Get those tousled, beachy waves, or the texture that you get in your hair after a day at the beach, but without the damage, using this DIY sea salt spray. It's customizable to suit your hair type and the ingredients you have on hand.
While back home in the US many people are already starting school, here in Spain we almost have a full month left of summer. My son still has a good three weeks of summer vacation, and continues to enjoy summer activities. I'm also still wearing that summer look. I love summer dresses, comfy shorts with tank tops, and letting my hair do its thing.
Have you ever noticed that after a day a the beach on the sea or ocean, your hair has a lot more texture? That's because the salt from the water helps gives your hair a light hold and texture. You can recreate that look year-round with a sea salt spray.
What is a sea salt spray?
Sea salt sprays are a type of light hold hairspray that helps replicate the look of your hair after a day at the beach. If you love having beachy waves, a sea salt spray is a good way to achieve them. It can also help give texture to thinner hair that is normally flat.
What types of hair benefit from a sea salt spray?
Sea salt sprays work particularly well on straight and wavy hair. They add texture to straight hair and can help define waves and curls for those who have them.
Is sea salt good for your hair?
Sea salt, while it does make some great beachy waves, can also be drying for your hair. To prevent damaging your hair when using a homemade sea salt spray, you should combine it with other ingredients that help nourish your hair and keep it from damage.
In my sea salt spray, I combine sea salt (or some other regular salt like pink Himalayan salt) with Epsom salts. Epsom salts, or magnesium sulfate, don't give the same sort of hold, but they do help soothe both hair and scalp.
I've also made this into a bi-phase product with oils that are nourishing to your hair. The oils will both protect your hair from the drying effects of the salt, but they also add a bit of anti-frizzing and a touch of shine.
Customizing this DIY sea salt spray
You will notice that I've used a lot of ingredients and have made a professional grade type sea salt spray. I'm really sharing my full recipe, rather than simplifying for the blog, because I want you to see the sorts of ingredients that you can easily add to improve your final product. That said, if you only have a few ingredients on hand, you can make a very simplified version of this spray and it will still be effective.
The oil to water ratio
I used around 60% water and water-soluble ingredients to around 40% oil-based ones. You could make a very simplified version of my spray by having the salts and water add up to somewhere between 50-60% of the recipe by weight. You could finish off the product with 40-50% of an oil or a combination of oils of your choice.
You are free to play with the ratio of oil to water, and I actually think it's a good idea to experiment with different ratios depending on your hair type. If your hair is already on the oily side, you may want to lower the ratio of oil to water. If your hair is on the dry side, I'd shoot towards 50-50%. Keep in mind that if you add very little oil, the top layer won't look very even in comparison with the water phase of your product when you are looking at the bottle. (That may, or may not, be of concern to you.)
The water phase
Water and/or hydrosols:
The water phase is made up of water-soluble ingredients. You could use just plain distilled water, or you can fancy things up with a floral water or hydrosol as part or all of the water portion. You could even do some sort of herbal infusion to give the water a hint of color, scent, and beneficial properties. I choose distilled water over tap water for all of my homemade products to ensure I'm not starting with anything (microbes or other unknowns that could react with my other ingredients).
You'll notice that I also added some aloe juice to the water portion of my spray. Aloe also helps sooth skin and protect the hair. I wouldn't use only aloe juice, though, and would just use a small percentage. Aloe juice is notoriously difficult to preserve, so keeping the percentage on the conservative side will help ensure that you are making a product that will last without microbial growth.
I used a combination of sea salt and Epsom salts. You can substitute the sea salt with some other salt like Pink Himalayan salt or some other fun salt that can add a touch of color to the water portion of your salt spray. You want some sort of sodium chloride, though, because that is the active ingredient in this product. I combined the sea salt with magnesium sulfate, aka. Epsom salts, because they have a soothing effect on the hair and scalp.
Glycerin or Glycerite extracts
Glycerin is a humectant, meaning that it helps draw moisture into your hair. You can use regular glycerin or use some sort of glycerite. Many of the herbal extracts that are sold online are made using glycerin as the extraction liquid. If you don't have either, it is perfectly fine to substitute the glycerin for more water.
Vitamins or other additives
I used d-panthenol at 2% of the recipe. D-panthenol is also known as provitamin B5, and it's great for adding to almost any hair or skin product. I add it to almost everything. For hair products, it can help hydrate your hair and smooth over the hair strand to give your hair a healthy sheen. There are many other vitamins that can be added to hair and skin products, but if you don't have any on hand, you can again leave it out and just use more water instead.
The oil Phase
Here is where you can have a bit of fun and switch things up to suit your needs. I chose to use both argan oil and buriti oil in my DIY sea salt spray because they are both great, nourishing oils for hair. What's really cool about buriti oil, though, is it's a beautiful color. Notice the lovely orange color of the oil phase in my spray? It comes from the natural coloring of the buriti oil. (If you don't have buriti oil, but want an orange color, you could try macerating some carrot into a light colored oil of your choice in the same way that I made my own aloe oil.)
Natural silicone alternatives
This is totally optional, of course, but using natural silicone substitutes can help make a more professional like hair product. Once you buy them you can use them in all of your homemade shampoos and homemade conditioners. These products will give your hair luster without making it feel greasy, and will help protect your hair and keep the frizz down.
For my salt spray, I used a combination of two different silicone alternatives so that you could get an idea about what is available. Broccoli seed oil is a wonderful oil for hair and serves as a silicone replacement. It's antioxidants also help protect your hair from free radicals. Lexfeel Natural is a silicone alternative that can reduce the feeling of greasiness when combined with other oils. It's a vegetable-based emollient derived from castor oil and can be used in many types of products, but I especially love it for hair care. (If you don't use something like Lexfeel Natural, you may want to lower the oil to water ratio of the product leaves your hair feeling greasy.)
Antioxidants can be added to the oil phase to help extend the life of the oils and keep them from going rancid. I used tocopherol, aka. vitamin E, at around 0.5% of the recipe. You could also consider using something like rosemary CO2 extract or just leaving them out and substituting with more oil.
The main reason to add essential oils is to give your hairspray a beautiful fragrance. Some essential oils will also have the added benefit of nourishing your hair in some way or another.
In my salt spray, I chose to use a combination of citrus essential oils because I thought the scent would complement the bright orange color of the oil phase, and also think that citrus scents remind me of warm weather and summer. (I used a combination of orange oil, lemon oil, and bergamot.)
Does this need a preservative?
Because this product uses water, you should use a broad spectrum preservative to keep bacteria and mold from forming. While the salt will likely keep things microbe free for a while, this is the best protection to keep your product safe.
When using natural preservatives, you want to make sure your product falls within the pH range that is acceptable for whatever preservative you choose. Also, keep in mind that your hair favors a more acidic pH. Somewhere between a pH of 4.5 and 5.5 is a good range to set as a goal.
I used Sharomix 705, it's a natural preservative (ECOCERT approved) on the acidic side. After using it, my spray fell into a range between a pH of 4 and 5. I was happy with that, so I didn't try to alter the pH of my spray in any way. If you are changing up the ingredients used in your sea salt spray, that could change the pH of your product, so it's always a good idea to test the pH if you can to make sure it falls into the range for your particular preservative.
How to use this bi-phase sea salt spray
Because this is a bi-phase product, you'll want to shake it to mix it up before spraying it on your hair.
Spray sparingly all over your hair, scrunching your hair as you apply it to help define your waves and add more texture. Because salt helps keep emulsions from forming, the salt will help separate the two phases very quickly. You'll want to periodically shake the product to mix it as you continue to apply it to your hair.
How to make your own sea salt spray
DIY Sea Salt Spray
- 30 g distilled water or a hydrosol of your choice
- 10 g aloe juice or more water
- 10 g sea salt can also use another salt like Himalayan salt
- 5 g epsom salt (magnesium sulfate)
- 3 g glycerin or a glycerine based extract
- 2 g d-panthenol provitamin B5
- 15 g buriti oil
- 10 g argan oil
- 7 g Lexfeel Natural natural silicone alternative
- 5 g brocoli seed oil natural silicone alternative
- 1 g vitamin E antioxidant
- 1 g essential oils of choice (I used a blend of orange, lemon, and bergamot)
- 1 g natural preservative I used Sharomix
- lactic acid (optional, to lower the pH, if needed for your preservative.)
Mix together the first 6 ingredients(the water phase) until the salts are well dissolved into the water or hydrosol mixture.
Mix together the next 6 ingredients (the oil phase).
Combine both phases in a spray bottle.
This recipe is very easy to customize to the ingredients that you have on hand. Read my notes above the recipe to help decide how to customize the recipe to suit your purposes.