Some of my clients say their curls look their best after they have played around in the ocean for a few days. They like the "beach waves" that can be created as a result of spending time in the salty ocean air and water. So, is it possible to keep that beach wave look without drying out your curls? Could bottling up the sea salt water from the ocean be the key? That could be an option, or you could find a product line that has designed a sea salt spray specifically for curly hair.
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Photo courtesy of @mia_devacurl

Is there a downside to salt sprays?

Mia Emilio, Senior Stylist at Devachan Salon, says that improper use of sea salt sprays can become quite devastating to the hair. "Salt for curly hair in my opinion can be very drying and harmful," she says. "Sodium sulfate is the number one ingredient I tell my clients to stay away from. Salt can create some volume and remove oil, but on the flip side, it can be very harmful to the hair and scalp. Curly hair is as beautiful as it is dry so we have to think about the adverse effects of our styling agents."

Sodium sulfate is the number one ingredient I tell my clients to stay away from.
Mia Emilio, Senior Stylist at Devachan
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But what if most of us curlies just want to hang on to the look of tousled curls?

During my search for great sea salt sprays, I stumbled upon John Masters Organic Sea Salt Spray, and I appreciate the fact that the ingredients are organically derived and it has both sea salt and lavender.

Is it even necessary to have sea salt present in your hair product in order to achieve the voluminous look of the ocean?

No! If you want texture and volume in a salt-free option, Curlisto Natural Spray seems to be worth a try. Mia agrees. "I do not believe that salt is necessary -- it usually just dries out the hair. [But] if you must use it, please remember that a little goes a long way."

Mia's tips:

  1. Depending on your curl texture, you might love a little sea salt from the beach or sea salt spray product but proceed with caution because it can make your hair feel like straw.
  2. I find that salt works best for hair types 2 to 3b hair in an effort to achieve the beachy volume you love. However, if you have a tighter curl patterns might experience a more tangled mess.
  3. If you are using a product such as a sea salt spray, you need to balance out the moisture in your hair so your curls won't dry out and tangle. You have to decide if achieving volume is worth the price of dry, dull, and matted hair.

My "Bay Watch Babe"-worthy technique: Go for a loose braid-out.

  1. Shampoo, condition, then apply a leave-in spray and follow up with a light or heavy cream (depending on your hair texture). I like the Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray and the naturally smitten Moisturizing Hair Butter.
  2. Section your hair into 4 or 6 sections and loosely plait your hair. A great curl enhancing spray that gives a natural hold is O'Honey Curl Mist by My Honey Child.
  3. Allow time to air dry (or sit under a hooded dryer).
  4. If your hair has a tighter curl pattern, you can opt to lightly stretch it with a blow-dryer set on low heat -- apply cream, plait and allow the hair to set at least 4 to 5 hours. You may also skip the blow-dryer stretch the wet plaits around the circumference of your head, secure them with bobby pins, and allow them to air dry (it is kind of like a dooby wrap with plaits).
  5. Once your hair is dry, mist a light holding spray such as Surface Theory Styling Spray.

Where there is a whale there is a wave… Ok just kidding. Don't let your love for waves compromise the health of your hair. Remember there are other alternatives to salt sprays. Read the ingredients on your product label.

Happy Waving!