The Final Answer on Salt Spray and Hair Health

It’s official: Apart from our inaugural piece on Boy Brow, Su’s most influential piece on the *Interweb* pertains entirely to salt spray. The concoction, of course, has been mixed into hair for ages; ever since Gisele’s naturally tousled beachy waves hit our eyeballs, the hunt for the perfect formula began. Says Sally Hershberger, former surfer and creative consultant for John Frieda:

“When I come out of the ocean, my hair is genius. That’s where it came from. I used to shoot with Herb Ritts. His whole body of work from the ’80s to the ’90s with Tatjana [Patitz], Christy Turlington—all those nudes on the beach—features that beachy, really textured hair. I was wrapping their hair and twisting it with saltwater to get that incredible texture.”

There’s always a slight wind at the beach. I don’t know what it is—it’s the atmosphere, the humidity. Often if you come out of the sea and your hair dries, it’s got this very distinct, cool texture.
— Michael Gordon, Bumble and Bumble

Then, of course, came Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Spray. Says the brand’s founder of the incredible invention: “There’s always a slight wind at the beach. I don’t know what it is—it’s the atmosphere, the humidity. Often if you come out of the sea and your hair dries, it’s got this very distinct, cool texture. So I simply asked the chemists if they could combine stuff and give us that kind of texture. That was the idea.”

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Bumble and Bumble’s black, neoprene-inspired bottle was the first hair product to ever bottle the beach; in the early days, founder Michael Gordon recalls stylists decorating its blank canvas with metallic marker on set; the smooth, wetsuit-like detailing irresistible to the creative mind. In high school, I remember running my hands over the smooth surface of its packaging repeatedly; an iconic product from the feel to the final result.

The late 90s gave us beachy waves without the beach. Our question today, of course, is a more elaborate one; The focus has shifted on hair health front-and-centre, with Bumble’s traditional formula spawning superfood-infused, gemstone-kissed iterations that appeal to our modern-day obsession with #SelfCare.


Seeking the final word on sea salt and hair health, Su tapped pro hair stylist and owner of Twentyseven Toronto, Olivia Colacci. A miami-dweller, platinum blonde herself, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone else more qualified to speak to the beachy wave North of California. “It’s all about balance,” she says. “I love a texturizing salt spray; there are three that I tend to stick to, all with various textures and stances on sea salt.”

For blondes - more susceptible to additional damage - Colacci recommends Oribe Aprés Beach, with no sea salt and built-in light reflectors for your golden hour instagram moments. “The oils and minerals give you texture and UV protection, but not that gritty texture that sea salt would. It doesn’t feel like you’ve bathed in salt water,” says Olivia. “But you will still get that wave.”

Sea salt die-hards can find their answer in R+Co’s Rockaway beach spray, known by the pros to have as much sodium as your local all-you-can-eat sushi joint. “It’s great for virgin hair because you’ll get a great result even if your natural texture is pin straight,” says Olivia. “If you’re doing regular hydrating treatments, you’re fine.”

And the final in this trio of Cali-girl curls? Artifact Milky Waves, made right here in Ontario, Canada. “Milky Waves is great for all kinds of hair because it has a great mix of sea salt and oil,” says Olivia. “It has UV protection in it, thanks to meadow foam oil, which really works well to protect against the drying effects of the sun. It’s not like you’re putting salt in your hair and going in the sun, you’re actually protecting it - which is fantastic.”


So, you’ve heard it here first: salt sprays without the salt are not only effective, they’re corrective. And if you can’t quit that gritty, salty goodness - nobody is blaming you: Just make sure you’re hydrating in-between uses, with a hydrating mask and oil detox treatment for product buildup. When it comes to frequency, Olivia says a wash every two weeks is ideal in the summertime: “You’re outside, you’re sweating, you’re in the sun, you’re moving around. Your hair needs more of a detox right now that it would in the winter; then, you can get away with doing a wash monthly.” Our pick for sloughing those roots? Act + Acre’s scalp detox; made in the USA, in 100% recycled packaging, with a first-of-its kind cold-pressed process that retains the original integrity of its ingredients. This stuff truly flies off the shelves, and smells like a sweet summer dream.

Any questions about sea salt and sexy hair? DM us on Instagram, or leave a comment below.

Have a great summer, don’t ever change. - Su