Hair spray can do a multitude of duties in this day and age. It can provide heat protection, boost volume, condition, nourish, and strengthen your tresses.
There’s a spray out there for every need and desired end result, but how do you figure out which ones give you the biggest bang for your buck?
We know our readers are discerning consumers, so it’s not just about affordability or budget-friendliness but also a conscious for the environment and animals. You’re in the right place!
Table of Contents
- In a Hurry? Here's Our Quick List of Top Picks
- What is Hair Spray and Why Do You Want It?
- What to Consider When Choosing a Hair Spray
- 5 Top Picks for Vegan Hair Sprays
- Top Choice for the Best Vegan Hair Spray
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Quick List of Top Picks
- TreeActiv Hair Growth Daily Nourishing Spray
- Saltitude West Salt Hair Mist
- Enovvia Natural Hairspray
- Beauty by Earth Sea Salt & Texturizing Spray
- Framesi Color Lover Flash Dry Spray
What is Hair Spray and Why Do You Want It?
In the past, hair spray has been all about hold. As a styling product, its main purpose was to immobilize your hair style so it lasted all day. In the decades of big hair, the stiffer, more gravity-defying, the better.
We’ve evolved, thank goodness, and now we want our style to be touchable, soft, movable.
We want our hair products to pamper our hair, make it look and feel healthier. We want less chemicals, not more, and we aren’t looking to surround ourselves in a stinky cloud of perfumey synthetic fragrance.
Today’s hair sprays do so much more than hold a style. They can nourish hair, help reduce static, protect from heat styling and coloring, boost volume, detangle, condition, promote hair growth, reduce thinning, texturize, define curls, and more. The Ozone is the limit!
What to Consider When Choosing a Hair Spray
We learned a hard lesson in the late 70s to early 90s. Aerosols helped to tear a hole in the ozone layer, and all those hair spray cans ended up in the landfill or the ocean, not to mention how much chemical cloud we inhaled and coated our lungs with.
Today’s sprays are manual pumps, so no worry about atmosphere destroying chemical propellants. Those still exist, but not in the sprays we are featuring. There’s simply no need to use any type of propellant to get a product out of a can.
Not only do these ingredients harm the environment outdoors, they can also harm your own, personal, indoor environment!
Volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) can build up in your home and cause headaches, inflammation, lightheadedness, allergic reactions, and more. No thanks!
Whenever you’re shopping for a new product, it’s easier to choose when you know what to avoid. When shopping for hair care and styling products, the list can be lengthy. But once you’re armed with the knowledge of ingredients to stay away from, it’ll become second nature.
Common ingredients like formaldehyde, phthalates, and SD alcohol are obvious on the list to avoid. There’s simply no need for any of these harsh chemicals to be purposefully applied to your hair, or anywhere near your skin.
Formaldehyde is commonly used as a preservative, but since you aren’t embalming your hair for future scientific research, you should avoid!
It’s used quietly in so many products in your home already, it’s best not to add one more.
Phthalates are often used to add flexibility to the certain polymers, and in hair spray used to make the hold less stiff in appearance and feel.
Think “touchable” when used in sky-high bangs and immobile helmets. Phthalates are linked with endocrine disruption and birth defects. No hair style is worth it!
Avoid SD Alcohol
SD Alcohol is added to hair products to help speed up the drying process when applied. In doing so, it can also wick natural moisture from your hair, follicles, and scalp.
This can cause your hair to become more brittle over time, leading to frizz, split ends, and extreme dryness. These conditions may lead you to apply more products, with the same drying ingredients. It’s a vicious cycle.
Not all alcohols are bad for your hair, but short-chain alcohols like SD alcohol, ethanol, SD alcohol 40, denatured alcohol, propanol, propyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol can be.
For daily use, you’ll want to avoid these. Fatty alcohols have the opposite effect and can actually heal your hair. Here’s a practical resource for discerning which are which.
You’ll also want to:
- choose products with no animal products such as silk, animal-based keratin and biotin, and stearic acid
- avoid any product or brand which participates in animal testing
Keratin is a protein from the ground-up horns, hooves, feathers, quills, and hair of various animals. It’s added to help strengthen and renew hair and help boost volume.
There’s a plethora of plant-based alternatives, such as almond oil, soy protein, amla oil (from the fruit of an Indian tree); even human hair from salons. Rosemary and nettle also give body and help strengthen hair.
Avoid Animal-Derived Biotin
Biotin (vitamin H, vitamin B Factor) is often obtained from cow’s milk and milk proteins. It’s used as a texturizer.
Plant-based biotin does exist. Stearic Acid (Stearamide, Stearamine, Stearates, Stearic Hydrazide, Stearone, Stearoxytrimethylsilane, Stearoyl Lactylic Acid, Stearyl Betaine, Stearyl Imidazoline) is a fat from animals, mainly cows, pigs, and sheep.
Sometimes it’s obtained from animals euthanized in animal shelters. It’s used as a conditioning agent and to protect from heat styling damage.
Plant-based alternatives are numerous, including cocoa and shea butter, coconut, and other vegetable fats.
Once again, nature proves to be the winner when it comes to ingredients for hair care!
5 Top Picks for Vegan Hair Sprays
Now the knowledge base is set, onward to the fun stuff. We’ve scoured the seemingly infinite products to find you what we feel are the 5 best hair sprays out there.
TreeActiv Hair Growth Daily Nourishing Spray
This daily nourishing spray from TreeActiv is a multi-use product, and as you may have guessed, gets bonus points. Getting more bang for your buck is important, and this spray delivers. We’ve previously featured TreeActiv in our conditioner roundup.
This spray can be used as a leave-in conditioner, as a volumizer, as a frizz reducer, and as a split end treatment.
As a leave-in, it’s not heavy or greasy like some leave-ins tend to be. It’s a light, airy spritz which revitalizes instead of weighing you down.
Applied to the roots and used in conjunction with your blow dryer or allowed to air dry, this spray adds just enough volume for the appearance of healthier, fuller hair. It doesn’t leave your hair sticky or stiff, either.
It really shines as a nourishing treatment, helping to reduce frizz and split ends while protecting against breakage. Continued use helps reduce the rate of hair fallout and breakage.
What We Like
- Multi-use product
- Lightweight and easy to apply
- Soft, subtle, natural scent
What We Don’t Like
- Although the silk aminos are not obtained from live creatures, the use of them is questionable as to whether the product should be considered vegan or not
- Peg 80 is another questionable ingredient the jury is still out on
Saltitude West Salt Hair Mist
If you’ve ever spent time at the beach, you may recall how fantastic your hair looks and feels after some time in the ocean.
That’s because salt is incredibly beneficial to your hair! Saltitude West Salt Hair Mist is a unique blend of five simple ingredients which makes beach hair just a spritz away!
Made from pure salt directly sourced from The Great Salt Lake and spring water from the surrounding mountains in Utah, this spray helps texturize your hair, adding volume and bounce without crunchy stiffness.
It’s perfect for all types and textures of hair, but really shines on curly manes. It helps define curls without the usual wet appearance and brittle feel of many other styling products like mousse and gel.
The coconut oil and Aloe Vera give it a delightful scent but may be too heavy for fine or limp hair.
Not only is this spray great for your hair’s overall health and beauty, it also makes an effective light detangler. No need to struggle trying to wrench out tangles after your shower or load up your tresses with unnecessary chemicals. This spray will do double duty for you!
What We Like
- Made from 5 simple ingredients in the US.
- Delightful coconutty scent delivers you straight to the beach
- Texturizes, conditions, reduces frizz, and heals your scalp
What We Don’t Like
- Tiny bottle
- Can be heavy on fine or limp hair
Enovvia Natural Hairspray
Enovvia Natural Hairspray is the only “traditional” hair spray on our list, and for good reason. Most finishing sprays on the market are full of noxious chemicals, tested on animals, and bad for your hair and the environment. This spray is none of the above.
Formulated from 5 simple ingredients, and never tested on animals, this spray gives you the hold you need, without turning your hair into a helmet!
It’s a medium hold, so don’t expect your hair to be a fortress to all the world may throw at you, but you can be confident your style will last through a normal day.
This hair spray is perfect for people with chemical or fragrance sensitivities, since it’s really and truly fragrance free! How often do you find any hair product like this?
This formulation DOES contain alcohol, which we advised above in this article to avoid. However, it’s main staying power is from the sugar content, and doesn’t seem to have as much of a drying effect as other hair sprays we’ve used. That being said, use your best judgement in your purchase.
What We Like
- Fragrance free
- Only five ingredients
- Medium hold, easy to wash out
What We Don’t Like
- Contains alcohol, can be drying
- Sugar based, can be sticky
Beauty by Earth Sea Salt & Texturizing Spray
This sea salt texturizing spray from Beauty by Earth is another spray which relies on the benefits of salt to give you a beachy fresh “spent the day lounging on the sand” look. You won’t even have to brush sand out of all the nooks and crannies to achieve it!
This lightweight spray builds volume and texture, along with the subtle beachy scent of vanilla and coconut, to give you the sea misted body no matter your hair texture. It has a light hold to keep your locks looking great, without the stickiness of a traditional hair spray.
The unique infusion of aloe, green tea, algae, and raspberry helps to strengthen, nourish, and condition your tresses, without the gritty, dry, and crunchy feel of many other sprays. Continued use helps your hair look and feel thicker, with no grimy residue.
If you’re looking for a spray which helps boost your hair’s volume while holding lightly onto windswept waves, this is the one! Make sure to practice with a light hand, as too much product is too much! Takes a little getting used to what works best for your hair and the environmental conditions, but it’s worth it.
What We Like
- Gentle and effective, not drying
- Has a subtle and amazing beachy scent
- Light hold, not crunchy
What We Don’t Like
- Too light for super curly/textured hair
- Easy to apply too much, making your hair sticky
Framesi Color Lover Flash Dry Spray
This flash dry spray from Framesi Color Lover is the only one of its kind on our list. It’s not just a product to help reduce the heat intensive time under a blow dryer, it also helps to maintain your color and protect your hair from high heat styling tools.
Most products intended for use with heat stylers, caution to use with tools under 350 degrees, but Framesi knows some tools work at a far greater temperature, and this spray is there for you, providing a shield through 450 degrees.
The natural ingredients in this spray do more than protect from heat and speed up the drying process. Continued use of this spray helps provide long lasting moisture, reducing frizz and improving your hair’s strength and elasticity.
This spray protects your precious color, preventing fade by up to 95%, giving you more intense color, longer. It also detangles and conditions, keeping your hair from suffering the fate of heat and color-damage over time.
What We Like
- Ultra-protective, cuts drying time in half
- Ideal for use with high heat intense styling tools
- Perfect for color treated hair
What We Don’t Like
- Funky smell
Top Choice for the Best Vegan Hair Spray
Whew! There was a lot of spritzing and spraying, scrunching and bunching, drying and styling which had to be done to pick our winner, but the sacrifice was worth it.
Each of these sprays promised different results, yet they all helped to keep our locks looking and feeling great. So, which is our fave?
As a sucker for multi-use products my favorite is probably clear to you. I love, love, loved the Salt Hair Mist from Saltitude West!
Its simplicity and sustainability snagged me, and the way it made my hair feel hooked me for life.
I’ve used a ton of sea salt sprays in the past, and none have ever transported me back to my childhood on the beaches of Florida like this one.
I remember my childhood hair having effortless waves and a soft, shiny feel, all the time. This spray is like a time machine for my hair. The salt and spring water combine with coconut oil and aloe for the perfect, weightless, ultra-pampering spray ever!
My only complaint is, Saltitude West doesn’t make an entire line of hair and body loving products with this delightful and ethereal scent! I would soak up this scent like the sun in any form if I could!
A hair spray which conditions, protects, nourishes, and gives a lightweight hold on a carefree, beachy style? Yes, please!!