Is Salt Water Good for Your Hair? (2023)

Is Salt Water Good for Your Hair? (1)Is Salt Water Good for Your Hair? (2)

By: Sophie O'Kelly |

Whether you have straight hair or wavy tresses, the quest for gorgeous texture and tousled beach waves often leads to a good sea salt spray — but is salt water actually any good for your hair?

Ocean water and salt have historically been used for their overall healing properties. Salt is a vital mineral for the body, and its benefits are far-reaching. So if you want extra body for your hair and have salt water in your eye line, VEGAMOUR dug into the research and spoke to a dermatologist to get the details.Plus, discover the clinically proven products designed to boost volume and help hair growth.

Salt Water for Skin?

If you've ever returned from a beach vacay with glowing skin and gently wavy natural hair, you might credit the salt water. Since ancient Egypt, salt water has been recognized for its ability to disinfect and cleanse the skin. However, there is little scientific evidence to prove the claims, though it may contain nutrients such as amino acids magnesium, potassium, selenium andzinc, which have antibacterial properties.

Deep ocean water (from a depth of 200 meters or more)mayhelp contain certain skin conditions such as eczema because it can balance essential minerals and reduce toxins. Deep sea water doesn't get much sun exposure; it contains less plantplanktonand little bacteria, meaning it contains more nutrients. Research also found that deep ocean water can help with the following:

  • Skin cracking
  • Inflammation
  • Dry skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Swelling

Salt water can also act as an exfoliant, lifting away excess oils and extra sebum and drawing out dirt. In addition, itcanremove dead skin cells and the top layer of skin to prevent buildup. Miami, Florida-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Anna Chacon told VEGAMOUR, "Sea salt is rich in healthy, skin-friendly minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium, which is exactly what makes it so beneficial to various skin conditions. Seawater is a miracle treatment for acne and semi-permanent scars skin cell turnover, helping you achieve a softer skin texture. Salt is also an excellent curing, clearing, and cleansing agent."

If you struggle with blackheads and acne, you might be tempted to wash them away with salt water, but tread lightly — salt scrubs might aggravate sensitive skin and compromise your skin barrier. Always consult with a dermatologist before starting a new routine.

(Video) Is salt water damaging your hair?

But Is Salt Water Good for Your Hair?

"Salt water does differ in the hair since salt is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts more water to your hair, forming more salt crystals, but this process draws out the moisture inside your hair strands, thus making it dry and brittle," said Chacon.

If you have chemically treated or dyed hair, salt water might cause further hair damage. "Long-term contact with salt water can cause colored hair to fade. To avoid this, apply nourishing hair oil to your scalp and tresses before diving into the sea," said Chacon.

To prevent hair from losing too much moisture and becoming tangled when exposed to sea salt water, try the following:

  • Use a natural shampoo to wash the hair thoroughly after a day by the beach and then deeply condition it with a nourishing treatment. TheGRO Revitalizing Shampoo and Conditioner Kitwill cleanse away lingering impurities from the scalp and leave it silky soft and rehydrated. Rinse with cold water to further protect the hair shaft and leave hair looking shiny. A leave-in conditioner will also help with hydration.

  • Protect the scalp by taking a Q-tip, dipping it in sunscreen and then carefully applying it to your hairline and part. This area of the scalp is exposed and can become irritated and painful if burnt by the sun. By protecting the scalp, you'll avoid having a dry and flaky scalp, and in turn, the hair will stay healthy and be easier to manage.

The tiny salt crystals found in sea salt water aren't all bad. Much like it does for the skin, the salty water can act as a natural exfoliator for the scalp, which is especially helpful for those with oily or greasy scalps and naturally greasy hair. Chacon continued, "For a healthy scalp, use salt water to loosen and eliminate dandruff while also boosting blood circulation. Additionally, sea salt inhibits fungal development by absorbing excess oil and moisture."

The benefits of salt water for hair include:

  • Salt water can exfoliate the scalp and encourage blood flow. Stimulating blood flowcanhelp more nutrients reach the hair follicles, which can help boost hair growth. A goodscalp massagecan also help with this, as can a clinically provennatural hair serum.

  • Salt waterhasanti-fungal properties that can help soothe uncomfortable flaky scalps and even dandruff. It can be a double-edged sword, though, because too much salt water can dry skin out, so use with caution.
  • You could also think of salt water as a natural shampoo. If you have excess sebum and heavy oils around and on the scalp, the salt will strip away the natural oils and make it smoother. This is very helpful if you have a greasy hair type.
  • Salt water crystals add volume and body to the hair by lifting the hair cuticle. Hair roots appear volumized, and you can easily achieve the ever-popular beachy waves. Your hair is made of crosslinks and keratin proteins that determine each hair strand's shape. Crosslinks are three-dimensional binds that are formed by the covalent bonds between adjacent amino acids (proteins). Salt, sodium chloride and magnesium sulfate create extra crosslinks in the hair, giving it a wave or a curl — putting the wave in your beachy waves.

Ocean Water Alternatives

If you live near the ocean, you might be used to the effects of salt water on the skin and hair, but if you're city-bound with no beach in sight, you might struggle. Thankfully, you can create a remedy that mimics the effect of a dip in the ocean relatively quickly:

Step 1:Mix three parts sea salt with two parts castile soap in a bowl and blend vigorously.

Step 2:Wash hair with the mixture and massage for about 15 minutes.

Step 3:Rinse with cold water to completely remove any residue.

(Video) Why is Sea Salt Good for Hair - TheSalonGuy

You could also blend three tablespoons of sea salt with warm water and massage it into your scalp for up to eight minutes before rinsing. Alternatively, you could mix one tablespoon of sea salt and one tablespoon of warm water, pour it into a spray bottle and wait for the salt to dissolve. Add a spoonful of olive oil or coconut oil to the spray to add a nourishing element, and spray on wet hair to reap the benefits. Leave on damp hair and add ahair foambefore blow drying to encourage even more volume.

Salty Goodness?

Because of the high concentration of minerals and vitamins found in sea salt, it can have immense benefits on the hair and skin when used effectively. But if used excessively or on sensitive skin, it might bring some negative effects. Keeping thescalpclear, soothed and healthy can boost hair growth, and though salt water can do that, it might also irritate. If you want to keep your scalp happy and your hair looking thick, full, long and strong,use clinically tested, all-natural products to strengthen locks and encourage healthy and consistent volume.

More from VEGAMOUR:

  • Juice for Hair Growth: Can You Drink Your Way to Longer Hair?
  • Why Is My Hair Thinning at 20?
  • What Does Hemp Do? 8 Benefits of Hemp In Your Daily Routine

Photo credit: Nikolay Draganov/Pexels

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Sophie O'Kelly


Sophie O'Kelly

Sophie O’Kelly is a well-being writer with over a decade of experience working with international beauty and fashion brands. She recently qualified as a mental health therapist, teaches yoga in her spare time and writes about the psychological and physical importance of solid and ongoing self-care. She currently lives in London, England.

Sophie recommends

Is Salt Water Good for Your Hair? (7)

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Disclaimer: Information in this article is intended for general informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician.


Is Salt Water Good for Your Hair? ›

Salt water is an excellent exfoliator and also stimulates blood flow in the scalp. This ensures that more nutrients get to the hair follicles, which results in healthier hair. Salt has anti-fungal properties and helps get rid of fungus-induced dandruff by reducing moisture.

What does salt water do to 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.

Does salt water help hair growth? ›

The benefits of salt water for hair include: Salt water can exfoliate the scalp and encourage blood flow. Stimulating blood flow can help more nutrients reach the hair follicles, which can help boost hair growth. A good scalp massage can also help with this, as can a clinically proven natural hair serum.

Does salt water make your hair thicker? ›

Sea Salt adds extra thickness and a gritty texture to hair, making it look fuller and more rigid. It also simply makes hair easier to style.” says Murdock Covent Garden Head Barber Miles.

Should I rinse my hair after salt water? ›

Can you leave salt water in your hair overnight? Many stylists favoured by GH recommended to us that you rinse your hair with fresh water as soon as you've finished swimming, including Nadia Dean, Senior Stylist at John Frieda salons. "Leaving it on for too long will leave it parched and brittle.

How often should I use salt water on my hair? ›

You can also detox your hair with sea salt. Mix two parts of sea salt with one part shampoo and apply it on your hair till it creates a good lather. Rinse it off with cool water and you will get rid of dead skin. You can do this once a month.

Can I use table salt for my hair? ›

Salt is able to stimulate circulation and eliminate the dandruff flakes, protecting the scalp from fungal growth. You should divide your hair into sections and sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of salt on the scalp, massaging it gently with wet fingers for around 10 minutes. After that wash it off as usual.

Does salt water reduce hairloss? ›

Salt is also an effective treatment against hair loss and general alopecia. Salt water for hair growth may be a usual treatment, but it is an effective one. After you have washed your hair you will need to put some salt in your palm and massage it gently on the skin.

What are the disadvantages of salt water on hair? ›

In its most extreme form, besides dandruff, salt water damage also causes hair to split at the ends and leads to breakage. These effects are even worse on dyed or processed hair. If your hair is colored, salt water damage not only gives it a rough texture but alters its color as well.

Do you put salt water on wet or dry hair? ›

Both sea salt sprays can be used on wet and dry hair. To use on wet hair, spray strands from mid-lengths to ends. Scrunch into hair and let dry. For some added volume, diffuse with a blow dryer.

Does salt water change hair texture? ›

The salt in general, including sea water, is hygroscopic: i.e. it attracts more water to your hair and forms salt crystals. Those salt crystals may give your hair extra body, but this process also wicks away the moisture from the inside of your hair strand – making it dry and brittle.

How long should you rinse with salt water? ›

You should rinse with salt water between 15-30 seconds, and you're not supposed to swallow it. When you're done, spit the water out and repeat this process at least three times a day. However, you're not supposed to rinse more than a few times a day.

How do you prepare your hair for salt water? ›

Saltwater can make hair dull, tangled, and rough and can affect colored hair. It can also cause split ends and breakage. To prevent saltwater from damaging your hair, wash it before you go in the water with a pre-shampoo conditioning treatment or a pre-sun and swim product.

How do you mix salt water for hair? ›

"If you want to mix your own at home, I use one cup warm water and one tablespoon of sea salt," says celebrity hairstylist Ted Gibson, adding that oil may be necessary for thick, dry, or coarse hair types.

What type of salt is best for hair? ›

Epsom salt may be a good addition to your hair care routine. It may add volume to oily hair types, and definition to dry hair types. Its magnesium might also nourish and strengthen your hair and scalp.

What salt is best for hair? ›

Sea salt is also naturally exfoliating, which can help promote clarity in the scalp. This is especially useful for oily or greasy scalps to promote stronger hair and healthy growth.

Does salt water make hair curly? ›

Salt water does not make your hair curly, but it can enhance the natural texture of wavy or curly hair, making the curls more pronounced. When hair is exposed to salt water, salt ions interact with the cuticle layer and form microscopic fibers between cells.

Which shampoo is best for salt water? ›

8 Best Shampoos For Hard Water In 2023
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Mar 1, 2023

Why does my hair look good after the beach? ›

The salty water makes it look fuller and feel thicker, and you get to enjoy the best hair day you've had in months. Beach hair is essentially the opposite of dull, lifeless hair. It's got volume, texture, definition. It looks effortless—artfully suspended in perfect form without any effort whatsoever.

Is salt water good for black hair? ›

Chlorine and saltwater can be extremely drying to afro hair, which can lead to a multitude of issues such as damaged hair and breakage. This is why it's so important to make sure you're using the right hair products as it is to make sure you are wearing a swim cap to protect your hair while swimming.

Does salt water give you curly hair? ›

Salt water does not make your hair curly, but it can enhance the natural texture of wavy or curly hair, making the curls more pronounced. When hair is exposed to salt water, salt ions interact with the cuticle layer and form microscopic fibers between cells.

Why does salt water make hair curly? ›

In turn, salt – or sodium chloride and magnesium sulphate (both elements present in the seawater) create extra crosslinks within your hair strand, which curls and curves it, thus putting the “waves” in your beach waves.

Does salt make your hair fluffy? ›

Ocean water or salt sprays can give hair texture and enhance appearance. In addition, the salt can improve the curl by tightening it up. That is why your hair gets extra wavy when you are at the beach!

How bad is sea salt spray for hair? ›

It's one of the most versatile hair products to have in your collection, but sea salt spray can dehydrate your hair, making it dry, brittle and prone to damage. If your hair tends to be very dry, to begin with, sea salt spray may not be the best product for you.

Does salt water make hair less frizzy? ›

Frizzing. As well as dehydrating your hair, salt water also makes it more prone to flyaway strands and frizz. This is because when your hair is lacking moisture, the cuticle layers open up instead of laying flat. Your hair then attempts to seek moisture from the air around it, causing it to swell up and frizz.

Does salt water make your hair blonde? ›

Saltwater and chlorine are also culprits for lightening,” Gonzalez says. “They alter the natural keratin in your hair, resulting in lighter shades.” If frolicking in the ocean or a pool every day isn't an option or you don't want to leave it to chance, a salt spray or some lemon juice can help things along.

Does salt water stiffen hair? ›

The hair may feel a little stiff and dry, but that will go away when the hair is wet again as the salt dissolves and rinses off.” Aside from that, salt is meant to mimic the sea and create the same effect.


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