How To Take Care Of Your Beach Waves Hair

Everyone is quick to remind us of the importance of taking care of our skin by applying sunscreen and limiting the time you spend in direct sunlight. While skincare is absolutely essential for maintaining healthy and youthful skin, haircare is just as vital if you want a healthy, shiny-looking mane! 

However, we've got good news: You can still rock those sea salt infused beachy waves while keeping your hair healthy.

Similar to skin, hair has the tendency to become dry and dehydrated when exposed to salt water. This is particularly true when we allow the salt water to dry, which leaves hair with a significant loss of moisture. 

Now - Don’t get me wrong: Beach waves are gorgeous and cultivate the ultimate free spirited summer look. That said, there are ways to keep your hair healthy and vibrant even if you’re planning on spending all your time at the beach this summer. On the flip-side, if you’re envious of those stunning, messy beach waves but do not have close access to the beach, we will fill you in on how items like dry shampoo,a curling wand, some sea salt spray, blow dry techniques, flat iron curling methods or a little texture spray can help you achieve the wavy hair of your dreams. Regardless of whether you have short hair, long hair, fine hair, naturally straight hair or curly hair - the perfect beach wave hairstyle is possible for any hair type or hair texture(damage-free!).

If you’re looking for an answer to how you can rock a gorgeous beach waves hair style without suffering the brittle consequences, you’ve come to the right place!

Let’s jump right in!

Why Does Salt Water Make Hair Dry?

Before we get into taking care of beach hair, it’s important to cover the reason why salt water causes hair to become brittle and dry. 

When hair is exposed to water containing high levels of salt, a fast evaporation process occurs - which causes dehydrated hair follicles. The cells of our skin and hair both contain salt, but at significantly lower levels than what is found in natural bodies of saltwater (oceans). Due to the process of osmosis (remember that from high school biology class?!), the water content found within each strand of hair, is “pulled” or strained out in the ocean because of the fact that ocean water has a higher concentration of salt. 

Hair dehydration and dryness can lead to rough, dry texture, split ends and extensive breakage. These issues can lead to a head of hair that takes much longer to dry, as it is holding on to all the moisture it possibly can. When hair reaches this level of damage, it also becomes more difficult to style overtime. In addition, excessively dry hair has a difficult time hanging on to hair color, dyes and may take bleach differently - causing unpredictable (and often unwanted) results.

It’s the science of hair!

How To Keep Beach Hair Healthy

So, what’s the good news here?

There are measures you can take, and ways you can minimize saltwater damage to your hair! Whether you are planning on going to the beach every day on your upcoming vacation, or you live in a beach town by the ocean, consider the following techniques for maintaining the health of your hair as it’s exposed to saltwater (all while turning heads with your perfect beachy wave). 

Pre-Beach Hair Tips -

Prior to spending a day swimming in the ocean or catching some rays on the beach, do your best to ensure your hair remains hydrated. This often means trying your best not to over-wash your hair, or making the sacrifice of going an extra day between showers. The natural oil produced from our hair follicles acts as a barrier against dryness and damage. Overtime, your hair will grow used to being washed less often, and will no longer appear “greasy” as quickly as before. 

We recommend applying a leave-in conditioner and/or hair oil to the ends of damp hair after being washed. These treatments work to strengthen each strand of hair, and prevent split ends. The healthier you keep your hair, the less likely it is to become damaged from salt water.

At-The-Beach Hair Tips -

We are going to cover the many ways you can protect your hair at the beach, including one way you may not be as quick to implement... which leads us into our first method for protection: 

Swim Cap:

Consider wearing a swim cap! Sure, this may not be your first choice for beach wear, but it does work 100% of the time. If that salt-filled ocean isn’t able to come in contact with your flowing locks, it cannot drain them of all their moisture. However, if you wouldn’t be caught dead in a swim cap at the beach, try one of these other methods.

Apply Leave-In Conditioner:

Prior to heading to the beach, apply a leave-in hair conditioner to your mane. Sure, it may seem weird to apply such a product to dry hair rather than wet hair, but you’ll likely get wet hair at the beach anyways. The leave-in conditioner works as a protective barrier, saving any hair type or hair texture from the damage of saltwater. 

Tie Hair Up:

If you know you’re unlikely to get your face wet or go underwater at the beach, you can always tie your hair up in a bun or ponytail to prevent it from coming in contact with the ocean water. 

Post-Beach Hair Tips -

When your fun in the sun is done for the day, make sure to always shampoo and thoroughly condition your hair as soon as you possibly can. The longer your hair is left to dry after being exposed to saltwater, the more likely damage will be done to it. To avoid brittle hair after swimming in the ocean, apply a deep conditioning mask to help restore lost moisture. You can use any hair mask you choose, but a hydrating mask will do the best job of healing damaged hair. 

How to Get Beach Waves at Home?

Don’t live by the beach, but looking to flaunt a care-free, fun and flirty beach wave look?! Try out these super easy beach wave hair looks you can create in the comfort of your home:

Overnight Beach Waves -

You can get this effortless beach hair look while you sleep - it’s a win-win! Plus, you get to SKIP the hot tools, curling irons and straighteners for this one. First, wash your hair at night before bed and air dry it until it is about 90% dry (still slightly damp). You’ll want to start by leaving the front pieces of your hair out, then proceed by grabbing the rest of your hair and flipping your head down as if you’re going to make a high pony tail on top of your head. Then, separate the hair into three equal sections, and brain those sections together. Make sure the hair isn’t pulled too tight, as that will prevent volume. Also - leave about 1 ½ inches of hair at the end of your braid to prevent crinkly ends. Finally, secure your top-knot style braid with an elastic and you’re done! Go to bed and take your braid out in the morning, shake out your hair and BOOM! You’re done! If you want to get that perfect beach wave look to last a little longer throughout the day, mist some salt spray, wave spray or even a little hair spray to your wavy hair before leaving the house.

Easiest Curling Rod Beach Waves -

This method for beachy waves is the easiest and most traditional way to achieve those voluminous curly locks. You’ll want to opt in for a barrel curling rod that’s about one-inch in diameter. It’s fine to use a curling iron, it does the trick just as well. Apply heat protectant to your hair and proceed to section it off in layers from the bottom of your head, up to the top. Curl each layer by wrapping a piece of hair around the wand, while leaving at least 1 inch at the end of your hair out. By doing so, you’ll achieve a more laid-back, beachy hair look. Once you’ve curled your full head, shake out your hair and comb through with your fingers - Done!

Flat Iron Beach Waves -

It may seem counterintuitive to be using a flat iron to curl hair (whaaaat?), but it’s all the rage these days, and it’s easy, too! You’ll want to apply a heat protectant to your hair and ensure it is fully dry before you begin the curling process. Once that’s complete, section your hair starting from the bottom (along your neckline) going upwards. Curling your hair in sections like this allows more precision and prevents missing pieces of hair. Starting with the bottom layer, grab a section of hair that’s approximately 1-inch in width (this amount of hair will vary from person-to-person, and will be perfected with practice). Place the piece of hair between the two flat iron plates, close the iron and quickly wrap the piece of hair around the outside of the tool once - while slowly twisting the iron and gliding it down the piece/section of hair, releasing the iron when you reach the end of the piece of hair. By releasing the flat iron prior to it reaching the very end of the piece of hair, it creates a more laid-back, effortless beachy wave look. P.S. This method for beachy waves works great on short hair and thicker hair types. We recommend a spritz of texturizing spray after your wavy hair has been styled, for a more piece-y look.


Now that you’ve got the best tips and tricks up your sleeve, it’s time to put them to good use! Next time you hit the beach, surf some waves, or venture on a tropical getaway, don’t forget to incorporate the advice you read here to achieve healthy beach curls. You (and your hair!) will be glad you did!

Make sure to keep in mind your specific hair type and needs when choosing a leave-in conditioner or hair mask to safeguard your loose waves hairstyle. These are just some steps you can take to protect your perfect beach wave strands when spending time in the sea salt water.

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