How Well Do You Know Your Aerosol Products?

There is more to spray applications than meets the eye and understanding the differences between aerosol and non-aerosol spray is an important part of a hairdressers overall product knowledge.

Aerosol Spray
The propellants normally used in an aerosol spray are Propane, Butane, Isobutane or Dimethyl Ether, none of which contain CFCs. The majority of aerosol sprays no longer contain CFCs, which are thought to play a significant role in ozone depletion.

Propellants are normally in a gaseous state at room temperature and they become liquefied under pressure; for example, within an aerosol spray can. When the button on top of an aerosol is depressed, a valve opens and the mixture is able to leave the can. The liquid propellant becomes a gas and helps to break the spray into droplets, giving a finer spray than, for example, a pump dispenser.

In foam or mousse, the liquefied gas forms bubbles, which make the product 'grow' once it is outside the container. The liquid propellant is also a quick-drying solvent. The actual amount of propellant found in an aerosol container varies depending on the product; a higher percentage for fine sprays, low for foam or mousse.

Advantages – Produces a fine and regular spray. Even coverage ensures that each hair is coated, resulting in a consistent, quality effect.

Disadvantages – Dispenser is not refillable and a smaller amount of pure product is applied due to the amount of propellant gas contained in the mixture.

Aerosols can be harmful; please read the following to familiarise yourself with the potential dangers:

  • Do not spray into eyes   
  • Protect from sunlight and do not expose to temperatures exceeding 50°C (122°F)
  • Do not pierce or burn, even after use 
  • Do not spray near a naked flame or any incandescent material. Keep away from sources of ignition – no smoking
  • Keep out of the reach of children
  • Use only as directed. Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling contents can be harmful or fatal
  • Keep away from all polished or painted surfaces

Non-aerosol Pump Spray
Pump sprays do not require propellants; consequently this type of dispenser contains only the pure active ingredient, which is sprayed from the bottle by a mechanical pumping action. The valve opening, or nozzle, determines the size of particles on exit. These are larger than with an aerosol spray.

Advantages – Pump action dispensers can be refilled. This represents a potential saving for salons and reduces waste. No propellant means more room for active ingredients hence pump dispensers can last for longer.

Disadvantages – The spray is not as fine as an aerosol and can deliver a wetter, irregular distribution. This may not be appropriate for all styles. In addition, the larger droplets may weigh down very fine hair types.