How to Get Rid of Hairspray Flakes and The Best Sprays to Use


How to Get Rid of Hairspray Flakes and The Best Sprays to Use

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Does anybody else have flakes that never go away?

Or is it just me!

A few weeks ago, one of my work colleagues pointed out that I had visible white flakes on my front hairline.

Needless to say, I felt totally embarrassed.

But I have to admit …

My scalp has been feeling weird, tight, dry, and itchy for the last couple of months, and I knew I had a flaking problem.

I just couldn’t help but notice these white and slightly yellowish waxy residues in between my parting lines every day. What was more worrying was the fact that the skin underneath always looked red and inflamed.

white flakes in hair from hairspray

It was high time I did something about it. And this is what I did …

I booked a consultation with a Dermatologist.

After an initial checkup and using a process of elimination, we identified the culprits that were giving my scalp inflammation and flaky residues.

My hairsprays.

Something I would never have guessed. I thought it was mostly due to hard water or my shampoos.

But I was so wrong, and yet happy that I knew what to do to fix the problem.

Hairsprays and dry shampoos work great to give your hair the perfect hold and on-the-go cleanse, but here’s the thing you may not know.

Most hairsprays contain Alcohol and Polymers.

How To Get Hairspray Flakes Out Of Your Hair

Polymers are glue-like substances that give your hair long-lasting hold. And Alcohol is a synthetic substance that has a fast-drying effect.

Put them together, you get a product that makes glue dry fast. This is why a hair styling spray makes your hair stiff within seconds of applying.

And this is what my Dermatologist would call:

The Dehydrating Glue Effect.

Yes, a hairspray works like a dehydrating glue to make your hair stick up and hold.

But how does it cause flakes?

Glue does not wash out easily. Therefore, the polymers and silicones from hairsprays stay in your hair over time.

Now combine that with the drying effect of alcohol on your scalp, you get a combination of dry skin mixed with silicone residues that starts to shed.

In short, white flakes that look like dandruff.

The first thing to do to get rid of hairspray flakes is to change your hairspray.

Use alcohol-free and silicone-free hairsprays.

After trying out a few of them, here are the best ones that work without flaking.

The Best Hairsprays That Don’t Flake

Herbal essences no flaking hairspray

Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Airspray Alcohol-Free Hairspray


No Alcohol, No Ethanol, No Parabens, and pH balanced.

Why Do Hairsprays Cause Flakes and How to Avoid it

Hairsprays and dry shampoos are lifesavers. There’s no denying it.

I use hairsprays every morning as my hair always gets flyaways and sticks up with the constant wind in London.

And I always carry my Klorane dry shampoo (No-alcohol) in my handbag to freshen my locks after my evening workout.

I can assure you that the products I use now on my dark hair leave no flaking at all.

Because none of them contain alcohol or similar derivatives.

Let me explain why alcohol is bad for your hair and scalp …

how to remove flakes from hairsprays
The effects of alcohol in hair products.

If you look at the ingredients list of your hairspray or shampoo, you’ll most likely find these items:

  • Ethanol
  • Stearyl Alcohol
  • Cetearyl Alcohol
  • And Cetyl Alcohol

Most of them are used for 2 reasons:

  • As preservatives
  • And as fast-drying agents

Alcohols in shampoos and hairsprays help the formula evaporate faster, therefore, decreasing the drying time of the product.

While this is convenient to help you style your hair faster, the drying effect of alcohol also dehydrates your scalp and hair.

Repeated use of alcohol eventually breaks down the acid mantle of the scalp, which causes dry skin to peel off and start flaking.

Flakes in your hair are a combination of dry skin and product residues.

Silicones and Polymers Leave Residues in Hair That Also Cause Flakes

Another problem with hairsprays is polymers, which accumulate over the hair shaft. Since they are identical to glue, it will take 4-5 washes to rinse them out of the hair completely.

Now think what happens if you use hairsprays daily, and you don’t wash your hair every day?

It gets worse and can even contribute to severely dry hair that breaks, causing minor hair loss.

When product accumulates over your hair, they literally block moisturizers, colors, and other nutritive treatments from working, which can make your hair look dull and lifeless.

Luckily, there are so many easy to do at home remedies you can try to get rid of flakes from hairspray buildup.

How to Get Rid of Hairspray Flakes – 5 Home Remedies That Work

1. The Baking Soda Solution

How to remove flakes from hairsprays
Baking soda remedy to remove hairspray flakes.

Baking soda is a very popular ingredient that’s used in many homemade beauty recipes. It’s also one of the most popular homemade remedies for cleansing the scalp, which is also known as the No Poo method.

Baking soda is very effective for breaking down build-up and residues from the hair and the scalp.

So let me show you how to use baking soda to get rid of white hairspray flakes instantly.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Follow these step by step instructions:

Step 1:

Add 2 tbsp of shampoo into the mixing bowl.
Then add 1 tbsp of baking soda.

Step 2:

Mix the baking soda and the shampoo with your spoon for 5 mins.
Wait until it becomes a smooth liquid.


Now scoop a small amount of the mixture with your wide-tooth comb and apply it to your hair. Keep applying and make sure you distribute it evenly throughout your hair.

Make sure you also get in between the roots so that the mixture works on your scalp.

Step 4:

Leave the mixture to sit on your hair for around 15 minutes. The baking soda mixture will work to break down all the residues and exfoliate the dry skin from your scalp.

Step 5:

Finally, wash your hair thoroughly to get rid of the mixture, the shedding dry skin, and the residues.

Step 6:

This is very important.

Since baking soda is an alkaline substance and will elevate the pH of your hair, you will need to use a low pH shampoo or conditioner straight away to restore the pH balance of both your hair and scalp.

2: Use a Boar Bristle Brush

get rid of hairspray flakes without washing hair

Remember the old saying from our grandmothers:

Brush your hair 100 times before you go to bed.

Well, this is not a myth. It is actually a routine you should follow to keep your hair and your scalp healthy.

I use a boar bristle brush every day, and I can tell you it helps a lot with:

  • Stimulating my scalp
  • Keeping my hair smooth
  • Distributing the natural oil (sebum) along with my hair

And most importantly, brushing removes dirt, residues, dust, and dead skin cells that accumulate on your head.

Run a boar bristle brush over your chops and watch in satisfaction as the flakes loosen up and lift off your scalp.

Regular brushing is the best way to get rid of hairspray flakes without washing your hair every day.

Fun experiment:

Try this for a week, and at the end of the week … do this:

Add baking soda into a pot of hot water, and then dip your brush into that pot.

Watch how all the sticky flakes from your hairsprays bubble out.

If you brush your hair daily with a bristle brush, the sticky stuff from hairsprays won’t stay in your hair.

And the best part, the bristles stimulate your scalp, which produces sebum to keep the skin hydrated for longer.

brush to remove hairspray flakes

Mason Pearson Boar Bristle Brush


I use the Mason Pearson Boar Bristle Brush and I highly recommend it.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

use apple cider vinegar to remove hairspray flakes

Dry shampoo and hairspray addicts… Listen up!

Apple cider vinegar is a great natural scalp detox that also balances moisture so that your scalp doesn’t dry up and become flaky.

ACV contains natural alpha-hydroxy and acetic acids that gently exfoliate your scalp to remove product buildup and dead skin cells.

With the additional benefits of its antibacterial properties, ACV also removes bacteria that cause dandruff.

Here’s how you can use it to remove flaky buildup from your hair.

What you’ll need:

Make sure you choose unpasteurized apple cider vinegar like Braggs, which looks cloudy in the bottle. That’s the only way you can tell the vinegar is in its raw state.

Follow these instructions to make your DIY recipe:

Step 1:

Mix the apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, lavender drops, and water in a bowl. Lavender oil will help cut out the horrible vinegar smell.

Step 2:

Use your fingers to apply the mixture and massage evenly into your scalp.

Step 3:

Now cover your head with the shower cap to allow the heat from your head to warm up the mixture and let it to seep into your hair and scalp.

Step 4:

Let it sit for 10 minutes.

Step 5:

Finally, rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water.

Note: Never use ACV and essential oils undiluted as they will be too strong. Add more water to your mixture if the smell feels too strong.

Repeat weekly until your scalp feels free from buildup and flakes.

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty with DIY and the lingering smell of vinegar, you can go with this ready-made solution, which is excellent and doesn’t smell.

4. Lemon Juice and Warm Water

use lemon juice to remove hairspray flakes

Just like apple cider vinegar, lemon is acidic.

It can break down oil, excess sebum, and chemical deposits that sit in between your roots to dissolve them and rid your scalp from all the crap.

Add a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon into a bottle of warm water and spray it into your hair twice a week.

Let it sit for 10 minutes and rinse thoroughly.

While warm water helps to dissolve stubborn flakes and residues, lemon juice will buff away the dead skin cells and detox your scalp.

See the difference after 2 applications.

Your scalp won’t feel tight, and you’ll definitely not see any more flakes.

5. Use Micellar Water

use micellar water to remove hairspray flakes

Micellar water is an excellent cleanser that clusters residues and dirt to flush them out from your skin.

Just like it can take out layers of makeup in one swipe, Micellar water draws out all the impurities that cling to your hair and sit on your scalp for too long.

Think of it as a magnet for dirt and residues.

Micellar will break down dirt, loosen flakes, and purge the congested pores on your scalp to purify your skin without stripping moisture and natural sebum.

The product I recommend:


Now that you know how to get rid of hairspray flakes, the lesson is to avoid the wrong products that cause the problem in the first place.

Use Alcohol-free and Silicone-free hairsprays.

I’ve researched and handpicked a few hairsprays above. I personally use the Herbal Essences Bio-Renew Flexible Airspray Alcohol-Free, which is available for a reasonable price on Amazon.

Another important thing to note:

I know we all use dry shampoos for convenience, just make sure your dry shampoo is also alcohol-free. Klorane is organic, and you’ll love the delicious scent too.

getting rid of flakes from hairsprays

Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Airspray Alcohol-Free Hairspray


The best alcohol-free no flakes hairspray I recommend.

Camelia Smith
Camelia Smith
Creative Writer

Camelia loves all things creative and glamtastic.

She can color hair, perform keratin treatments, bleach hair, and even cut curly hair. She is our go-to person whenever we have hair treatments and styling questions.

She's also currently training as a freelance makeup artist and is passionate about helping others feel beautiful in their skin. When she's not writing or doing hair, she's usually spending time watching British period dramas.