Time Travel: Aqua Net

Empty Can for Purchase
Last night at dinner, Darling Hubby and I found were listening to Pandora. A Dusty Springfield song was playing, and the album cover was shown. Hubby said, "How much hairspray do you think was used on her hairstyle?"

I laughed. "They probably used Aqua Net so it wouldn't take much at all."

Hubby told me about his first job as a teenager. He worked at a grocery store where the old mechanical price-stamping tool was used. He said if a price of a product changed, they would just spray Aqua Net on the old inked price and use a rag to wipe off the ink then re-stamp it.

I laughed, but that made me wonder who and how hairspray was invented. I thought it had been invented to replace the hairnets food workers were required to wear.

Curiosity aroused, I looked it up. I was wrong!

History Lesson: Hairspray

During the 1940's, the aerosol process and an aerosol spray can received patents. During WWII, the aerosol cans were used as a dispenser insecticides.

After the war, the beauty industry saw the potential for using an aerosol can to dispense a fixative spray to keep hair in place. The first to package a product which was a sticky, hard, resin-based spray, was Chase Products in 1948.

Two years later, Helene Curtis labeled an aerosol product for hair as "hair spray," and their product, Spray Net, became enormously successful.

Aqua Net came along in the 1950s, but I couldn't pin down the actual date. However, by the 1960s, Aqua Net was a staple on every girl and woman's vanity.

With the long hair trend of the 1970s, the popularity of Aqua Net waned but saw a resurgence with the big hair trend of the 1980s.

By then, Aqua Net was owned by FabergĂ© who sold it to Unilever in 1989. From then to 1992,  Aqua Net was involved in a product safety lawsuit, Nowak v. Faberge USA, that ended up legal textbooks.

In 2006, Unilever sold Aqua Net to Lornamead, Inc. which started a rebranding campaign that referenced the product's history and changed the design to resemble the original.

Other Uses for Aqua Net

Besides the use my husband related, Aqua Net has been used in other ways, such as:
  • a fixative in microbiology, in staining procedures
  • a fixative for charcoal or pastel artworks
  • to reduce slippage of pointe shoe ribbons for ballerinas
  • as a solvent for un-gluing hair extensions
  • as a stain remover for makeup
  • as an insect killer
  • as a propellant in potato cannons
  • for increasing print adhesion in 3D Printing.
Takeaway Truth

Even though Aqua Net is still sold, it doesn't hit the most popular lists. Still, there are women who love it and won't use anything else. Brand loyalty triumphs.

Women who love it, swear by it. It's labeled weather-proof without clumping or leaving flakes in your hair. In fact, you can buy Aqua Net from Amazon.

(Joan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.)


  1. I am one of those women who are brand loyal and will use Aqua net above all else. If you have curly, kinky ( think poodle) hair and you straighten it with a flatiron, or use big curlers to tame it, AQUA NET is the ONLY hairspray that will keep your hair fixed for the entire day - even if you go into a humid environment. I swear by this stuff!!!

    1. Wow. Good to know. It must work because your hair is gorgeous in the pictures I've seen.