Hair Sprays

Wednesday, 9 March 2005 | Tags: , , ,

For that all-day perfect style, or just a little bit of discipline for your unruly locks, there are hundreds of hair sprays promising styling miracles and hold. We find out if expensive salon brands are really better than cheaper drugstore options.

The Basics

  • Hair spray works by coating your hair strands and creating a “weld” or bond between them to hold your hair style in place.

  • Most sprays hold hair in long, linear bundles, but if you run your fingers through it or get caught in the wind, you break the bond.

  • Flexible hold sprays create a “spot weld”, which bonds less of your hair together and is healthier in the long run.

  • Different types of hair spray are sold for different thicknesses of hair: extra hold, fine hold or volumizing. They differ only in the amount of bond ingredient used.

  • If you have fine hair, choose super, firm or ultra hold as opposed to a regular or light hairspray.

  • You can’t always rely on the labelling for how the hair spray will hold your hair, but it’s a good place to start. Just remember, what one brand refers to as super hold may only be a regular hold in another brand and so on. Ultimately you want to find the perfect balance between hold and feel.

  • Even though the main ingredients in hairspray are always the same (water, alcohol and acrylic) if you’re looking for some extra shine then look also for a silicone ingredient.

  • Most hair sprays hold for about 14 hours.

Other Considerations

  • Sprays typically come in aerosol or pump format. Whichever you choose, is up to you. However, remember that pump containers are recyclable, and most aerosol containers aren’t.

  • Aerosols have also become very controversial due to increasing environmental concerns about volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used to dispense the spray. Though manufacturers have taken steps to reduce Simply put, no aerosol spray, no chemicals.


We recruited some friends and styled up some crazy hairdos to put these natural hold (or equivalent) sprays through an intense workout session.

Our test products: .  
  • Garnier Fructis (pump): 59¢ per ounce
. . Well.ca Drugstore.com
  • Bumble & Bumble (pump): $2.47 per ounce
. . A local salon
  • Sebastian (aerosol): $1.79 per ounce
. . Local salon Drugstore.com
  • TRESemme (aerosol): 64¢ per ounce
. . Well.ca Drugstore.com

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

Exercise Test

  • Bumble & Bumble held up the best to all of our running, jumping, and rolling around.

Everyday Use Test

  • We all used each product for a month and, despite the higher price, the consensus was the same: Bumble & Bumble delivered perfect hold and smelled great, too.


While we don’t like having to pay more for beauty products, there was no denying that Bumble & Bumble had the best hold on our hair, and smelled great too!


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