How To Make Your Own Hair Spray

Homemade Hairspray from Two Ingredients

woman applying tonic hair care spray on hair ends
Peter Nicholson / Getty Images

Are you looking for a natural and wallet-friendly hair spray to keep your 'do in place? Hairs prays often contain obnoxious fragrances that can trigger allergies. In addition to the holding agent, you're spewing aerosol propellants around your room and chemicals you may not fully understand. Wouldn't it be great to use an all-natural hairspray that you can spritz on with confidence? That's what this hair spray recipe will give you.

 Take it for a test drive, and you may never buy hair spray again.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Required: 20 minutes or less

What You Need to Make Homemade Hairspray

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

Here's How to Make Homemade Hairspray

  1. Slice the lemon into wedges.
  2. Place the lemon wedges in a pot, and cover them with two cups 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," the date you prepared it and the date it should be discarded (one week from preparation date).
  7. If the finished spray feels sticky to the touch, dilute it with a bit of water.

Store your hair spray in the refrigerator between uses. It should keep for up to a week.

To extend the shelf life of your homemade hairspray, add a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol to the spray bottle when you fill it with the strained lemon water. With this addition, your hair spray can be stored at room temperature, and should last for up to two weeks.

If your hairspray becomes cloudy, shows signs of mold growth or smells musty, discard it sooner.

Tips and Modifications for Homemade Hairspray

  1. This recipe can also be made from an orange. Try it both ways, and see which you like best.
  2. Add a few drops of essential oil to your hair spray, to customize the scent, or improve the condition of your hair. Ylang ylang and bay are good for dry hair. Melissa and rosemary are good for hair growth. Grapefruit, lime, mandarin orange, niaouli, tangerine, tea tree and vetiver are good for oily hair. Geranium, rosemary and sandalwood are good for brittle hair. Don't add the essential oils, until your hair spray has cooled. Oils can't take a lot of heat.
  3. Need a stronger hold? Just cook the lemon-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.

Advantages of Homemade Hairspray

  • You'll know what's in it, so you can be confident that you aren't exposing yourself, and your hair, to chemicals that aren't good for you.
  • It's aerosol-free, so you can style your hair, without feeling guilty that you're harming the environment. 
  • You won't be disposing of aerosol cans. Just purchase one reusable spray bottle, and fill it again and again.
  • It's very cheap, especially if you're lucky enough to grow your own lemons or other citrus.
  • You won't be exposing yourself and others to cheap, artificial scents and perfumes. These can trigger allergies and migraines in you, the people around you and even your pets.
  • You can customize your hair spray to your specific needs and preferences.

Disadvantages of Homemade Hairspray

  • This formula will probably work differently on your hair that what you've become used to with your current hairspray. So, you may need to experiment a bit to achieve the results that you're after. You may even find that you 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.
  • You'll have to make new hairspray each week or two. This is probably more often than you need to restock cans of hairspray, and it takes some time and effort.
  • Your homemade hair spray won't be as easy to toss into a purse or suitcase, so you may need an alternative for when you're away from home.

Make More of Your Hair Care Products

Once you perfect your homemade hair spray, branch out to these other DIY hair products: