Sea Salt Texturizing Hair Spray for that Summer Beach Look

I love sea salt hair sprays – I like the crunchy, beachy, wavy texture. But, many of the products I’ve found haven’t been great ingredient wise (I do list a few good ones at the bottom though). I’ve seen a lot of formal DIY recipes online, so based on researching those and comparing with the Hippie Homemaker’s one on Etsy that I bought, I’ve created a template for how to make a great sea salt spray that can be customized based on your own preference.

My first tip for a good homemade product is to use sea salt or real ocean water if you have access to it. Table salt is pure Sodium Chloride, what we know as just “regular salt.” But sea salt, and salt water, have a lot more going on. They contain potassium, magnesium, and other trace minerals like manganese, calcium, zinc, iron, and silicon. There are also different kinds of sea salt with varying mineral compositions depending on where it’s from in the world.  Texturizing spray is not just about the salt, it’s also about the minerals and extras that help create that authentic beach babe wavy and tousled hair look.

This is the super simple DIY sea salt spray recipe that I use and will improve on later this summer:

  • Ocean water (that I brought home from Hawaii)
  • Coconut oil (unrefined)
  • Lime essential oil

This is simple, but it has the four basic components of texturizing sprays: water, salt, oils, essential oils. I mixed this in a 4 oz bottle; I think I used 1 tbsp coconut oil and a few drops of lime essential oil until it had just a hint of fragrance. Now, I’m going to expand on these ingredients to you can choose what you want to use.

Water: People recommend using distilled water, because tap water is often treated with various minerals that might change the effectiveness of the spray. Since I used ocean water, I didn’t have to think about this part.

Salt: Choose the right salt is important, as I noted above. Based on my research, it looks like lots of people use Epsom salt in combination with a finely ground Celtic sea salt, Himalayan sea salt, or a sea salt blend. Most recipes suggest using 1 Tbsp salt in 1 cup of water; the Hippie Homemaker suggests 2 tbsp Epsom and 1½ tsp Dead Sea salt (she has a recipe on her blog).

Oils: Adding an emollient of some kind is important so your hair doesn’t dry out too much. I like using coconut oil since it feels beachy and I like the scent. You can also add aloe vera gel, argan oil, vegetable glycerin, jojoba oil, or avocado oil.

Essential oils: These aren’t *essential* to the product (haha), but they add a nice fragrance and some are beneficial to hair. I like using lime because again, it’s summery and beachy to me and I love the smell! It really depends on personal preference, but I think any of these would be fitting: lavender, rosemary, grapefruit, lemon, vanilla, or orange. Just remember to check that you’re using the proper concentration for essential oils, as they shouldn’t be used undiluted.

Other ingredients: In researching other DIY recipes and store bought products, there’s other stuff you can add to give the spray a little boost. These include sugar, sea kelp extract, and Vitamin E. Some people also add conditioner, which probably acts as an emulsifying agent (since conditioner is a mix of water and oils). I’m not crazy about this idea for some inexplicable reason, but it may be a good idea if you’re having issues with ingredients separating. (This is just an educated guess, I don’t know this for a fact).

I turned to DIY recipes for sea salt sprays, because I couldn’t find one that had safe ingredients. There may be more options on the market since I last checked, since it seems like they’re gaining popularity. From my knowledge at this point, if you’re interested in just buying a spray, I suggest looking into these three products:

Herbivore Botanicals Sea Mist Texturizing Salt Spray (I haven’t used this, but ingredients look good to me)

SheaMoisture Zanzibar Marine Complex Sea Salt Texture Spray (I haven’t used this, but I generally like SheaMoisture’s products)

Hippie Homemaker Gidget’s Ocean Waves Texturizing Spray (This one I bought on Etsy and I really liked it)

You can also try looking for others on Etsy.

Side note: I found an interesting article that talks about the science behind the classic beach hair. Although she does caution against bottling your own ocean water because it will go bad quickly, which I disagree with. I took home a water bottle full of ocean water when I was in Hawaii and it survived the plane ride just fine. I’ve kept it in the fridge and it’s been good for over a year now.

Citrus top notes, floral undertones, with hints of carcinogens: toxic fragrances (part 1)

Ad from for Be Delicious perfume

When I was 15 I was shopping with my sister at Macy’s and she bought me this little apple-shaped bottle of perfume on display at the checkout counter. It smelled like heaven – sweet, velvety, and a lingering hint of sophistication. Be Delicious, DKNY’s “apple perfume” became my staple fragrance for several years – it made me feel confident and sexy, and I didn’t think twice about what was in it. In all honesty, I still miss that perfume sometimes. But, I cannot go back to using synthetic fragrance, because in keeping with the curse of toxic-free education, you cannot unlearn this information…

Fragrance, also labeled parfum, is an umbrella term for a blend of various synthetic chemicals and are trade secret. That means companies don’t have to disclose the specific chemical compounds used in their blends. There are approximately 3,000 different chemicals used in proprietary fragrances, many of which are linked to various health concerns including cancer, allergies, neurotoxicity, and reproductive and developmental toxicity.

In addition to ‘fragrance/parfum’, there are a number of other ingredients in perfumes, including solvents, dyes, stabilizers, penetration enhancers, preservatives, and UV filters. The fragrance industry is internationally self-regulated, and companies are not required to disclose any ingredients they use. Some companies do choose to provide customers with a limited ingredient list, but many others do not.

One of the biggest concerns with these ingredients is that many are endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which means they affects your hormones. The dangerous problem with EDCs is that they are very powerful at very small doses. Fetuses, infants, and children are at an even greater risk of health impacts from EDCs because they are in stages of rapid development and do not have fully formed endocrine systems. Fragrance compounds can be EDCs, as can some of the filler ingredients like oxybenzone (UV filter), phthalates (solvent), and BTH (preservative).

The Environmental Working Group and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics co-published results from testing and analyzing the safety of 17 name brand perfumes/colognes in their 2010 report, Not So Sexy: The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrances. They found many perfumes contained undisclosed ingredients that can affect development, reproductive health, immune function, and potentially cause cancer.

Fragrance is also a potent allergen, causing and triggering asthma. I have asthma and I’m moderately sensitive to fragrance. A few times now, I’ve been at the gym and had to relocate to a machine on the other side of the room because someone with incredibly strong smelling perfume gets onto the machine next to mine. I get a headache and feel dizzy, which doesn’t make for a very successful workout! The tide is slowly changing in regards to fragrances in public spaces, but many people are still unaware of fragrance sensitivity, which can worsen as one is continually exposed to unwanted secondhand fragrance over their lifetime. When individuals use synthetic perfumes, they develop a tolerance to the scent and gradually apply it in heavier doses. So to them, it might seem like a pleasant, subtle aroma, but to those of us with sensitivities, it’s a formidable cloud of toxic air. For those with severe allergies, it’s a trip to the emergency room. This is why it’s so important for people to respect fragrance-free zones and to be aware that fragrance sensitivities can be as serious as any other allergy.

I highly recommend reading a Canberra Times (Australia) article about toxic chemicals in fragrance, in which the author perfectly captures what it is like to go through our heavily scented world with a fragrance sensitivity. She also talks about the science of scent and the health risks associated with certain ingredients.

The issue of fragrance is complex and a bit dense, which is why this post is just a scratch on the surface of this topic. My next post in the fragrance series will cover other consumer products and provide details on the specific chemicals used in fragrance blends.


Not Just a Pretty Face, by Stacy Malkan

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