it on both curly-hair and straight-hair days because I like it so much. It helps hold hair in place, without being stiff or hard. I love that I can have a cute hairstyle, and still be able to run my fingers through my hair without a firm hold stiffness. And it smells amazing. I bought this a few months ago, I use it almost daily, and the bottle is still 3/4 full so I think it's a great price for how long it seems to be lasting. And it's awesome that it doesn't have so many chemicals in it like other hair sprays."

A Long-Lasting Spray For Scrunching Curls

This non-aerosol Aussie hairspray is meant for scrunching wet curls, but the manufacturer also suggests it’s suitable for those without curls or waves — either way, it should deliver a strong hold for up to 24 hours. It has a stellar 4.8-star overall rating on Amazon (after more than 400 reviews), and many reviewers confirm the spray's day-long performance. A handful of reviewers with straight or slightly wavy hair also report great results with everyday styling.

This hairspray does contain alcohol and a citrusy floral scent that many reviewers rave about as pleasant but not overpowering. Another bonus is the inclusion of some nourishing natural ingredients for moisture, such as Australian jojoba oil and sea kelp. If you like to purchase cruelty-free products as well, this one makes the list.

Positive Amazon review: “I have actually never used hairspray on my curly hair. However, I have had great results with other Aussie products, so I figured it was worth a try. I am so glad I did because the results have been great! [...] This hairspray goes along well with that gel because it locks the good look into place (especially since I usually just use the gel on my uncooperative ends, and this hairspray gets the rest of the hair). It holds well throughout the day, and I don't have to worry about restyling it. I love it!”