Here's Why You Should Never Spray Perfume In Your Hair

Once you've discovered your favorite scent, it's tempting to want to spray it everywhere on you, even on your hair. After all, hair holds smells pretty well, so why not make it a good one? However, there are perfume ingredients to watch out for because some can be potentially harmful to your hair. Many perfumes and body mists are actually made with alcohols — ethyl and isopropyl alcohols in particular — that the FDA has deemed drying for skin and hair (via Healthline).

Avoiding perfumes with these types of alcohol might be a good solution, but it might be a better option to seek ingredients that can actually help your hair instead of damaging it. There are ingredients like plant-based alcohols or products specially formulated for your hair that can make all the difference. To avoid any negative long-term effects on your hair, it's important to always delve deeper into what you're putting on it.

Perfume can damage your hair

Spraying your favorite perfume on your hair, especially if it contains harsh alcohols, can dry your hair out. Although it may not be the biggest problem doing it every now and then, the damage can definitely add up. This can then lead to long-term effects such as breakage, split ends, brittle hair, and frizziness (via Health Shots).

Chief chemist at hair company Color Wow Dr. Joe Cincotta explains in the company's blog that alcohol can come in two forms, stating that there can be alcohols that are bad for your hair but also some that are beneficial. "The complex, molecular structure of different alcohols involves different carbon chains attached to the alcohol group," Cincotta writes. "All you really need to know is that there are two major types of alcohols in skin and hair care products: short chain alcohols and long chain fatty alcohols."

Many perfumes contain up to 20% alcohol in the higher content, and the lower levels contain about 10% or less (via PopSugar). Short-chain alcohols, as Dr. Cincotta explains, are usually the ones you need to look out for because they will have that drying and damaging effect. Because of its low molecular weight, it will evaporate quickly, removing moisture as it permeates. This type of alcohol is often found in perfumes, as well as hair products like hairspray (via Color Wow).

What to use instead of perfume

According to Healthline, long-chain fatty alcohols such as cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl are derived from plants and can add hydration and lubrication to hair strands. These types of alcohol draw water to your hair, providing moisture. In addition to lubrication, they also add thickness to a product. However, they are too large to penetrate into the hair shafts but are often found as a moisturizer in conditioners and deep conditioners (via Naturally Curly). If you have curly hair, this is especially beneficial. Curly hair, however, is also more susceptible to being dried out and damaged by products with short-chain alcohol.

Instead, you can opt for some mist sprays specially formulated for hair. Osme Perfumery, a perfume apothecary company, describes hair mist as a fragrance for hair without all the added ingredients that can dry or frizz it. Oftentimes, these mists are multitaskers in providing pleasant scents as well as styling. Some hair mists can also have other benefits including hydration and even UV protection (via Bustle), combining scent and function to meet your hair perfume and health needs.