Due to the fear caused by the news of home invasions, using hairspray as a chemical deterrent to ward off attackers has been a hot topic, especially among writers who’d love to incorporate the handy “weapon” into their tales.

The general idea is to keep a can handy on the nightstand beside the bed, or a smaller can inside a handbag. Then, as an unsuspecting attacker approaches, the would-be victim sprays the highly-flammable bouffont-molding hair-stiffener into the thug’s eyes, causing him to stop the attack and immediately run away while shedding a steady stream of gooey crocodile tears along the way.

Personally, I, as a former defensive tactics instructor and instructor-trainer, do not recommend the use of hairspray as a means of defense against attackers. It’s not totally adequate for the intended purpose. Nor is it reliable.

Unlike pepper spray that can be effective without direct contact to the eyes, the burst of hairspray mist must hit the eyes directly to do any good at all. And even then there’s a huge risk of doing nothing more than styling the attacker’s long eyelashes and bushy brows.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but carrying the stuff could give a person a false sense of security. And, like firearms and other weapons, unless you practice/train with with your handy-dandy hairspray bad-guy-stopper, chances are that using it in real-life would be totally ineffective. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there are any hairspray training academies in my area. Not sure about where you live, though.

The other premise is for the victim to use a cigarette lighter to ignite the hair goop as it leaves the nozzle, turning the misty chemical into a homemade hairspray flamethrower. Now, what halfway intelligent crook would dare continue his advances when faced with a scared and angry, fire-spurting homeowner?

Sure, the idea sound good—spray the attacker’s eyes which could render him incapable of continuing the assault. Or, set his hair on fire causing him to run outside looking like a human 4th of July fireworks display. But, there are a few things to keep in mind before lining your bedside tables with industrial size tubs of AquaNet.

  • For obvious reasons, if you insist upon going this route, remember to use the aerosol hairspray, not the pump type. The idea is to stop the attacker, not give him his recommended daily dose of laughter.
  • The actuators (push buttons) on aerosol cans are normally made of plastic and could melt when exposed to extreme heat/fire.
  • The flame generated using hairspray can extend only as far as the distance reached by the spray, which is basically a couple of feet. Therefore, an attacker could simply wait at a safe distance—four feet, or so—while your weapon slowly burns up/extinguishes. Or, he could stand at a safe distance and roast a marshmallow or two while waiting for the flame to subside.

Also, if the attacker is only two feet away when the victim begins the process of match-striking and spray-squirting, he could easily disarm the victim. They’re not going to stand around whistling a merry tune while waiting for the intended victim to first grab the can and a box of matches, strike a match or two (the first almost always breaks, especially when the match-striker is under pressure), hold down the button, release a stream of spray, hold the match to it, which could blow out the match, by the way, and finally ignite the hissing spray, and then aim it at the attacker, who, by now has puckered his lips and tweeted out the full ten-minute eight-second-long version of Free Bird. 

4. While standing in your bedroom striking matches and/or flicking Bics, an attacker could easily grab the blanket from your bed, toss it over you and your flamethrower, and then beat you senseless with your own fuzzy orangutan slippers .

5. If the spray fails to ignite you will have merely succeeded in helping your attacker keep his “Do” in fabulous shape for his appearance at your neighbors house … after blacking your eyes and stealing your stuff.

Of course, you could always switch to deodorant—aerosol, not roll-on—as a source of power for your flamethrower/chemical deterrent. At least then the attacker would smell nice while he pounded out a rhythmic Latin beat on your head.

A prime example of weaponized hairspray-fail was the fight between two Michigan women where one grabbed a can of hairspray, aimed it at her opponent, and set the stream on fire. Well, the flame never reached the other woman, who promptly grabbed a lamp and hit the fire-sprayer with it. When police arrived they found scratches on the faces of both women … and a broken lamp.

Wasp Spray as a Tool for Self-Defense

Using wasp and other bug sprays as a tool to ward off attacks earns an even bigger NO, Don’t Do It!

Pepper sprays and other such chemical deterrents are designed to irritate the eyes and respiratory systems of humans. As their bug-stopping compounds, wasp sprays, on the other hand, typically include pyrethrin or pyrethroids. Pyrethrin, a biodegradable compound, comes from a species of chrysanthemum plant, and its role is to disrupt a wasp’s nervous system. Actually,  pyrethrin is a low-toxicity pesticide.

Pepper sprays cause swelling of the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat, and discharge from nasal and sinus passages. Other effects are coughing, shortness of breath, involuntary eye closure ( a big plus when using for self defense), burning and redness of the skin, hyperventilation, and even  fear and panic.

Exposure to wasp sprays basically make you smell funny and your skin gets wet. However, when sprayed directly into the eyes of an attacker, well, it might make him a bit angry since the stuff could very well, but slightly, irritate the eyes.

Why go to all this trouble  and the risk of the thing not working when you could simply purchase a can of pepper spray instead? *Please check state and local laws before placing an order.






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