Why am I sticky?

Anyone who has been roped into a thrilling game of Cards Against Humanity has groaned when this card was pulled. Today, the answer was easy and a lot more useful: I made DIY hair spray and now I can’t believe I waited this long!

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I’ve seen DIY hair spray recipe formulas out there but thought they sounded…ridiculous. Yup, that’s the word. After all, it’s sugar water. Then I sat down with a can of my favorite spray from the store (can’t always afford Aveda!) and read the ingredients:

Water, dimethyl ether, alcohol, polyester-5, and a bunch of stuff I don’t want to type out and can’t pronounce. Sigh.

Translation, though? Water, alcohols, plastic polymers (to make it sticky), silicone derivatives for shine, fragrance, emulsifier/stabilizers, traces of essential oils. Well, heck. I can make that, and without the chemical wizardry or the bad stuff. Sugar isn’t sounding half bad now. Oops.

So here is what I came up with. I put my hair in a French twist and sprayed it and it stayed, and it’s keeping my bangs under control even now that I’ve taken my hair down. It didn’t stand up to Kansas wind, but NO hair spray does and I don’t expect it to.

Perstephanie’s Light to Medium hold Hair Spray

1 cup boiling or scalding hot water
2 tbsp honey (Because honey attracts moisture, I’m giving it a try over sugar. It also smells nicer.)
4 tbsp 91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol or high proof alcohol such as Bacardi 151 white rum.
Essential oils of choice: I used rosemary and lavender, both are said to be healthy for your hair, and litsea cubeba for its fresh citrus scent but you could use mint, tea tree, orange, or something woodsy like cedar or patchouli. About 20 drops total covered the alcohol scent nicely and made my hair smell great.
Optional: 1/2 tsp of solubilizer or red turkey oil. I used red turkey oil, which causes small amounts of essential oils to emulsify instantly in solutions like this one. The trick is to use equal amounts of red turkey oil and essential oils. If you choose not to use a solubilizer or red turkey oil, that’s fine, but if you use essential oils you will need to shake your bottle of spray well before each use.

Pour the hot water over the honey and stir to dissolve. Let come to room temperature and add the other ingredients, stirring to mix. Place in spray bottle with fine mist setting. When applying, lightly spray one layer and let dry completely before adding more. Do not saturate hair. You’ll be surprised at how little it takes. It took two passes across my head for the French twist, and just one to keep my bangs out of my face. My hair is naturally very straight and resists all styling, so I was impressed.

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Next? I need to learn to make a setting lotion eventually in case I want to hot roll my hair for special occasions.

I also made body lotion for a friend today, using the very popular oat milk and avocado oil formula I found. It made more than I planned, filling a tall pump bottle but I am pretty sure it will get used up. I also made labels today for projects, which helps a lot around here because it allows me to gift things to make room for new inventions and keep track of various items around my workspace. It also helps poor J identify things when he picks them up without having to decipher my handwriting.

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I got fancy and made the obligatory ingredients label for the back of the lotion bottle as legally required.

Looking forward to a mini trip this weekend! And making vegetarian, coconut free, palm oil free soap. Just need a design plan, color scheme, and idea for fragrance. Oh dear.

I’m sure it will be fine.

ADDENDUM:

My hair spray got mold in it before I could use it all! I had hoped that the alcohol would help preserve it but I guess the heat and humidity of the bathroom was too awesome for nasty mold spores with all that sugar. Please consider making a half batch and storing it in the fridge between use OR adding the approximate amount of a broad spectrum preservative. Remember, Vitamin E, Rosemary extract, and the like, are NOT preservatives…they are great anti-oxidants. They will help prevent your oils from becoming rancid but not your water mixture items from growing mold and bacteria! I use Optiphen, and I like it very much. I’ve heard good things about NeoDefend as well. Do some research if you’re going to do some DIY and make an investment in a good emulsifier and a good preservative.

Happy DIYing!

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Author: scseery

Soap, bath and beauty, jams and jellies, and unique upcycled gifts. That's what I make and talk about here. A lot.

3 thoughts on “Why am I sticky?”

  1. This is interesting. I was going to try it until I read about the mold. I don’t think I use hairspray often enough to use it up before getting moldy. Wonderful idea though. Thanks for the recipe.

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  2. I made a half batch with half as much sugar (effectively 2 tsp instead of 1 tbsp) and it’s holding up much better with just the rubbing alcohol as a preservative. I also just got bangs cut into my hair again so I’m using it more often and keeping a very close eye on it. Finally, I went with 91% alcohol instead of rubbing alcohol. High proof vodka or something like Bacardi 151 would work well.

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