There’s a natural phenomenon we often observe at this time of year and we’re not talking about the solstice or the midnight sun: it’s how great our hair looks after a day at the beach. We’ve turned a delicate shade of red and have sand in awkward places, but our thatch has never looked better. Frizzy curls are replaced with cherubic ringlets, stubbornly straight strands have wavy kinks and even short hairstyles have more shape.
This desirable Poseidon effect can be elusive without the natural forces of wind and wave. Should we bottle some sea water while we’re there? A quick glance at the SAS map and no, we will not be doing that. Concoct our own (cheap) saline solutions at home? There’s a lot more than just salt and water in a professional marine misting spray.
Editorial hair stylist, Neil Moodie, founder of the Neil Moodie Studio in Spitalfields, gives us the lowdown on how to use a sea salt spray and the benefits of using a salty styling solution to get the look you want.
What is sea salt spray?
“Sea salt spray was created to replicate the texture that natural sea water gives to hair,” explains Neil, “the original idea came from editorial hair stylists who would use natural sea water when on a location shoot to give hair that authentic beachy, dry texture.”
What does sea salt spray do for the hair?
“Sea Salt spray has multiple uses,” says Neil, “it’s not only used to give the hair a surfer texture, it can also give a gritty texture and make the hair feel thicker too. It absorbs the natural oils in hair, giving it texture, volume and also encourages natural curls.”
Why is it effective for men’s hairstyles?
Flat hair? You need a salt spray. Oily hair? You need a salt spray. Frizzy hair? You need a salt spray. Fine or thinning hair? You get the idea.
“It’s a great product for men’s hair because it’s so versatile,” says Neil, “It can make hair appear and feel thicker and also creates a better foundation for styling. You can also use it to create more sculptured shapes without having to use too much wax or pomade, and it’s also great for oily scalps because it absorbs the excess oil.”
We use it to skip that fluffy, flyaway post-wash stage and as a dry shampoo when it’s not as clean as it could be.
What’s the best way to apply a sea salt spray?
“You can apply to damp hair, layering it over a detangling spray if you have grown yours out,” advises Neil.
“Concentrate on getting it into the roots as well as just the ends, or apply to dry hair for extra volume and create a more matt texture. For curly, wavy hair I recommend drying it with a diffuser attachment which gives a more natural=looking beach texture.”
Can salt sprays damage your hair?
Salt is so good at absorbing the natural oils it can make thirsty hair and scalps more parched. Most sprays include nourishing and hydrating ingredients, but if your type is particularly dry, fragile or coarse, Neil recommends taking the time to thoroughly wash the hair after each use to protect it from any cumulative damage.
“I recommend always shampooing out thoroughly with a good cleansing shampoo and using a conditioner to give back the hair some moisture. On fine hair it can make it more brittle if left in, so shampoo regularly,” says Neil.
The Best Men’s Sea Salt Sprays
Now we’ve covered how to use a sea salt spray, let’s check out some of the best rated.
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Muroto Volume Hydro Texturising Mist
“My personal favourite is Shu Uemura Art of Hair Muroto Volume Hydro Texturising Mist,” says Neil. “It contains Depsea Water, an ingredient sourced deep within the Pacific Rim off the coast of Japan, remaining pure and rich in minerals.
“It gives texture and volume to fine, flat hair while keeping hair looking natural and feeling weightless. It’s also great for creating natural waves without weighing it down.”
Horace Texturising Hair Styling Spray
You can be miles from the sea and still achieve that enviable Gallic mane. This saline styling spray contains strengthening panthenol, acacia extract and glycerin. It creates a natural finish, leaves no residue and washes out easily, ready to do it all over again.
Davines This is a Sea Salt Spray
This mattifying, non-drying formula will absorb oil and add volume to the roots without any crunchiness or stickiness.
It’s delivered by a fine mist so it doesn’t over dampen the hair or leave it feeling wet, and gives long-lasting texture to curls and waves.
Bulldog Original Styling Salt Spray
Made with sustainably-sourced Mediterranean sea salt and 100% natural ingredients, this affordable spray has a clean, citrus smell that reminds us a bit of bathroom cleaner, in a fresh and clinical kind of way.
It provides a light hold that doesn’t weigh hair down. Spray it directly onto dry/damp hair, or onto your fingers and rub through.
Alott Sea Salt Spray
Alott is short for ‘a little off the top’. The brand’s Sea Salt Spray is extremely popular (it sells out quickly on each restock) and is made with detoxifying Epsom salts and Halen Môn sea salt from Wales.
Use it to quickly mop up excess oils and add grip to your hair, while the fresh, zingy bergamot scent stimulates the scalp. It’s also refillable, so you don’t need to buy more plastic.
Slick Gorilla Sea Salt Spray
It’s all over Tik Tok, UFC fighter Paddy Pimblett, and soon your hair. Slick Gorilla is made with pink Himalayan and Epsom salts, aloe leaf juice, panthenol, sunflower seed extract and radish root.
The spray works perfectly with heat styling, providing extra volume and a light, natural hold.
Bumble And Bumble Surf Spray
Considered the original sea salt spray, Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Spray has been around for a while. Made with sea kelp and algae extracts, it’s especially great for very fine hair, short curls and longer waves.
Given the smaller bottle size it’s one of the pricier options but a little goes a long way.
Murdock London Sea Salt Spray
With a blend of botanical and citrus extracts including sweet orange, bitter orange, mandarin orange, grapefruit and lemon, this salt spray has a mouth-watering scent and leaves the hair feeling thicker without weighing it down.
Salt Grooming Marine Mist Volumising Sea Salt Spray
This enriching, strengthening and volumising formula uses Pro-Vitamin B5, (panthenol), unrefined Atlantic sea salt and the catchily named MiruStyle MFP PE, which is a blend of frizz-reducing amino acids.
Vegan and cruelty free, it leaves hair softly textured.
Label.m Sea Salt Spray
Ideal for coloured hair or regular blow-drying, this spray contains an Enviroshield Complex that protects against UV rays and heat damage and will add a thicker, matte effect to all hair types.
Windle Oceanic Spray
Another spray for highlighted or coloured hair, this easy, brush-out formula is made with Japanese Honeysuckle and amino acids to condition along with a colour protection complex to prevent fading.