Hairspray on Fresh Flowers Is Out — Instead, Try This Pro-Favorite Trick

updated Feb 14, 2024
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

When it comes to little luxuries, it’s hard to beat a bouquet of fresh flowers (especially in winter months, when it can feel like everything outside is bare and brown). Whether you grew those flowers from seed in your own garden or bought them from a store, a vase of fresh flowers brings instant cheer. But sometimes it can feel like those fresh flowers last only a day or two before they start to look like something that belongs better in a compost bin than in a place of pride. So how can you make those fresh flowers last longer?

Ultimately, what makes cut flowers look droopy is moisture loss from their petals and foliage that their stems can’t replace fast enough. Making cut flowers look good for longer comes down to preventing that moisture loss and ensuring more water uptake from the stems. Many fresh flower arrangement lovers know that trimming stems and keeping vase water fresh both prevent decay in the stems, meaning they’re more efficient at pulling water in. But there’s another trick that gets tossed around online to help reduce moisture loss in petals: spraying hairspray on fresh flowers to help preserve their petals.

Quick Overview

Can You Preserve Fresh Flowers with Hairspray?

Hairspray might work in a pinch, but there’s a better (pro-approved) method for making fresh flowers last longer. To make their arrangements stand the test of time, florists reach for a flower protection spray that helps reduce moisture loss (and prevent wilting).

Preserving Fresh Flowers with Hairspray

So, does spraying flowers with hairspray really work? Maybe, though opinions are mixed — and even if it does work, you’re likely to spot the residue. There’s a much better solution out there that will actually prevent moisture loss in cut flowers, and it’s favored by professional florists: Crowning Glory flower spray.

This flower spray is designed to dry clear with no residue, acting like a shield to keep moisture in petals and leaves on flowers. It’s a particular favorite for applications like boutonnieres and corsages, which have to look good for hours outside of water, but you can use it on a vase of flowers, too. Here’s how to use it.

  1. Trim your flower stems as usual.
  2. Before you put them in a vase, spray the flowers all over with a fine mist of Crowning Glory.
  3. Let the flowers dry completely before adding to a vase.

That’s it! You’ll find that this method works even better if you continue to practice bouquet-preserving techniques like storing flowers in the fridge overnight and trimming the stems daily.

How to Preserve Dried Flowers with Hairspray

One time you should definitely pull out the hairspray, though, is when you’re preserving dried flowers. Hairspray helps prevent color fading and helps minimize any fallout from your dried bouquet, too. Here’s how to use it.

  1. Start by drying your fresh flowers at home. Hang fresh flowers upside down in a cool, dark location until they are completely dry (about two to three weeks).
  2. In a well-ventilated spot, evenly spray the surface of the flowers, making sure the entire flower is evenly covered. Keep about a foot between the hairspray nozzle and the flowers to prevent damage to delicate petals.
  3. Once dry, arrange flowers as you please — in a vase, on a wreath, or somewhere else!

Other Ways to Preserve Cut Flowers

Air drying is one of the easiest and most common methods for preserving cut flowers, but it’s not your only option. Here are a few other ways you can preserve flowers from a beautiful bouquet.

  • Press flowers in a book or a flower press. The finished product — flat dried flowers — is perfect for framing as art.
  • Dry flowers in the microwave using silica gel. This method involves covering a bloom in silica gel before microwaving 30 seconds at a time until the flower is dry. This method is better for preserving color than air drying.
  • Dry petals using the oven. If you want to use just the petals to make potpourri, then you can use the oven to draw out moisture until the petals are dry to the touch.