Saltwater Styling Potion

TEXT by Celine MacKay | PHOTOGRAPHS by BILLY Yarbrough


"Nature is effortless beauty. Beauty that flows thru you, not applied to you. Beauty is not another regime of becoming. It is luxurious ease. Your own beauty is now, that clear, that near." 

— Nadine Artemis

SUMMER IS DRAWING TO A CLOSE although the first days of September have been a beautiful gift of gentle breezes and very hot sun. The days were spent swimming and basking in the warmth, trying not to already miss the summer and instead enjoy the feel of the cool water in that moment. With that thought of holding onto summer, ever notice, after spending a day at the sea, swimming in the surf, warmed and cooled at once by the sun and breeze, that your hair is, well, awesome? That combination of salty water and wind does something magical to your tresses, even though you can't even run your fingers through for the tangles. 

This formulation is so simple, yet it truly works and was devised after a holiday near the ocean, where my husband, Jonathan, noticed that even his own hair even looked pretty darn great after a day on the beach. Figuring it's pretty simple to make saltwater at home, he began to experiment and voila, his new styling aid was born, and it's pretty genius. It's non-greasy and doesn't build up in your hair at all, even with daily use.

But beyond the allure of a great hair day, this project has two very important benefits for the eco-minded: it's non-toxic, containing nothing more than a few 100% pure ingredients, and it perfectly fits into the quest to reduce packaging. Finally, for a few pennies, you can satisfyingly stash the $40 you would have spent on hair goo and bring a date to the movies instead.

The following is what you'll need to make a batch of saltwater magic for that perfect surfer look: slightly wavy and gently tussled for girls, and perfectly textured for the guys.

And there you have it: Endless summer locks.


  • 6 oz. hot water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure sea salt (not iodized table salt)
  • optional: 6 drops essential oil (whatever you fancy—we recommend any of these)*


In a reusable spray bottle with a fine mister, add first the salt, then the warm water. Shake well until salt has dissolved. Finish by adding a few drops of the essential oil of your choice. NOTE: the ration for water to salt to oil is simply 1/4 tsp. and 1 drop of oil per ounce of water, so adjust as needed based on the size of your container.

To Apply

Generally, apply to damp hair. Shake well prior to application. For girls: Mist your hair (don't overdo it) and scrunch it up with your fingers. Tussle and lightly finger comb, then allow to dry. Once fully dry, you may want to lightly tussle again, and that's it! For girls with short hair, or boys: Mist your hair, and allow to dry. Once dry, scrunch lightly with fingers to banish the crusty look, and voila! 

TROUBLESHOOTING: If, after using, you find a small amount of salt flakes in your hair, your spray may be too concentrated. Try reducing the amount of salt ever so slightly. Also, you may have to adjust your formula slightly based on the hardness/softness of your water.

*TIP: If adding essential oil, consider using: 

  • Chamomile: adds shine and softness to hair, and soothes the scalp
  • Geranium: strengthens hair
  • Lavender: deep conditions the hair, keeps it shiny, and helps control dandruff
  • Moroccan Argan: moisturizes, nourishes, and provides antioxidants to hair

Photo above features a Nomadix towel, an eco-minded company with a mission to reduce consumption of single-purpose items. Read our story on them here.