Liquid plastic begone: Natural hair control is here

Photo: istockphoto.com/Sharon Dominick

We all want terrific hair. But some of the goopey, smelly products that turn your hair into a laquered helmet just aren't very sexy. Everything starts off sticky and then feels brittle.

Liquid plastic for a bad hair day
The reason for that strange texture is the very nature of the product. Hairspray and other conventional gel products are made from chemical polymers that resemble liquid elastic. The most common one for hairspray, polyvinylpyrrolidone, is the same one used to glue plywood. A polyelectrolyte polymer is used for hair gels and styling sprays. Vinyl acetate is also used in many other products. This chemical is currently being reviewed by the Canadian government.

Spray or rub them on wet wet and when it dries, that thin film of plastic holds your hair in place. The plastic stays on your head until you wash your hair.

Natural spritz
If that doesn't sound very appealing you may be interested in looking at some of the products using natural polymers like Tragacanth and Arabic gums from trees. Products with alcohol will have a longer shelf life that those without and may feel a bit lighter. Some products are even alcohol free and have essential oils for scent.

D.I.Y. your own
There are plenty of make your own recipes popping up on the Internet as a backlash against plastic and chemicals in our cosmetics and hair products.

England's Mooky Chick offers a recipe to make your own hairspray:

  • Combine 2 cups of water with the juice of one lemon (or an orange if you have dry hair)
  • Use on wet or dry hair
  • Store it in the fridge or add a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol to store it outside on the shelf.
  • The University of Michigan came up with this recipe for homemade hair gel:

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon unflavoured gelatine
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Keep refrigerated and use as you would a purchased gel
  • Herbalist Rebecca Hartman recommends a flax gel:

  • 1 cup of water for every teaspoon of flax seeds
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Strain out the seeds while hot.
  • Cool.
  • Add a few drops of essential oil to preserve and bring aroma.
  • Let us know how they work for you!

    Natural hairspray and gels brands:

  • Anthony Logistics for Men
  • Aubrey's Organics
  • Beauty Wise Alcohol Free Styling Spray and Gels
  • Beauty Without
  • Max Green Alchemy
  • Lavera Volume & Shine Natural Hair Spray
  • Real Purity
  • Sante Natural