I actually loathe most commercial hair products these days due to their nasty chemical smell (yes even the “natural” and “organic” versions tend to have that weird chemical smell). These days I sport a “do” that’s a little below shoulder length. I like to wear it 1940s style when I have the time (think big smooth curls and victory rolls). Doing this with my fine, dead straight hair requires a little assistance, usually from one of the most environmentally unfriendly hair products out there, good ‘ol hairspray.

Hairspray with any sticking power can also be rather expensive at between $5 and $20 Australian (or more) and I’m totally pinchy (ie a tight wad, cheap ass, miser). Especially when it comes to spending our hard earned and limited income on stuff I’m sure I can make myself.

So I did some fishing about on good old Miss Google for alternatives. There’s lots, with varying reviews. I tried a few. Everything from sugar (attracts bees … go on, ask me how I know) to tea ( not great for lightened hair) to beer (worked great but left me smelling something akin to a pub carpet after closing).

I’ve heard of people using lemons to make hair rinses and to lighten their hair before but didn’t realise you could use them to hold your hair in place…till now.

Lemon Vodka Hairspray

1 large clean waxfree lemon (I used two small ones from the tree in our backyard. If you have dark coloured hair, use an orange instead).

2 cups Water

1 tablespoon Sugar ( you can leave this out if you don’t need much “hold” power or just want to use as a setting spray).

2 tablespoons vodka (or gin or white rum or if you have darker coloured hair try brandy. Whatever you use needs a high alcohol content, 30% plus)

A spray bottle (I just used an old plastic leave in conditioner spray bottle. Does the job)

To make

Slice your lemon (or orange) skin and all into rings of about half centimetre or so width. Don’t worry about taking out the seeds. Pop in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Lower temperature and simmer at least 15 minutes (20 is better but keep an eye on the water level, top it up a little if needed.

Take off the heat, strain out your lemon and return liquid to pan. Add the sugar, bring back to boil stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Turn of heat and stir in the vodka.

Decant into a clean spray bottle.Allow to cool a little if using a plastic spray bottle… Plastic plus heat equals…ick.

Use as you would regular hairspray next time you style your hair.

If you’re worried about smelling like lemons or vodka don’t worry, you won’t, but you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil when you add the vodka if you like.

Don’t chuck the lemon bits that you strained out.. I mince what’s left and freeze for cake/desert/jam making.

Does it actually work? Hell yeah!!

I usually style my hair in the early AM and providing I’m not out in terrential rain or hurricane winds this spray has been keeping my “do” in place until late in the PM. I just brush it out before bed. I haven’t had any problems with stickiness or build up.

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