Photographs from the beach are testament to the perfectly tousled hair you can get courtesy of the ocean. But since you can’t frolic in the sun and surf every day, unfortunately, sea salt spray can be the next best thing.
Sea salt spray uses salt from the ocean to plump hair cuticles, adding texture and volume to hair, according to Shelby Ball, owner of Studio 7 in Youngstown, Ohio. It can be used on wet or dry hair, and works for all hair lengths and types, giving extra oomph to fine strands. “The benefit of salt spray for fine hair is that it takes those baby fine hairs and plumps them up, giving you a fuller, more textured style,” Ball says. “In thick hair, it cuts back on the products you have to use to tame frizz and static, and leaves you with a more defined look.” Curly hair users will find that sea salt spray softens curls into more tousled waves, seals out frizz, and helps to hold the curl in place all day—just spritz on damp hair and then scrunch with a diffuser, or air-dry for looser waves. For straight hair users, Ball suggests using the product along with a curling iron to lock in voluminous curls.
Some of our favorite sea salt sprays: John Masters Organics Sea Mist Sea Salt Spray With Lavender, for a little aromatherapy in the morning; Captain Blankenship Mermaid Sea Salt Hair Spray for that just-left-the-beach look and smell; and Ouai Wave Spray, with rice protein to protect against oxidative damage.
One caveat: Don’t go overboard, as excessive use of salt spray can dry out the hair, Ball warns. Curly hair is especially susceptible to becoming dry and brittle. On days when you’re not styling your hair for beach waves, Ball recommends replenishing your ends with a hair oil to moisturize. Check out these ways to repair dry, damaged hair.
Ball’s own sea salt spray routine can help you get started: First, wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner. Then apply your favorite root lifting product and gel. Diffuse your hair upside down with a blow dryer on low. When your hair is 75 percent dry, add the spray and finish diffusing. Set with your favorite finishing spray, and you’ll have voluminous, wavy hair that lasts all day.
For best results, use formulas designed for your hair’s particular needs. Here’s how to find the best shampoo for your hair type.