design by rebecca johnson
design by rebecca johnson
  Ocean-kissed hair.  Tawny, seaside curls.  Tousled ocean waves taking over our otherwise pristine, blown-out manes—until our hair is at root's end.  And, in the heat of summer, we may find ourselves tempted to take drastic measures- one clean chop, and the back of our necks can breathe again. One can rock a freshly shorn Beyonce or vintage Eddie Sedgwick look- or embrace nature's slightly rougher elements for effortless beachy waves. With a little help from our friends- a dash of salt and a bit of sun, you can have perfect beach hair.
If you can’t make it to the ocean- bring the beach to your boudoir.  We love a homemade recipe for sea salt spray, and this one will certainly have you experiencing off-shore nostalgia.   Fill a spray bottle with 8 oz. of clean water. Purified or distilled water is best and will not leave mineral deposits on your hair. Double the amount of water if you have hair that is longer than your shoulders.  Next, place 1 tsp. sea salt in the bottle for every 8 oz. water used. Shake well to distribute the salt throughout the bottle and to dissolve. (Finely ground sea salt with dissolve faster.)  Add 1/2 tsp. conditioner into the bottle. Salt may dry your hair or make it feel coarse. The conditioner will help counteract the drying and keep your hair flexible and soft.  Use a coconut-scented conditioner for a beachy-smelling hairspray.  Squeeze in a small dollop of hair gel, around 1/2 teaspoon, to help enhance the salt’s holding ability for a longer-lasting hairstyle. Put the top back on the spray bottle, and shake well to combine. Remember that the ingredients will never fully combine, and you will need to shake it again before each use.  Use the spray on damp hair that you intend to air dry. Shake the bottle and spray all over, scrunching and twisting as you go to create a natural but sexy wavy look.

It’s an effortless looking—and almost effortless—look. Celebrity hair guru Babaii confesses, “I love the sexy Bond-girl look, when a woman walks out of the water with her hair slicked straight back. But having great hair at the beach  isn’t really about looking immaculate.”  Babaii reveals the same, simple beach hair styling tips used on Scarlett Johansson and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Take the bottle: At home, fill a spray bottle with one part conditioner and four parts water. Once settled on your beach towel, spritz hair with the mixture from roots to ends, and work through with a wide-tooth comb. (Don’t use a brush—it will only create a big rat’s nest.)  This will make hair soft, even after swimming, and help to bring out natural waves. 

Leave it salty: Salt water is a great natural styling product.  Don’t rush to rinse it out! I once did a beachside photo shoot with Angelina Jolie where I let her hair air-dry, and the salt water gave it great shape and texture. Fine or thin hair can look scraggly when wet, so after you get out of the water, use an elastic to twist it into a bun or ponytail at the nape of the neck. (Just be sure to avoid elastics with metal pieces, which can break the strands.) 

Block the chlorine: If you’re spending the day at the pool, it’s best to run your hair under fresh water right after you go swimming, since chlorine can be incredibly drying. Once you’ve rinsed thoroughly, spritz your hair with the conditioner solution and comb through. 

Pin it up: Once you’ve spent a few hours in the water and sun, your hair will have a thicker, wavier texture, which is great but can get unruly. Try pulling a two-inch section of hair straight back from the middle of the hairline to the crown and securing it with a bobby pin. Or part hair on the side and anchor the smaller side behind your ear with two bobby pins. For a sweet look, part in the middle and slide in a pin an inch or two from the part on one or both sides.

Another way to obtain that easy look, albeit this time evoking roll-out-of-the-bed-and-go hair? Wash your hair before bed and apply a mask for extra nourishment (healthy hair is key).  Next, apply a dollop of a lightweight shine-boosting and frizz-fighting serum and finger comb through hair.  Sleep with damp hair in a loose bun or braided.  In the morning, spritz your roots with an uplifting spray then give your hair a quick blast with your hairdryer to active the product (and a texturizing spray if needed) and voilà, perfectly tousled hair.

~Susan Brickell