best hairspray for 3D printing

Hairspray isn’t just for bathroom vanity anymore, it can also be a powerful tool in a maker’s arsenal. More than just a cosmetic product, hairspray is a potent adhesive that will maximize your 3D printing success and prevent damage to your machine.

Just one little can of hairspray can streamline your 3D printing process- and might even save your machine.


Best Hairspray for 3D Printing

Why would I need to use hairspray for 3D printing?

Hairspray can solve the trickiest dilemma of 3D printing – it helps the model you are printing both stick tightly to the bed, and also easily release when it is finished, without damaging the part or the printing bed surface.

Hairspray provides a sticky surface for better adhesion

A thin layer of hairspray on the printing bed surface provides a tacky structure to increase your chances of getting perfect adhesion the first time.

One problem that many people have while 3D printing is poor adhesion. It is crucial that your first layer attaches to the bed so that the rest of your print can stay in place and come out the way you planned.

Hairspray prevents damage to the 3D printer bed surface

Using hairspray on your 3D printer bed prevents damage by creating a barrier between the bed surface and the finished model.

Even if your print initially adheres correctly, you may face another common adhesion problem that can happen just as you’ve finished printing, and the consequences are worse than just one bungled print job.

parts of ender 3 glass bed cracked after removing print
Sections of Ender 3 glass bed adhered to the filament. Source: Reddit

Sometimes a piece of your glass bed can seem to glue itself to your filament, so when your print is done and you go to remove the part you have just printed, a chunk of your glass bed can break off with it.

If this happens, you’ll need to replace your entire printing bed plate before you can use the machine again. The replacement can be time-consuming, and purchasing a whole new printing bed is expensive.

Even a thin layer of hairspray on the printing bed will create a barrier between the bed surface and the part you are printing. That way when you remove the part, it will separate easily from the bed, leaving you with a functional surface to print on again in the future.

Is hairspray the best choice for 3D printing?

3D printing enthusiasts, faced with these adhesion issues, have come up with a variety of solutions.

Some people use specific adhesive sprays, but those can be costly.

Glue sticks are often recommended for 3D printers, but they take longer to apply than hairspray, and even with the extra time, it’s hard to get an even layer. Glue sticks can also be messy and difficult to clean up after.

Hairspray is inexpensive, easy to use, and extremely effective at both making sure your parts stick to the bed, and also serving as a separator so that the part will lift from the bed easily and without damage.

How do I use hairspray for 3D printing?

spraying aquanet extra super hold on prusa heatbed steel sheet
Spraying Aqua Net Extra Super Hold on Prusa heatbed steel sheet. Credit: Grimm3D

To use hairspray on your 3D printer, first remove the printing bed surface from the printer. If you are using a printer that does not have a removable bed, be careful to spray only on the printing surface and avoid the rest of your machine.

Spray the hairspray directly onto the bed in a thin, even layer. Wait about one minute for the hairspray to dry, then carefully put the bed back into place.

The surface of your bed should now be slightly sticky to the touch and ready for printing.

You can do this process once, and then you only need to reapply another layer of hairspray every 5-10 prints.

Using this technique with a printer that has a heated bed will give you very reliable returns. If your printer does not have a heated bed, an effective adhesion strategy is even more important to ensure proper results, so a carefully selected can of hairspray can save you a lot of time and effort.

Can I use any hairspray on a 3D printer?

suave max hold unscented with 3D printer in background
Suave Max Hold with Ender 3D printer in the background. Source: Reddit

You can use any hairspray on a 3D printer. All kinds of hairspray will help provide better adhesion and prevent damage to the printer bed surface. You’ll want to consider cost and strength when choosing which hairspray to purchase for use on your 3D printer to make sure you find the one that meets your needs the best.

What kind of hairspray should I use for 3D printing?

You should always use strong, unscented hairspray for 3D printing. Look for hairspray with labels like “extra strength” to ensure that the hairspray will be substantial enough to create a durable printing surface. Make sure that the hairspray is also unscented so that it will do the job without any ingredients that might interfere with the printing.

Our guide to the best hairspray for 3D printing

Best Overall – Aqua Net Extra Super Hold Unscented

Aqua Net Extra Super Hold Unscented front and back of product

Aqua Net hairspray is the best-known standard spray adhesive in the 3D printing world. The Amazon reviews are filled with people saying that they can’t speak to the product’s use in hair because they purchased it specifically for 3D printing! Reviewers comment on using this hairspray for a huge variety of printers and filaments including PLA, PETG, and ABS.

It’s a classic for good reason. This hairspray is strong enough to create a reliable layer on your 3D printer bed surface. It’s thick and clingy so you’ll never have to worry about your parts not sticking to the bed properly.

This hairspray is also our top choice because its simple ingredients don’t include any additives that could potentially interfere with your bed or filaments. Aqua Net’s pure adhesion power is perfect for a wide variety of filaments and will always ensure your parts stick to the bed and print appropriately.

Aqua Net has a very even spray, which makes it easy to thoroughly coat the entire bed surface in one uniform layer. This consistency is key for removing your finished part from the printing bed surface and preventing sticking or chipping.

It’s also super durable. You can spray your printer’s bed surface just once, and then print onto that layer of hairspray up to 10 times before it’s time to reapply again.

Overall, Aqua Net is the best hairspray choice for most 3D printing needs. It’s inexpensive, strong, and generally a very reliable choice, which is why it’s the brand most people turn to when facing printing bed adhesion issues.

Best Hairspray for 3D Printing Adhesion – Suave Max Hold (pack of 3)

Suave Max Hold front and back of product

If you’re having trouble getting your filament to initially stick to the printing bed surface, your priority will be finding the stickiest adhesive for your model to cling to. This prevents any movement and makes sure that you don’t have issues with globing or stringing on the print.

Suave Max Hold Hairspray has one of the strongest hairspray formulations that will guarantee effective sticking.

This is another hairspray that is famous for its non-cosmetic purposes, coming recommended by artists to seal in finished acrylic paint projects. It has a robust hold without being too thick, and is firm and dependable.

The unique formula in Suave Max Hold that gives this hairspray its notable hold strength and makes it appealing for sealing in paint also makes it a perfect base layer for your 3D printing because it is certain to provide adequate adhesion.

Best Unscented – FRAGFRE Hair Finishing Spray

FRAGFRE Hair Finishing Spray front and back of product

Sometimes even a product marketed as “unscented” or “fragrance free” can be overpowering. If you are particularly sensitive to fragrances, or if your 3D printer is in a very tight studio space, the last thing you need is a strong-smelling hairspray that bothers your skin and has you wheezing throughout your print.

FRAGFRE hair finishing spray is specially formulated to be odorless and gentle on sensitive skin. In a 3D printing space, you can rely on this hairspray to help solve adhesion issues while maintaining fresh air.

You will want to watch out for issues with the spray nozzle. Some people report problems with clogging after a few uses. To avoid this, you can simply rinse the nozzle with clean water after each use, and you should be able to achieve an even spray each time you need to reapply.

For people with allergies, skin sensitivities, or respiratory concerns, or if you simply want to keep the air in your small workspace clear, FRAGFRE’s truly odorless hair finishing spray ensures that a sticky printing bed surface is attainable safely.

Best Budget- Rave 5X Freeze Hairspray

Rave 5X Freeze Hairspray front of product

If you want to give hairspray adhesion a chance for your 3D printing, but want to keep your costs low, Rave 5X Freeze Hairspray is one of the most affordable options on the market.

This spray is strong and will definitely help with bed adhesion issues. It is widely available in grocery stores and pharmacies, so you may be able to find it in your local area without too much trouble.

While this hairspray is unscented, you may find that the odor of the spray is stronger than some of the others on this list. If your 3D printer is in a well-ventilated area you may not notice the strong smell, but in a smaller space you may find it overpowering.

Using Hairspray to Solve Adhesion Problems in 3D Printing

aqua net extra super hold hairspray and 3D printer
Great first layer adhesion using Aqua Net Extra Super Hold Hairspray. Source: Imgur

Makers of all experience levels sometimes face issues with adhesion. It is important to make sure that your print sticks to the printing bed surface without getting so stuck that you risk chipping off a piece of your print bed when removing your new model. 

Using an adhesive barrier helps deliver the best results. While spray adhesives are available, they are expensive. 

Glue sticks are often recommended, but are a messy option. The best way to create a tacky texture on your 3D printing bed surface is to spray it with a thin layer of hairspray. Aqua Net hairspray is easy, inexpensive, and incredibly effective for all of your 3D printing adhesion needs. 

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