Hairspray Could Be The Sneaky Culprit Behind Thinning Hair

Raise a hand if you wouldn't bother to do your hair if hairspray suddenly disappeared. We couldn't agree more. Hairspray helps our styles last longer by holding the strands firmly in place and is a major lifesaver for all kinds of hair. Plus, it's a definite must-have for those creative, gravity-defying hairstyles that need help staying in place.

However, in a cruel twist of events, hairspray could actually be aggravating your thinning hair. That's because many hairsprays contain a particular alcohol that has been proven harmful to every hair type. To be clear, all hairsprays contain some form of alcohol, which helps the spray evaporate and dry quickly, locking the strands in place. In fact, the National Capital Poison Center explains that hairsprays typically are made of about 25% to 50% alcohol.

But the primary type of alcohol in hairspray that causes thinning is ethanol. And here's the shocker: Ethanol is one of the most commonly used alcohols in hairspray.

Ethanol could be thinning your hair

Because ethanol in hairspray is meant to dry quickly to keep your style in place, it can have a drying effect on your scalp that lasts long after you wash the product out. Frequent use of ethanol can leave a residue on the scalp and eliminate your hair's natural oils, which it needs to grow.

Scalp dryness can lead to a host of hair problems, including hair loss, according to a 2018 study published in the International Journal of Trichology. In addition, people with dry scalps are likely to grow hair that has "reduced diameter, cuticle breakage, surface pitting, and roughness," per a 2015 study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science.

The study also showed that the health of your hair is directly connected to that of your scalp. Consequently, using too much hairspray can damage your hair before it even grows out of the follicle.

Instead of hairspray, choose these non-thinning options

Sadly, there aren't a lot of healthier alternatives when it comes to alcohol in hairspray. So, if your hair is thinning, you're better off ditching alcohol-based hairsprays and switching to alcohol-free alternatives.

We recommend Kenra Shaping Spray 21, marketed as the first professional alcohol-free hairspray. It promises to deliver an extra-firm hold and high shine while retaining moisture in your hair.

Another greener alternative is ditching store-bought hairspray altogether and using organic ingredients. You can make your own alcohol-free hairspray using sugar, and Ashley Renee, a licensed esthetician, shares the recipe on the TGN website. Bring 118 ml water to a boil, and add two tablespoons sugar (add an extra one if you want a really firm hold). Stir until you can't see any more sugar, and let it cool. Add about five to eight drops of your favorite essential oil (we recommend rosemary for hair growth) — and voila! You have alcohol-free hairspray ready for the spray bottle.