16 Hairspray Alternatives: Store-Bought And DIY

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Looking for hairspray alternatives?

Whether you’ve run out of hairspray or decided not to use it anymore, know that you’re not alone.

woman with hairspray styling her hair at bathroom

In fact, a lot of people are starting to use other products to keep their hair in place.

Some ditched hairspray because it has harmful ingredients that dry out or irritate the hair and scalp. 

Others are concerned about the environmental impact of using this aerosol product, while some people don’t like hairspray simply because of its smell.

And just because you don’t want to use hairspray doesn’t mean you have to live with messy hair. You have plenty of other alternatives to hairspray, and you’ll find out all about them in this article.

Here are some ready-made products that are effective substitutes for hairspray. Plus, we also included hairstyling solutions that you can make from natural and home ingredients!

What To Use Instead of Hairspray: 8 Hairspray Alternatives at the Store

1. Mousse

The first styling product you can use to ditch your hairspray is mousse. It’s a lightweight foam that isn’t as messy to use.

Although it offers a soft flexible hold so it doesn’t make your hair feel sticky and crunchy, it still gives volume to hair and still defines your curls.

It’s particularly perfect for when you want to have a curly hairstyle.

However, too much mousse can make your hair look greasy and flat. Remember to put just the right amount into styling your hair.

How to Use Hair Mousse

  1. Apply the product onto your damp hair from roots to tips.
  2. Dry and style your hair as you prefer.

Styling Tips

  • For extra volume, flip your hair upside down while drying.
  • For a more sophisticated look, use a hair dryer the way they do at the salon.
  • For beautiful curls, use your curling wand after drying your hair.

Try the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse to create shiny, bouncy curls. It’s made from natural ingredients and is guaranteed to moisturize and define your curls.

SheaMoisture Curl Mousse for Frizz Control Coconut and Hibiscus with Shea Butter 7.5 oz
  • The SheaMoisture Coconut and Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse, blended with Fair Trade Shea Butter, to make your curly hair beautiful and bouncy. Packaging may Vary
  • Our volumizing hair mousse enhances natural curl memory and wave pattern, and leaves no residue, creating shiny curls with high impact volume and a soft finish
  • Coconut and Hibiscus curl mousse, blended with coconut and neem oil, helps to control frizz while adding a brilliant shine to your curly hair

2. Hair Paste

If you want to have a style that moves and looks natural, try using a hair paste.

Unlike mousse, a hair paste has a thick consistency that needs to be warmed up first to be spreadable. But don’t worry; you can warm it up simply by rubbing it between your palms.

The paste adds texture and fullness to short and thin hair. Plus, it holds the hair firmly, almost like a gel. It also washes out easily with shampoo.

How to Use a Hair Paste

  1. Rub a dime-sized amount between your hands and work through your hair.
  2. Style your hair using your hands or a comb.
  3. For best results, apply to dry hair.

Our favorite hair paste? Cremo Premium Barber Grade Hair Styling Thickening Paste. It gives your hair all-day hold and volume.

Cremo Premium Barber Grade Hair Styling Thickening Paste, High Hold, Low Shine, 4 Oz
  • Adds texture and volume
  • High hold, low shine
  • All-day hold and volume that’s best for short or fine hair

3. Hair Gel

Whether you want a wet, slick hairstyle or a frozen spiky hairdo, this versatile product is what you need.

Hair gel is mostly used on short hair for a firm hold.

Hair gel is categorized according to its formulation:

Light gelIt gives a light, flexible hold for a messy playful look.
Medium gelIt has more hold than light gel but is still flexible. It’s perfect for shiny, spiky locks.
Thick gelIt holds hair firmly for hours and even days!

Do note that hair gel is not ideal for curls, and too much of this product can lead to flaking.

How to Use Hair Gel

  1. Apply a dab of gel to your hands and rub through your hair.
  2. Shape your hair according to your style.

For a budget-friendly hair gel, you can’t go wrong with Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Styling Gel. It gives an all-day hold without visible residue.

Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Styling Gel, 6.8 Ounces
  • 24 Hour Clean Hold Styling Gel: This naturally derived styling gel offers a 24 hour, extra strong, clean hold and pure performance all day long; Contains no silicone,...
  • Natural Formula: This 98 percent naturally derived hair styling gel features Acacia Gum, used around the world for its natural holding properties; Our formula gives extra...
  • Explore Pure Clean: Discover our collection of Pure Clean Shampoo and Conditioner for fresher feeling hair in every wash without the weigh down; With system of Pure Clean...

4. Styling Clay

For medium hold and a matte finish, use styling clay. With styling clay, you can have a loose and relaxed hairstyle that you can reshape anytime.

As the name suggests, this product has the texture and consistency of clay.

How to Use Styling Clay

  1. Take a pea-sized amount and rub it on your hands.
  2. Get the product through dry hair.
  3. Work your hair into your desired style.

To keep your mane looking stunning, we recommend Smooth Viking Styling Clay.

Hair Clay For Men | Smooth Viking Clay Pomade for Matte Finish & Strong Hold (2 Ounces) - Non-Greasy...
  • STRONG HOLD WITH MATTE FINISH HAIR CLAY: A mens hair clay that effortlessly molds hair into the style you want. With our matte clay, you can keep your hair in place all...
  • NAIL THE COOLEST SHINE-FREE MATTE LOOK: No more clay pomade products that make your hair greasy. Smooth Viking matte hair clay provides a shine-free finish that doesn’t...
  • ADD TEXTURE TO YOUR MODERN HAIRSTYLE: Style your hair like a pro with our mineral-rich styling clay for men, which contains vitamin-packed Beeswax, Castor Oil, Soy Bean...

5. Pomade

Ever heard of the pompadour hairstyle? Think Elvis Presley. For styles like that, the best product to use is a pomade.

It offers maximum, flexible hold and is available in different strengths. It works great on side parts, pompadours, or any hairstyle that’s formed using a comb.

Overall, it gives a slick and shiny look.

Back in the day, pomade was greasy and can even oil up your face. But today, there are water-based pomades that are not oily and can wash up easily.

How to Use a Pomade

  1. Rub a little pomade between your palms.
  2. Pull your hair back and apply the product.
  3. Style using a comb.

What we love: Softsheen-Carson Sportin’ Waves Pomade, the perfect pomade for short and brushable hair.

SoftSheen-Carson Sportin' Waves Gel Pomade with Wavitrol III, 3.5 oz
  • MOISTURE and HOLD POMADE: This pomade with natural sheen and hold promotes waves and restores moisture, going on light and easy and rinsing out clean; It's formulated for...
  • MAXIMUM WAVEMAKING: With its maximum hold strength, this pomade delivers maximum wavemaking, the perfect styling product for short and brushable hair; It goes on light...
  • STYLING PRODUCTS: We make an array of products for all types of curly hair, including moisture-sealing gels and leave-in sprays, rejuvenating oils, pomades, creams,...

6. Texturizing Spray

If you only want a light hold that controls frizz and lifts your hair, then use a texturizing spray.  It’s best for wavy or curly hair as it enhances your strands’ weaves.

It can also be used on damp or dry hair. Here are steps to guide you when using a texturizing spray.

Wet Hair

  1. Spritz the texturizing spray from the middle to the ends of your hair.
  2. Braid or twist your hair.
  3. Wait for your locks to dry or use a hair dryer.
  4. Once dry, unravel the braid and brush your fingers through your hair.

Towel-Dried Hair

  1. Take a small section of your hair and spray the product on it.
  2. Twist the section and wait for a few seconds before releasing it.
  3. Repeat for the rest of your hair.

To define your waves and set your style, use Kenra Platinum Dry Texture Spray. It’s great for all hair types.

Kenra Platinum Dry Texture Spray 6 | Texture Defining Styler | All Hair Types | 5.3 oz.
  • Increases texture & fullness
  • Absorbs oils & impurities
  • Ultra-lightweight, non-drying formulation

7. Dry Shampoo

Don’t be surprised, dry shampoo isn’t just for cleaning your tresses. It can also be used to give your hair a lift. So if you want a voluminous style, use this product.

The downside to dry shampoos though is that they don’t hold hairstyles well and some may leave a white cast on your hair.

How to Use Dry Shampoo

  1. Shake the can then spray it close to your roots.
  2. Massage the product through your hair.
  3. Scrunch up your hair using your hands.

For dry shampoo, the most trusted product is Batiste Dry Shampoo. This one comes in different scents and colors.

Batiste Dry Shampoo, Original Fragrance, Refresh Hair and Absorb Oil Between Washes, Waterless...
  • One 6.35 oz Batiste Original Fragrance Dry Shampoo Bottle
  • Dry shampoo formulated to target excess oil and grease at the roots to leave your hair feeling clean between washes
  • Upgrade your hair care with a clean and classic fragrance with a citrusy and refreshing burst of orange and bergamot, balanced by hints of rose, lily, lavender and...

8. Aloe Gel

For the last store-bought hairspray alternative, here’s something natural.

If you have an aloe vera plant at home, consider making your own aloe gel. But this product is widely available in the market, so it’s more convenient to just buy one.

An aloe gel can be used like a regular hair gel in styling, but it’s not for strong hold. It mostly tames flyaways and defines the hair, so it’s ideal for curling.

Aside from hair styling, it can also be used in caring for your hair because it makes strands healthy.

How to Use Aloe Gel

  1. Apply a small amount of aloe gel on your palms.
  2. Rub the product evenly into your hair.
  3. Let the hair air-dry and style as desired.

You can also mix it with water to use as a hair spritz for hydration.

If you want 100% natural aloe gel in a product, use Seven Minerals Aloe Vera Gel. It’s made from freshly cut aloe vera plants and contains no synthetic thickener.

Organic Aloe Vera Gel with Pure Aloe From Freshly Cut Aloe Plant, Not Powder - No Xanthan, So It...
  • Highest Quality - to ensure freshness our Aloe is proudly grown here in Southern Texas. NSF Organic & IASC Certified.
  • Harvested For Us - from real freshly cut aloe leaves, not powder - making it one of the purest and strongest on the market. For that reason please test on less sensitive...
  • The Difference in Skin Treated with Seven Minerals Aloe Gel is Striking. Thanks to 100% natural thickener Seaweed Extract (instead of Xanthan or Carbomer), it absorbs...
Woman in towel using hair spray

What To Use Instead of Hairspray: 8 DIY Hairspray Replacements

An infographic  featuring about what to use instead of hairspray with 8 DIY hairspray replacements

1. Sugar Spray

One of the easiest hairspray alternatives that you can make at home is a sugar spray. It’s a cheaper and healthier substitute for hairspray.

Moreover, it adds shine and is gentle enough for color-treated hair.

You can choose whether to make a spray that gives a light hold and enhances curls for a beachy texture, or you can opt for a stronger kind for styling.

Just adjust this recipe to your liking.

How to Prepare a Sugar Spray

  1. Boil 1 ½ cup water and dissolve 2 tbsp sugar in it.
  2. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
  3. For a strong hold, stir in 1 tbsp of vodka or rum.
  4. Add up to 15 drops of your favorite essential oil for scent.

To use it, just spritz the sugar spray on your dry hair and style it accordingly.

This solution will last for only a week even when refrigerated.

2. Beeswax Pomade

For a lighter version of pomade, you can try one that’s made of beeswax. It gives a flexible natural hold while moisturizing your hair.

Like honey, beeswax has a lot of health benefits not just for the skin but also for hair.

Beeswax Benefits

  • Smoothens hair
  • Protects from pollution and heat
  • Prevents frizz
  • Locks in moisture

How to Prepare a Beeswax Pomade

  1. Melt 2 tbsp beeswax pastilles with 3 tbsp of coconut oil.
  2. For maximum hold, mix in 2 tbsp of bentonite clay.
  3. Add up to 10 drops of your chosen essential oil for scent.

Use this pomade the same way you’d use the ready-made ones.

The beeswax pomade will last for at least 6 months.

pink and white infographic with colorful illustrations outlining different natural DIY hairspray alternatives

3. Gel Spray

If you don’t like how hair gel feels and weighs on your hair, you can use it with a lighter consistency by making a gel spray.

A gel spray gives you the holding power of gels and the convenience of hair spray.

Simply 1 to 2 tbsp gel and 1 tsp conditioner into a little spray bottle filled with water and shake the mixture well.

There are different ways you can use this solution.

Styling wet hair

  1. Spray enough gel spray on towel-dried hair, evenly coating the strands.
  2. Run either a brush or comb through to help sculpt natural waves or to keep the hair straight.
  3. Let hair air-dry.

Styling dry hair

  1. Style your dry hair using heat styling tools.
  2. Spray directly onto the finished style and leave it as is.

4. Citrus Spray

A natural alternative for hairspray is this citrus spray that gives a flexible hold. It even promotes scalp health as the citric acid in lemon or orange absorbs excess oil.

You can use either orange or lemon for this solution. We recommend lemon for light-colored hair as lemon has lightening properties. As for dark hair, use orange.

How to Prepare Citrus Spray

  1. Cut the fruit up and boil it in 2 cups of water until the water reduces to about half a cup.
  2. Strain out the fruit and allow the water to cool.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of vodka and some drops of essential oil.
  4. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
  5. Give it a good shake and use it like a regular hairspray.

You can store this solution for up to a month.

5. Shea Butter Mousse

If you have long hair, shea butter mousse is effective in giving shine and light hold. It works even in humid weather.

This mixture is best for naturally curly hair that needs a little control.

How to Prepare Shea Butter Mousse

  1. Mix equal parts of coconut oil and shea butter.
  2. Add a few drops of essential oil for scent.
  3. Whip the ingredients fully with a hand mixer.
  4. Apply to your hair like a normal mousse.
  5. Store the remaining mixture in the refrigerator.

The shea butter mousse can last for about a month.

6. Gelatin Mousse

Did you know that gelatin has health benefits that can also reach your hair? You can even turn it into a styling product. Yes! Who would’ve known?

This mousse is a great everyday-use styling product that won’t weigh your hair down.

Compared to shea butter mousse, this gelatin mousse is better for active women who want to keep their hair in place. Plus, it can also help heal damaged hair.

How to Prepare Gelatin Mousse

  1. Heat ½ cup of water on the stove until it simmers.
  2. Stir in ¼ tsp of gelatin (double if you want to get a stronger hold).
  3. Once the gelatin has dissolved, add essential oil for scent.
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool.
  5. Apply this mixture on damp hair just like regular hair mousse.

You can store the gelatin mousse in the refrigerator and use it within 2 weeks.

7. Egg White Gel

Another affordable way to replace traditional hairspray is using egg whites.

Now, you might know that egg whites are used as a hair mask to make hair healthier because it strengthens the hair and promotes hair growth.

But aside from that, egg white can also hold your hair. In fact, the use of egg whites as a hairstyling product dates back hundreds of years in some cultures. 

If you have frizzy hair, try this natural gel! It gives a light hold and keeps the frizz under control.

How to Use Egg White Gel

  1. Blend 3 egg whites, ½ cup aloe gel, and essential oils.
  2. Apply on damp hair and style your hair.
  3. Air-dry your hair or use a diffuser.

We do not recommend storing this mixture.

8. Flaxseed Gel

Flaxseed is packed with nutrients that help make the hair healthy. That’s why it’s a good ingredient to use in DIY alternatives to hairspray.

If you have curly hair, flaxseed gel can create clumped curls. But it’s not just for curls! Flaxseed gel can also help keep straight hair smooth and moisturized.

How to Prepare Flaxseed Gel

  1. Soak ¼ cup of flaxseed in a bowl of water overnight.
  2. Boil the flaxseeds and water in a saucepan.
  3. Simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring often until the mixture becomes thick.
  4. Remove from the heat and let it cool.
  5. Strain the seeds out of the water.
  6. Add essential oils if you want to make the mixture smell nice.
  7. Pour the gel into a clean container.

Use the gel like a regular hair gel. This mixture can last as long as 2 months.

woman spraying hairspray on beautiful long blonde hair

Say Goodbye to Hairspray

With all the alternatives to hairspray available out there, there’s no doubt that you can choose to ditch the synthetic hairstyling product.

Go ahead and experiment with more hair-friendly products with natural hairspray alternatives using these DIY recipes and keep your hair in place without hairspray!

Take a look at these other hair care articles:


  • Rachelle Velasco

    Rachelle, is a sought-after freelance hair and makeup artist, shines particularly in the world of hair color. From subtle ombres and balayages to vibrant hues and intricate root work, she crafts unique styles tailored to individual preferences. Beyond her artistic talents, Rachelle also holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, showcasing her diverse skill set and dedication to learning.

  • Kelly Goforth

    With ten years in the beauty industry, Kelly Goforth has mastered the art of hair and makeup. Trained at The Redken Exchange in NYC and mentored by industry legends like Sam Villa and Lauren Hagan, she's a sought-after bridal specialist in Colorado Springs. From managing a Denver salon to now offering bridal hair, makeup, and airbrush spray tans, Kelly's expertise shines.

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