Where Did Hairspray come from?

Thank you, Norway. In 1927 you were the first to bring the world the aerosol spray.

 Don't use it on your hair.

Don't use it on your hair.

And thank you, U.S. Government.  The funding of inventors Lyle Goodhue and William Sullivan led to the development of a portable aerosol spray can. 'The Bug Bomb,' as it was known, allowed soldiers fighting in the Pacific Rim in WWII to combat the rampant malaria-ridden mosquitoes.  After the war, four U.S. companies were granted licenses to manufacture aerosols.  One of those companies, was Chase Products.  They were the first to make spray paint, hairspray, and the second to package spray snow.

The first to coin the term 'hairspray' was beauty titan Helene Curtis Inc.  Founded in the 20's by two men who scraped mud from the Arkansas River and packaged it as a mud mask, they SUAVE-ly shifted focus to hair care products and revolutionized an industry.  (get it? LOL)  In 1950 they dubbed their new product Spray Net as a 'hairspray'.  

But seriously, they did create Suave.


Without this new aerosol delivery system for what was essentially an adhesive with the water soluble polymer Polyvinylpyrrolidone, (PVP) the Beehive and the Bouffant would never have been possible.  Up until the 1960's, big hair a la Marie Antoinette was achieved through hair pieces.  Water soluble meant Spray Net and its peers could be shampooed out and allowed for never before seen creativity in the beauty industry.

Interesting fact: because of the water solubility factor, that meant the 1950's hairspray could draw in water, which led to the styles of that era looking extra sticky.  It wasn't until further development led to the inclusion of silicas that helped repel humidity and leave the hair with a natural finish.

When the 1970's hit, hairspray itself took a hit.  The trend was to keep the hair long and flowing and loose.  In addition, the use of the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) included in aerosols was starting to be proven to be extremely damaging to the ozone layer.  The EPA began making regulations that led to the reduction of CFCs in products, one of which was hairspray.  This led to the 1987 Montreal Protocol On Substances That Deplete The Ozone.  

Today, with the addition of plastics and alternative polymers to hairsprays, and new technology in dispensing methods, 21st century hairsprays care for the environment more than their predecessors.  They also come now in a variety of holds for all hair textures and styling needs. Tell us below; what is your go to hairspray?