What makes a good fragrance free hairspray?

Fragrance-free hairsprays are still a relatively new phenomenon; you’re unlikely to find them on the shelves of your local supermarket, and most of the big brands still haven't caught on to the need for a well-rounded, hypoallergenic alternative to the everyday hairsprays we’re all used to using.

Unfortunately, this can make finding the best fragrance-free hair sprays quite challenging; there aren’t a lot of resources to steal snippets of advice from, and the low-key chatter on forums and comment threads rarely provide the detailed info that’s needed to pick the good from the bad.  Rather than just pointing you towards our own (excellent) range of fragrance-free hair sprays, we’ve decided to help you out by really delving into the anatomy of a good, fragrance-free hair spray; highlighting the most important attributes, and explaining the importance of:

  • A hypoallergenic formulation
  • Good hold
  • Good texture
  • A Neutral formula
  • A formula that’s gentle on sensitive skin

Keen to find out more? Read on!

Hypoallergenic formulation

First things first, the importance of a hypoallergenic formulation. The amount of unpleasant, chemical additives that are found in regular hair products has become the primary driving force behind the shift towards fragrance-free options like our range of hairsprays. Spin a bottle of off-the-shelf spray around, and you’ll see an ingredients list that’s studded with perfumes, gluten-derived proteins and other, chemical nasties that are designed to kill bacteria, or cover up unpleasant odors. 

Historically, hairsprays have been absolutely packed with these chemicals, and with good reason too: Until relatively recent advances allowed us to ditch them completely, there was no better way to make sure that hairsprays stayed shelf-stable, bacteria-free and pleasant to use. Unfortunately, the chemical additives found in most regular hair sprays often trigger unpleasant allergic reactions: Limonene, linalyl acetate, and linalyl anthranilate are all popular additives designed to provide a pleasant fragrance, but in people that suffer from allergies or an over-sensitive immune-system, the presence of these chemicals can trigger a full-blown inflammatory response.

And this means that people with a lot of allergies had to stomach all sorts of unpleasant symptoms - from swollen eyes right through to muscle aches, nausea and a swollen throat.

The problem doesn't stop there either. Aside from the known allergens, most modern hair sprays also contain a number of chemicals that are known to irritate the mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, and mouth.

These chemicals, which include preservatives like formaldehyde, aren’t technically allergens, but they are known to trigger a number of unpleasant symptoms, including (but not limited to):

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Runny eyes
  • A tight feeling in the chest

In extreme cases, chemicals like formaldehyde can also irritate the skin in the same way as the allergens noted above, causing blistering rashes, redness or dermatitis as a result of prolonged use. If you suffer from asthma, they can also trigger attacks by irritating the lining of your airways. Worse still, they can produce these reactions in people who don’t actually suffer from allergies or sensitive skin. A survey conducted by the University of West Georgia found that around 30% of people have reported some sort of allergic-type reaction from common fragrances and chemicals found in hairspray, and there’s every chance that these irritating sensitivities are misdiagnosed as hay fever or something similar. A good, fragrance-free hair spray will be free from all of these chemicals and additives - from gluten right through to formaldehyde. They’ll be safe to use on a day-to-day basis and won’t trigger any sort of allergic-type reaction when they’re used to style your hair.

This is certainly the case for both of our flagship hairsprays;  the No Nothing Strong Hold Hairspray, and the No Nothing Super Strong Hold Hairspray both of these hairsprays have been formulated from the ground up to be the best fragrance-free hairsprays that money can buy, and one of the key reasons for this is the fact that they rely on ingredients that are generally safe and won’t trigger any latent allergies. In fact, both have been approved by the Finnish Allergy and Asthma Association, and bear the organization’s internationally-recognized stamp, which means that they are safe for the vast majority of people who suffer from allergies, sensitivities or intolerances.

Good hold

Just because you’re going fragrance-free, doesn't mean that you should have to sacrifice the quality of your hairspray. The whole point of hairspray is to fix your style in place, add volume and provide texture; elevating your chosen style and helping to make sure that you look your absolute best for the duration of the evening. Unfortunately, a lot of fragrance-free hair sprays fall down on one of two fronts: They either provide too little hold, which can result in flyaways, frizz or messy hair, or they provide too much hold; gluing your hair to your head like a shellac helmet, and obliterating any trace of natural bounce.

And that’s a shame because the chemistry behind hair sprays is relatively straightforward and very easy to balance. In simple terms, hairspray works by using a propellant to disperse two polymers ( and ) that combine together to form an invisible ‘hair net’, capable of fixing your hair in place. The balance of these two polymers, and the presence of other ingredients designed to modulate the bond determines the kind of hold that your hair spray will provide. And this is a known science: big brands like L'oreal, Tresemme, Kerastase and Redken have spent decades perfecting their hairspray formulas, and we’re now at the point when you can find an option to suit every hair type. 

Unless, of course, you have sensitive skin, hate the scent or suffer from a serious allergy, but we’re here for that! Good hairsprays will also contain some form of nourishing ingredients too; amino acids like arginine to nourish individual follicles and help keep your hair looking strong and healthy, or special proteins to combat frizz. As you can see, there’s no real reason for a fragrance-free hairspray to get the balance wrong; it’s simply a case of taking the things that we already understand and tweaking the formula to eliminate irritating additives. Of course, it is still important that you pick a hairspray that’s right for your hair. If you have light or fine hair, even the best super hold hair spray will leave you with dull, lifeless hair as its specifically formulated to fix much heavier strands in place. It’s for this reason that we’ve set out to offer two - carefully-formulated -fragrance-free hair sprays: Our Strong Hold Hairspray and Super Strong Hold Hairspray

No Nothing Fragrance-Free Strong Hold Hairspray

Our fragrance-free, stronghold spray is designed for lighter hair and is specifically formulated to offer great hold without weighing down delicate tresses. It adds plenty of structure without gunking up your hair and it's designed to be worn day after day, so you can rely on it to produce excellent results!

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No Nothing Fragrance-Free Strong Hold Hairspray

Our super strong hold hairspray is a different story. As the name suggests, it’s a more heavy-duty product, designed to add volume and texture to thicker, heavier hair. It’s still been formulated with a light touch, and its free from any nasties, but it can support more complex styles and will suit those of us that can’t tame our hair with a lighter spray.

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We do also stock a Fragrance-freeStyling Spray that offers a strong hold for very fine or thin hair. Although primarily designed to offer UV protection, heat protection, and texture, this handy little spray is a great option for simple styles and adding a quick spritz can lock in flyaways in a matter of seconds.

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Adds texture

Ideally, you’d also want a good, fragrance-free hairspray to add texture to your hair. It’s the texture that makes so many of the “full-body” hairstyles we see on billboards, catwalks and magazine covers, and it's normally hairspray that provides it. The Gloss, Fashionista and other, global beauty publications regularly run features on the amazing, texturizing ability of hairspray, and you only have to flip open a fashion magazine to see that yourself. 

Unfortunately, only good hairspray that adds texture. The poorly-formulated examples tend to make hair look gunky, dull or flat, while mid-range examples will fix your hair in place, but rarely add any real shine. With both of our hairsprays, we’ve done everything that we can to ensure that they produce plenty of texture. Our formula is designed from the ground-up to nourish and texture your hair without creating too much build-up, and our careful approach to ingredient inclusion means that you’ll be able to use it regularly without running the risk of dull or lifeless hair. Our Strong Hold Hairspray is particularly good from a textural point of view, as is our lightweight Styling Spray, which is formulated to protect, nourish and fix hair without weighing it down.

It’s all in the technique

It’s at this point that we should probably point out the importance of technique. As we mentioned above, picking the right level of hold really is the key to getting a good look, and the same is definitely true for the way you spray - particularly if you’re keen to build texture. Spray even the lightest, most delicate hairspray all over your head and you’ll find that it flattens everything down, particularly if you have curls, or layers in your hair. But if you take the time to tease apart different strands, curls or layers before you spray, you’ll suddenly find that your hair has plenty of movement and plenty of variation which is a key part to creating interesting visual texture. Make sure that you hold the can at least eight centimeters from your head too. You might be tempted to get up close and personal, but we have it on good authority that spraying too close is the number one reason that so many hair-sprayed dos look so limp.

Gentle on the skin

Earlier in this article, we talked a bit about the irritating chemicals that can cause people to cough, wheeze or cry when they used regular hairspray. Unfortunately, there’s another, equally-important group of unpleasant chemicals in a lot of the products produced by leading brands - namely parabens, an ubiquitous group of chemical preservatives that are particularly harmful to people who are already predisposed to having sensitive skin.

Coming into contact with these chemicals is unlikely to cause an instant reaction. However, they can build up on the skin over time, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that they can cause irritation and rashes when this occurs. There is also some suggestion that the parabens can leach into the soft tissues of the body, where they can disrupt natural hormone cycles, and according to some studies, may even promote the growth of certain breast cancers. As such, it’s fair to say that these are probably products that should be avoided at all costs, and yet they’re found in a huge array of hair sprays, from the ones sold by big brands, right through to some of the ‘fragrance free’ options you’ll find on less-reputable online stores.

None of our hair sprays contain parabens. In fact, one of the key reasons that we sought out approval from the Finnish Allergy and Asthma Association from the was to demonstrate that we’d removed all of the chemical additives that are currently known to have harmful side effects, and we’re pleased to report that all three of our hairsprays are really gentle on sensitive skin.  In our view, this is one of the key reasons that they’re the best fragrance-free hair sprays available on today’s market.

Completely neutral

It probably goes without saying that you want your fragrance-free hairspray to smell completely neutral, but it’s worth highlighting anyway: Some people opt to use fragrance-free hairspray because they don’t want the smell to interfere with their chosen perfume or scent. This is particularly true of men, who want to reap the benefits of hairspray’s tenacious hold, glossy texture, and volume, but don’t want people to pick up on the fact that they’re wearing it.

For both groups, it’s important that the hair-spray smells completely neutral, but fragrance free doesn't actually mean neutral, in the truest sense of the word, it just means that no extra perfumes have been added to the formula.  Unfortunately that does mean that some ‘fragrance free’ products still have a fairly distinctive smell, and this issue - which is, admittedly, normally only found in cheaper products - has led to a whole slew of negative publicity around the fragrance free issue, with various.

Here at No nothing, we’re genuinely passionate about manufacturing fragrance free products. We take great care to ensure that our products are as neutral as they possibly can be. In short, we’ve done everything that we can to ensure that our fragrance-free hair sprays are some of the best on the market, and we’re really proud of the fact that they hold well, add texture and remain odor neutral without using common allergens, or the damaging chemicals found in most regular sprays.

To find out more about the range, you can click here. Alternatively, if you have any questions about our hairsprays or the attributes of good fragrance-free products, we’d welcome any inquiries via the contact form on our site. We’re really passionate about what we do, and we always look forward to spreading the word about good, fragrance-free products.