You know the feeling – you’re on holiday, basking in the sun, swimming in the sea, and benefiting from beautifully wavey locks. Usually, the sea salt in your hair will result in it feeling more textured and voluminous, as the sea salt works to boost your locks’ life. But it can also result in hair feeling dry and dehydrated, which may encourage breakage or a few split ends.
Written by Alice Carlill
So, is sea salt good for your hair?
The truth is, sea salt will impact hair differently, depending on your hair’s texture, thickness, or curliness. Certainly, if you don’t take care to moisturize hair, sea salt can dry it out. But sea salt has also been known to boost hair growth and reduce dandruff.
Sea Salt: Its Properties
Before you head into your cupboard to grab the nearest salt available, stop!
Table salt and sea salt are very different salts.
Unlike table salt, sea salt comes in crystals and is created when salt water evaporates.
It’s therefore usually unprocessed and natural, retaining trace levels of important minerals like magnesium and potassium. It’s this that gives it its flavor, color, and texture.
Table salt, by comparison, is usually mined underground and will often have nutrients like iodine added to it.
How Does Sea Salt Create Beachy Waves?
There’s no denying it: after a swim in the sea, your hair will be wavier.
It does this because the keratin in your hair interacts with the sodium chloride and magnesium sulfate in the sea salt.
This crosslinking effect causes the hair strand to curve, thus causing that beachy wave we’re all so familiar with.
What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Sea Salt On Hair?
Below, we list the benefits and downfalls of sea salt on hair.
There’s really no straight answer as to whether sea salt is definitely good for hair. It all depends on what type of hair you have, how the sea salt interacts with it, and how much sea salt your hair is exposed to.
The Benefits Of Sea Salt For Hair
May Prevent Dandruff
Salt has anti-fungal properties, which means it’s a great ingredient in tackling the growth and spread of dandruff.
The reason why salt water works to minimize fungal growth is because of osmosis, as the salt water inhibits the osmoregulation of the fungus.
It’s for this reason – and the fact that sea salt is a great exfoliator – that it reduces dandruff.
Divide your hair into sections and sprinkle around 1 – 2 teaspoons of salt onto your scalp.
Using wet fingers, massage the salt in for at least five minutes, before rinsing and following with your normal hair care.
Exfoliation and Increased Blood Circulation
If you’re prone to product build up – particularly at your roots or on your scalp – sea salt will help to clarify and exfoliate.
Plus, if you get yourself a salt scrub and massage this into your scalp, you’re stimulating blood flow to the area, which is critical for hair growth and health.
You’re also increasing the likelihood that the nutrients in the salt such as zinc, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, will penetrate into your scalp and hair strands. This helps them grow with better shine and strength.
May Help With Hair Growth
That’s right, because sea salt stimulates blood flow to the scalp and hair strands, it can be a natural way of promoting hair growth.
Try washing your hair and massaging your wet scalp with sea salt for around 10 – 15 minutes.
Then rinse your hair as normal and follow with a conditioning treatment.
Repeat two times weekly, and you should start to see results.
Management Of Oily Hair
Some of us are prone to more oily hair – which is a perfectly normal problem to have.
However, over-washing your hair can only end up stripping it of its natural oils, which it needs in order to maintain a healthy acidic balance for both the scalp and hair.
Using sea salt might therefore benefit those of us with oilier hair. Salt works by regulating oil secretion from the sebaceous glands, which are responsible for the oil level of hair and scalp.
Try adding 2 – 3 tablespoons of sea salt to your shampoo, and watch the excess oil reduce in your hair.
Extra Body and Volume
Yes, sea salt will give your hair that extra body and boost it needs, lifting up the hair cuticle so that you look like you’ve just had a blow-out.
It’s for this main reason that sea salt products have become so popular in the hair care market. But there is a downside as the sea salt can strip hair of its moisture, causing dryness.
The Downsides Of Sea Salt For Hair
Dehydrated, Brittle Hair
Remember how we said earlier that sea salt can inhibit the osmosis of the fungi responsible for dandruff?
Well, that osmotic action can also work to pull water and moisture away from the hair.
By thus wicking the moisture away from the hair strand, you can end up with very dry, dehydrated, brittle hair that becomes frizzy with ease.
Be aware, too, that many sea salt products on the market often have added alcohol, which can have further abrasive effects on your hair.
May Cause Extra Dryness For Chemically Treated Hair
If you’re prone to using either dye or bleach, you’ll have changed the structure of your hair.
Sea salt can exacerbate this for the worse, as the hygroscopic quality of the salt will steal any moisture away from healthy hair.
For hair that’s been chemically treated and is already vulnerable to dryness, sea salt can only worsen the situation.
Plus, if you’re washing your hair more in order to get out the sea salt, you’re going to gradually cause the color to fade.
How To Minimize The Disadvantages Of Sea Salt
The good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce the impact of sea salt on your hair.
Firstly, if you use sea salt products in moderation, you’re minimizing your hair’s risk of becoming frizzy or dry.
If you do want to go for a sea swim, however, consider using a natural, eco-friendly leave-in conditioner or oil.
Run this through your hair prior to hitting the water, ensuring your hair strands are all coated.
This will then minimize the impact of the salt wicking away moisture. You’ll likely have less voluminous hair, but if you’re concerned about dryness, this is a great option to take.
Just be sure to use a conditioner or oil that is natural. It’s essential to protect sea life and oceans from the damage of nasty chemicals.
How To Use Salt Sprays
When used correctly, sea salt will give you extra bounce, grip, and texture in your hair.
If you use too much of it, however, you might end up with dry, crunchy, gritty tresses. Stick to the following steps when applying salt spray to your hair:
- Test how much your hair can take. Everyone’s hair is different, so everyone’s hair will react differently to different amounts of sea salt.
- Don’t overload your roots as this can cause build-up! You need to be working on the ends and mid-length of your hair.
- Play around and see how your hair best responds to the sea salt. Does your hair get more volume if you apply it when wet, for example, or is a quick spritz over dry locks enough? Be aware that if you apply it when wet, you can also use a hairdryer to maximize volume.
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