Men’s hair styling, in one form or another, has been going on for centuries. Since the early twentieth century, men who really care about their manes have used products to his end, whether they be pomades, gels, or more recently styling pastes, waxes and hair clays.
Just have the hairstyles have evolved, so have the products. In this article, we want to talk to you about one of the more recent hair styling options to come to prominence: sea salt spray.
Whilst salt texturising spray still enjoys relatively little fanfare - compared to its more trumpeted competitors, at least - its flexibility and effectiveness will ensure this doesn’t stay the case for long. We’d advise you to get this styling product onto your radar immediately, and - if you like what you read today - to pick up a bottle and try it for yourself.
If you’ve never heard of sea salt spray, then fear not. We’re going to give you a comprehensive grounding in it today, covering what exactly it is, why you might want to use it, how it differs from other products, and how you should go about applying it.
Let’s get started.
What Is Sea Salt Spray?
Sea salt spray usually comes in a 100-200ml bottle (3.4 to 6.8 fl oz), and is one of the lighter hair styling options out there. It’s typically used to add texture to your hair’s natural shape or style, rather than providing the firmer hold of a clay or wax, for example. That being said, it can be used as a pre-styler in conjunction with one of those products.
The specific ingredients in a particular sea salt spray will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, as will the degree to which the spray is natural. The main ingredient, however, will invariably be the sea salt itself (sodium chloride).
Some sprays also include magnesium sulphate, either alongside the sea salt or in place of it, which provides similar benefits whilst dehydrating your hair less. Various oils - such as orange and lemon - might also be added, and some sprays even include fragments of clay (such as kaolinite clay) to provide extra hold.
Regardless of the particular ingredients, all of these sprays work in the same, fascinating way. When applied, the product create a mist around your head which - once it binds to your hair - effectively absorbs the oils which are naturally produced.
Why Use It?
It sounds a little strange, doesn’t it, that you should buy a product which essentially dries out your hair? This, in stark contrast to the innumerable TV adverts which boast of their moisturising properties.
So, why use sea salt hair spray?
Quite simply, it gives a wonderful boost to the volume and sheer life of your hair, adding texture and body with extremely little effort needed on your part.
It’s an extremely light product, meaning that - even as it achieves those aforementioned results - it allows your hair to retain its natural style and movement. It does still provide some hold, but it almost doesn’t feel like you have product in your hair; run your hands through your ‘do, and they’ll come away clean. Instead, it simply feels as if… well, you’ve been for a day at the beach, in truth.
With that being said, sea salt spray’s lighter nature can also - if you so desire - be complimented brilliantly by using it in combination with other products. You can use the spray initially - as a pre-styler - to add texture and volume, then apply a clay or wax to actually style your hair and grant some extra hold.
Sea salt spray is, in short, an extremely effective and easy way to give new life to even the naturally limpest hair. Given that its key role is to boost volume, it’s more suited to medium and longer hairstyles than shorter ones, and also makes an excellent option for those who are thinning a little on top. Again, it’s not a particularly “strong” styling product on its own, but it can still certainly be used to create a “beach look”, and to give naturally wavy hair even more texture.
What’s the Difference Between This and Other Products?
At first glance, sea salt spray would seem to be something of a unique product in the current landscape of men’s hair styling products. Well, this is largely true, but upon closer inspection it does certainly share some common ingredients and properties with some of the more popular alternatives out there. Let’s take a quick look at those, first, before we explore what makes sea salt spray different from other major styling products.
As briefly mentioned earlier, some hair sprays do actually contain fragments of clays - such as kaolinite - which grant the same benefits as you’ll get from a hair clay (albeit in a reduced capacity, obviously). Not only will these clay fragments grant extra hold, as they do with styling clay, but they also help to remove excess oil from your hair, in the same way as the sodium chloride.
Whilst sea salt spray does seek to dry out your hair, manufacturers will actually still include oils in their products. Coconut oil is a common example, which is also an ingredient you’ll find in a variety of other styling products. Many pomades, for example, use coconut oil as one of their more important ingredients, as - in addition to strengthening and soothing your hair - it helps to grant a stronger hold.
You can see, therefore, that sea salt spray isn’t an entirely alien styling product. That being said, it is still a highly unusual one, with the usage of sea salt as the primary agent being unique. And, in terms of its actual effects, there’s really nothing quite like sea salt spray on the market.
It’s a spray, sure, but it’s vastly lighter than traditional hair spray, and obviously offers far less hold. Hair clay has similar benefits, in terms of its ability to add volume and texture - and do so whilst providing a matte finish - but it feels noticeably heavier on your hair, and doesn’t quite boost your volume to the same extent as sea salt spray. It’s a similar story with hair wax, which also boosts volume and grants a reworkable (i.e. not fixed) style, but still simply feels heavier than sea salt spray, and isn’t as suited to longer hair styles.
Perhaps now, you can begin to appreciate just what a special product sea salt spray is. There’s nothing else on the market which can effect such a notable change to your hair, whilst being so incredibly light.
How to Use Sea Salt Spray
With us having extolled the virtues of sea salt spray so highly, you may well have already pulled the trigger on a purchase. If that’s the case, here’s how to go about using your (soon to be) new favourite product when it shows up on your doorstep.
There are actually a couple of slightly different options when it comes to using sea salt spray. These relate to whether you’re trying to use it as part of creating a specific style (such as a quiff), rather than a more natural look.
Regardless, you’ll want to use sea salt spray following a shower, after you’ve washed your hair. Make sure your hair is completely dry afterwards, before you start applying the spray, either by using a hairdryer or simply leaving your hair to dry naturally.
Now, it’s time to apply the sea salt spray. Shake the bottle thoroughly before use, to re-combine any ingredients which might have separated naturally (clay from water, for example).
The amount of spray you apply at this next stage depends on what style you’re going for. If you’re opting for a natural look, then you only need to use a few spritzes; three or four, applied evenly around your hair, should do the trick. If you’re after a more defined style, you’ll need to use a lot more. The actual number of spritzes could be anywhere from 10-25. The number isn’t particularly important, you just need to ensure that your hair is fully coated.
Once you’ve finished the actual spraying, begin to work the product in. Do so thoroughly, using your fingers to ensure that your entire head of hair is covered, from root to tip.
If you want more of a natural look, then your work is effectively done at this stage. You can simply use your fingers to style your hair into a general shape, if you so desire, then either leave it to dry or use a hairdryer to speed up the process (and add even more volume).
If you want a defined style, then using a hairdryer now is an absolute must. Aim the hairdryer in the direction in which you want to style your hair (aiming upwards, at the same time, to add extra volume), and use your fingers to both aid the styling, and judge when your hair is completely dry. You can use a brush to style your hair even more effectively, but you still need to check with your fingers that your hair is dry, and stop using the hairdryer once it is.
Afterwards, simply apply your regular styling product - wax, clay, pomade and so on - as you normally would, to lock your style in place.
The fact that sea salt spray has flown under the radar for so long is - to us - baffling.
Through innovative inclusion of a commonplace, but overlooked naturally-occurring primary ingredient - simple sea salt - this product offers something completely different on the men’s hair styling market. It’s extremely simple to use, and feels incredibly light once applied, but still grants an excellent boost to the volume and texture of your hair. It’s versatile too, equally well-suited to use on thicker and thinner hair, and can be used for a natural look or as a pre-styler for something more deliberate.
Whether you use it on its own, or in combination with something like clay or wax, we strongly advise you not to overlook sea salt spray any longer. This is a product which highly deserves a place in your styling arsenal.