What Is the Purpose of Hair Setting Spray?

Many women spend a lot of time and money on their hair. It’s one way of self-expression – not just in the color and cut, but in the style.

Having your hair styled into a fancy braid or updo for a special event can cost anywhere from $65-200. You can always do it yourself, but that will cost you a lot of time, depending on how much hair you have.

If you’re going to spend all that time and money on your hair, you want to ensure it’s going to last the whole day or night. That’s when you grab a can of hair setting spray.

Hair setting spray keeps your hair styled, making sure the curls, braids, or updos stay in place. They come in a variety of textures and hold levels to ensure your hair stays styled the way you want it for hours.

Below are additional details for hair setting spray, giving you all the information you need to know before deciding which bottle to get for your hair.

What is setting spray for hair?

Setting spray for hair works a lot like setting spray for makeup. It’s designed to keep your style in place, preventing your hair style from degrading throughout the day.

Hair setting spray comes in a lot of different types. You can get setting sprays that are made for curly hair, or one that’s made for straight hair.

They come in a range of holds, starting at a light hold and progressing to a firm or strong hold. Many women who want their hair to stay in place but don’t want it to feel like a stiff helmet opt for a medium hold.

Light holds will provide only a small amount of protection for your hair. This is to help with a simple style, such as beachy waves. It has enough hold to keep a relaxed style in place, but not enough to keep tight curls in place all day.

Strong or firm holds are great at keeping the style in place as much as possible. Some factors can’t be fought – like rain or high humidity. But if you want your hair to have the best chance at staying in place, then a strong hold is your best bet.

As we mentioned above, medium holds are a good middle ground. You can keep your style in place but still have your hair feel a little soft and light to the touch.

Setting sprays come in different formulas, with some of them adding in other chemicals to create bonus properties.

For example, some setting sprays have a heat protectant in them as well, so you can use it before or after you curl your hair.

Is setting spray the same as hair spray?

Yes, setting spray is the same as hair spray when it comes to hair.

There are lots of different names for hair spray: finishing spray, holding spray, setting spray, hair spray.

The different names sometimes don’t mean much, and sometimes it’s an indication of the level of hold or the softness you can expect from the spray.

Hair setting spray should not be confused with makeup setting spray.

Makeup setting spray is something that can be sprayed on your face after you’ve done your makeup for the day. This is usually used by women who do a full face of makeup to help their foundation, eyeshadow, blush, and other makeup stay in place.

Hair setting spray, as we’ve reviewed, works to hold your hair style in place after you’ve curled it, fashioned it into an updo, braided it, or done some other style.

While the two work the same, maintaining an all-day hold for your style, they should never be used interchangeably.

Hair setting spray is only safe to use on hair, and makeup setting spray won’t be effective on hair.

Since you’re using makeup setting spray on your face, it’s formulated to be safe to be sprayed around closed eyes and your mouth. Hair setting spray doesn’t have those same safety considerations and can’t be safely sprayed directly on your face.

Are there any drawbacks to using setting spray every day?

There are always drawbacks to using styling products on your hair every single day.

Hair is a natural part of your body, and it’s the most healthy when it’s at its most natural state.

Hair styling products are all full of chemicals in some form or another, and over time and repeated use, these chemicals will damage your hair.

Just like using a curling iron, hair straightener, or blow dryer every day will damage your hair due to high heat exposure, setting spray will damage your hair due to chemical exposure.

Usually you can tell your hair is getting damaged if it starts to feel rough or even a little crunchy, like straw.

If your hair is losing its softness and starting to feel more like straw, that may be a sign to lay off the hair setting spray for a while. You might try using more conditioning products to help bring moisture and health back to your hair.

However, with all of that said, the damage from setting spray isn’t as bad as it used to be. The hair sprays we think of from the 1980’s are a thing of the past.

These days, hair sprays are made with much safer formulas. They have additives that are designed to add moisture and health back into your hair to counteract the harmful effects of the other chemicals in setting sprays.

Be sure to read the bottles of the hair spray brands you’re considering to determine if it will work for you. There are some companies that strive to make theirs more natural and eco-friendly, so if you’re looking to minimize your hair damage, try finding one of those.

As we all know, hair grows. So despite repeated use of any styling products, colorants, or hair setting sprays, your hair will always grow out new, healthy hair.

That healthy hair will start to take damage over time as you continue to use the setting spray, but the most damaged parts of your hair will be the ends, which you’ll cut off anyway at your routine hair appointments.

What can I use as a substitute for setting spray?

There are other hair styling products that can be used in place of setting spray, but whether or not they work for you will depend on the style you’re going for.

If you’re just looking to keep shape to your curls, you can try using a mousse. This is a product you squeeze into your hand first, work between your hands to warm it up, then comb through your hair.

A mousse wouldn’t work as a substitute for setting spray if you’re looking to secure an updo, but it can work for any styles where your hair has more freedom in its body.

You could also try a hair spritz as opposed to a hair setting spray.

Setting sprays tend to come in aerosol cans. Hair spritz is a non-aerosol spray that you can squirt onto your hair in small bursts, rather than the long continuous cloud of hair setting spray.

Hair spritz still offers a hold that will last for hours, but it gives you more flexibility and a softer feel to your hair.

How do you make your own setting spray?

If you want to skip all the chemicals and damage completely, you can try and make your own setting spray at home.

It’s important to remember that DIY hair setting sprays will not work as well as chemical hair sprays. DIY hair sprays are best for a light hold, but don’t expect them to last all night keeping your curls or updo perfectly in tact.

To make your own setting spray, you’ll boil water and a little bit of sugar (exact ratios will vary depending on the amount of setting spray you want to make).

Once all the sugar is dissolved, you’ll let the liquid cool in the refrigerator, then pour it into a spray bottle.

What you’re essentially making is a light caramel syrup, but removing it from the stove before it actually turns to caramel.

For those who’ve worked with or made caramel before, you’ll know exactly how sticky and stiff caramel can be. That’s what makes this recipe work so well, because it’s a light misting of a caramel-like liquid.

This setting spray can be great to use in the winter, but be careful using it in the summer. Although you won’t smell the sugar that much, insects will, and you may find yourself the center of some bees and flies.

For more information on this DIY hair setting spray, check out this video. You’ll get the exact ratios and process for making your own chemical-free hair setting spray.

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