Unless you’re one of the lucky few who can dive into the ocean and then let your hair air dry into Blue Crush-worthy waves, the amount of effort that usually goes into creating “effortless” beachy curls is unconscionable.
Enter: texture spray. “Salt spray works to enhance your natural waves and texture,” says Nicole Casamassima, a stylist at the Nexxus Salon in New York City. “The salt in the spray opens up the cuticle of the hair and plumps up your strands, giving hair more texture and volume.”
But salt sprays can be drying because the salt molecules pull moisture out of your hair, and this can exacerbate damage. Because of this, brands are turning to other ingredients—like sugar and silica—to get the wave-making job done.
Scroll through for some of our favorite tried-and-tested salt-free wave sprays on the market right now, which are almost as satisfying a way to get that surfer-girl hair as an actual jump in the ocean.
Is sugar the new salt when it comes to creating waves? In this Together Beauty’s case, all signs point to yes. Sugar—here in the form of papamiel nectar extract—has smaller granules than salt, which means it won’t weigh your hair down. Bonus points for smelling like a beach vacation in a bottle.
Whether you’re looking for full-on waves or simply to add a little tousled texture to your blowout, this is the stuff to get it done. This formula feels slightly more like a hairspray than some of the other more mist-like options on the market, but isn’t at all sticky and adds some serious oomph to hair by way of volume and hold.
Instead of sea salt, Amika’s version of no-salt salt spray uses silica, zeolite, and sea buckthorne oil to nourish your hair while giving it a gritty, buildable texture. It will also leave your hair looking super-shiny, which is not an easy feat when it comes to styling curls.
Oribe’s saltless sea spray uses the brand’s “Beach Wave Complex”—made with a combo of hydrolyzed wheat protein, pro-vitamin B5, copolymer, and amber extract—to add texture to hair. It also has moisturizing ingredients and UV protection, making it basically all you need for your summer strands.
Ouai Wave Spray ($26)
Kendall Jenner’s go-to haircare brand uses rice protein and other botanicals instead of salt to create waves, which makes it safe to use on color-treated hair (because salt isn’t the best bet for those bleach-y blonde highlights).
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