Citation "The properties of hair spray as a fixative for pastel and charcoal on paper"

  • Walton, Ainsley
Corporate Author
  • Queen's University. Department of art
Title of source
The properties of hair spray as a fixative for pastel and charcoal on paper
Publisher / Distributor
Queen's University
Publisher / Distributor City
Publisher / Distributor Country
Date of Publication
ca. 100 p. in various pagings : tables ; 28 cm.
Language Text
Language Summaries
ca. 15 bibliog. refs.
Queen's University
University Location
Kingston, Canada
Degree Level
Master of art conservation
Subject Keywords English
  • Drawing
  • Pastel
  • Charcoal
  • Support paper
  • Fixative
  • Test
  • Sample
  • Ultraviolet
  • Accelerated ageing
  • Black pigment
  • White pigment
  • Red pigment
  • Colour change
  • Discolouration
  • Examination
  • Fourier infrared spectroscopy
  • Colourimetry
  • Evaluation
Subject Keywords French
  • Dessin
  • Pastel
  • Fusain
  • Support papier
  • Fixatif
  • Essai
  • Echantillon
  • Ultraviolet
  • Vieillissement accéléré
  • Pigment noir
  • Pigment blanc
  • Pigment rouge
  • Changement de couleur
  • Décoloration
  • Examen
  • Spectroscopie infrarouge fourier
  • Colorimétrie
  • Evaluation
Subject material
Many artists who create drawings with friable or powdery media, such as chalk, pastel and charcoal, choose to use hairspray as an inexpensive alternative to commercially available art fixatives. The physical properties and ageing characteristics of hair sprays, which have been applied to art on paper, have not been thoroughly investigated. In this project, the effects of hair sprays on media and paper before and after exposure to ultraviolet light have been investigated. Using test samples of coloured pastels on paper and charcoal on paper, sample sets were treated with one of several brands of inexpensive hairspray or artists' fixatives. The products tested were: Adorn hairspray, Aquanet Fresh Scent hairspray, Aquanet Unscented hairspray, Finesse hairspray, Lady Classic hairspray, White Rain hairspray, Winsor and Newton artists' fixative and Krylon workable art fixative. The samples were analysed with a colorimeter after drying. Sample sets were then artificially aged through exposure to prolonged levels of ultraviolet light. Changes in colour and gloss over time were assessed using the colorimeter. The components of the hairsprays and artists' fixatives were assessed using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Results show that the hairsprays tested may serve as adequate fixatives for pastel as they do not appear to have any deleterious effects when compared to the commercial art fixatives tested, and appear to prevent light-induced fading of fugitive pigments and coloured papers. These results will help artists to make an informed choice when choosing to apply hair sprays as a fixatives to their works.
Originating Institution
Location of Document
Kingston report 304
Literature Type
Bibliographic Level
BCIN Number
Date modified: