80s hair (Kevin Russ; Getty Images)

It bolstered bangs, it buttressed curls, it acted as an invisible cantilever for implausibly huge heads of hair.  Which is why we were surprised when it came up in conversation around the office recently. Aqua Net? Was crazy-big hair back?

Not exactly—but a stylish subsector of women are reconnecting with the iconic American hairspray as a life-hack solution instead of a primping product. It started with Vogue Creative Digital Director Sally Singer, who found the pretty feather hair extensions she wore to last month’s Met Gala impossible to remove the next morning. “Trust me: No amount of shampoo could get the gluey bits away from my scalp,” she said. That is, until she remembered the solution that hairstylist John Nollet had suggested for removing them the previous night: Aqua Net. She picked up a can at CVS at 11:00 p.m., and the glue combed out easily with a quick spray.

Singer passed the can on to Vogue Contributing Editor Lynn Yaeger, who has long used it to stiffen the signature crinolines she wears under her favorite Comme des Garcons frocks. She says you can breathe new life into skirts and tulle by hanging them upside down and dousing them in hairspray.

It’s an old trick ballerinas know well. According to Vogue.com Market Editor Chelsea Zalopany, ballet dancers also spray Aqua Net on their calves to keep their silky toe-shoe ribbons from sliding—which sounds like a practical solution for those of us who plan on wearing chic lace-up sandals this summer.

Once they had started, the Aqua Net confessions showed no signs of stopping. It seems the brightly colored can, with its memorably funky font, is a secret weapon of sorts. A quick mist will even remove makeup from fabric (just spritz, let it bond to the stain, and then wipe away with water), or keep a lazy side zipper on a favorite Altuzarra skirt from continually sliding down.

“It will kill bugs, too, if you are out of bug spray!” laughs Yaeger before admitting to one final, more surprising use: “I also use it on my hair.”