How Does Salt Water Affect Your Hair?

Salt water can have several effects on your hair - both positive and negative.

Most of us love the look of our hair after we’ve been in the ocean. Salt water gives your hair that added volume, texture, and beachy waves - and there’s a reason for this! The salt in the water actually lifts the hair cuticle, to make your hair appear fuller. I mean, who doesn't want to look like a mermaid?

Unfortunately, the negative effects of salt water definitely outweigh the positives. In fact, salt water can be pretty damaging for our hair.

Here are some of the ways salt water can damage your hair.


Salt water can dehydrate your hair and scalp, leaving it feeling dry, brittle, and frizzy. This is because salt water draws out moisture from your hair and scalp.

Salt water can cause damage to the hair cuticle, which is the outermost layer of your hair. This damage can lead to split ends, breakage, and frizz.

Color Fading

Salt water can cause hair color to fade, especially if you have dyed or highlighted hair. This is because salt water can strip the color from your hair and leave it looking dull.

Scalp irritation

Salt water can irritate your scalp, especially if you have sensitive skin. This can lead to itching, redness, and flaking.

Don’t worry! This doesn’t mean you need to avoid the ocean forever. There are many different ways you can protect your hair from the negative effects of salt water and maintain optimal hair health.

Here are four ways to protect your hair from salt water damage:

1. Wet your hair before

Wet your hair with fresh water before entering the salt water. This can help to prevent your hair from absorbing too much salt water and reduce its damaging effects.

2. Tie it up

Consider wearing a protective hairstyle, such as a braid or bun, when swimming in salt water. This can help to keep your hair out of the water and reduce its exposure to salt and other potentially damaging elements.

3. Rinse thoroughly

Rinse your hair thoroughly with fresh water immediately after swimming. This can help to remove any salt and chlorine from your hair and prevent it from becoming too dry and brittle. 

4. Add moisture

After you have thoroughly rinsed your hair from the salt water, apply a leave-in conditioner or hair mask, to add moisture back into your hair. Our Hydrating Hair Mask is a perfect solution if you need an added dose of hydration.

Want the look of beachy-mermaid hair, without all the damage? Try our Sea Salt Spray! Living in the PNW means we know all too well the havoc that salt water can wreak on your hair. For years our Founder, Amy, thought this was a sacrifice that had to be made in order to get those beachy locks - that is - until she decided to make her own!

Our Sea Salt Spray is formulated to give texture and light hold, while also nourishing and protecting your hair. It doesn’t even contain any water! To learn more about what makes our formulation so special, check out our blog From Damaged Waves to Healthy Beach Hair: The Story Behind Our Nourishing Sea Salt Spray Formula.

Nourishing sea salt spray next to blonde hair at beach