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A day at the beach does more than just work wonders for your soul. A dip in the ocean is a surefire way to score ah-mazing hair. There’s something about the combo of the saltwater plus a little sand and a little beachy air that can transform even the most blah of strands into a mermaid-esque mane, those covetable beachy waves that would otherwise take hot tools and styling steps galore.
If only there was a way to capture that magic and recreate that look at home…oh wait, there is. A quick spritz of a salt spray is the easiest way to score seaside strands, no trip to the seaside required. Plus, most of the formulas out there are extremely versatile and can be used on either damp or dry hair, as a refresher for second-day hair, or to impart grip and texture before creating an updo or braid.
So beach, please—pick up one of these best sea salt sprays.
Best Overall: Sachajuan Ocean Mist Spray
This spritz works on every hair type, from fine and flat to kinky and coiled—and everything in between. It uses not only salt, but also sugar (another choice texturizer) to create waves, plus add a bit of volume and hold, along with a matte finish. Spray it onto damp hair and let it air dry; you can even brush it out post-spraying if you want a more subtle effect.
Best for Fine Hair: Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray
Arguably one of, if not the, most popular salt sprays out there, many would also say that this is the OG formula that spawned a thousand different copycats. It boasts Epsom salts, which make for a tousled texture and have astringent properties to absorb excess oil. Meanwhile, seaweed and kelp extracts impart smoothness and shine. The end result is a spritz that almost instantly transforms even the finest, limpest of strands—but never weighs them down.
Best for Damaged Hair: Rahua Enchanted Island Salt Spray
There’s both salt and sugar in this formula, ensuring you get plenty of waves without any dryness. It also touts hibiscus extract, which strengthens the core of the hair (a major win if your tresses need a little TLC) and imparts shine and bounce. Clean beauty queens will appreciate that there’s no added fragrance, just sugar and passion fruit that make for a tropical scent.
Best for Volume: R+Co Rockaway Salt Spray
Craving not only waves, but added volume, too? Try this mist. A plant-based ingredient known as cranesbill plumps each shaft for added fullness, while salt leaves hair looking naturally tousled. Not to mention that there’s also antioxidant-rich and protective vitamin C and strengthening sage in the formula, too.
Best for Thick Hair: Joico Beach Shake Texturizing Finisher
When you’re rocking a thick mane, you’re going to need a little bit more product to see an effect. Lucky for you, this styler is formulated for medium to thick hair, so you don’t need to load on tons of it. FYI, it is meant to be used on dry hair, and you’ll get the best results if you spray it at the undersides of your hair.
Best for All Hair Types: Drybar Mai Tai Spritzer Sea Salt Spray
If you’re searching for a universal, foolproof option, this can’t be beaten. No matter whether your hair is fine, medium, or thick, straight, wavy, curly, or coily, you can use this guy. Sea salts create separation and a matte finish, while algae strengthens hair and aloe plus avocado oil counteract the potential for dryness.
Best Splurge: Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray
True to its name, a quick hit of this really does leave you with ‘just got back from the beach’ hair. Another salt-free option, it instead uses a combination of wheat protein, pro-vitamin B5, and a co-polymer that work together to swell the hair shaft and create that coveted beachy texture. But what makes this worth the price is the addition of other good-for-your hair ingredients, namely an antioxidant complex to protect against damaging and color fading effects, plus a plant-based extract that offers UV protection to further safeguard your hue.
Best Scent: Ouai Wave Spray
You’ll be hard-pressed to figure out what you like more about this spray—is it the amazing texture it creates or is it the addicting scent, a floral fragrance balanced with citrus and musk notes? Happily, there’s no need to choose. It uses rice protein in lieu of salt (so it’s also a good pick for keratin-treated hair) and gives strands some hold and memory, too.
In other words, if you really wanted to take a hot tool to your hair after to further enhance some of your new waves, this would help set them in place. And, as we said, the fragrance is so good you can go ahead and skip perfume.
Best Drugstore: John Frieda Beach Blonde Sea Waves Sea Salt Spray
Despite the name, this works on all hair colors and is safe for color-treated hair. Along with the wallet-friendly price, we’re also big fans of the scent and lightweight feel that gives enough texture and wave but doesn’t weigh down hair. (Or make it sticky and stiff, our biggest gripe with many texturizing products.)
It works well either on air-dried hair or as a blow-out prep step.
Best for Dry Hair: Amika Bushwick Beach No-Salt Wave Spray
We know, this technically isn’t a salt spray, but here’s the thing—salt can be drying on your hair, particularly if your mane is already on the drier side, to begin with. This formula uses a mineral known as zeolite in place of salt to create piece-y, surfer girl texture, coupled with hydrating sea buckthorn oil for added hydration and shine. Oh, and the other nice thing about zeolite? It also helps ward off frizz, making this choice for summertime styling.
Best Natural: Captain Blankenship Mermaid Sea Salt Hair Spray
Talk about a clean ingredient profile—there are only six ingredients total in this spray. Water and sea salt are the first two, and, in keeping with the beachy theme, it also contains sea kelp extract. Aloe ensures it isn’t too drying, and we also appreciate that it comes in a TSA-friendly two-ounce size that’s ideal for travel.
Best for Colored Hair: Sun Bum Texturizing Sea Spray
Along with giving you beachy hair, this also goes above and beyond the call of duty. It offers UV protection—very important if you color your hair, since the sun can cause serious fading and color changes—but also blocks out humidity. Hence why it’s an awesome pick if you actually are going to the beach and just want to enhance the effects of a swim in the sea (or aren’t planning on going in the water but want to make it look like you did.)