Using things you probably already have around the house, this 5-minute DIY sea salt spray will give you beachy waves without the drive to the ocean! Spray and leave for loose waves or scrunch for curls.
I love the beach. Wait. No. That doesn’t do the beach justice… I LOVE THE BEACH. I have one doc who says I should never go into the water (be it natural or chlorinated) because it’s bad for my health and therefore means I can’t swim at the beach. Then I have another who says it’s too much sun exposure, which I shouldn’t have, and that I means I shouldn’t really even sit on the beach. And then my other doctor is all,” meh, I don’t want to tell you how to live your life but they’re right you need to stay away from the beach.” But since I live less than half an hour from a gorgeous beach it’s kind of hard to stay away. And the one that says I shouldn’t even go, well I convinced him that I should because what’s good for the soul is good for the body, right? :)
I was landlocked for ages. The first time I went into the salt water (that I can remember) was just a few years ago. I was amazed at how salty it was. It stung my eyes and, of course, the first thing I did is accidentally gulp down a gallon not sure how to handle the waves and gave myself a bellyache. I mean, we never had WAVES to contend with in the lake back home, just snapping turtles :) But that first dip in the Gulf of Mexico, and I was absolutely hooked.
But then I went to Puerto Rico last year and with the fear of flying (FOUR HOURS IN A PLANE OVER THE OCEAN) and just the stress of traveling, in general, my first few days were miserable. I spent a lot of time crying and apologizing for crying because I wound up doing my sightseeing the first 3 days in so. much. pain. It was the pits. I remember that it was so hot and so humid coming out of the airport and finding the rental car place was kind of confusing and just wishing I could CONCENTRATE and get us OUT OF THERE. And then it turned out our first hotel didn’t have parking and so we had to drive around Old San Juan for ages trying to find someplace to park and then we walked blocks to the hotel with all of our luggage and I remember being so frustrated because it hurt to walk. And once we got into our room I just wanted to lay down and rest a minute but “we’re in Puerto Rico! You can lay down at home!” And then I got in the rental car and cried a little here and there out of frustration as we drove around because it was pretty and I wanted to be happy to be there but I just wished I was at home in my own bed. And when we went back to the hotel, after trekking the several blocks back in the dark, I showered and cried myself to sleep. That first day was seriously the pits and I don’t remember a single good thing except how beautiful I thought the island was.
Our first few days of the trip was mostly inland stuff. We went to Arecibo Observatory where they’ve been sending out signals out into space hoping to hear back from aliens for decades now (which is kind of scary, right?) We went to the Museo de Arte de Ponce so Rob could see their noteworthy piece, Flaming June by Frederic Leighton in real life. We went to El Museo Castillo Seralles, the mansion that Puerto Rico’s rum industry built. And Rob ate conch. Like from the really pretty seashell out of the ocean? It’s got a weird texture but just about every local suggested we eat it in the local favorite, mofongo, and dude conch and mofongo just are not my thing. Tostones, fried plantains served with mayo ketchup, however, are my thing and I make those here at home every other week!
Because I was sick we missed a tour of Monkey Island, which was basically the whole reason we selected Puerto Rico to visit in the first place. Bleh. Sad we didn’t get to do the main thing on our list, we decided to instead head to the island of Vieques where I went snorkeling for the first time. Having never done it before, we really should have gotten training and I had a scary encounter when I found myself just a few inches above a bunch of those spiky poisonous things, but as we left the bay and slowly made our way across the island amid the wild horses that roam free. As we drove I realized that my pain had lessened significantly. And every time after I swam in the salt water, I felt so much better. Suddenly the trip was bearable. Enjoyable, even. So even though everybody who should know what is best for my health says no, I still go because for some reason none of us can understand, it makes me feel better.
And besides swimming apparently being good for the pain in my bod, it’s also amazing for my hair. Haha, totally superficial in comparison to lessening pain, but, like, my hair never looks better than after it has dried spending the afternoon swimming in the gulf. :) I get these lovely loose waves and it just looks so natural and healthy. And even though I live so close to the beach, I still don’t get to swim in the salt water as much as I’d like. And some days I just don’t want to blow dry my hair and so I make this amazing sea salt spray so I can get those gentle waves with no more hassle than a little spray and scrunch. I’ve been making it since I used to live inland, and it’s changed and been modified over the years but I LOVE my most recent version…
I love this spray not just because it helps my limp wannabe wavy hair take some sort of nice shape, it also gives me texture. My hair is baby fine and it can get wispy as all get out. The salt adds a bit of texture to my hair that I lack which can give my hair mad body. I really, really love this stuff :)
Want to learn how to make your own sea salt spray for beautiful beachy waves?
For this project you will need:
- 1 cup warm water
- 4 tablespoons sea salt (you can get it in soap making sections of craft stores or in the spice aisle at the grocery)
- 1-2 tablespoons hair gel (more if you don’t have much natural curl)
- 1-2 tablespoon conditioning hair treatment for damaged or dry hair
- spray bottle
- few drops scented oil (optional)
Sea salt works the best for this DIY sea salt spray, for obvious reasons, and brand doesn’t seem to matter. If you don’t have sea salt spray and you want to make this right now without running to the store, I’ve also gotten decent results with Himalayan Pink Salt. It does seem as though your hair is a bit more stiff or something, though, just FYI.
Any salt will dry your hair out and so you’ll also need a good, nourishing conditioner to add to the mix. It helps your hair from getting super coarse from everyday use, preventing a sort of brittle feel to your hair. Over the years I’ve tried leave-in conditioners, anti-frizz stuff, those shine enhancing sprays and my favorite is the Garnier Fructis hair mask. It’s super strong, mixes without chunks so you don’t have to strain anything and smells amazing.
You’ll also need a middle of the road holding gel (see up there? Mine is a 3 out of 5 and PERFECT) If you use gel that leaves a wet look, your hair won’t ever look like it’s dried, which I don’t like at all. I want my hair to be dry and full and bouncy and wavy and NOT wet looking, but that’s just a personal preference.
As I’m getting older my hair is getting curlier. In my mid-twenties when I’d make this I’d add 2 heaping tablespoons of gel into my mixture to help hold my manufactured waves in place. Now that my hair can do some of the heavy lifting on its own, I tend to go lighter on the gel with only a tablespoon. Play this measurement by ear, depending on how straight or curly your hair is naturally.
Warm your water in the microwave for about a minute. It should be hot but not be boiling. Add your salt and stir to dissolve.
Now if you want to nerd out I read that typical seawater is around 35% salt. With 16 tablespoons in a cup, that would be the equivalent of adding around 5.5 tablespoons of salt to our water, but I can’t seem to ever get that much to dissolve and that’s why we just do 4 :)
Add the salt to the hot water and stir to dissolve. If you have a bit of straggling salt in the bottom of your measuring cup, heat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds and continue to stir until dissolved.
While still warm add your conditioner and stir to melt and incorporate. Next add your gel and get it mixed in well, too. The end result will be a cloudy off-white, kind of dirty looking water concoction :) If you have any chunks from your conditioner that would not melt in, you’ll need to strain with cheesecloth or a coffee filter to remove any chunks.
Pour into your bottle and screw the lid back on. Decorate that business as you please. I decided that if I had my own beauty company I’d give my products snarky names and keep the designs clean and minimal. I give you: Beach Hair Don’t Care. :)
I cut the label for my bottle from outdoor vinyl using a cutting machine but you can also print the file you get by clicking on the image above, or here, trimming out the color you like and gluing it to your bottle.
Haha! Perhaps I’m not quite as clever as I think I am, but then again, maybe I am! :)
You can apply this DIY sea salt spray directly to wet or dry hair to give it a bit of oompfh. Use less for soft, beachy waves, go heavier if you’re trying to get your hair to kink up a bit. If your hair is very straight you’ll need to help this stuff out (it doesn’t work miracles) and give your hair a good scrunching every once and a while as it dries. To add texture and volume without any waves or curls, you can spray onto wet hair and then blow dry out straight, too, so it’s kind of versatile little homemade beauty item :)