Top 10 Travel HairSpray to Pack for your Next Trip!

by Stephanie Sanchez
[ Veteran Hair Coach and Stylists ]

Hairspray is one of those Hairstyling tools that if you need it, NOTHING else will do.

These below-mentioned questions and more will be answered in this article :

  1. How Much Holding Power Do You Need?​
  2. Which is better aerosol or non-aerosol?​
  3. Are Spritz, Spray Gel and Hair spray the same thing​
  4. How can I prevent Product build-up​

So can I bring aerosols on an airplane?

The Official Rule for Non-medically necessary aerosols (with the exception of bug spray and repellent)

Carry On Bags: Yes (Less than 3.4oz/100 ml allowed) But it must go in your quart-size bag

Checked Bags: Yes (Special Instructions)

Toiletry-type aerosols in checked baggage must not exceed 70 oz. (68 fl. oz) total

and each container must be 18 oz. (16 fl. oz.) or less. TSA  Gross weight of the can & (net weight of contents) That = 4-5 large cans.

Checked Bags: Yes (Special Instructions)

Toiletry-type aerosols in checked baggage must not exceed 70 oz. (68 fl. oz) total

and each container must be 18 oz. (16 fl. oz.) or less. TSA  Gross weight of the can & (net weight of contents) That = 4-5 large cans.

Aspects to consider when choosing the best travel Hairspray that's right for you:

  • Hold​
  • Humidity defense​
  • Adds Volume, Texture or Shine​
  • Heat Shield / UV protection ​
  • Style memory and brushable​
  • Aerosol or Non-Aerosol​

How does Hairspray hold? ​

Just like gel and mousse, hairspray has polymers to hold the hair in place.  The spray of thin-film creates an invisible hair net, holding individual hairs together where they touch.

The main ingredient of hair spray is a liquid that keeps the polymers suspended. 

Prior to the ’90s,  VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. VOC’s like alcohol (ethanol) constituted 80% of the product.  

Manufacturers had to reduce the amount of VOCs found in hairspray from 80 percent to 55%. Meaning hairspray uses more water in their formulas resulting in a wetter feel, that take longer to dry.-Vindy

As we have seen in GelMousse, as well as Hairspray, are all basically the same ingredients formulated into different thicknesses and textures.  The thinner the product (like mousse or Hairspray) the more water and/or alcohols it takes to solubilize the polymers.

To counteract the reduction of alcohol, hairspray also contains:

  1.  plasticizing agents, that keep the hair more flexible and moisturized. 
  2. Silicones to help hair dry faster, protect against humidity, and add shine.  
  3. And propellant gases like propane and butane. To avoid propellants switch to a non-aerosol Hairspray
  4. Other conditioning agents (Fatty alcohols) that are NOT considered volatile (VOCs). 

Read more about the effects of alcohol on your hair in “ Best Travel-size Mousse

It’s really hard to find a true hairspray that DOESN’T have some type of alcohol. (for those who really want to stay away from it)

I looked high and low to find these Alcohol-free travel-size hairsprays for you.

What differences are there between Hairsprays?

Hairspray can be categorized:

  1. Finishing sprays
  2. Working sprays
  3. Aerosol & Non-Aerosol

Finishing Spray-

Often called hairspray or Hair Lacquer - As its name suggests, are used to finish the hair as the last step in your hairstyling.
Included in this category are, Dry OIl or dry conditioning sprays even though they have little or NO hold. Bumble and Bumble

The purpose of Finishing Spray is to set or lock in the style. To protect your hair from humidity,  and to add shine.  

The Finer and drier the mist, the better the finish.It would be almost impossible to achieve picture-perfect results without an aerosol

The Finer and drier the mist, the better the finish. It would be almost impossible to achieve picture-perfect results without an aerosol

A word of cautionSuper Hold Finishing sprays in particular can buildup on your hair.

If You use hairspray often, follow these very important steps:

  1. Use a Clarifying Shampoo or Clarifying treatments they are important in eliminating product buildup and residue.
Clarifying Shampoo
detox shampoo
ColorProof ClearItUp Detox Shampoo
Check Lastest Price
Clarifying treatments
swimmers wipe
Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Hair Remedy
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  1. Deep condition weekly to keep your hair feeling like hair and not straw.
  2. Look for high quality professional brands that DON’T leave residue.

I remember a particular salon receptionist we had. She was the old school weekly wash and set.  She kept up her look by applying hair spray, layers upon layers of it. Oftentimes, I had to wash her hair at least 3 times to get the product out. Her hair was very dry from years of abuse with hairspray.

Working Spray

Also called Shaping Spray, Volumizing Spray, and sometimes texture spray. 

Is a multi-tasking hairspray that holds hair in place during each step of styling. The main job of a working spray is to build structure in the hair. These products can be re-worked and are brushable.

Hold: some have a soft hold and others a stronger hold.

No stylist likes to work on freshly washed hair when styling an updo.  So a working spray helps “dirty” the hair and gives it grip. Otherwise, the hair would fall or would not last the entire event. 

Nowadays there are a lot of products designed to give your hair “grip” or that 2nd-day  hair feel. 

We discuss these in Best Travel-Sized texturizing products for hair and best Travel -Sized Pomades for women


As a kid my favorite Hairspray was aquanet.  Nowadays I'm not going for the windproof mile-high bangs.  

 I look for a non-sticky, brushable hold, with humidity control.

Professional/ Luxury Brands

Finishing Spray

Living Proof Styling Hair Spray​
hair spray
Living Proof frizz Humidity Sheild Weightless, Anti-Static, Thermal (up to 450 degrees) & UV Protection (Soft /Med hold)
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Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray Medium​
hair spray
Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray extra strong hold finishing spray reflective shield of shine that fights humidity and frizz brushes out easily and leaves no sticky residue
Check Lastest Price
Matrix Vavoom Freezing Finishing Hairspray​
hair spray
Matrix Vavoom Freezing Spray best price in category (strongest hold ) best for thick hair
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Style Freestyle Spray Travel Size​
Hair Spray
Keune Freestyle (Best overall) Brushable, 24 hr humidity protection, firm hold, natural shine for a decent finish
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Working Spray

hair spray
Saints & Sinners (largest 3.4oz) a true multitasker use on wet or dry hair, conditions, eliminates frizz, adds shine, seals ends and smooths flyaways. For most hair types. (Although NOT great for fine hair) It protects against thermal damage and is humidity resistant.
Check Latest Price 
R+Co Outer Space Flexible Hairspray, 2.25 Fl Oz​
hair spray
R+Co Outer Space Reworkable finish and hold. Reapply with no build-up, so change or freshen as often as you like.
Check Latest Price
Alterna Bamboo Vegan Hair Spray​
hair spray
Alterna Bamboo Smooth humidity protection light flexible hold
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ORIBE Free Styler Hairspray, 2.2 oz​
travel hair spray
Free Styler brushable can be layered and re-worked all-day (won’t leave you with residue)
Check Latest Price
Pureology Style Hair Spray
hair spray
Maximum Hold for Color Treated Hair
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Tip: What to do if your hairspray clogs

  • Take off the nozzle if you can and run both the tip and the spray nozzle under warm water to loosen the blockage.
  • Use a needle to clean the face and eye of the spray nozzle

Non-Aerosols Hair Sprays

Spritz, Spray Gel or Non-Aerosol Hair sprays are all similar products. They come in a pump atomizer.

Non-aerosols are generally considered better for the environment since they don't have gas propellants. They are wet sprays are heavier for fine hair.  But usually, they have longer hold time. They are Most beneficial for creating texture.

Spritz and spray gels can be used on dry or damp hair to shape or control waves and curls. Apply near the root area for fullness and lift. -Sally’s Beauty

Hair Spritz has a  soft, flexible hold. The formula is gentle enough that you can even brush through. Hair Spritz smooth hair while adding shine. Fantastic Sams

R+Co Dallas Thickening Spray​
Hair Spray
For Damp Hair
Use on damp hair to thicken then blow-dry
Check Latest Price 
Macadamia Professional Anti Humidity Finishing Spray​
Hair Spray
Finishing Spray for Curls
Macadamia Professional paraben & sulfate free
Check Latest Price

How Much Holding Power Do You Need?

Thankfully, hairsprays come in different strengths.

  1. Soft Hold: This hairspray provides whisper hold without restricting movement and bounce. It is therefore ideal to prevent fly-away hair and to bolster the undone look. 
  2. Medium Hold:  hold curls in place without stickiness. 
  3. Firm Hold: Styling updo hairstyle to survive long enough, a night on the town
  4. Extra Strong Hold: Strongest level hairspray, also called hair lacquer. Hair lacquer is the right choice for elaborate hairstyles, which must hold up an entire day (important events).

Hairsprays with more holding power may weigh down waves and curls or fine/thin hair.

Tips to Use Hairspray Properly

How to avoidthe "helmet head" effect. Hair that only a hurricane could move.
  • As a matter of policy, always select the least holding hairspray, that still does the job. That way your hair has sufficient hold but it will look naturally soft rather than stiff and brittle.​
  • "Less is more!" Don’t weigh down your hair with too much hairspray, creating sticky, or flaky hair. You can always apply later if needed.​
  • Always Spray 8-12 inches away from your hair.​
  • Do not spray directly on your scalp​
  • Move the can in a smooth circular motion so the hairspray falls evenly. Avoid applying too much hairspray in one spot.​
  • For more volume, Hang your head upside down. OR Lift up the outer hair and spray underneath for push up effect. This method also works well if your bangs/fringe needs more bounce. ​
Tips From

 Naturally Curly & Schwarzkopf



Generally speaking, most hairsprays will not damage your hair. However, I would read the ingredient list first before choosing a hairspray.  pick a hairspray according to its purpose. Don’t add a finishing spray to your everyday styling routine, as it causes product build-up.

Is there a particular brand you are looking for in travel-size check out The Ultimate Guide to travel-sized hair care.

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