Fixative for charcoal

Well-known member
Morning all, what's your fav fixative for charcoal? I confess I usually use hairspray (never on my hair)as a fixative which I find good but don't know how long lasting it will be, there again I don't know how long lasting I will be either😀
I quite often use hair spray to fix a sketch that I am going to paint. I have a regular fixative for pencil drawings that are to remain a pencil drawing (not sure of the brand, it is not near me right now)
I use Winsor&Newton "professional" fixative.
Not really because I think it's the best, it was what retailed in my "local" art supply store (which I have to drive several hundred km to get to :ROFLMAO:).
It works well enough, only rather obnoxious and toxic fumes, I only spray outside.
I would be interested in something healthier, I heard about products based on casein.
EJH as I have no outside area I couldn't use the fixative you mentioned. Arty does the Krylon have any downside?
No real downside, but it is still toxic-smelling and you'd need to do it either outside or in a garage with your big door open (how I do it). I mean, it is advertised as low odor, and it is compared to the regular fixative, but I'd say not to spray it in a closed room. It is very quick drying though. Leaves a somewhat rough surface on the paper, so it will never smudge after you use it. You can't add more pencil afterwards though--because of that texture. Make sure you use it when you're finished.

I usually do two light coats. You can coat it a second time in 10 minutes (to be safe), but it dries so fast. Do not overspray it. A light spray about a foot away will do it. Not needing much of it cuts down on the odor too.
Ah well no good to me then - lack of outside space. I will look further, or maybe just carry on using hairspray, I quite like the sheen it gives
Nothing wrong with hairspray. Low odor. Dual purpose. ;)
I have seen some warnings against using hairspray for this purpose. Mainly concerns about archivalness; it may cause yellowing, and the paper may get sticky.
Not something I would worry much about (I used hairspray as fixative myself), but I would be with works intended for sale. (I have never sold an artwork in my life...:D)

I think casein based fixatives are probably your best bet; Spectrafix is sold in the US, haven't found them here, online ordering of spraycans from overseas is a hassle.

There are also home made recipes floating around on the net, havent tried them out, but I was seriously considering it about a year ago as I drew more in charcoal (and have easy cheap access to raw milk).
Problem is you need borax to make the casein solution, not for sale in the next grocery store ( but it might be easier to find in a big city). Also I got side tracked by my in interest in watercolor so those plans have been shelved for the moment. If you decide to give it a go, I'd love to hear if it works well.