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The Salty Sweet Truth: Is Saltwater Good for Your Hair?

Summer is officially here and in full swing in South Florida. From our salon-front windows on Miracle Mile, we can feel the heat! Summertime marks the start of sandy toes, sun-kissed skin, and salty dips in the sea. Summer is also the season to rock that fresh-from-the-ocean beach hair that makes us feel like mermaids and mermen. But the looming question many of you probably have, especially those who color their hair, is whether or not salt water is actually good for your hair?

Let’s find out, shall we?

First and foremost, it is undeniable that the ocean generously offers therapeutic benefits to those who spend time in her waters—on both a physical and mental level. These benefits are bestowed individually, though, where some experience more than others. This applies to your hair, as well. The range of benefits depends on your hair type and the current condition of your hair.

For example, if you already have damaged or brittle hair, saltwater exposure will only further dry out your locks. However, if you have naturally oily hair, the saltwater will help balance out your hair’s oiliness.

No hair type or condition should stop you from enjoying time in the ocean, though! After briefly discussing the general pros and cons of saltwater, we’ll also share some expert stylist tips for protecting your hair from the downsides of seawater.

Why Saltwater is Good for Your Hair

Shares nutrients with your scalp

Saltwater is rich in magnesium, which is a nutrient that is particularly beneficial to your neurological system. Magnesium induces a calming effect on the body, which might be one of the reasons why spending time in the ocean makes you feel so tranquil. There is also a direct link between low levels of stress and healthy hair growth.

Gives a natural exfoliation

The natural salt crystals found in saltwater provide a fantastic exfoliation for both your skin and hair. They are especially effective if you let your hair dry and then give your scalp a nice deep massage.

Provides a natural shampoo

Similar to how dry shampoo works by absorbing excess oil, saltwater is a highly effective shampoo. Next time you are soaking in the sea, spend some time massages your scalp as you would in the shower after you apply shampoo. You’ll emerge with envy-worthy beach hair!

Why Saltwater is Not So Good for Your Hair

Acts as a dehydrator

While saltwater might give you those highly desirable beachy waves and promote an easy-breezy feeling, it also has a natural moisture-sucking effect on your skin and hair. This is amplified even more if you already have parched hair or you regularly dye your hair.

Since this is unavoidable, it’s important to rehydrate your hair after swimming or soaking in the sea.

Pre and Post-Saltwater Tips for Maintaining Your Best Summer Hair

Apply coconut oil or an all-natural and biodegradable sun-protectant (you don’t want to pollute the ocean with chemical hair products) to your hair before you go swimming in the ocean.


Rinse your hair with fresh water after your swim in the saltwater (or pool).


Apply a leave-in conditioner or moisturizing hair oil at the end of your beach day.


Treat your hair to a once-a-week deep conditioning hair mask, especially if you are spending a lot of time at the beach.

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