The Best Sea Salt Sprays for the Sexy Vacation Hair of Your Dreams
From the azul shores of Waikiki to the boardwalk of the Rockaways and everywhere in between, mermaid hair is it in the summertime. If you don't have an ocean handy—or if you want to enhance the sultry, effortlessly undone beach hair you get after a dip in the ocean—sea salt spray is the answer. To unlock the secrets to your best beach babe hair ever, here’s everything you need to know about this texturizing wonder, including the best bottles to buy and how to make DIY sea salt spray at home.
What Does Sea Salt Spray Do To Your Hair? Does Sea Salt Spray Damage or Dry Out Hair?
Salt sprays give strands that crave-able beachy texture by using (you guessed it) salt to give your hair grip. Since salt molecules naturally attract water, applying salt spray can dry out your hair. In general, the effect isn’t dramatic—using salt spray on well-conditioned hair won’t blast the moisture out of it. But if you already struggle with dryness or frizz, or if you have chemically treated hair, you should take this into consideration.
Like texturizers, sea salt sprays let hair hold onto volume and prevent waves from falling out. The difference is that while texturizers rely on synthetic chemicals like plasticizers and polymers to give hair grip, sea salt sprays use only salt. Salt sprays are less prone than texturizers to leaving a dull film on hair.
What Does Sea Salt Spray Do to Straight Hair? Is It Good for Thick or Frizzy Hair?
Salt spray’s job is to hold onto hair’s beachy waves when it’s fresh from the surf, so a spritz won’t magically turn super-straight strands into mermaid waves. It’s not a total wash for people with straight hair, though—they can benefit from the extra movement and volume that salt spray provides. It also gives a touch of staying power to heat-treated curls and waves on straight hair. For those with coarse texture, salt sprays give hold and definition to your natural curl structure—just look for options packed with hydrators, like argan oil, to counterbalance the drying effects of salt.
How To Use Sea Salt Spray
If you’re thirsting for subtle waves, liberally apply salt spray to fully wet hair (the water in your strands will dilute and distribute the salt for a softer effect). For a scrunchier surfer texture, wait until hair is mostly or fully dry, then spritz on just enough spray to dampen hair.
Spray all over hair, concentrating on the mid-lengths and ends for maximum “blowing in the tradewinds” movement.
For a softer texture and volume, gently scrunch hair while blow-drying (dry hair upside down for extra lift at the roots) or allow to air dry, scrunching once or twice (more and you risk breaking up waves and inviting more frizz) or braiding your lengths for even more mermaid-ness.
The Very Best Texturizing Sea Salt Sprays for Soft, Wavy Beach Hair
Best Sea Salt Spray for Normal or Thick Straight Hair
For that hanging-in-the-Seychelles look, this salt spray from runway fave Label.M provides ample hold for beautifully textured waves. And, in case you actually are taking this to the Seychelles (or anywhere where the sun shines), it also contains UV protectors to keep hair healthy and safe.
Best Sea Salt Spray for Fine Hair
Fine straight hair tends to lose any hint of texture within the hour (especially in hair-wilting summer heat), so you don’t want to double-down with a salt spray containing heavy moisturizing oils. This Bumble and Bumble version provides the hold and matte effect of salt, and is infused with sea kelp extract to help keep hair hydrated without the added weight of conditioners.
Best Sea Salt Spray for Frizzy or Curly Hair
This frizz-taming firm-hold salt spray teams a high concentration of Dead Sea salt with seaweed extracts, which can help strengthen strands with their natural magnesium. Its grippiness enhances your natural texture without straying into stringy territory. Note that many customers have complained about the flimsy pump.
Best Beachy Hair Product with Argan Oil
Though it doesn’t contain salt and isn’t a spray, this mousse earned a spot on our list because it’s perfect for people who want tousled, sexy mermaid hair without the drying consequences of salt. Formulated with conditioning argan oil and UV protectors, it mimics the effect of traditional salt sprays by teaming argan’s moisturizing power with starch derivatives and polymers to leave hair silky soft and beautifully beachy.
Best Natural Sea Salt Spray
The seven ingredients in Herbivore’s 100% vegan spray (including Pacific sea salt, coconut pulp, and vanilla fruit extract) read like something we’d order as an afternoon pick-me-up at Juice Press. Moisturizing aloe vera negates any drying effect from the salt and the divine coconut scent transports us straight to the tropicsl.
Best Drugstore Sea Salt Spray
If beachy texture is what you’re after, it doesn’t get easier to achieve than with this fan-favorite drugstore spray by John Frieda. Mixing magnesium-rich Epsom and sea salts, the formula defines waves and creates soft (i.e. not sticky) volume. Toss it in your weekender on your way out of town.
Best Drugstore Sea Salt Spray—Runner-Up
Argan oil, sea kelp extract, and, of course, sea salt help this inexpensive salt spray strike a nice balance between moisturizing and texturizing. The hydrating fats in argan oil help soften hair for silky curls, while the salt keeps them together in a chill “I wasn’t even trying” style.
Best Status Beach Texture Spray
From celeb stylist Jen Atkin (the woman behind the Kardashian’s hair), this cult-favorite formula uses rice protein (instead of sea salt) to impart piece-y, cool, It Girl texture. Everything about this lightweight spray is covetable, from soft, subtly wavy results to the chic citrus, rose, and musk scent to the minimalist packaging that’s sure to attract in-the-know looks as soon as you pull it from your beach bag.
Most Moisturizing Sea Salt Spray
A blend of coconut and sunflower seed oils and beeswax makes hair feel velvety, not crunchy—essential for those with dry hair or anyone whose tresses are looking a little worse for wear after a week in the tropics. For those with finer hair, focus on the ends to avoid weighing down hair at the root.
Best-Smelling Sea Salt Spray
If you’re really going for that “fresh from somewhere near the equator” vibe, you need a fresh, tropical scent to go along with your tousled sexy hair. This salt spray from iconic hairstylist Frederic Fekkai brings it on both counts. Befitting his St. Barth’s salon (set in the equally iconic Le Guanahani), the sunflower-seed-oil-based formula has a rich, citrus scent that smells so good, you can skip perfume.
How to Make DIY Sea Salt Spray for Killer Beach Waves
Combine one to one-and-a-half cups of warm water with two teaspoons of sea salt (you can tailor the amount of salt up or down depending on how much hold your tresses need) in a spray bottle, shaking until the salt dissolves.
Add one tablespoon of a hair-hydrating oil like argan, avocado, or (melted) coconut oil, plus one teaspoon of leave-in conditioner and up to one tablespoon of hair gel and shake to combine.
For an added luxe touch, add a couple of drops of a fragrant essential oil like lavender oil.
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