Beach waves à la Gisele are always on our summertime hair wish list—but an actual trip to the beach isn’t always an option. Besides, my “day at the beach hair” is less sexy, tousled waves and more of a sand-filled mop topped with greasy sunscreen.

The actual concept of these loose waves involves the sea salt in the ocean that’s known to give your hair texture that creates a messy (aka “beachy”) look that’s so coveted, companies now bottle it for big bucks. Here’s the deal: You don’t need to spend a ton of money when you can make it at home. We’ve tested the best recipes for a DIY salt spray, and this one makes the cut for the best bathroom beach waves.

Recipe for DIY sea salt spray:

  • 8 oz. of warm water
  • 4 or 5 drops of the essential oil of your choosing (coconut has a great beach-y scent) or macadamia oil
  • 2 teaspoons of course sea salt or Epsom salt
  • 1 teaspoon of gel
  • Spray bottle (add all the above together and shake!)
  • Spray on towel-dried hair and scrunch with hands.
I’m not a DIY kind of gal, but most of the bottled brands contain an excessive amount of salt or alcohol, and dry out your hair (like the ocean!) I tried Sally Hershberger Shagg Spray ($13) and I’m pleased to say that it doesn’t suck the life out of your hair thanks to the bi-phase formula that has both silk protein and sea salt.

Ruben Colon, Senior Stylist at Sally Hershberger Downtown New Yorksalon says that the key to at-home beach hair is to start with “not-so-clean” locks. Colon prefers hair that’s been unwashed for a day or two because the natural oils help give it a beachy affect.

He advises to apply the spray on damp hair. “Seventy percent dry hair with only a little moisture is preferable because completely dry locks gives too much hold. From there, you can simply spray, scrunch (not too much or you’ll get a crunchy, hard look!), and you’re done.” Colon adds, “It’s okay to have a little frizz and a windblown texture. It actually looks cool that way.” Now that we can get behind.

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Anne Roderique-Jones originally wrote this story for It is reprinted with persmission here.
DIY sea salt hairspray
Get beachy waves without drying out your hair. We’ve got the recipe for DIY sea salt hairspray.