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The Best Hair Care for Saltwater Fiends

by Britt Mattie Sep 10, 2019

Surfers, SUPers, swimmers, and divers spend many hours in the saltwater and sun — often rendering their wildly luscious locks thirsty and brittle. While many surfers would rather swap a full day at the salon for a brine bath in the ocean, it’s a good idea to spend some time nurturing your head of sunkissed waves. Best practices to cultivate, or keep, silky tresses include a wash in freshwater quickly after getting out from a session. This ensures the salt doesn’t remain in your hair and dry out the ends even further. It’s a simple tip, but for those who love to go from the barrels to the bar — rocking that sea-soaked beachy look, it’s a mindful adjustment.

Another sneaky tip is rubbing coconut oil or an organic, reef-safe conditioner, mid-length to ends, before heading out. It’ll seem a tad strange at first, but make it a ritual as habitual as putting sunscreen on. Providing a barrier between the salt and your hair helps retain its natural moisture. Additionally, try to brush regularly, wear a hat when paddleboarding to prevent excess UV damage, and avoid thick elastics to tie your hair back when surfing (wear hair down or in braids to avoid tearing in the whitewash). And if nothing else, indulge in these hair care products for a way to revitalize those crispy curls into a mermaid-envy mane.

1. ELEVEN Miracle Hair Treatment ($25)

Eleven hair products

Photo: Eleven Australia/Facebook

An all-in-one treatment with 11 key benefits, this Australian-made miracle worker adds strength and shine while fighting against dreaded straw hair. Locks are lifted with Australian desert lime, peach, wattle seed, and silk amino acids to help unruly, coarse, or fragile hair become super silky and soft again. Aussies know how to get that carefree, beachy hair better than anyone.

2. OUAI Air Dry Foam ($28)

OUAI hair product

Photo: OUAI Haircare/Facebook

The Air Dry Foam is revolutionary for the low-maintenance people who prefer to let their hair air-dry from the shower. The innovative “wash and wear” formula not only encourages but enhances your natural wave patterns for more consistency, softened strands, and defined non-frizzy tresses. After one to three pumps, scrunch it into towel-dried hair, and let it do its thing. Added bonus: It’s infused with kale extract and carrot protein to add touchable texture when running your fingers through.

3. Innersense Sweet Spirit Leave In Conditioner ($26)

The holy grail of leave-in conditioners, Innersense’s essential spray is a dream when detangling after a day in the water. Packing a punch with emollient oils, herbs, flower essences, and a touch of bee-friendly honey to maintain body and manageability, Sweet Spirit boosts hydration for extremely healthy hair. The lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus add an aromatic, healing fragrance, while the certified organic plant extracts leave hair free flowing sans evil frizz.

4. Organic Blue Coconut Oil ($13)


Photo: Blue Coconut/Facebook

Coconut oil is the richest natural source of medium chain fatty acids. The vitamins and natural fats nourish hair and penetrate it deeper and faster than most conditioners. Blue Coconut is all-natural and 100 percent pure — cold pressed in the Pacific Islands, then brought to New Zealand where it undergoes minimal mechanical refining, involving only heat and absorptive clay filters. Put a teaspoon-sized amount on mid-length and densely on the tips as a daily, or weekly, hair mask.

5. dpHUE ACV Hair Rinse ($35)


Photo: DpHUE/Facebook

This hair rinse is a killer alternative to traditional shampoo. Use weekly, after playing in the surf to gently cleanse and remove impurities without stripping color or the natural oils that are essential to the health of your scalp. The argan oil seals the hair’s cuticle to increase shine, while the aloe vera soothes the scalp and the apple cider vinegar rebalances pH to reduce frizz and triple the strength of hair.

6. Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Hair Cap System ($36)


Photo: Briogeo/Facebook

This is a two-part deep conditioning system for those with dry, damaged hair — combining Don’t Despair, Repair! deep conditioning mask with a turbo-charged repair essence to provide concentrated repair. The cap system locks in moisture to open the hair cuticle so that the repairing nutrients of the mask and essence can provide a deeper level of moisture rescue. Meanwhile, the cute bath cap contains an inner fabric lined with natural reparative micro-oil beads that mend damage and enhance the resiliency of the hair.

7. Bumble and Bumble Surf Styling Leave In ($29)

Aprés surf, get that beloved beach look without sandy, salty grit. This UV-protective leave-in gel-cream styler creates soft tumbling waves and resists humidity with a blend of red seaweed, aloe leaf juice, kelp extract, coconut fruit, and algae extract. The light hold and flexibility enables you to style and restyle throughout the day.

8. Oribe Gold Lust Transformative Masque ($66)

Oribe Gold Lust Transformative Masque

Photo: Oribe

A tech-savvy remedy, Gold Lust may be a bit more pricey, but worth every penny. It penetrates the cuticle to rebuild each fiber. Oribe’s signature Bio-Restorative Complex includes plant collagen, caffeine, biotin, and niacinamide to improve elasticity and rejuvenate hair follicles. Saturate from root to ends, and notice how the curative white tea, baobab oil, and jasmine extract fortify hair body back to its glory days.

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