Second to Dry Shampoo, sea salt spray is probably my most used hair product, and it’s also super easy to make yourself!
Sea salt spray or beach waves spray has gained popularity lately, and it’s the product most often used for those popular beachy waves. It gives off surfer girl vibes. Many of the sea salt sprays leave hair feeling dry, as the salt pulls moisture and natural oils out.
The gold standard of beach sprays for hair (in my opinion) is Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray with hydrating kelp. While this spray works great it’s still a conventional hair product and has some ingredients I prefer not to use. I do like that it uses magnesium sulfate (aka Epsom Salt) instead of sea salt, which makes it less drying to the hair. It also has some natural oils (aka conditioner) to replenish hair.
Creating Your Own Beach Waves Spray
I set out to create my own version of sea salt spray for hair that didn’t have any of the questionable ingredients. The result is one of the simplest natural hair care recipes to make. And it costs so much less than store-bought versions.
It adds great texture and volume to hair without harsh chemicals. If you make it yourself, you can also customize it to your hair type to get the texture you want.
If you have drier hair, then feel free to experiment by adding some jojoba or argan oil. For a light hold, omit the sea salt and just use the Epsom salts. For those with wavy hair or curly hair, this sea salt spray can help tame frizz for a tousled look.
I use this all the time and it works great, even on my hair that can be hard to tame and really hard to get to hold a curl. In fact, I used this on the cover of my cookbook. I got a lot of questions about how I got my hair to stay like that and if I used natural products (I did).
My whole protocol for the cookbook cover hair was texturizing spray and dry shampoo for volume, this ceramic curling wand for curl/waves, and sugar and salt spray to set.
Sea Salt Spray Supplies
You’ll need a spray bottle that holds at least 10 oz. I originally used a glass bottle made from an old apple cider vinegar bottle and a regular spray top.
Because this is a natural product and doesn’t have a preservative (other than the salt and alcohol), it won’t last as long as store-bought versions. It’s best to keep it in the fridge and use it within a few weeks. If you don’t think you’ll use it that quickly then cut the recipe in half.
All About That Base
Sometimes I’ll use chamomile tea or black tea instead of water in this recipe. Chamomile helps lighten hair by accentuating natural highlights. Black tea helps to darken hair. If you’re using tea though, the spray will only last approximately 1 to 2 weeks in the fridge. If it smells off or develops a different texture before that, then pitch it.
To help deter microbe growth it’s important to use either distilled or filtered water in this recipe. If using filtered water boil it first and then allow it to cool a bit before using.
Essential Oils for Sea Salt Spray
You don’t have to add essential oils but it adds a nice scent to hair. Read more about the best essential oils for hair here. My favorites for this salt spray are lavender and citrus but here are some good options.
DIY Sea Salt Spray For Hair
- 1 cup water filtered or distilled
- 2 TBSP Epsom salts
- ½ tsp Himalayan salt or sea salt
- 1 tsp aloe vera gel
- ½ tsp natural conditioner
- 5-10 drops essential oils
- 1 tsp lemon juice optional to lighten hair
- 1 tsp alcohol optional to extend shelf life
- Add all of the ingredients to a spray bottle.
- Put the cap on the bottle and shake for several minutes, until Epsom salt and sea salt are dissolved.
- Shake well before each use.
How to Use Sea Salt Spray For Hair
Spray on damp hair and scrunch with a towel to dry for loose beach waves. Spray on dry hair and on roots for volume and hair texture without the waves. It helps thinning hair and fine hair to look fuller.
If you have thin, straight hair and you want all-day natural waves: Wash your hair the night before and spray it with the sea salt wave spray while still damp. Then, either french braid it into pigtails or wrap it in a tight scrunched bun on top of your head. and leave overnight to air dry.
Spritz with a little more salt water spray and remove the braid/bun. Voila- all-day beach waves. Spray with additional spray and scrunch if you want a hairstyle with more stiffness.
Best Sea Salt Sprays to Buy
Don’t have time to make it? Here are some paraben-free and overall healthy sea salt spray for hair options.
- Beauty by Earth Sea Salt and Texturizing Spray
- Brickell Texturizing Sea Salt Spray
- Alaffia Purely Coconut Texturizing Spray
Ever used Sea Salt Spray? Ever made your own hair products? Tell me below!
Discussion (262 Comments)
I have everything but the aloe vera gel, do you think I could get the same effect without it? Or should I go grab a little for this?
You probably can… It’s just for the moisture and shine… Let me know how it works!
Thanks to another great blog (Crunchy Betty, if you’re wondering!), I tried rinsing my hair with the water that quinoa has been washed in. Pour it through your hair after washing, leave in for 3 minutes, then rinse out. I have fine hair that wants to wave, but can’t so much and this little trick gives me silky waves. It’s amazing! I am definitely trying your recipe, though. I absolutely love beach hair! Thanks for the share!
Hmm! I’ve got to try this. My hair is like that, too… doesn’t want to be stick straight, but not quite a wave, either. I better get to rinsing some quinoa. 😉 Do you know how long a shelf life it has?
This is fantastic! I buy those beach hair sprays and they are expensive! I’m definitely gonna try this!
I have thicker hair that is sadly prone to frizz 🙁 does this cause a lot of frizz or control frizz at all? It looks great and I hate having to dry & straighten my hair everyday or pull it back in a pony tail when I don’t feel like it.
Mine frizzes somewhat easily too and this didn’t cause frizz at all. I’d add a little extra oil or conditioner if you’re worried about it though…
I just want to say THANK YOU! I have recently educated myself about the dangers of chemicals in household products and as I’ve been looking for alternative solutions I came across your site. It is THE most complete (and useful) site I’ve found for making your own without being too complicated, and the things I’ve tried so far really work! Thank you so much!
What are your thoughts on using rubbing alcohol instead of vodka?
Inspired by the commercial versions that have mostly the same ingredients but are really expensive 🙂 and thanks 🙂
Thanks for the tips!
I was interested in making this, and I would like to know if this recipe needs a natural preservative in it for shelf life, especially if we’re using an essential oil in it. Can bacteria even survive in a salt based solution?
Well, yes, it can.It’s best to store it in the fridge if you are concerned.
That is AWESOME! I’ve seen “homemade salt spray” recipes before, but they always call for adding some commercial hair gel, which for me defeats the purpose of avoiding those chemicals. I make my own shampoo and conditioner, but have not had any success with homemade styling product yet – this looks like it could be my first big win in that arena. Thank you!
I can’t wait to try this! I’m almost out of my “Dream Curls” spray, which is very similar to the beach waves spray… So you’ve saved me a trip to the store!
And I agree with Smoochagator above — nice to see a picture of YOU! You’re lovely!
Awwww… Thanks 🙂 let me know how it works for you
I love it!! Having the Beach wave hair without going to the beach. I often do mine through curling iron then using my hands to separate the waves. I will try this one soon, but one question, won’t it leave the hair stiff and dry?
It does leave hair a little stiff, but it hold the waves in. It is surprisingly like actual beach hair…
yes that salt does wonders for thin hair
This. Is. So. Cool! I can’t wait to try it!
I know this was posted awhile ago but I wanted to say thanks. Also, you do not have a big nose, you look lovely without make-up (what I can see you), you have good photography skills, good to see your daughter eating an apple and the bookshelf is neat.
You have nothing to apologize for lovely lady.
I made this a while ago and used it for a while until I realized that the salt was drying out my hair from the tips up. They felt like straw. This is bad since my hair has always been really healthy.
Once a week or so- do a oil treatment to your hair-
I love coconut oil but most any will do –
Drench hair in oil and leave on wrapped in a towel for a half hour to an hour-
Oil ruins everything -so use a towel you dont care for.
Then wash out- begin by working shampoo in and then adding in water,
this helps break down the oil and your hair is beautiful and healthy looking again!
Hope that is helpful and lets you enjoy beach hair when you want without drying out your hair.
Great tip for oil removing: dish detergent is awesome for removing oil stains, even the gunked up mechanic oil stains.
Dawn brand-name dish soap is GREAT for removing clothes stains… The secret with oil stains is to try getting rid of it as soon as possible. I always have a little oil perfume roll-on bottle filled with it in my purse for accidents when eating out.
Mayonnaise is fantastic for removing oil too, even vaseline (that’s how I discovered it! 1920’s fancy dress…), it emulsifies it all super fast, and washes out with soap/shampoo. A bit weird, I know, but useful especially if dish soap turns out to be a bit harsh or ineffective.
Leaves the worst feeling on my hair! Feels dry and icky. Or better yet, feels like straw!
That’s pretty much what sea salt spray does! It can feel kind of icky but the texture really helps with styling as clean hair is often so hard to style & hold in place.
Thanks wellness mama, i am so thankful to use your receipe today. This is what i was looking for long ago. I used it today,but my whole hair was white,and i started itching alot. Is there something that i used that was wrong? Will u please tell me? I so much needed this for my hair. What i used was: hot water,alo vera gel, epsom salt,conditioner and drops of scent. What did i do wrong pls? Diana.
What kind of conditioner did you use?
Can I substitute kosher salt for the sea salt?
Yes, but it might be a bit more flaky…
I’ve been using for about 6 months and I really like it. I wash at night, use the spray and let my hair dry while I sleep. Just a little more spray in the morning cures bed head. The build up of salt will make your hair feel dry, I find that this is easily cured with a good conditioner like coconut oil, smashed avocado or mayo once weekly fixes the issue. Good luck!