Hair - Hair Type - Straight

Does Salt Water Make Straight Hair Curly?

Ever wondered what salt water does to straight hair? Some claim it helps with curls. Others use it for styling. Here’s everything about how to use salt water for straight hair.

Written by Amber Belanger
Does Salt Water Make Straight Hair Curly

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Does salt water make straight hair curly?

While some people swear by the effects of salt water on their hair, others remain skeptical.

The truth is, salt water can change the texture of hair, but not for good.

According to a study by the Journal of Cosmetic Science, salt water can cause temporary changes in hair texture. It does this by creating hydrogen bonds between hair strands.

These bonds can create waves and curls in some hair types.

But, the effects of salt water on hair texture are not permanent and will fade over time.

How Salt Water Affects Straight Hair

Saltwater can change the texture, volume, and body of straight hair, but it’s a temporary solution. While it is an excellent tool for styling, it doesn’t have long-term effects.

Here’s how salt water affects different types of straight hair:

  • Natural straight hair
  • Color-treated straight hair
  • Beachy waves

Natural Straight Hair

Natural Straight Hair

When your straight hair comes into contact with salt water, it can create a textured, wavy look.

This is due to the natural minerals found in the water. But, be careful when exposing your hair to salt water, as it can also make your hair dry and more prone to breakage.

To maintain your hair’s health, always rinse with fresh water. Use a moisturizing conditioner after spending time at the beach.

Color Treated Straight Hair

For those with color-treated straight hair, salt water can cause extra concerns. It may fade your hair color faster due to the drying effect of the salt.

To protect your color and prevent damage, wear a hat or cover your hair when swimming in the ocean. Apply a leave-in conditioner before entering the water.

This creates a barrier between the salt water and your hair.

What Are Beachy Waves?

What Are Beachy Waves

Beachy waves are loose, messy curls that look like your hair when it dries the natural way after you swim in the sea.

The combination of salt water and natural coastal humidity creates this chic style.

To recreate beachy waves at home, use a sea salt spray or try a DIY salt water solution. Mix a tablespoon of sea salt with a cup of warm water and apply it to your damp hair. Scrunch your hair and let it air dry for a natural beach-inspired look.

Moisturize your hair afterward to avoid dryness and breakage.

The table below provides an overview of different hair types and how sea water changes them.

Hair TypeEffects of Salt WaterPrecautions to TakeRecommended Products
Natural Straight HairCreates a wavy lookRinse your hair, use a moisturizing conditionerHydrating conditioner, Protective hair spray
Color Treated Straight HairCan fade color, creates a wavy lookWear a hat, use a leave-in conditionerColor-protective shampoo, UV protection spray
Curly HairCan enhance curls, can be dryingUse a moisturizing conditionerCurl-enhancing cream, Deep conditioning treatment
Bleached HairCan cause yellowing, dries out hairRinse your hair, use a color-safe conditionerPurple shampoo, Deep conditioning treatment
Chemically Straightened HairCan disrupt the straightening process, dries out hairRinse thoroughly, use a moisturizing conditionerKeratin-infused conditioner, Thermal protection spray
Damaged HairCan exacerbate damage, dries out hairReduce exposure, use a deep conditionerDeep conditioning treatment, Protein treatment
Coarse HairCan make hair more brittle, enhances textureUse a moisturizing shampoo and conditionerOil-based hair mask, Leave-in conditioner

Does Salt Water Make Straight Hair Curly?

Salt water doesn’t exactly make straight hair curly but it can bring out any natural wave patterns in the hair.

Salt water, especially in the form of sea salt spray, adds texture to the hair strands. This texture gives the hair more body and enhances any existing waviness or slight curl.

Salt also absorbs oils. This creates a volumizing effect, making your hair appear fuller and wavier.

For those with very straight hair, the effects may be minimal.

Overuse of salt water can dry out your hair, leading to damage. So, use a moisturizing conditioner or hair mask together with salt water treatments.

Does Sea Salt Spray Make Your Hair Curly?

Sea salt spray does not inherently make your hair curly, but it can enhance natural waves or slight curls in your hair.

It adds texture and creates a tousled, beachy look. This makes hair appear more voluminous and wavy.

The salt in the spray absorbs oils from the hair. It adds volume and body which can contribute to a wavier appearance.

For those with very straight hair, a sea salt spray may not be enough to create a curly effect.

Excessive use of sea salt spray can be drying to the hair. So, you should use it in combination with hydrating hair products.

Does Salt Water Make Hair White?

No, salt water doesn’t make your hair white. While it can give you lovely beachy curls, it doesn’t change the color of your hair.

Exposure to the sun might cause your hair to lighten, but swimming in salt water won’t turn it white.

How to Protect Your Hair from Salt Water Damage

How to Protect Your Hair from Salt Water Damage

Exposure to salt water can leave your hair dry, brittle, and damaged.

Follow these strategies to protect your locks from the harsh effects of salt water.

  • Pre-wet your hair
  • Apply a leave-in conditioner
  • Wear a hat or scarf
  • Use a swim cap
  • Rinse with freshwater after swimming
  • Avoid heat styling

Pre-Wet Your Hair

Before taking a dip in the ocean, wet your hair with fresh water. This reduces the amount of salt water your hair can absorb, as it’s already saturated with fresh water.

Apply a Leave-In Conditioner

Apply a leave-in conditioner before swimming. This creates a barrier between your hair and salt water. It prevents it from becoming dry and tangled.

Wear a Hat or Scarf

Cover your hair with a hat or scarf. This offers protection from the sun and also minimizes your hair’s exposure to salt water.

Opt for a material that dries fast, like a light, breathable fabric.

Use a Swim Cap

A swim cap is a great way to keep your hair safe from salt water damage.

While it may not be the most stylish option, this method works well to stop your hair from getting full of salt water.

Rinse with Freshwater After Swimming

Once you’re done swimming, rinse your hair with fresh water. This will remove any salt residue, preventing it from further damaging your hair.

Avoid Heat Styling

After swimming in salt water, let your hair air dry the natural way.

Utilizing heat tools after salt water exposure can further damage your hair. So, it’s important to give it a break from the heat.

How to Make Salt Water to Get Curly Hair

Creating your own salt water spray can enhance your hair’s natural waves, giving it a beachy, curly look.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare this homemade solution for the best results.

  • Ingredients
  • Mixing the solution
  • Adjusting the formula
  • Optional: Essential oil addition
  • Storing the solution
  • Testing the spray
  • Applying the salt water spray
  • Avoid overuse


  • 1 tablespoon of Epsom or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of olive, extra virgin coconut, or jojoba oil
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • Spritzer bottle
  • Essential oil (optional for fragrance)

Mixing the Solution

  1. To make your own salt water spray, start by measuring out the Epsom or sea salt and oil of your choice.
  2. Next, pour the warm water into the spritzer bottle, and then add the salt and oil.
  3. Shake the bottle well so all the ingredients mix together well.

Adjusting the Formula

Feel free to experiment with the ratios of salt and oil to find the perfect balance for your hair.

You might need a bit more salt for thicker hair, or a bit more oil for finer hair to avoid drying it out.

Optional: Essential Oil Addition

If you want to add a pleasant scent to your salt water spray, include a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Use it sparingly, as a little goes a long way.

Storing the Solution

Store your salt water spray in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. This maintains the effectiveness and freshness of the solution.

Testing the Spray

Before using the salt water spray on your entire head, test it on a small section of hair to make sure it gives you the desired effect.

This will also allow you to adjust the formula if necessary.

Applying the Salt Water Spray

To achieve curly hair using the salt water spray, spritz it on damp or dry hair and scrunch your hair with your hands.

Allow your hair to air dry or use a diffuser to enhance the curls. Feel free to play around with the amount of spray you use until you achieve the desired effect.

Avoid Overuse

While salt water spray can create curls, do not to overuse it.

Prolonged exposure to salt water can be drying to your hair, leading to damage. Use it in moderation and wash your hair regularly to maintain healthy locks.

Can You Leave Salt Water in Your Hair Overnight?

Yes, you can leave salt water in your hair overnight, but it’s important to rinse it well with fresh water before bed.

Salt water can dry out and discolor your hair. In the morning, use a gentle shampoo and conditioner to wash it out.

Pros and Cons of Using Salt Water Spray

Salt water spray can be a valuable tool for hair styling, creating natural, tousled waves.

But, it comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages that you should consider.


  • Salt water can enhance your natural curl pattern. This makes your hair appear more defined and bouncy.
  • It provides nutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. These strengthen and add shine to your hair.
  • Rinsing your hair with salt water reduces harmful elements like mercury. It also promotes a healthier hair environment.
  • Salt water absorbs moisture from the hair. It lifts cuticles and creates a textured, beachy look.


  • Removing too much moisture can cause your hair to become dry, leading to damage and breakage.
  • The salt in the water can be drying and may cause hair to become brittle.
  • Excessive use of salt water spray can lead to lifted cuticles, which may cause frizz and tangling.
  • Salt is not necessary for achieving texture and volume. There are alternative products that provide similar results without drying out your hair.

Use salt water spray sparingly and explore other options if it’s causing any harm to your hair.

How to Use Sea Salt Spray to Get Wavy Hair

How to Use Sea Salt Spray to Get Wavy Hair

Sea salt spray can make your straight hair wavy.

  1. First, mix 1 tablespoon of sea salt with 1 cup of warm water.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of olive, coconut, or jojoba oil for moisture.
  3. Optionally, add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance. Put the mixture in a spritzer bottle.
  4. Shake the bottle well and spray it onto damp hair.
  5. Scrunch your hair with your hands while it’s drying to encourage waves.
  6. Enjoy your beachy, wavy hair!

Does Sea Salt Spray Make Your Hair Dry?

Sea salt spray can give your hair a lovely beach wave look, but it might also make it dry.

The sea salt in the spray absorbs moisture from your hair, which can lead to dryness.

Not all sea salt sprays are the same. Some can be moisturizing, while others can be drying. Pick the right product for your hair type to avoid excessive dryness.

Using sea salt spray from time to time shouldn’t harm your hair, but frequent use might make it drier.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does sea salt spray make straight hair curly?

No, sea salt spray doesn’t make straight hair curly. But, it can enhance natural waves and add texture to your hair. If your hair has a slight wave or curl to it, a sea salt spray might make it appear more pronounced.

What can make straight hair curly?

There are various methods to make straight hair curly. These include using heat tools like curling irons or rollers or chemical treatments like perms. You can also use hair products like mousse or gel that enhance curl patterns.

Can salt spray curl your hair?

Salt spray can’t make straight hair curly, but it can enhance the natural curl pattern of your hair if you have wavy or curly hair. Salt spray also adds texture, volume, and a “beachy” look to your hair.

Does sea salt make straight hair wavy?

Sea salt can make straight hair appear wavier by adding texture and volume. If your hair has some natural wave or curl to it, sea salt can enhance that and give your hair a more tousled, “beachy” look.

What does putting salt water in your hair do?

Salt water can define curls and add volume to your hair but it can also cause dryness and damage the hair cuticles due to salt buildup. Use salt water or salt sprays in moderation. Follow up with a nourishing conditioner to keep your hair healthy.

Why does my hair get curly at the beach?

Your hair might get curlier at the beach due to the humidity and salt content in the air. The humidity can cause your hair to swell up, which might make your natural curls more pronounced. Additionally, salt in the seawater and air can break down your hair protein. This causes your hair shaft to swell up and create more pronounced curls.

Why does sea salt spray make hair curly?

Sea salt spray doesn’t exactly make hair curly—rather, it enhances the natural curl pattern you may already have. When you apply sea salt spray to your hair, it helps to break down the protein in your hair. This causes the hair shaft to swell and allows your natural curls to become more noticeable.

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Amber Belanger

Amber is not just a beauty enthusiast. She has spent countless hours doing the nails of her friends, researching the newest studies on personal care, as well as tried and tested numerous hair products. She prides herself on her factuality and luscious hair.