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How spray-on hair does (and doesn’t) work

On Sunday, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller appeared on Face the Nation. His contentious interview included the assertion that President Donald Trump was quite willing to shut down the government if he didn’t receive funding from Congress for a border wall. But Miller’s immigration stance wasn’t the only thing with a hard line in that TV appearance:

The consensus was that Miller was using “spray-on hair” and possibly that his hairdresser was part of the resistance, given the product’s unsubtle results on his balding head.

The 33-year-old Miller is not alone in his balding, or in his attempts to cover it up. According to the American Hair Loss Association, about two-thirds of men experience some hair loss by age 35; that number increases as they get older. Women also frequently experience hair loss due to hormonal changes and other causes. The stigma around solutions to this common problem is huge, and modern hair replenishment technology has been the butt of jokes for decades.

“Spray-on hair” is a misnomer because the modern iteration is not technically a spray at all — the most commonly used hair fill-in product today is fiber powder that you sprinkle on your head to thicken existing hair and add more density. But this temporary hair loss solution (used by makeup artists and regular consumers alike!) is still called spray-on hair colloquially thanks to a brand called GLH, which is short for Good Looking Hair.

GLH, owned by Ronco, brought the concept into the public consciousness with its ubiquitous infomercials in the 1990s, which featured the company’s founder Ron Popeil pulling balding men out of an audience and spraying their heads. Before the days of high-definition TV, the product could look surprisingly decent on screen, but in real life, it looked like spray paint mixed with the hairy dust that comes out of an electric razor head when you empty it. In 2010, Time deemed “hair in a can” one of the worst inventions of all time.