A Short History Lesson on Hairspray

A Short History Lesson on Hairspray

I managed to find some Aqua Net Hairspray in my favourite American store in Auckland. I was looking at the label and it prompted me to write this post.

I love history, especially learning about vintage make up, and beauty products.

Upon arriving home I of course had to test the hairspray, the nozzle is amazing! I’m always looking for good hairspray that has a super fine mist, I find it works so much better for really holding in those back combed styles and giving them that good coating to make the volume last all day, and shine… don’t even start me on hairspray needing good shine.

Did you know that hairspray was once more popular than lipstick?

It started back in World War II when the US created aerosol cans to help distribute bug spray, this was to try to keep things like malaria away from the soldiers. After the war was over, the beauty industry really noticed how the aerosol cans evenly distributed the contents and the idea of using this method for hair products was born.

The first aerosol hairspray was produced by a brand called Chase Products in 1948, this was a different spray from what we know today. It felt hard and sticky, it basically made you feel like you had a hard helmet of hair on your head.

From the moment Helene Curtis (a beauty products company) named it ‘hair spray’ in 1950 – the cans started flying off the shelves, and the first aerosol product they created was called ‘Spray Net’. Throughout the 1950’s and 60’s hairspray was the biggest beauty product on the market and with all the hair styles of the time hair spray was definitely needed. I mean… can you imagine big beehives and bouffants without hairspray?

Aqua Net

In 1960 L’Oreal made the first hairspray which could be brushed out, this of course was the legendary ‘Elnett’ range. However, later in the late 1960’s and early 70’s hair styles got a little more relaxed which meant hairspray was on the out. Hair was grown out long and loose which sadly didn’t need hairspray, and sales rapidly declined.

But don’t worry! The story doesn’t end sadly… because you know all those awesome glam metal bands in the 80’s with their crazy fairy floss hair? Yes…. hairspray made its come back. One of my boyfriends favourite band’s of the last decade is ‘Steel Panther’ and one of their members Lexxi Foxx constantly breaks out the Aqua Net on stage and re-sprays his hair during their gigs, its hilarious.

Motley Crue

Brands like Aqua Net were super popular with keeping those puffy styles looking good on stage, and still is a really popular brand of hairspray today.

Do you have a favourite brand of hairspray that you just couldn’t live without? I’m still trying to find one that I can say encompasses all the elements in my opinion of what hairspray should do – basically I’m on a hairspray hunt.

Hair spray in my opinion should:

  1. Be easily distributed (a nice fine mist)
  2. Have mega hold without being sticky or feeling hard as a rock – its a fine line
  3. Have some killer shine
  4. Smell good!

Comment below and let me know if you think you’ve hit the hairspray gold mine.


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