Although I'm on the pool side of The Great Pool Vs. Beach Divide, I can admit where the beach people have a leg up on us: The hair. That messy, sexy, tousled, piece-y, cool-without-even-trying hair. Lucky for us poolside folk, a spritz of sea salt spray achieves the same exact effect, minus the sand colonizing every corner of our lives. Not all of these sprays are created equally, though: The best sea salt sprays are infused with good-for-hair ingredients like vitamin C, sea kelp, aloe, and ideally, some sort of oil to counteract the drying effects of the salt. Some of them even offer UV protection, too.
Effort-wise, achieving beachy waves with a salt spray is basically comparable to sitting/frolicking on a beach — they’re among the easiest and most forgiving hair products you can use. Just mist your spray onto damp or dry hair (though the salt will cling a little better to wet hair), then let it air dry, or finish it off with a diffuser or blow dryer for some polish. Even if you’re not aiming for waves per se, salt sprays make excellent texturizers. They’ll give your hair some grip before you style it, which is ideal for creating tousled ponytails and piece-y, messy buns.
Scroll on to shop six of the best sea salt sprays you can find on Amazon, no matter your hair type, texture, budget, or preferred method of enjoying bodies of water.
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1. The Overall Best Sea Salt Spray
This R+Co Rockaway Salt Spray is probably inspired by Rockaway Beach in Queens, but I’d like to think it’s actually inspired by the Ramones song that pays homage to the NYC landmark: A few spritzes of the stuff and you’ll look like the punk band’s long-lost fifth member. Or your gritty, mussy, perfectly imperfect hair will, anyway. Some cool ingredients show up in here, too, like sage and yarrow for strengthening, balm mint and vitamin C for sun protection, and cranesbill — not an aquatic bird, but a plant extract that plumps each strand of your hair for serious volume.
2. The Best Sea Salt Spray For Damaged Hair
You wouldn't think to reach for a sea salt spray to smooth and protect damaged hair, but the Sachajuan Ocean Mist is here to revolutionize your way of thinking. (Also to smooth and protect your damaged hair.) Though a texturizing spray by nature, this actually works overtime as a leave-in conditioner and heat protectant, too. Softening, nourishing vitamin B12 and castor oil work to counteract the drying effects of salt and alcohol and protect your hair from environmental aggressors. It’s not the most hydrating thing you’ll ever put on your hair, but it’ll make your waves look and feel a lot less “birds nest-y” than other salt sprays out there. It’s super lightweight and flexible, so an especially nice choice for people with fine hair.
3. The Best Sea Salt Spray For Dry, Frizzy Hair
Nor would you think to reach for a sea salt spray to tame dry, frizzy hair — but this Drybar salt spray, too, is delightfully antithetical. So many nourishing ingredients are packed in here, like avocado oil, a slew of vitamins, hydrating aloe, and strengthening algae, so your waves will feel bouncy, soft, and not at all sticky (but just the right amount of tousled — it is a salt spray, after all). According to the diversity of rave reviews around the internet, this works on just about every hair type and texture.
4. The Best Natural Sea Salt Spray
Other than dunking your head in the ocean, this Captain Blankenship salt spray is the purest path to beachy waves. After water and Atlantic sea salt, this cult-favorite spray contains just four, organic ingredients: aloe and sea kelp extract for body and shine, and palmarosa and geranium oils for a light, fresh scent. You can double down on the mystical-mermaid aesthetic with the brand’s shimmer salt sprays, imbued with responsibly sourced mica for a fine dusting of gold, rose gold, or silver shimmer.
5. The Best Drugstore Sea Salt Spray
Other than dunking your head in the ocean at a public beach, this sub-$10 John Frieda salt spray is the cheapest way to get piece-y, textured waves. People like this spray for its matte finish, which can help keep greasy hair under control for an extra day or so. Consider trying the shampoo and conditioner from the brand's same, ocean-inspired line, which all boast the same delightfully refreshing scent.
6. Another Great, Affordable Sea Salt Spray
If you’re actually spending the day under the sun, not just trying to look like you did, go for this Sun Bum salt spray. It’s infused with mineral-rich sea kelp and seaweed that help protect your hair from environmental aggressors, like the sun and humidity, which can leach your hair of its integrity and vividness. Meanwhile, Hawaiian black lava sea salt and charcoal powder provide volume. This spray is a little more intense than others on this list, so exercise some discipline with it.