Ways to Restore Saltwater Damaged Hair

Nothing is sexier than effortless, beachy waves. It looks great on everyone and the only styling work it requires is a dip in the ocean. But tousled, beachy hair comes with a price. Saltwater may give hair great texture, but it’s also extremely damaging. The high salt content sucks the natural moisture out of hair, causing brittle dryness. Taking a few dips at the beach isn’t enough to wreak serious damage but it’s enough to require some repairing, and major beach bums need an intervention, stat! Fortunately, with a few useful tips and adjustments, dry and damaged hair can be restored to its original beauty and shine.

#1: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil really is good for everything. The go-to remedy for endless health and beauty needs is especially great for moisturizing hair. It works perfectly as a treatment, so simply warm a tablespoon’s worth between your palms and work into damp hair. Leave on for about 45 minutes, then wash and condition hair as normal. Coconut is a little too heavy to use as oil for hair post-showering, but as a conditioning treatment, it’s ideal. Plus, it smells great.

#2: Make a Mask

The first move to make after spending some time in salt water is to do a moisturizing mask. Of course, you can buy one from the store, but making one is pretty fun and not only extremely affordable, but 100% natural.
Saltwater damaged hair loves an egg yolk avocado mask. Instead of whipping up breakfast, give your locks a yummy treat. Mash the avocado and whip the egg yolk to a froth, combine, and apply to damp hair. Leave on for around 20 minutes, rinse, and wash hair as normal. The protein in the egg yolk strengthens the hair follicle while amino acids and antioxidants in the avocado provide moisture for dull hair.

#3: Moisturize…and Repeat

If you’re going to be spending the summer in and out of saltwater, it’s best to invest in a salon-quality deep conditioning. Redken Extreme Strength Builder for distressed hair is perfect for weekly masks and is relatively inexpensive. It’s highly moisturizing and full of protein that will strengthen hair and protect it for the future.

redken extreme

Instagram / @redkenofficial

#4: Lay Off the Heat

Using hot tools such as straighteners and blow dryers exposes hair to dryness and breakage. If your hair already needs some repair, stay away from styling or leave it to a minimum. Dry your hair on the cool setting of the hair dryer and the lowest heat setting on hot tools. Chances are, if you’re hair has saltwater damage, it also has damage from the sun, so lay off the heat for awhile and give your hair a chance to be restored.

hair drying

Instagram / @tylemahoney

#5: Get a Trim

If you have significant damage from saltwater or even heat damage, book an appointment for a good trim. It’s the best way to stop the damage in its track so gorgeous, healthy hair can come in.

before after trim

Instagram / @vanityhairaffair

#6: Comb Carefully

Hair is more elastic and sensitive when wet so it’s prone to more breakage at this time. Surprisingly, many people rip through their hair when wet, even professionals at the salon. It’s best to comb wet hair (especially damaged hair) from the bottom and work your way up. If your hair is particularly tangled, it may be time for a trim (see above!) or a good time to invest in a detangler. Bumble and Bumble’s Prep spray works wonders to soften up hair so combing is a much easier process.

bb prep spray

Instagram / @bumbleandbumble

#7: Prevent

For some of us the saltwater damage has already been done, but for those of you who have yet to take a beach vacation this year, there are a few things to keep in mind that will save your hair from unwanted saltwater exposure.

Rinse your hair in freshwater before hitting the beach. By entering saltwater with hair already wet, hair has already soaked up less harmful freshwater and will be protected from the salt. Spritzing hair with a leave-in conditioner before taking a dip is also great protection for hair. In fact, it’s even better than rinsing with water because you not only protect your hair from saltwater but also the sun all while conditioning your tresses.

damp hair

Instagram / @tiziana.demasi

Don’t forget to rinse right after exiting the ocean as well. This prevents the saltwater from drying into your hair. It feels great to get the stickiness off of your body, too!